For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? .... So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief .... Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest .... Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts" .... So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience .... Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 3:12-16, 19, 1-3A, 6-7, 9-11, 16 (NASB)
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Hebrews 11:31
The Romans passage above says, “The righteous will live by faith.” So, evidently, if we are going to be ones who live life right, we will have to live our lives by faith. Another common expression in Scripture is, "walk by faith. "Live by faith” and "walk by faith" are pretty much synonymous, but what do they really mean? Often "walk by faith" is contrasted with "walk by sight." Looking at the contrast between living by faith and walking by faith on the one hand and walking by sight on the other hand, will help us find the understandings we need. A person who walks by sight is one who attempts to live their life here on earth strictly in terms of time and space realities. A person who walks by faith is one who attempts to live their life here on earth in terms of spiritual realities that govern and influence all time and space realities.
This is why we need God's Word. His Word teaches all about the spiritual realities that permeate the world in which we live. Without God's Word, we would not understand them accurately or we would miss them altogether. When we talk about spiritual realities we are primarily talking about our sovereign God revealed in Scripture and his rule over and involvement with his creation. Our response to him is what faith is all about. Responding to God initially is responding to his redemptive provision that gives us spiritual life and establishes us in a forever relationship with him. So, our relationship with God begins with redemptive faith and then continues with relational faith. Relational faith is living and walking with God by faith. When we live and walk with God by faith we are allowing him to be intimately involved with us and we are allowing him to be thoroughly in charge of the life we live.
In our Hebrews 3 & 4 passage above we see that living/walking by faith is boiled down to its essence, which is: partaking of Christ from start to finish throughout our lives. We see that unbelief is our nemesis and that the key to not falling away from living/walking by faith is the support of other believers in Christ. We are shown how unbelief was the reason the generation of Israel that Moses led out of Egypt did not enter the Promised Land where God could give them rest from all their struggles. Then we are shown that we must enter the "rest" God has for his people today. When we partake of Christ fully, we rest from our works, and trust him to live in us and through us as we consistently and constantly draw near to him in faith for the help we need for living life right.
We are in our second week of our Joshua series. Last week in Joshua 1, we saw that the next generation of Israel under Joshua is about to go forward by faith into the Promised Land. This week in Johsua 2 we are given an entirely different example of faith as we meet Rahab (Hebrews 11 passage above). Before Israel fully steps out in faith, crosses the Jordan, and goes against the city of Jericho, Joshua sends out two spies to investigate Jericho and they meet up with Rahab. What an example of faith Rahab is and what an encouragement to our faith (as we looked at above) she is. For a summary of Pastor Ben's message on Rahab just scroll to Sunday's Devotional spot below. Being properly aligned with God and his people is what faith is all about. What great prospects are ours for truly being ones who live life right because we are learning, are encouraged, and are strengthened to live our lives by faith.
Lord, thank you for all the ways you teach and develop our faith. We pray that we will continue to glean throughout the week all that you want to bring to us that will help us to be genuine people of faith who live fully for you. Lord, we love you, worship you, and praise you! Amen.
Posted on Mon, June 15, 2015
by Alan Porter