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Pardon, Your Faith Is Showing

Pardon, Your Faith Is Showing

      Faith is a much misunderstood subject. Folks are often heard speaking of “their faith” while believing pretty much anything and everything.  Faith, by definition is: complete trust or confidence in someone or something: One who “has faith” has complete trust or confidence in what they believe.  The problem is that not everyone ‘believes’ the same things. This is not a bit surprising as there are many different beliefs.  In the context of religion, faith is belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion. Therein lies the problem. ‘Religion’ per se, provides many different teachings, and not all the teaching that is offered is from God. 
     Because of the foreknowledge of God, the Spirit had John pen the Words of warning to the church found in 1Jno 4:1. He wrote: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  As these ‘false prophets’ go out into the world, they are spreading man’s doctrine, and teaching things contrary to God’s Word.  If these doctrines are believed and followed, they becomes one’s faith.  Then, they offer worship in accordance with what they believe.  When this is considered in light of Matt. 15:9, it shouldn’t be hard to see where this leads. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  A faith that is built on false doctrine is a faith that leads to destruction. 
    But how does one know what a person believes or if their faith is sound? Trying the ‘spirits’ is one way. But not everyone is a teacher in the traditional sense of publicly teaching or ‘leading’ a class.  However, Jesus identified the means by which we can know a person’s ‘faith’.  In Matt. 7:20 He said: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  In other words, what a person does indicates what they believe.  Incidentally, in context, Jesus was warning against false prophets (teachers). These were deceptive as they wore “sheep’s clothing”, but inwardly were “ravening wolves”.    
     This was not only true in Christ’s time and in ours, but also existed in the days when God sent prophets to warn Israel to turn back to Him. Some came and prophesied that Israel would not go into bondage. Jer. 27:14-15 provides the Words of the Spirit given to one of God’s prophets to deliver to Israel. Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.15 For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.   Notice what following a false prophecy or false teaching produces.  Those who follow false teaching will develop a false faith, and will perish. 
     A faith which cannot be seen is not faith. We know from Heb. 11:1 what faith is. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  The entirety of Hebrews chapter 11 provides ‘evidence’ of the faith of many and the “deeds” these folks did to show their faith.  In Heb 11:6 we read: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  Not only must one have faith; they must also live so that others see it. The “fruits” of one’s life is what others see and by what they are known.
     One’s faith must be made known so others can see it.  Faith is not a ‘feeling’. Neither feelings nor faith can be seen. Only actions can be shown, and actions are the result of what a person believes.  This is clearly seen from Jas. 2:14 to the end of the chapter.  Within the last thirteen verses of James chapter two, faith occurs eleven times. In verse 18 we learn that one’s faith is shown by his works.  In verse 20, ‘faith without works is dead’, and in verse 22, it is by works that faith is perfected.  We also know from verse 24 that a man can be justified, but “not by faith only”. 
     All should realize how important faith is.  In Rom. 1:17 we learn that “the just shall live by faith”. From Rom. 5:1-2 we can also read of the significance of faith. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.Then, from Rom.10:17 we learned where true faith originates.  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 
     Why then do so many believe (have faith in) so many different things? I think the answer is obvious. It is because so many are listening to, believing, and following ‘man’s teaching’ rather than the Word of God.  2Pet. 2:1 tells us what was happening then (and what’s happening now).  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Then, we see from 2Pet. 2:2 what results.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  As folks ‘believe’ these false teachers, they develop and show faith in their teaching.
     Why not go to the source of true faith?  Why not follow the Word of God?  When whatever you believe is seen by others, your faith is showing.  If your faith is not based on God’s Word, destruction is your fate.  Do as God directs in His Word today.  Then make sure your faith is showing as you lead others to the Lord through His Word.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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