About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Thy Will Be Done


I view Biblical faith in terms of ultimately being a passive activity.  Faith is not something we actively strive at doing.  I base my opinion on the meaning of the Greek noun "pistis" that is translated as "faith" in the New Testament and the Greek verb "pisteuo" that is translated as "believe."  These words express the passive action of trusting, as in, "I trust Jesus with my life."  Faith, then, means trust.     


I admit that the first step we take in trusting is an active activity.  By this I mean we deliberately decide, then actively take, the first step to trust.  It is something we do, but once it's done, trust becomes passive.  I explain it this way.  When I sit down on my couch, the initial act to sit is an active action because I am actively doing something, but once sitting, I am doing nothing.  I am resting, and resting is a passive activity.  I'm secure in knowing my couch will not cave in on me.  Similarly, faith in Jesus is ultimately the passive action of being assured that I can trust Him with my life. 


I also admit that as Christians we fail to trust at times.  We must, then, take another active step to trust, but in the end, our goal in taking these steps is to passively rest in God's will for our lives.  Understanding Biblical faith to mean trusting Jesus with our lives no matter the circumstances is basic to living as Christians.   


Some of us view faith in terms of an active, even aggressive, action.  If we could just somehow keep getting more faith we could join the list of powerful people of faith seen in Hebrews 11.  Hebrews 11:32 through 34, and the first phrase in verse 35, provides a summery statement of people of faith that space prohibited the author to write about.  The verses read:   


"And what more can I say?  Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead, raised to life again.


Those listed above were powerful people of faith, but the summery statement does not end with them.  Verse 35 through 37 says this: 


"Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection.  Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated.  The world was not worthy of them.  They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground."


Unlike those in the first list, those in this second list were not noted for performing the miraculous.  They did not even receive what was promised as stated in verses 39 and 40.


"All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us."


In the midst of horrific suffering the people in the second list rested in the assurance that God's will, even if it meant death, was best for them.  This passive action of restfully trusting God in all things is the meaning of Biblical faith.  Maybe my parents' generation of Christians said it correctly, when in an act of trusting God, they submitted to His will by saying, "thy will be done."     


Post Script
Just because faith is passive, does not mean as Christians we are passive.  In fact, genuine passive faith produces active works.
 The reason why those with genuine, passive, restful faith can do active good works is because they have the confidence and assurance in Jesus they need to do His will, without doubt or uncertainty.      



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