Meditating On These Things
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1 Timothy 4:15
The error being opposed is the teaching that phrases as the following represent God’s or Jesus Christ’s faith and not our faith in them.
Romans 3:3 ...the faith of God...
Romans 3:22 ...by faith of Jesus Christ…
Revelation 14:12 ...the faith of Jesus.
Before we look at the context and begin diagramming sentences there is one more aspect of our “faith toward God” and Christ to explore.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We know from the previous chapter that Hebrews 11:1 is not the definition of faith, it is rather an effect of faith. It is our “faith toward God” that is the substance of things hoped for. It is our walking in the faith, living by the faith, that is an evident token of the things unseen.
Philippians 1:27-28 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Our living our faith condemns the lost, that is why they hate us. Our being steadfast in the faith is a witness of the truth and to the evidence of their own destruction. Our “faith toward God” is a testimony of the things we hope for and the evidence of those things not seen as yet. Trusting God, believing his word and obeying it is our works without which we have no testimony of our hope and salvation. That is why our faith without those works is dead because it has no effect on others.
James 2:17-18 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
In light of this, the question must be asked, What is God going to put faith in? What has he got to hope for? He created all things, he sees all things, he knows all things. What is he going to have faith in? He is in control of all things!
We only see in part, we need faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
We cannot see it all thus we have to walk by faith. The contrast is faith opposed to sight.
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
God sees all, there is nothing for God to have faith in.
Psalms 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Faith is not an attribute of God. So without examining the context or diagramming a sentence, we know that the teaching that these phrases are to be interpreted as God having or exercising faith is in error. God does not walk by faith.
The next chapter will look at some of the references that are being misinterpreted and apply what has been shown as the biblical definition of faith to them. Below is a short review of what has been discussed up to this point.
Faith is believing
The Bible uses faith in only one sense, believing God
The Bible contrast faith against works
The Bible contrast faith against seeing
Faith is believing from the heart, not the head
With these points confirmed and in our minds it is time to approach the topic head-on.