Refreshing Faith

By John D. Mean

Yea, how refreshing and exciting is newfound faith in a living God! Nothing is too much to be asked of us. Sacrifice is not sacrifice, but rather true joy. Dare to witness? What do you mean dare? I can’t stop it.

The birds sing a sweeter song. The trees grow greener leaves. The flowers were never so exquisite. The stars of the heavens that were so taken for granted have suddenly become jewels, precious jewels evenly set in the great expanse of God’s now my God’s great universe.

Newfound faith in the loving God is like the warm spring rains to the soil and new seeds sown like a wake up call. It’s time for action. New life has come! The earth bursts forth with the many shades of green all struggling to reach the zenith of their true purpose; the fruit, then the seed that they might do it again.

It would be awesome if all the struggle was about the good; but it’s really not. A whole rash of foreign growth begins to appear, that is, foreign to the good seed sown, but not the cursed Terra Firma. Its kindred dust seems to respond much more quickly for its food supply since it needs nothing more. It feeds on all types. After all, it has no long-range plan. It’s plan of action is now, “Destroy what you can by sucking any nourishment from the soil that would aid the good” it doesn’t seem the least bit embarrassed cashing in on the provisions of God’s good sunshine and rain. It’s selfish. What’s in it for me?” is its only subject of inquiry. It’s really not interested in food staples for the children.

As the seasons progress, the heat of the summer sun blasts upon it. Then the storms with their hurricane winds that beat upon those tender plants. Their road leads them in opposite paths. If I’m going to fulfill my purpose, I can’t be dissuaded by the strong winds that blow or yet the roaring of the thunder. I will dig in and endure the storm and brave the winds and produce seed for the sower and not merely thorns for burning.

Now newfound faith has become enduring faith with experience. The fruit is gathered, the foliage is shed, the chilly breezes attest to winter-time once again. Come aside, my faithful one, It’s time to rest awhile until the cold of the winter is past and spring has sprung again.

“How are the mighty fallen,” were the words of David towards Israel’s first king and Jonathan, his bosom friend. What really happened to Saul? Did you ever think you would like to dissect the nerve-fiber of his spirit to see what really made him tick? They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Yet their end came swift, precise and devastatingly. Faith is a big subject with its many intricacies, pressures and persuasions. There is the beginning of your faith, the enduring of your faith and the end of your faith. We will not need faith when Jesus comes. Just love, that’s all.

So your faith, as such, should be a description of its entirety; from the first ray of light until we are clothed with His glory.

There seems to he, however, something sinister that develops hearts of many, not only in the frail and weak, but in the man of stature and the Who’s Who. The words of Holy Spirit come reverberating, “Get your faith right, for, remember, he that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”

Some have made shipwreck of faith by wrong believing. Then again, the Holy Writ says of some, “Who concerning truth have erred… and have overthrown the faith of some.” It is important to note the strong connection of truth and faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God Bible Faith, true faith takes heed to all the word of God. Jesus said we will live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

There is no such thing in true Bible Faith as contradictions in the words of Jesus and the words of Peter, for example. True Bible Faith will harmonize the Books of Acts and Galatians without doing injury to either. Proper Bible interpretation will discredit a dual contest between the justification by faith in the book of Romans and the justification by works in the Book of James. Just don’t get the cart before the horse, uninformed! Every word from God ‘s mouth is in perfect harmony with all the words that follow.

It is erroneously and grossly dangerous to think that maturity has the legitimacy to destroy the foundation and actions of your faith initially. Stating that actions that accompany faith is not faith. And yet the Bible so emphatically says faith is not faith without works. It is dead; non-existent. Oblivious.

No one in his right mind would wish to ascribe his compliance to the Devil’s doctrine. Yet many are following in the footsteps of the deceiver.

The devils’ doctrine is faith in the one true God. They believe it so strongly they tremble. Why doesn’t it do anything positive for the old boy? He has no works to accompany his true faith that is properly directed works. Faith is absolutely useless without works. Abraham’s works revealed his faith. We had is/ better take a lesson from the original.

Noah built an ark by faith. Was there any work involved? You better believe it. It became salvation to his household. Faith without works would be the same as Noah with a mental concept of the ark alone.

Question: Was it the mental concept of the ark alone that saved Noah and his family, or was it the works that accompanied his faith in what God said that saved his family? Come on. You can’t separate faith and works.

