Faith :: by Nathele Graham

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

Sometimes Christians think that once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior our lives will be smooth. That just isn’t the way it is. Peter talks of the “trial of your faith” and that is something we face every day, even if it is just being mocked by friends and family. None of us enjoy being “tried with fire” but trials help us to grow in faith. If we glorify God in our trials we have a strong witness to people around us.

Sometimes God asks us to step out in faith and only by saying, yes, to His direction can we help Him to accomplish great things. Faith is believing something and trusting in it. Faith in God is the conviction that God exists and trusting Him.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Throughout history God has asked people to step out in faith and trust Him. Hebrews chapter 11 tells us of some of those people. They were just ordinary people, but they heard God speak and acted in faith. Because they bravely followed God’s direction mankind was preserved through the Flood, the Jewish nation was founded, and many other miraculous things happened because of faith.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4).

Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were evicted from Eden. They had tried to hide their shame by covering themselves with fig leaves, but God shed the blood of an animal and covered their shame with its skin. As Cain and Abel grew up they most likely heard their parents recount the splendor of life in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall and how important it was to obey God instead of doing things their own way.

By faith they should have believed the account and understood the importance of living life in obedience to God. When the brothers brought offerings to God, only Abel had shed the blood of an animal. Cain had tried to do things his own way and when his offering was rejected he became angry, ultimately killing Abel. We face the same challenge today. By faith we accept God’s word and know His ways, but we don’t always do things God’s way. His way is what counts even if we don’t understand.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

By faith Abel made the more excellent sacrifice to God and so must we walk by faith, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

Sin abounded in Enoch’s time. The fallen angels had corrupted all of God’s creation and all out rebellion would soon bring God’s judgment upon all life. Enoch walked with God and stayed apart from the sin that was everywhere. His faith was in God. Prior to God’s judgment he was taken by God.

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

Christians today live in a world where sin abounds. Like Enoch we need to walk with God, have faith in Him, and be separate from the ways of the world. The signs of the times are all around us and God’s wrath will soon be poured out upon the unbelieving world. Like Enoch we will be raptured and taken away from God’s wrath.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).

Don’t be deceived by doctrines of devils, but walk in faith with God. Don’t take pleasure in the fallen world, but keep your faith in Jesus and walk in His ways.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

Like his great-grandfather, Enoch, Noah lived in a time when sin was a way of life. God’s truth was rejected and mocked. Jesus used Noah’s day as an example of what it would be like just before the end. Using that as a warning signal we can only wonder how many more days until Christians are removed and God’s wrath will begin. The fallen angels had corrupted all living things and contrary to what some people think, this corruption was more than just being bad.

These rebellious angels had contaminated all life…humanity, beast, and bird. In order to preserve God’s creation, and allow for redemption through Jesus Christ there had to be no genetic corruption, and Noah was not genetically contaminated. By faith Noah built an Ark because God told him to.

Because of his faith in God and his willingness to obey, a pure human line was preserved and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was able to atone for our sins. Today scientists are once again corrupting creation by mixing the genes of humans animals, and plants. We live in times similar to the days of Noah, which Jesus said would come before the end.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Keep your faith in Jesus. Don’t follow the ways of the world, but walk in faith with God and be victorious.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).

Abraham was born and raised in a pagan culture. One day he heard the true God tell him to leave his home and family to travel to a land that God would show him. Abraham was called by God to become the father of many nations, yet he had no children. Even when he didn’t see a quick fulfillment of God’s promise he still had faith. His faith slipped a bit and he tried to help God along. In so doing he fathered a son by a servant—but Ishmael was not the son God promised.

Years would pass before Abraham and Sarah miraculously had a son together. It was through Isaac that God’s promise was fulfilled. Through him came King David and ultimately Jesus our Redeemer. Abraham would be asked to step out in faith on many occasions and he responded in obedience.

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14).

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all had tests of their faith in God. Sometimes they failed but their faith and obedience preserved the lineage that God ordained to bring salvation to this lost world through Jesus Christ.

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment” (Hebrews 11:23).

The Hebrews had lived in Egypt and were becoming strong. Pharaoh was worried that they would become the rulers of Egypt so he decreed that all male Hebrew babies were to be killed at birth. Moses was hidden and soon was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who took and raised him.

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:24-25).

Eventually Moses had to flee from Egypt. Years passed and finally the Hebrews cried out to God for help. God chose Moses to free them. Moses heard God speak from the burning bush and after some argument did confront Pharaoh. It was faith that caused Moses to follow God’s instructions and speak to Pharaoh. By faith he eventually would sacrifice the lambs and sprinkle their blood on the door posts thus protecting the Hebrews from death. By faith he led them through the Red Sea, delivered God’s Law to them, and won many battles.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40).

God parted the Red Sea to allow the Hebrews to pass through to safety and He rebuked the wind so His disciples could safely weather the storm. Do you have faith in Him to calm the storms you face in this life?

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:30-31).

Have you ever heard of a more ridiculous battle plan? Walk around a city every day for six days. On the seventh day walk around it seven times, blow trumpets, then everyone shout! It took faith to trust God’s direction. The Israelites did and the walls of Jericho fell. What was accomplished? No land was won or fortune taken. Rahab was the reason. She was a harlot in Jericho who had heard of the parting of the Red Sea and of the victories the Israelites had won in battles.

When two Hebrew spies came into the city she protected them because she knew the Lord had been leading the Hebrews. She had faith in Him. She wanted to leave her old life and join with the Hebrews and so she did. Because of her faith she turned from her life as a pagan harlot and married a Hebrew. She is one of the few women mentioned in the genealogy of King David, and thus of Jesus.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done” (Matthew 21:21).

Faith can move mountains, cause walls to fall down, and place you in the family of God.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).

The examples of faith in Hebrews chapter 11 are just a few of the examples throughout the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments confirm that faith in the power of God can do great things. Christians know that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, but we can’t keep that faith hidden.

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).

Faith says “I believe in God” but acting on faith allows His power to be manifest.

By faith Christians know that Christ, God incarnate, was born of a virgin, healed the sick, raised the dead, and walked on water. His disciples were asked to step out in faith and spread the Gospel. They moved out of their “comfort zone” and bore witness of God’s power. Because of their obedience the Gospel spread. By faith we know that Jesus is the only way of Salvation.

What is God asking you to do?

Like Abraham are you being asked to leave the pagan life you are living and move toward the promise that God has waiting for you? Moses had many excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God asked, but God gave him what he needed to talk to Pharaoh and lead a nation out of slavery. You may not be asked to build an Ark, but God may ask you to talk to a neighbor about your faith. God will see you through whatever He asks you to do. Just place your faith in Him.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham