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What matters is faith that works
through love. (Galatians 5:6, TEV)

Meanwhile these three remain:
faith, hope, and love;
and the greatest of these is love.
(1Corinthians 13:13, TEV)

Do we destroy the Law by our faith?
Not at all! We make it even more powerful.
(Romans 3:31, CEV)

So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17, KJV)


The Cross was Hell

Chapter 10

Faith

Sin Separates, Faith Unites   The Faith of Jesus   Faith, Feelings, and Reason   What Is Faith?   Faith and Love   Faith vs. Presumption   Jesus vs. Baal   Faith and Works   A Measure of Faith  

A Son's Faith

In the movie "The Day After Tomorrow," brilliant climatologist Jack Hall warns government leaders of extreme weather to be followed by catastrophically cold weather systems that will lead to a new ice age. The leaders downplay Jack Hall's warnings until it is too late to do much about it.

As a result of the rapid climate change a severe storm system hits the east coast and New York gets flooded. Jack's son, Sam is on a trip to New York for a high school science decathlon. Sam and a few friends get stranded in New York City. From a nearly submerged pay phone, Sam calls his father, who is in Philadelphia. Jack persuades him to wait for him, explaining that the storm will be too dangerous to travel in. Jack emphasizes that he will come for Sam.

Jack loves his son; Sam knows that. He also knows that his father is smart, determined, and strong. During the killingly cold storm, Sam and his friends follow his father's advice and stay in the city library.  

Many others brave the unimaginable cold and perish. Sam and his friends keep warm by burning books in the library fireplace. Some of Sam's friends contend that his father won't be able to come for him. They maintain that the storm is too severe. Sam calmly responds that his father will come. He knows his father; they do not. Facing great risk and hardship, Jack and two close friends set out to rescue Sam. They drive as far as they can. When they can drive no further, they continue on skis. One of Jack's friends dies on the way. Using all his strength, ingenuity, and sheer will power, Jack beats the ravages of the storm. He comes for his son. Sam was happy to see his father, but not surprised.

Sam is a good example of faith in action. Sam does not just affirm that he believes his father-he makes life and death decisions based on his father's word. Jesus also depended on his Father's word. John 5:30 "I can do nothing of My own self. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me" (MKJV). Jesus depended on his Father for everything he did throughout his ministry. Jesus was our example in all things. Jesus' faith in his Father sustained Him in the challenges of day-to-day life.

Sin Separates, Faith Unites

Faith is what sustained Jesus through the darkest hours of his life, for Jesus knew and trusted his heavenly Father.

Matthew 27:45, 46 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (KJV)

When they were nailing Him to the cross Jesus had prayed, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He used the endearing term Father. This indicates that his faith was strong and that he felt close to his Father at that point. Yet, as Jesus hung dying on the cross, Satan tempted Him to think that God had rejected Him. Notice the shift to the more formal and distant term, "My God." This expresses the feeling of rejection that Christ experienced. Christ was sliding into the depths of the pit, the abyss of hell. He felt separated from God. 

All his life, Jesus knew the height and depth of the Father's love. Jesus knew that nothing could stop the infinite stream of love flowing from the Heavenly Father's heart. Not even sin could separate Jesus from his Father. When we sin, our sense of justice accuses us. We feel guilty. We naturally feel that God condemns us. He does not.

Isaiah 59:1,2 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and our sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (KJV)

Have you ever felt that your prayers went no higher than the ceiling? I have. No one ever felt the insidious strength of the temptation to doubt to the degree that Jesus did. Two things can cause that feeling.

 1. Hanging on to sin causes us to feel separated from God, when we are not.

2. Having a wrong concept of God's character. Remember what Jesus told Nicodemus: John 3:17 "God did not send his Son into the world to be judge of the world; he sent him so that the world might have salvation through him" (BBE).

Neither Jesus nor the Father judge or condemn sinners. God does not arbitrarily decree that sinners must die. Yet sin causes the sinner to feel that God condemns him. Jesus carried the sin and guilt of the entire human race. He felt condemned. He was tempted to believe the feelings of condemnation. But he knew his Father better than that. Jesus knew that his sense of condemnation did not come from his Father.

