Within our Wisdom Notes, last week we discussed explored part two of our three-part series wandering in the wilderness by faith. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
On this week’s trek, we will continue our focus on living by faith so that we do invest our time with purpose. This is part three.
The Faith That Saves
To have faith in our lives is of utmost importance. Faith’s importance to salvation is emphasized in Ephesians 2:8, where Paul writes, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Faith plays a role in the entire process until we enter the Kingdom of God. It is the sum of what God is doing in our lives and is written in John 6:29, “Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’”
The faith that saves has its beginning when God, on His own initiative, calls us and leads us to repentance. He does this by His Spirit guiding us into all truth. Stirring up our minds to knowledge, His Spirit enables us to perceive from a perspective we never before seriously considered. This, combined with the confrontation that occurs with the carnal mind when we are forced to choose what to do with this precious truth, gives birth to a living faith, a faith that works, a faith that walks in godliness.
As miraculous and powerful as God’s liberation of Israel from bondage in Egypt was, even more so and of greater importance is the breaking of our bondage to Satan, this world, and human nature. This is why Ephesians 2:8 says the faith that saves is “the gift of God.” Israel’s release from Egypt was God’s gift too. Regardless of how much they cried out to Him, the Israelites would never have left Egypt without Him. If God had not been merciful and faithful, if He had not been trustworthy, they would never have been freed.
What did God lead us to that sparked this saving faith in us? He led us to His Word. We can glean a measure of faith from observing God’s creation, but this faith cannot save because it does not reveal His purpose. The seeds of faith in us are planted through the proclamation of his Word as Romans 10:17 states, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” As Christ-followers, our lives should reflect the Good News in both deed and word.
Of course, this does not mean that all who hear the message will understand and accept it. Without the message, however, there would be nothing to believe in, nothing that one could trust to lead him to salvation. The evidence that our lives are properly reflecting the Good News is found in the fruit that our lives produce which is located in Galatians 5:20-22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Is your faith reflected by the Fruit of the Spirit?
We Must Choose to Live by Faith
We must learn the valuable lessons regarding faith shown in the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness because they have direct application to us. Romans 15:4 states, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Also in 1 Corinthians 10:11, we read, “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”
The nation of Israel knew the history of their ancestors with whom God had worked, yet they chose to forget His graciousness to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. God demonstrated His presence to them, but the Israelites chose to disregard Him. They had the Good News proclaimed to them, and they chose not to believe it. They had among them the godly witness of men of faith, men in whom the Spirit of God dwelled, and the rebellious children of Israel chose not to follow them.
God has given us even more than Nation of Israel had. We have the entirety of God-written revelation to us. We would not even be in a position to read His Word had God not personally acted to stir our minds to understand things of His Spirit. He has given us His Spirit that we might know the things of God. Faith comes from hearing the Good News.
When we have faith, we trust God that what He has said and promised is true. Though we may at times feel all alone in the midst of a trial, we can take comfort that so did all those others who went before us. We have the full revelation of God through His Son (The Word). The faithful of the Old Testament chose to believe, even though they were waiting for the promises to be fulfilled in the future as is told to us in Hebrews 11:13, “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.”
Now the weight of responsibility for making choices grounded on trust in God’s Word has fallen upon us. It is awesome to think of ourselves as baptized into the history of the same spiritual company of those greats of the past, men and women of faith whose names are emblazoned in our memories. We must not forget either their standing with God because of their faith or Israel’s failure in the wilderness because they did not trust Him.
Remember the warning and advice God gave to Israel in the days before they entered the Promised Land, which is written in Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
As we finish our third and final segment of the Wandering in the Wilderness by Faith trail, we learn that we must choose to accept and live by faith. On next week’s Wisdom Note, we will begin a several week trek that will cover several trails that are the Principles of Spiritual Growth. This information was instrumental in my spiritual growth as a young man seeking to create and live my legacy. Encourage your friends and family to also join us on our daily podcast for another day of Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.