Its equally as injurious to the true interpretation of the scriptures to say that faith without works will receive acceptance of God as it is to say, “Works without faith will be accepted by Him.” You can never, never separate faith and works.

Now we are on an altogether different subject to say that we must add the ordinances of the Law to the hearing of faith in order to be saved. Circumcision, animal sacrifices, special garments and vestments for worship and such things were only types and shadows of this day of the grace of God. Jesus has come and fulfilled the demands of the Law to the dotting of the “r,” and the crossing of the “t.” No, we don’t need this any more if it has been done away, according to the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. Jesus has become our everything. He paid the debt, tasted death for everyone and arose from the dead triumphant and ever lives to die no more.

The works of the Law added to the hearing of the Gospel of Grace is another Gospel, like the devil’s doctrine on the other side of the spectrum (to believe in one God, even to be very emotional about it, but do nothing). Baptism is not the works of the law, but solid Biblical faith in action. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost is not the works of the Law, but the operation of God that is appropriated to them who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ according to John 7:37-39 and Acts 11:17.

May God help us never to be guilty of destroying our foundation (Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what will the righteous do?). Even the Galatians who were under pressure to pick up the burden of the Law once again were reminded of their foundation (Gal. 3:26-27).

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Baptism was faith at work.

Please don’t sleight the Holy Scriptures with Jesus’ own words. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. At the initial birth of the Church it was asked of Peter and all the Apostles, “What shall we do?” Peter did not say, “Now precious brethren, just believe. That’s how it is totally so.” No! A thousand times no! It was no different in Acts 8; 10 and 19. Yes, in Acts 16 as well if you fully investigate it’s content. There was more than, “Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” in the same vein in which the devils believe. But there was action with their faith. The Jailer brought them into his house and they spoke the Word of God to him and took them out the same hour of the night for a baptism. No. A thousand times no. Baptism is not the works of the Law but an action of faith.

I read with interest a book of the 1800’s written by the Rev. J. Aulay Steele M.A., and the Rev. A.J. Campbell D.D., published by The Church of Scotland Committee On Youth, Volume III, p. 17 (The Publications Committee, 212 George St. Edinburgh, Scotland, 232 St. Vincent St., Glasgow). It reads as follows:

The first Church History ever written stands fifth in order of sequence in the New Testament; The Book of Acts. It tells us many things about the origin of the Christian Society of which we learn no where else. If we had not got the Acts of the Apostles, the Gospel Story would be left hanging in the air; a brilliant but contemporary episode with traceable results.

If by some lamentable Acts had not been written, then all the rest of the New Testament would have been unintelligible. The Gospels themselves would have been like some stream that died out in desert sands, having failed to find an outlet to the sea; the Epistles would have been a trackless forest. But the Book of Acts spares us the impossible task of groping our way guideless among the mazes of those first thrilling and critical years.

Another comment:

The story which the Acts has to tell us is that one of the greatest creative ages in all History; it throbs with the pulse of an altogether new kind of lie;  a life that discloses itself in startling ideas and in daring deeds. What we have here is actually a fifth Gospel, the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. If the cross had been the last word, the Jesus had proved but one murdered Prophet the more; there could have been no such thing as the Christian Church. But the cross was not the last word. The sun that set in blood and cloud on Good Friday was but the prelude to the dawning of the first Easter. The Christian religion rests on the assurance that Jesus was even more alive after Calvary than He was before; That He is a living and active Person, working in human life here and now. The Acts of the Apostles starts out with that certainty, and would never have been written apart from it. The Gospels, the Ads, the Epistles, and the very Church from whose burning heart that sprang – all exhibit the Lord’s promise, “Because I live, ye shall live also. Not because He lived, but because He is now living, do we have this life.

Yet even the resurrection was not enough to make them equal to the tremendous task of carrying the Gospel to the whole world for which it was meant. Something more was needed to enable those 120 persons to attempt an adventure so daunting. They were not even to go back to their native land, but stay on for the Promise of the Father.

In conclusion, please don’t take away the initial experience of the new life in Christ. His precious shed blood, the first kneeling at the altar, our baptism in His name, the Holy Spirit baptism. It’s all a part of the glorious experience of becoming a part of his body. 0h glorious Jesus, my Savior and Lord! It’s all good news!

Lord, please Lord, never let the sinister one rob me of my newfound faith; but may it ever grow into that beautiful fullness of understanding you had planned for me all the time. Blessed Jesus.

Article “Refreshing Faith” written by John D. Mean is excerpted from A Sinister Plot chapter 12.