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VALIANT FOR THE TRUTH

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THE PRECIOUS THINGS OF GOD

PART II

THE PRECIOUSNESS OF FAITH

With much assistance derived from Octavius Winslow

II Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

What is Faith?

Faith as defined in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical of speculative faith; a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievements of Alexander or Cesar.

4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God's testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God's character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God's testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.....

The faith of the gospel is that emotion of the mind, which is called trust or confidence, exercised towards the moral character of God, and particularly of the Savior. Dwight

Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God. J. Hawes.

Faith is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declaration s of his word; or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because he has declared them. L. Woods.

From Spiritual milk for American Babes by John Cotton:

Q. What is Faith?

A. Faith is a grace of the Spirit whereby I deny myself and believe on Christ for Righteousness and Salvation.

Dictionary Definition, Strongs# 4102 pistis {pis'-tis}

1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and

holy fervour born of faith and joined with it

1a) relating to God

1a1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ

1b) relating to Christ

1b1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God 1c) the religious beliefs of Christians

1d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same

Calvin's definition of Faith:

"It is a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor toward us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds and sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit."[Institutes of Christian Religion, Calvin, Book III, pg 477]

Calvin views faith under in following three components:

1) Knowledge - beyond human reason. Not mere comprehension.

Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Knowledge as when faith is called Understanding:

Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Knowledge as in knowing ourselves to be sons of God:

I John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

2) Sure and Firm - "Sure and Firm, the better to express the strength and constancy of persuasion...So deeply rooted in our hearts is unbelief, so prone are we to it, that while all confess with the lips that God is faithful, no man ever believes it without an arduous struggle... Ephesians 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. thus undoubtedly showing that our faith is not true unless it enables us to appear calmly in the presence of God. Such boldness springs only from confidence in the divine favor and salvation. So true is this, that the term faith is often used as equivalent to confidence. [Institutes, Calvin, Book III, pg 482-483]

Let us Pause for a moment after receiving the above definitions regarding faith and consider also, What Faith is NOT:

1. It is not a mere acceptance of Facts for we must believe to the saving of our souls. Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

2. Consider that faith is NOT temporary: (Unless it is false or spurious) Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

II Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

3. Consider the many who believed in the name of Jesus yet he did not commit himself to them. John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast [day], many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all [men], And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

4. Consider the demons. James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

5. Consider those that did many wonderful works in the name of Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Faith is Substance and Evidence:

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

Dictionary definition of Substance,

Strongs# 5287 hupostasis {hoop-os'-tas-is}

hupostasis translated the following ways:

AV - confidence 2, confident 1, person 1, substance 1; 5

1) a setting or placing under

1a) thing put under, substructure, foundation

2) that which has foundation, is firm

2a) that which has actual existence

2a1) a substance, real being

2b) the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing

2c) the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution

2c1) confidence, firm trust, assurance

For further explanation of hupostasis see also the following verse:

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Dictionary Def of Evidence, Strongs# 1650 elegchos {el'-eng-khos}

1) a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested

Faith is a Gift:

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Grace is a gift, Faith is a gift and all of salvation is the gift of God. Do not limit the gift only to grace or only to faith but to our whole salvation which is the gift of God.

Peter's confession of Faith was attributed to the fact that The father revealed it to him.

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

God be praised for the measure of faith you have. Lord I believe help thou my unbelief.Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Faith is commanded:

I John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Hodge states:

"As so much prominence is assigned to faith in the Scriptures, as all the promises of God are addressed to believers, and as all the conscious exercises of spiritual life involve the exercise of faith, with which they are impossible, the importance of this grace cannot be overestimated. To the theologian and to the practical Christian it is indispensable that clear and correct ideas should be entertained on the subject It is one of special difficulty. This difficulty arises partly from the nature of the subject; partly from the fact that usage has assigned the word faith so many different meanings; partly from the arbitrary definitions given of it by philosophers and theologians; and partly from the great diversity of aspects under which it is presented in the Word of God." [Systematic Theology, Hodge, Vol III, pg 41]

Although we may admit a difficulty in defining the exact metaphysical quality of faith - in putting into words the description of this wonderful gift of God - Yet we know it entails TRUST, TRUST IN the LORD OUR GOD AND SAVIOR. Can we not simply hear and obey or Lord Jesus Christ when he says "only believe" Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. Does it not speak worlds to hear him say thus to your heart, "only believe". Precious Faith...Precious it is to believe. There is a great many things that faith involves. There is a great many things that faith procures. We know that none can come except the he is drawn and yet we know as well that faith is exactly that commanded us of God. "ONLY BELIEVE"

And having made these remarks let us begin with our study of the PRECIOUSNESS OF FAITH:

II Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Calvin: He calls it like precious faith, not because it is the same in everyone, but because by faith everyone possesses the same Christ and his righteousness, and the same salvation. Although the measure of faith varies, that does not prevent the knowledge of God and the fruit that comes from it being common to all. Thus we have a real fellowship of faith with Peter and the apostles. [Calvin NT Commentaries, Calvin, Vol 12, pg 327]

Faith that is precious because it is INDISPENSABLE. Faith is an absolute necessity. We can do nothing aright outside of Faith. Without faith we cannot Please God.

Faith is necessary to PLEASE GOD:

Hebrews 11:6 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.Whatever is not of faith is SIN:

Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.

It is my hope that this study will heighten our conviction as to the nature, worth and preciousness of FAITH! without which we can do nothing pleasing to God.

This like precious faith is the faith of God's elect:

Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

We have the same faith the apostles had, the same faith of all true believers. There is not several different faiths which save but only one. The faith of God's elect is a like precious faith with all true believers. There is a unity in Faith for this precious faith has but ONE PRECIOUS OBJECT, the Lord Jesus Christ. The witness of both the OLD and NEW testaments is:

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Winslow states: "In the Levitical economy, every type however varied, every symbol however mysterious, every shadow however profound, had JESUS for its object--all conspired to exalt, and all pointed to, the Lamb of God as the one object of saving faith." [Precious, Winslow, pg 37]

The shadows of the Old Testament pointed to the Lord:

Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

The writings of the prophets also had as their one object of saving faith the Lord Jesus Christ:

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:44+ And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

THERE IS ONE OBJECT ONLY:

Note the agreement of the New Testament with the Old Testament in their Unity of Faith.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 3:14-16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

"In knowing Jesus, in looking to Jesus, in trusting in Jesus, in confiding your soul to Jesus, you have no fear, misgiving, or doubt; but , in the confidence of a humble, yet unwavering faith, can say...." [Winslow, pg 38]

II Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Precious faith in a precious Christ! Remember our discussion of the preciousness of Jesus Christ. Faith receiving its preciousness from the preciousness of its object:---"precious in his person, to which faith looks; precious in His atonement, to which faith leads; precious in His fullness, from which faith draws; precious in His intercession, in which faith relies; precious in his example, by which faith walks."[Winslow, pg 39]

Faith is truly precious because of the preciousness derived from its object the Precious Lord Jesus Christ. But faith is also precious in itself. It is called PRECIOUS FAITH.

FAITH IS PRECIOUS BECAUSE IT COMES FROM AND LEADS TO OUR GOD:

IT COMES FROM AND LEADS TO HEAVEN:

We cannot believe what we will when we will. Note our definitions above. Is saving faith simply an assent to the facts, An agreement of the facts concerning a HISTORICAL Jesus Christ? Is saving faith a belief in the truth only? That is no more than to believe any account of History. We cannot believe what we will when we will because saving faith is the gift of God, EPH 2:8-9 and ROM 12:3. Faith is a divine grace. There is human faith in human things, a creature faith in creature things but the faith that is (Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is) the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen this is a divine grace. It deals with the spiritual and is spiritual. We can try to tell our children whom we love very much all about faith. But we have not the power to GIVE THEM FAITH. Faith is the gift of God. Faith comes from God. Faith leads to God.

Now as Winslow stated, do not think lightly of the faith you have. It came from God and leads to God. It is divine and precious.

