About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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This article is taken from my book entitled 
Living In An Anti-Christ Culture
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5 - The Fallacy Of Modern Faith


Generally speaking, I believe today's post modern western church has little clue concerning the basic Biblical concepts Peter speaks of in his first letter, and that includes faith.  So, before we see why Christians suffer in an anti-Christ culture, I'll address the true nature of faith.         


With the "name it and claim it hyper faith" mentality inflicting the church, we tend to view faith as being some kind of commodity that we can get more of.  We ask God for more faith.  Many hyper faith folk stand proudly before the Lord, name what they want from Him, claim it, claim it again, and keep on claiming it.  They expect, and at times demand, what they claim.  They grasp, pull, and yank, on God's purse strings in boldness, believing Jesus has no choice but to come through for them.  Such aggressiveness is not Biblical faith.    


I believe Martin Luther was right when he said that faith is passive trust.  When associated with Jesus, faith is surrendering our lives to Him.  By its very nature, trust is passive.  If there is any active element to trust, it's when our wills struggle with surrendering to Jesus.  Beyond this struggle to surrender lies rest in the fact that we can trust Jesus with whatever we give Him.


Hebrews 4:3 puts it this way.  "We who have believed have entered that rest".  The word "believed", which is another way of saying "trusted", is associated with the word "rest" in this verse.  Obviously rest is a passive word.  Hebrews 4:11 says that we must "make every effort" to enter this rest.  The word "effort" is clearly an active word.  Thus, it's the effort, the struggle to surrender and enter into rest that is active.  Once we surrender, we rest, we trust Jesus for whatever comes our way.     


What follows genuine faith is genuine works, as the apostle James taught.  If we passively trust Jesus, we will actively do good works, free from struggle.  Passive faith produces active works.


Faith is not something we can get more of, so we shouldn't be asking God for more faith.  Instead, we should be asking Him to help us trust Him more than we presently do.  There's a big difference between these two concepts, a difference many don't quite get.  Of course, the way to trust Jesus more is by having Him test our trust. 


The problem with present day aggressive hyper faith is that when we don't get what we claim, we often get mad at Jesus.  Worst still, as I've recently seen, we rip up our Bibles and walk away from Jesus.  We shouldn't be mad at Jesus.  We should be mad at ourselves for not being educated to what Biblical faith is.  We should be upset with church leaders who seem to care more about inspiring the saints than educating them.    


Unless we understand the true nature of Biblical faith as being a passive and confident trust in Jesus, I doubt if we'll survive the cultural conflict that is standing at our doorstep.  Consider Peter who trusted His life to Jesus even as his life was being taken from him by Roman soldiers.   



6 - Trust Will Be Tested


In 1 Peter 1:6 to 8 we see that God allows Christians to suffer in all kinds of ways in order to refine our faith, test our trust, and prove our faith to be genuine. 


The Bible never says that Christians won't suffer.  It actually teaches the reverse to be true.  We suffer along with the rest of fallen humanity in the sense that the rain falls on both the good and bad. (Matthew 5:45)  Then, Peter tells us that suffering is a means by which God tests our trust in Him.  Beyond that, Jesus said that the world would hate us because it hated Him. (John 15:18)  The apostle Paul said that those who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12) 


If you're serious about trusting your life to Jesus, your trust will be tested through suffering.  When suffering occurs, no matter what kind it is, the choice is ours.  Will we surrender the situation to Jesus or will we split?  If we surrender, our faith is refined and proven genuine.  We then await the next test.   


Some hyper faith folk have told me I have little to no faith because I'm still legally blind after all these years.  If I had real faith, I'd be healed.  Peter says the opposite is true.  My faith has been proven genuine throughout the years of testing.  I suggest that hyper faith folk who claim little suffering are those with little to no faith.  The simple fact is that if faith exists it will be tested.  If it doesn't exist, it can't be tested.  If you're not tested, it tells me you have little to no faith.


The bottom line to genuine trust in Jesus is found in what 3 Jewish men told the Babylonian king before being thrown into the furnace of fire.  "O Nebuchadnezzar if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand O king.  But even if He does not we will not serve your gods". (Daniel 3:16-18)  These three men were willing to trust God even if they were incinerated by the fire. 


The insertion of the word "but" in Daniel 3:18 would suggest doubt in the minds of the hyper faith crowd.  In my mind it suggests genuine faith.  If we can trust Jesus for whatever might lie beyond the uncertainty of the word "but', we have genuine faith.  I wouldn't be fooling around with a faulty faith as the fire storm of cultural conflict crosses our horizon.                     


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