Friday, January 1, 2010
Faith Cometh from Hearing the Gospel
A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean. This is the most important thing to do; test it and see if what I am saying is true by scripture in context.
In the last post we explored 1 Corinthians 2:2 and the mandate to preach the gospel only. This was established by Jesus and his followers and, especially Paul. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and was the one that introduced and explained the idea of the new creation. He was the one that insisted that he was only sent to preach the gospel (1Cor 1:17 & 1Cor 9:16).
Rom 10:14-17 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!" (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" (17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The gospel is the mechanism that the Holy Spirit uses to build faith. Just as Paul explained; faith comes by hearing the gospel message. It is not accidental that Jesus insisted that his followers develop and use a solely redemptive view of the scripture.
What is the word of faith that Paul and the others preach? It is the gospel. That is, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” It is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus….especially the resurrection. It is not just a one time message that is accepted once so that the saint can move on to bigger and better things. It is the biggest and best thing there is; it restores relationship with God. It sets the mind at ease and it casts out fear. The fearless mind, set free by the love of God demonstrated by the gospel, begins to really love God and ignites the transformation process.
One of the reasons that so few saints are really truly transformed lies in the fact that the gospel is not given a sufficient chance to transform. Too often, the gospel is treated as a baby step that the believer takes once and then is finished with it. The believer is expected then, to get on with understanding and practicing obedience to a code of ethical behaviors. Unfortunately it does not work like that in most cases…most of the time, the believer needs to hear the gospel over and over to find the assurance necessary for the transformation.
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