Faith is Precious because there is an inheritance at the end of it:

I Peter 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

ALSO: I Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.

FAITH is precious because it is the product of the Holy Ghost:

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Is not that which is the fruit of the very Spirit of God most precious indeed? Have you faith? Then bless and thank God for his precious gift.

TRIAL OF FAITH:

Not only is faith precious but the trial of faith is precious as well. "The trial being precious because it proves the reality of faith." [Precious, Winslow, pg 44]

I Peter 1:7 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:

I Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

With faith the devil's fiery darts are quenched:

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The three men of faith proved themselves to have a genuine faith when they submitted to the furnace not knowing or caring of the outcome.

Daniel 3:6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

How blessed it is that our trials can confirm to us that we know in whom we believe.

FAITH IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL:

Psalms 27:13 [I had fainted], unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Here the wonderful comfort of Charles Haddon Spurgeon on this golden verse: Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks. Faith puts its bottle of cordial to the lip of the soul, and so prevents fainting. Hope is heaven's balm for present sorrow. In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living, whence the goodness of God has banished the wickedness of man, and where holy spirits charm with their society those persecuted saints who were villified and despised among men. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul's hunger with foretastes of the Lord's eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song. [The Treasure of David, Spurgeon, Vol 1 on Psa 27:13]

I Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

THE TRIAL OF FAITH PURIFIES FAITH:

The fire separates the furnace purifies, much more precious than gold, the dross of our flesh is removed from its contaminating of the pure faith which is from the Holy Ghost.

Psalms 66:10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. "God had one son without sin but he never had a son without trial"

Proverbs 17:3 The fining pot [is] for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

PRECIOUSNESS OF FAITH CAN BE SEEN FROM ITS ACTINGS AND FRUITS:

FRUIT:

PEACE:

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Reconciliation with God - PEACE PEACE WONDERFUL PEACE.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen.

See Jesus by the eye of faith as "the price of your peace"

"The Prince of Your peace" Isa 9:6

"Making Peace" Eph 2:15

"Our peace" eph 2:14

JOY:

There is JOY IN BELIEVING.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Faith in Christ brings Joy IN GOD.

Romans 5:11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Where does this joy arise but from a believing view of what the Lord Jesus is, and what he has done.

YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN DOWN IN HEAVEN, REJOICE!Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Winslow: Deal less with yourselves and more with Jesus and what Joy would be yours. [Precious, Winslow, pg 52 (not a direct quote)]

Isaiah 29:19 The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

The privilege of Faith, a seeing, believing, saving faith. Precious Joy -Precious Fruit.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

It is the will of God to Rejoice in the Lord. Precious Fruit - Precious Faith.

What joy if you, as a poor sinner, can cherish the hope of acceptance, with God through Christ.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.

HOLINESS:

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

NO TRUE HOLINESS APART FROM FAITH IN THE SOUL.

Acts 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Faith that purifieth the heart and worketh by love.

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as [it is] in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as [it doth] also in you, since the day ye heard [of it], and knew the grace of God in truth:

Hebrews 11:6 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.

POOR IN SPIRIT

HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

FAITH SEES GOD ONLY --- BEWARE OF MAKING A CHRIST OF YOUR FAITH!!!!

Faith is but the path that leads to the king, an instrument only.

By faith we can see of God's Word: "All these are mine--they are my Father's epistle of Love, O for more of this faith" [Winslow]

Faith does not trust in one's own self. Faith sees the wickedness and the weakness of one's own self.

Faith opens the eye to Christ.

Faith does not trust in Faith. Faith does not trust in itself.

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

SO PRECIOUS NONE BUT GOD CAN BESTOW IT. And when bestowed untold blessings accompany it. [Winslow]

FAITH IS PRECIOUS IN THE GLORY IT BRINGS TO GOD:

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Isaiah 43:7 [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Faith answers God's faithfulness:

Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

NO BOASTING:

Romans 3:27 Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

John 3:33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. "All my wants to be upon thee, O Lord" [Precious, Winslow]

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