If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On our way home

Acts 14:8-10   . . .Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed.  So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.

I had been working on a post inspired by this scripture, taking it in a much different direction, when I saw something there that I had not seen before.  I suddenly wondered if I was like that man Paul and Barnabus saw that day.  I think probably many of us are just like him.  

If you are a Christian you know what I mean when I say that you and I were born at the moment we were saved.  We had faith to be saved, but did we, or do we, have faith to walk? Now I'm asking myself these questions just as I am asking you.

Have you been like this man, crippled and unable to walk?  Has fear and uncertainty crippled you to the point that you cannot walk where Jesus would lead you?  Have you been unable to walk in the Kingdom of God because you are mired in the things of this world?  Do you lean on the crutch of religion and legalism even as Jesus calls on you to run freely in relationship with Him?  Do you lay paralyzed in your weakness on a cripple's mat when Jesus has command you to " . . . get up. Take your mat, and go home!"

"Go home."  The operative word here is "go", "walk".  For us, going home includes a journey in this life.  A walk in the Kingdom of God.  We are going home, but what will we do and how will we live along the way?

Your home is in Heaven, but, for the rest of your life on this earth, you are to live in the Kingdom of God. That's the route we take on our way home.  Life in the Kingdom of God is a life of faith.

 " . . . he had faith to be healed."

As a Christian you have been healed!  You have been healed of the eternally fatal effects of sin on your life. You have been healed of the contamination and condemnation of sin that disqualified you from entering and walking in the Kingdom of God.  You have been healed of all that sin and Satan have inflicted upon you. You have been healed by your faith, the very faith you had, and have, for salvation.    

What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 explains it.

New King James Version:   Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

New International Version:  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

English Standard Version:  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

New Living Translation:  Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

God's Word Translation:  Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.

Amplified Bible:  NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

. . . the substance of things we hope for (expect).  

The man Paul saw that day heard the message of Jesus Christ proclaimed perhaps for the first time.  This story is a great example of the truth that "faith comes from hearing".  He heard and faith grew within him. From his faith, hope for healing also grew within him. His faith was the substance, the reality, of that hope. 

 . . .the evidence of things not seen.

His faith was the evidence, or the proof, that his healing existed.

If we do not have faith for what we hope for, then our hope is merely wishful thinking.  Our faith gives our hope substance.
If we do not have faith in that which we cannot see, then that which we cannot see does not exist.  Our faith is evidence of our hope's existence.
And, of course, it is God who acts on our faith.  ". . . God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."  (from Romans 4:17)

concerning hope:
"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?" Romans 8:24

I hope for it because I have faith for it.  I know it exists because of my faith for it.  My faith is in God, who calls into being the things that are not.
There are things that I hope for in my life that I cannot see.  They exist in my faith. It gets hard sometimes to keep that faith because I can't see them and I have no idea as to how they will be brought into being.  One thing I know, if I lose hope it is because I have lost faith, and if I lose faith then the object of my hope will surely cease to exist.

I could write pages (not so much from knowledge as from discussing scripture) and still fail to adequately and fully explain what and where the Kingdom of God is.  I confess that I don't have full knowledge on this.  And maybe, like so many of the things of God, I complicate the Kingdom of God far more than I should.  I heard it explained very simply one time and I'll pass this on to you, in case you haven't heard it.  The Kingdom of God is where things are done God's way. And, the Kingdom of God is where faith "works". 

So, I have to ask. Are things being done God's way in your life?  Does God's will rule in your life?  You have faith for salvation.  Have you been crippled since you were born again?  Have you never walked?  I believe that, as weak faith is intended to grow strong, we have all been given "a measure of faith" that will allow us to walk in the Kingdom of God, where things are done His way and where all faith grows stronger and stronger!

I have already told you that I've posed these same questions to myself. So, I'll close by telling you what I've told myself.  

"You have faith to be healed. Now stand up . . . and walk!"


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