For Christians living in the end times, I can testify and God is my witness, if you do not have faith, rock solid faith, you are not likely to spiritually survive the coming demonic onslaught coming to planet earth. Faith is the link between we Christians and the God we serve. You cannot serve him or please him without it. What is faith? The author of Hebrews tells us.
Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto God: And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.
Brothers, you cannot please God without faith. Why is faith such a requirement? Why is that we Christians must learn to trust God even though in the toughest of trial especially when such faith seems to run counter to our natural senses? I think the answer is in the book of Genesis. I think if we take apart some key versus, we can understand exactly why God demands faith from we fallen humans.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God give man a specific command, actually two. The first was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden ( Gen 2:15), that was man’s job back then. The second was to not eat of the tree of good and evil, the command came with a clear warning as to what would happen if he did. Adam (man) would die. So God put man in the garden gave him a job, gave him a woman and told him not to eat of one specific tree; otherwise, he could eat to his heart’s content.
God gave a command and expected Adam to keep it. Here is the key that so many miss today. In order to obey God’s commands you must believe what God is telling you. This is simple faith and where so many people in our time miss the mark. God said (paraphrasing) ‘don’t eat of that tree Adam, our you’ll die’. There is no reaction to God’s commandment recorded here by Adam He did not argue with the Lord. He did not say, “well , I don’t agree with these ‘arbitrary’ commandments, Lord”. No there was none of that. So as far as we can determine here Adam took God at his word and did as he was commanded. He did not eat of the forbidden tree. Now, I am one of those who thinks that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the tree except for the fact that God said not to eat of it. Why? Because evil is disobedience to God and his commandments. Once you disobey God, you know evil. That I why it was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Dear readers, that is all evil really is, when you boil it all down, disobedience, and rebellion against God and his commandments. So that tree may have been one of many apple or orange tree’s in the Garden, and did not look any different or need any special care. I don’t think the fruit on this particular tree had flaming pentagrams engraved on the skin or emitted a special sulphuric stench. It was just like any other tree. But once you ate of it, you were in rebellion, committed evil and would die, for the wages of sin is death.
Then came the serpent, the one who planted doubt into Eve’s mind, using seeming ‘common sense’ and very carefully presented lies to seduce Eve into rebellion.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
To put it simply God said one thing and the devil said another, Eve chose to listen to and (this is key) believe the lies of the devil. She was tempted and thought she would be like God if she ate of that tree. Instead she became like the serpent who was also in rebellion. She lost her faith in the God who created her, put her in a wonderful garden and took care of her. She did not trust God’s word about what would happen if she ate of the tree.
And man has ever since been separated from God. The two things that separated man from God? Disobedience because of a lack of faith (belief) in God’s word. Satan has been using the same MO on mankind ever since with astonishingly successful results. In this realm, seemingly little things (sin) can become big things. Very big things.
Have you wondered why there are some commandments that just don’t seem to make sense to us? Well, just like Eve and the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, God was testing man to see if they would believe and trust him. It was just a test. Ever wonder why so many oppose women ordination? It is not because women do not have the mind to preach. It is not because they are less spiritual than men. It is because God has set his church up along very specific lines. Again it is a test, to see if we as Christians will obey the Lord or give in once again, to the hissing of the serpent. Women, who are knowledgeable (but not obedient) are not allowed to preach. Does this make sense to my mind? No, but neither did not eating from the tree, both are things we must take on faith. It is because God does not want them in the pulpit in authority over men. Sure you can find a many who will disagree, who will make excuses, but what does God say? What spirit is telling you that God is wrong and (insert your deceiving spirit here) is right? This is the same thing that got Eve into such trouble and mankind still to this very day has not recovered from that fatal (literally) error. They put their own intellect and increasingly, worldly and satanic morals and social cues over and above God’s commandments.
This pattern is the same over and over again and it is why God demands faith and sometimes puts us to the test. It is not because he is playing games with us or wants to see us ‘squirm’, but because he demands that we trust him and believe him and obey him. One day, he is going to entrust us with a lot more than a garden to tend. We must prove ourselves to be worthy of that trust and the way he does that is to test our belief in his word. Will we trust him and believe his word and obey it, even unto death?
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
That is the kind of faith that gets men and women into the kingdom. You must have this kind of faith. The kind of touchy-feely, “I’ll obey you when it’s convenient for me…”, kind of belief isn’t going to save anyone’s soul. Rather, it is just the grease that slides millions of nominal ‘Christians’ into hellfire.