Jesus had explained the plan of salvation to Nicodemus: John 3:18 "The man who has faith in him does not come up to be judged; but he who has no faith in him has been judged even now, because he has no faith in the name of the only Son of God" (BBE). Name means reputation, or character. God's character is unconditional love. God loves sinners. Jesus knew that God loved sinners unconditionally. That is what allowed Jesus to see past the infinite load of sin and guilt. The substance, the essence, the vision of faith is the knowledge, based on theory and experience, that God loves sinners unconditionally. Jesus survived the cross by faith alone, faith in his Father's character of unconditional, unselfish love.

One major problem with sin is that it causes us to fear and flee from God. John 3:18 "And this is the test by which men are judged: the light has come into the world and men have more love for the dark than for the light, because their acts are evil" (BBE). But sin, even the whole world's sin couldn't make Jesus try to hide from his Father. A knowledge of God's goodness, his unconditional love, draws us to Him. His love overcomes sin and doubt the way a powerful laser overcomes darkness. Faith, through the mighty power of love wins the victory over sin, doubt, and hell.

The Faith of Jesus

While on the cross, Jesus had been suffering the agonies of the second death, or hell. Our intrepid Savior wrestled with all the lies, temptations, doubts, and infernal devices of hell. Even though Satan and all his evil angels bombarded Jesus with their fierce temptations, they could not stop Jesus from relying on his Father's love. The blind and self-centered church leaders could not stop Jesus from relying on his Father. The full weight of all our sin and guilt could not stop God's love. Men's rejection of Jesus could not stop his faith from resting in the knowledge of his Father's love.

 Jesus relied on the evidence, the experience of his Father's love. He had seen God's love in action. Jesus knew that he had been the vessel for God's love that had rescued Mary Magdalene from sin and destruction. She had anointed his body for burial. She was one of the few to accept Christ's testimony that he was going to die.

When the thief on the cross accepted Jesus as Lord, that also brightened the darkness that pressed down on Jesus' heart and mind. At the end, the faith of Jesus broke through Satan's lies about God: Luke23:46 "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost" (KJV). At the end, Jesus again used the intimate word "Father." This reveals that Jesus had regained his sense of closeness to his Father. His feelings followed his reason.

Faith, Feelings, and Reason

Feelings are beautiful, a gift from God. But they are not a substitute or even a foundation for faith. Feelings must follow faith and reason.

From time to time, we too may feel that God has abandoned us. However, as Jesus did, we may trust that our loving God is always with us. The better we come to know the character of our Father, the more fully we will be able to trust Him. The cross of Jesus proves that sin and guilt cannot separate us from the love of God, unless we allow it to. No matter how dark our world may appear to be, it can never be as dark as it was for Jesus!

Sin does not cause God to stop loving us, or to turn away from us. It is the guilt and attraction of sin that cause us to turn away from our loving God. We too, through the power of the Holy Spirit, must break through Satan's lies about God, his law, and the nature of faith. The key to stronger faith in God is to know Him better.

Jeremiah 9:23, 24 Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;  But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord. (NKJ) 

John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (MKJV). To know God is to love Him. To love God is to have faith in Him. Faith in God brings eternal life. We can enter into eternal life now, by turning to Jesus.

When we turn to Jesus, we are choosing to live by God's eternal principles, his Ten Words of love. We have then entered into the heavenly realms of eternal life. Faith in, and love for God will cause us to hate sin. God's character is summed up in his law, the Ten Commandments. Therefore, to love God is to love his law. One cannot love God and love sin at the same time. Mt 6:24  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other" (KJV).

Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (KJV). In this Scripture, the apostle John affirms that the last generation of Christians will, like Christ, keep God's Ten Commandments. They will also have the faith of Jesus. The faith of Jesus was so strong that, even though carrying the sin and guilt of the world, he still knew that his Father loved Him!

