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How many times have we heard the saying…. “seeing is believing”? In other words, experience leads to belief. It is only when we experience something that we can then place our faith in it. This is a generally accepted attitude that has existed throughout the generations, to say otherwise is just being foolish. Or is it?
In their song “Walk On” the group U2 sings the following lyrics… “Walk on, walk on; What you got, they can’t steal it; No they can’t even feel it; Walk on, walk on; Stay safe tonight… You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been; A place that has to be believed to be seen” (http://www.macphisto.net/u2lyrics/Walk_On.html) In the context, they point out that heaven must be believed in BEFORE it can be experienced. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wfjPmDlCB0
The need to have belief before someone can enter into heaven aligns itself with Bible teachings … “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” … “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Heb 11:1, 13-14) The need for faith to precede experience is not a principle limited to our experience of heaven, the Word of God makes it clear that faith is an absolute necessity in many areas of our Christian life…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)
Faith is a basic Biblical principle, going far beyond the subject of heaven. It applies to many different aspects of Christian living… when it comes to spiritual living, belief must precede experience. Faith is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, for the receipt of the promises of God, as well as the experience of God’s glory after our death. (Roms 5:1, Roms 4:13, Roms 5:2) Truly the life of a Christian is a life centered on faith, which then leads to experience.
One of the most amazing things about faith is that it is not a natural part of man, it is given to us as a gift from God. (Eph 2:8-9). This emphasizes our need for Him in all areas of our life. At our initial salvation experience, we could not trust in Him apart from His intervention in our lives. (John 6:44) During our Christian life on earth, we are helpless to trust His promises and receive His blessings apart from His gift of faith. (Matt 13:58) And finally, we would all be without hope for our future without His faith being granted to us. (1 Pet 1:18-21). Yes, the Word is so true when it says that “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. (Joh 9:33)
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
In Gals 5:22-25, “faith” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”. In other words, like all the other fruits of the Spirit, our life should be a living testament of the faith that has been so graciously given to us. As we live our life on earth, the choices we make exhibits our faith to others. Pastor Charles Stanley of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Ga.; says that we should “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” This is a very simple way of stating the role of faith in the life of a Christian. By choosing to obey the Lord, we are choosing to exercise faith in Him and His promises, instead of relying on our own abilities and devices. This is the testimony we should be living in the sight of others…ALWAYS putting the Lord first and then, by faith, trusting Him to take care of the consequences of our actions.
For those who have never received the Lord’s faith into your life…. Your most important responsibility is to look to Him for salvation, realizing apart from Christ, you can do nothing for your own salvation. He must intervene in your life and save you from your sins. By totally trusting on Christ for your salvation, you are fulfilling your responsibility and can be assured that He has given you spiritual life and a wonderful eternity awaiting you…
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:5-10)
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”