God is looking for people who will trust him, obey him and most importantly love him. Trust and faith are key components of love and he is looking for us to demonstrate these traits to the Lord. Does this describe you? Or are you one of those who are picking and choosing which commandments you think make sense to you and on that basis determining if you are going to follow them or not? These are the key determinants of your future place in eternity. Do you have the faith and trust in the Lord to obey his commandments?
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Faith, Obedience and love are all wrapped together. So the question is for all of us, do we have the faith in God and in his judgment, and his wisdom to place our complete and utter trust in him? This is the most important question anyone, especially nominal Christians can ask themselves. How important is faith in the last days? For we genuine Christians who live in these last days, we know that it is not attending Christmas Church services or going to Easter Services that is going ot save our souls. Rather it is our ability to hear and obey the still small voice of God. This requires faith.
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.
This is where faith comes in. We must trust God to keep his promises and believe that he does reward us if we do his will. We must seek God, Obey him and believe him. This is the utter simplicity and the foundation of the Gospel, Christ and him crucified and that whoever beleiveth in him, shall not perish.
Brethren, to not believe him is to call him a liar. That in essence is what the Serpent did in the Garden and Eve (followed quickly behind by Adam). He called God a liar and said that man would not die if they ate of the fruit. The devil is a master at sowing doubt. He is very accomplished at it and has at least 6000 years of practice at it. Doubt in God’s word is always his target therefore his target when he attacks you is your faith. Your belief in God’s promises. ‘Yeah hath God said..’ is the eternal lie that leads men into rebellion and into a lost state. ‘Yeah, Hath God said that you must be faithful to your spouse’, he whispers in the ear of the tempted married person as they flirt with an attractive man or woman. ‘Yeah, hath God said, that you cannot leave your spouse for no other reason than fornication’, he hisses into the ear of a married person who wants their ‘freedom’ (usually sexual) from the bonds of Holy Matrimony. Such who heed the devils voice make a shipwreck of their faith, the boat once run aground being forever moored on the shoals of sin and self. For most, they can never really come back into the fold, though many pastors will say that they can. Often their ‘insistence’ on this is in direct proportion to the money these fallen Christians pay into Church coffers. But such men and women seem to always continue to wallow in the mire of their own selfishness, ambition and unrepentant fornication, even and especially if that fornication takes the form of a new unholy matrimony, while their first saved spouse still lives (1 Corinthians Chapter 7)
What is the taproot of these sins? It can be summed up in one word. UNBELEIF, they did not believe God and listened to and believed the serpent instead. This is why the sin of unbelief is listed as the cardinal sins that place people into the lake of fire, or the second death. Why? There are two types of people, those believe God and who do what he commands, and those that don’t. Belief systems (active, action spurring belief systems) are the determining factor. What you really believe will show forth in what you do, without exception. Granted sometimes it takes some longer than others, and granted some folks struggle with some sins. This is not necessarily a sign of a fallen soul. A saved person will struggle, against sin. It is a constant battle as Paul lays out in the book of Romans.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Dear brothers, Faith is the most important component in salvation for without it, we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin. So we who live now at the end of this age must keep in mind at all times that the devils target is going to be our faith. He will seek to undermine it, attack it destroy it in any way he can. It is why it is called the ‘good fight of faith’. (1Ti_6:12; 2Ti_4:7)
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This was written at the end of the parable of the unrighteous Judge (Luke 18:1-8), a strong exhortation to prayer. Do you want to answer to prayers? You must have faith. So the Lord may be telling us here that in the very last days, people’s faith will be failing and prayers will thus be hindered because of it. There is great injustice today on the earth and great evils being suffered by God’s flock. Christ, I think here is exhorting us to continue to pray for the persecuted and that those who attack God’s people for no other reason than the testimony they bear. We cannot let up on our prayers. They are important. If God delays, it is not because he does not care about us, it is because he cares about our persecutors as well, wanting to give them space to repent, hoping they will, but giving them no excuse if they don’t.
So dear readers, I ask you all to have faith in God. Trust him obey him. Pray constantly especially in these times. Do not feel as though God is not listening… that is the devil talking to you, trying to keep you from seeking God’s face. If you are sincere in your faith (which is evidenced by obedience) you will be heard.
Faith… there is no other way to please God. Let us all take a cue from the person Paul liked to call the father of faith, Abraham.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
The break between man and God was broken by a lack of faith and is only healed by a tenacious adherence to faith in God’s word who is personified on the person and work of Jesus Christ