As Jesus was rejected by the world and by the nominal church leaders of his day, so God's elect will be rejected by the world, and by nominal Christian leaders of our day. History will be repeated. God's elect will even be tempted to feel rejected by God as Christ was. But their previous experience with Jesus will sustain their faith. That kind of love and faith is only possible by the grace of God. When we understand the right relationship between God's law and his grace, our faith will be strengthened to endure the difficult times ahead.

Faith (trust) is based on the deep knowledge of, and love for God. Faith cannot be blind, or it would only be a mirage, a poor substitute that would be better identified as presumption. Both God's law and his grace are expressions of his character of love. Faith, trust, and belief in Jesus are words the Bible uses to describe our relationship with God. 1John 3:23  "And this is his law, that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love for one another, even as he said to us" (BBE).

What Is Faith

Faith is simple to experience, yet it can be controversial to define. In order to have faith in God, we must know about God. But, faith means much more than knowing things about God. For example, the prosecutor in the sensational murder trial of Jeffrey Dahmer certainly came to know a lot about Mr. Dahmer. Most certainly this did not lead the prosecutor to trust Jeffrey Dahmer. Nor did Jeffrey Dahmer come to trust the prosecutor. In order to develop a relationship of trust with God we must spend time getting to know Him. Moreover, we must come to experience that he is good, that he is worthy of our trust, and that he loves us. Also, as a result we will come to see that we cannot trust ourselves. When we claim that we have faith in God we are affirming that:

1. We have come to see that God loves us unconditionally.

2. God's love led Him to sacrifice himself in order to rescue us from sin and death.

3. We recognize that we are sinful (self-centered) by nature.

4. We desire to let go of our selfishness because we admire, worship, and prefer the generous love of God as displayed by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.

Our heavenly Father is eager to have us get to know and experience his love. Experiencing God's love is true faith. As we understand and appreciate the incredible, pure, holy, and noble beauty of Jesus' love, we see the hideous, destructive darkness of our self-centered hearts. The clearer we see Jesus' loving character the more we realize how sinful we are. When God shows us through his Word that he loves us so unselfishly that he is willing to lay down his life to rescue us sinners, our hearts begin to soften. The softening of our hearts is faith. We begin to see that Jesus wants us to love others as he loves us. 1John 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" (MKJV).

Faith and Love

John 15:9-13 "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends." (NLT)     

Ephesians 3:14-19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 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 (KJV)

Ephesians 6:23, 24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (KJV)

1Corinthians 13:1, 2, 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NKJ)

Faith without love is useless, dead. Righteousness is thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting, motivated and guided by love for Jesus. Faith is love for and dependence upon Jesus. Love and faith walk so closely together that they leave only one set of footprints across the pathways of our heart.

Righteousness by faith means that God counts us as perfect. God is just to count us perfect because by beholding His love, we are becoming loving as he is. Our sinful hearts have no innate righteousness, or agape (unselfish) love.

Apart from Jesus Christ we are selfish and unloving. Righteousness by faith means much more than an intellectual belief that our sins are forgiven. Righteousness by faith is not a mere legal declaration that the law (the standard of righteousness) does not apply to us.

It is a legal declaration. In fact it is a pardon. A pardon does not set aside the law. The president and state governors have the right to pardon convicted criminals. They are not breaking the law when they pardon someone. Neither does God break His law of love in order to pardon us. Jesus died in order to express God's pardoning love.

Faith vs. Presumption

Faith is much more than merely admitting a fact to be true. If we mentally accept the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins without understanding and accepting His love in our hearts, we will still be lost. We must be born-again, or in other words, we must let go of our selfishness and receive God's love into our hearts.

There is great danger in looking at the Cross of Jesus Christ in a legal, or court of law (forensic) setting. We may know that Jesus died for our sins. Good. But if our hearts remain unchanged and we have not chosen to serve Jesus, we still have not experienced saving faith in Jesus. Jesus died the second death, was resurrected, ascended to Heaven, and is coming back. These gifts are for everyone. Some will insist, with an unchanged heart, and while hanging onto sin, "I know that Jesus lived a perfect life in my place. He paid the penalty for sin in my place." Well and good. Then Jesus was resurrected in your place and will also experience the joys of Heaven in your place.

