Building Faith

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

Faith in Jesus Christ is the conviction and assurance of
(1) His status as the Only Begotten Son of God,
(2) His infinite Atonement
(3) His Resurrection
(4) His Ascension to sit at the right of God
This Assurance brings us to the hope of the second coming of Jesus Christ and our efforts to be worthy of meeting him when he comes.

Paul includes faith in his list of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:9). Faith indeed comes by the Spirit, yet as the Bible Dictionary notes, “Although faith is a gift, it must be cultured and sought after until it grows from a tiny seed to a great tree.” There is much we can do to influence and expand the endowment of faith we receive through the Holy Spirit. Faith Comes by Hearing the Word of God The first intimations of faith in Jesus Christ come by hearing the word of God—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17. In other words, faith cometh by hearing the message that is the word, or gospel, of Christ. The word that we declare, the word that generates faith in Christ, is the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ. Simply put, the good news is that death is not the end of existence. We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, who by His Atonement has overcome death and hell so that all will be resurrected and all who will repent and be baptized in His name may have place in the heavenly kingdom of God forever.

Repentance plays a prominent role in building faith in Christ. Receiving the word of Christ generates the faith needed for repentance, and repentance, in turn, nourishes a growing faith. The renunciation of sin, coupled with our covenant of obedience, completes our repentance; indeed, repentance remains unfinished without that covenant. With it we qualify for a remission of sins by the grace of Jesus Christ through the baptism of the Spirit.

Faith in Christ is an essential prerequisite to entering into divine covenants, but covenants also add to one’s faith in a way that cannot otherwise be attained

Faith of action – This governs our behavior
Faith of power – This empowers us to act on what we have heard

There is, however, a level of faith that not only governs our behavior but also empowers us to change what is and to make things happen that otherwise would not happen. I am speaking of faith not only as a principle of action but also as a principle of power.

Paul stated that this was the faith by which prophets “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, [and] women received their dead raised to life again” (Hebrews 11:33–35).

Key to our obtaining power through faith is learning, asking, and acting according to the will of God. “Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” Your own faith in Christ will grow wonderfully as you seek day by day to know and to do the will of God. Faith, already a principle of action in you, will then become also a principle of power “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . Keep yourselves in God’s love.”?—JUDE 20, 21. 1, 2. What building project are you involved in, and why is the quality of your work so important?

The disciple Jude stressed the building work that we do on ourselves. When he urged Christians to “keep yourselves in God’s love,” he also revealed in the same passage the key to doing so, saying: “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.” (Jude 20, 21)

What are some ways that you can build yourself up, making your faith stronger so that you will remain in God’s love? Let us focus on three aspects of the spiritual building project before you.

First of all, we need to strengthen our faith in divine law. In the course of studying the scriptures, you have considered a number of God’s righteous requirements regarding conduct.

What is your view of them? Satan would like to mislead you into viewing God’s laws, principles, and standards as restrictive, even oppressive. He has been using this tactic ever since it proved so effective way back in Eden. (Genesis 3:1-6)

2 Corinthians 2:11  lest Satan should get an advantage over us. For we are not ignorant of his devices.
Will his tactic work on you? Much will depend on your point of view. To illustrate: As you walk along in a pleasant park, you notice a sturdy high fence blocking off part of the grounds. The landscape beyond the fence looks inviting. At first, you might view the fence as a needless restriction of your freedom. As you look through it, though, you notice a ferocious lion stalking prey on the other side! Now you see the fence for what it is?—a protection. Is there a dangerous predator stalking you right now? God’s Word warns: “Keep yourselves, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.”?—1 Peter 5:8. 5

Satan is a vicious predator. Because God does not want us to become Satan’s prey, He has instituted laws to protect us from the many “crafty acts” of that wicked one. (Ephesians 6:11) So whenever we meditate on God’s laws, we should see in them the love of our heavenly Father. Viewed in that light, God’s laws are a source of security and joy. The disciple James wrote: “The one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it . . . will be happy in what he does.”?—James 1:25. 6.

Living by God’s commandments is the best way to build up our faith in the Lawgiver and in the wisdom of his laws. For example, “the law of the Christ” includes Jesus’ command to teach others “all the things [he has] commanded.” (Galatians 6:2; Matthew 28:19, 20) Christians also take seriously the directive to keep on meeting together for worship and up building association. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) God’s commandments include, too, the exhortation to pray to God regularly and often and from the heart. (Matthew 6:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) As we live by such commands, we see ever more clearly what loving guidelines they provide.  Obeying them brings us a measure of joy and satisfaction that we could never find elsewhere in this troubled world. As you meditate on how you have personally benefited by living in accord with God’s laws, does not your faith in them get stronger?

Some worry, at times, that it will be too hard to stick with God’s laws as the years pass. They fear that somehow they may fail. If you ever feel that way, keep these words in mind: “I, the Lord, am your God, the One teaching you to profit, the One guiding you in the way you should walk. If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17, 18) .

Have you ever paused to think about how reassuring those words are?  God here reminds us that we benefit ourselves by obeying him. He promises two blessings if we do so.

First, our peace will be like a river?— serene, abundant, ongoing.
Second, our righteousness will be like the waves of the sea.

If you stand on a beach and watch the waves roll in one after the other, you no doubt feel a sense of permanence. You know that the waves will keep coming, breaking on that beach for countless ages to come. God says that your righteousness?—your course of doing right—? can be like that.

As long as you endeavor to be faithful to him, he will never let you fall! (Read Psalm 55:22.).

“Let us press on to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1) Maturity is a wonderful goal for a Christian. Unlike perfection, which for now is beyond the reach of humans, maturity is an attainable goal. Further, Christians find greater joy in serving God as they mature. A mature Christian is a spiritual person. He looks at things from God’s point of view. (John 4:23) Paul wrote: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit.” (Romans 8:5) A fleshly outlook brings little joy, for it tends to be self-centered, shortsighted, and focused on material things. A spiritual outlook is joyous, for it is focused on God. A spiritual person is eager to please God and rejoices even when under trial. Trials present opportunities to prove Satan a liar and to build integrity, delighting our heavenly Father.—Proverbs 27:11; read James 1:2, 3. 11, 12.

Spirituality and maturity come through training. Consider this verse: “Solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:14) When Paul spoke of our powers of discernment being “trained,” he used a Greek word that was likely in common use in the gymnasiums of first- century Greece, for it can be rendered ‘trained like a gymnast.’ Now think of what such training involves. When we were born, our body was untrained. For example, a baby is barely able to perceive the orientation of its little limbs. Hence, a baby waves its arms randomly, even striking itself on the face, much to the baby’s own dismay and surprise. Gradually, through use, the body is trained. The baby crawls, the toddler walks, the child runs.

Ah, but what about a gymnast? When you see such an athlete vaulting and twisting through the air with exquisite grace and precision, there is no question in your mind that the body is like a finely tuned machine. The gymnast’s expertise did not come about by accident?—countless hours of training were required. Such physical training, the Bible acknowledges, is “beneficial for a little.” How much more valuable is the training of our spiritual powers of discernment!?—1 Timothy 4:8. 13.

We need to examine ourselves regularly lest pride or some other weakness takes root and grows in our heart. Paul wrote: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith; keep proving what you yourselves are.”?—2 Corinthians 13:5.

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