To live with Jesus in Heaven we must die with Him here on earth by dying to selfishness. In fact, when we die to self we enter into eternal life right now. Eternal life means living by God's law of love. When God declares the sinner to be righteous by faith, he is not lying. he counts, he considers, the future as though it were the present. When we behold the infinite sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary, the Holy Spirit begins to fill our heart with love. We begin to see selfishness, or sin, for the hateful, and destructive thing that it is. We long to be like Jesus.

The Holy Spirit begins the most difficult task in the universe changing our sinful heart into a Christ-like heart. When the accuser of the brethren comes before God and points out our flaws and sins, God points to Jesus and asserts, "They have entered the paths of righteousness. They are becoming more and more like Jesus. You may not judge them as they are now. You must look at Jesus, for given enough time they would become like Him." That is how Christ is our substitute. By faith, the sinner has become righteous.

As a person comes to have faith, she understands, and knows God and naturally makes a decision to walk with God and to turn away from sin. Anything short of this would be presumption. In order to surrender our hearts to God, we must see that he is someone worthy of falling in love with. We can only do this by getting to know Jesus, for he is the path to the Father.

He is the express image of God the Father. Jesus is the truth. To the degree that we reject the truth we reject Jesus. "Heavenly Father, grant us the gift of your Holy Spirit that we may accept the fullness of the truth about You as it has been revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ, amen."

Jesus vs. Baal

If we ascribe incorrect attributes to God, we may, in the end, find that we have been worshiping a false god. Faith is useless if its focus is on a false picture of God. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

If Satan comes claiming to be Jesus, does his use of the name Jesus make it so? Of course not. If a person mixes satanic principles with divine principles and calls the result Jesus, does that make it so? I think not. Our faith must be based on correct knowledge.

The mixing of false principles with the true has an Old Testament precedent. Baal worship. Originally Baal just meant lord or master. It could refer to a king or a nobleman as well as to God. Pagan principles based on a pagan deity became mixed up with the worship of YHWH (God).

At different times in Israel's history the large majority of Israel worshiped Baal. That was the issue when Elijah confronted Israel on Mount Carmel. 1Kings 18: 21 "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word" (KJV).

Hosea wrote about the same issue. Hosea 2: 16, 17  "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [My Husband]; and shalt call me no more Baali [My Master]. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name" (KJV).

The more of God's infinite, self-sacrificing, gentle, and powerful love that we see, the easier it is to trust Him and enter into a saving relationship with Him. God designed the relationship between a husband and a wife to develop into the most vulnerable, intimate, loving, and trusting [faith] relationship possible between human beings.

This is the kind of relationship that our Father wants with each of us. Our Father wants us to know Him deeply and intimately. Only then can we develop the faith relationship necessary to endure the difficulties of our day-to-day lives and the time of trouble that will come upon the last generation.

Many have grown up as I did, relating to God as Baal, which is to say, "My Master." Even now, most Christians tend to worship God because he is the Almighty, the powerful Creator God, because He's the one that made the rules. They believe that he can take them to Heaven; He can send them to hell; They had better worship Him; They had better be afraid of God.

The desire for self-preservation, the desire for Heaven, the fear of hell, are poor substitutes for the adoring love, the close-knit relationship that Our Father longs for. He understands our weakness and tendency to be afraid of Him. He longs to relieve our fears. These selfish, fear-based motives are the inevitable result of a false gospel, a mistaken view of God.

Our heavenly Father loves us. The life and sacrifice of Jesus demonstrate this love. The more that we understand the law of God (His Character of love) and the gospel (His Character of love), and the relationship between these, the easier it is to trust God. The relationship between the Law and the Gospel is that they are two different descriptions of the same thing, God's character of love. John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (KJV). To understand the relationship between the law and the gospel is to enter into a deeper level of faith.

Faith and Works

Remember that the law of God is a transcript of his character. God's character is love. Love begets love. 1John 4:19 "We love him, because he first loved us" (KJV). Love and faith are as closely tied together as a husband and wife. When a husband and wife come together, a child is produced. The natural result, the child of love and faith is works. Faith without love is presumption. Love without faith is mere sentimentalism. Faith and love without works are dead. The Scriptures often link faith, love, and works one with another.

Galatians 5:5,6 For through the Spirit we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love. (NKJ)

Ephesians 6:23, 24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (KJV)

James 2:14-26 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (NRSV)

Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)

Revelation 2:19 "I know your works?your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. (NRSV)

1Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

1Thessalonians 5:8-10 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (KJV)

1Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (KJV)

2Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

John 16: 26, 27 Then you will ask in my name. I'm not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. (NLT)

John 17:20-26   "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father-that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. "I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are-I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you've given me to be with me, so they can see my glory. You gave me the glory because you loved me even before the world began! "O righteous Father, the world doesn't know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them." (NLT)

Romans 12: 1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 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. (KJV)

1Corinthians 13:2 If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do have not love, I am nothing. (RSV)

When we see the beauty of Jesus, and as his love fills us, he will change our tastes so that anything that would dull, or distract the mind will become unattractive to us. Then God will be able to reveal more of himself to us. The more completely we give our hearts to Jesus, the more fully he can reveal himself to us. Only the grace of God as revealed through Jesus can accomplish these things in us.

Then we will see every person as infinitely valuable in the light of our Savior's sacrifice. We will not think of our opinions and ourselves more highly than we ought to. Faith must lead to the overcoming of sin and selfishness in the heart, in the thoughts, feelings, and actions, or else it is only the imposter-presumption. Romans 6:16 "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (NRSV)

To the degree that we have Christ's love in our hearts, we will be willing to sacrifice anything that damages or distracts from our relationship with God, or our fellow human beings. Jesus' love led Him to sacrifice his life, his soul for us. If we are born-again, the Holy Spirit will begin to re-create us into Jesus' image. We will live to please and serve Him. No sacrifice will be too great. No sacrifice will be too small. No job will be too hard. No sin will be too attractive.

It is only in this life that we have the opportunity to suffer for Jesus and our fellow human beings. In Heaven there will be no suffering, no sacrifice, no pain, and no tears. Now is the time that we can truly show our love for God and man. Now, by faith we can offer the sacrifice of obedience. No pain, no gain. Faith and love bring pain, healing pain. Sin brings pain too, destructive pain.

A Measure of Faith

Romans 12:3  "But I say to every one of you, through the grace given to me, not to have an over-high opinion of himself, but to have wise thoughts, as God has given to every one a measure of faith" (BBE). God has put in every man's heart a yearning desire to believe that God must be good. If you ask an atheist what God would be like if he existed, often he will give you a quite beautiful description of a kind and loving God. God has placed that desire, that instinctive knowledge within his heart. That is "the measure of faith." Even atheists have it.

Tragically, misunderstood doctrines, especially in regard to hell, have caused many to totally reject God and become atheists. If our view of God is warped and tainted, our characters can rise no higher than our warped view. When we as Christians believe, live, present, and reflect a more deeply beautiful view of God's character, many atheists and other non-Christians will fall in love with Jesus.

It is by beholding Christ that we become changed into his image. Behold Christ in the garden of Gethsemane as he weighs the cost of our salvation.

Faith is not something that we produce. Rather, faith is a response to the goodness of God. As we more fully see, accept, and experience his goodness, it is inevitable that faith and love will grow and fill our hearts, for that is how God designed us.

Hebrews 12: 1, 2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)

Truly, sin (unbelief), which comes from a false view of God's character and our own selfish desires, are weights that will slow us down and cause us to stumble in our race to become like Jesus. Let us lay them aside. Let us spend time looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!

 


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