1 Jan 1999

Response to a discussion on OT faith

Submitted by theshovel
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Hello all,

I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on faith that you brought up and then the reply with added thoughts on the WORD. Excellent!! Most excellent focus on Christ as the definition of our faith!

Something that God just hit me with last week was a picture of our futile attempts to focus on our own faith. You know, that examination that always seems to lead us to wonder IF we are, HOW MUCH we are doing it, was it "BIBLICAL" enough, will it LAST LONG ENOUGH, etc, etc. Well, all I can say is that if YOU haven't been there, then I must be looking pretty naked right now. Yikes!! :) "Mommy, why does the emperor have no clothes on?" hahaha

Here is what was given to me: I CANNOT see my own eyes! The most I have ever seen is a REFLECTION of my own eyes. I can see most of my body. I can even see as close as my nose and my cheeks (but not too well obviously). For me to try to look AT my eyes is absurd. For my eyes, by their very design, look outward. I see THROUGH my eyes. Sight, itself, is miraculous.

We see Christ THROUGH faith. Any examination of the faith AS A THING BY ITSELF is as absurd as me trying to look at my own eyes! The only way we know what faith is is to see who the AUTHOR is!

Concerning the centurion and for all those listed in Hebrews as having believed before the giving of the Spirit, know this: God has provided witnesses down through the ages who believed Him for particular things. The centurion was the witness to more than just a man who believed who Christ was, he was an OUTSIDER among "the people of God" who believed in THEIR deliverer while they themselves did not. He was given the Spirit for this revelation for this specific glaring testimony: even performance under the "right" standards (God's own law) CANNOT bring understanding or insight of God!!

Do you remember the reoccurring miracle in the times before Christ of the Spirit "coming upon" men? This is what Hebrews 11 is showing forth. These people believed God for the SPECIFIC deeds mentioned because the Spirit had empowered them to do. It was an ongoing witness, that even during the time of the Law that God would pull them OUTSIDE the parameters of that Law as a stark contrast to the fact that "the Law is not of faith"!! The righteousness of God APART from law was being witnessed to by the miraculous "works of faith" that would have been crushed by the law.

Into this enters a foreigner who believes while the "heirs of the covenant" reject. The perfect picture of the contrast between law and grace, don't you think? If you will keep this in mind while you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts you will see a similar occurrence over and over again. Ten lepers cured, one returns to praise God ... he is a despised half-breed known as "Samaritan". Cornelius and family (Italian) receive the Spirit of God EXACTLY in the same way that Peter remembers that HE did ... the unbiased nature of God shakes him yet again. The parable of the vineyard declares that the unproductive guardians will be thrown out and it will be given over to OTHERS (OUTSIDERS) who WILL produce.

The fact that the New Covenant was NOT OURS is the declaration of grace! We NEVER HAD an "in". We didn't belong in any sense whatever. The centurion is a picture of US. We believe in Christ while those who SHOULD do not. Faith is seen only in seeing Him. He truly is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith. This same faith is what Peter says we "received a faith of the same kind as ours".

When you are looking at your faith you will notice this pattern: you will focus on what you are or are not doing ... and NOT Christ! Seeing Christ causes confidence and causes you to know that faith is not a matter of what you do, but is actually the description of your connection with God!!


New Testament: 


Jim, This was an excellent post, and what timing! I JUST read the story of the Centurian and wondered why in the heck he was able to make Jesus’ jaw drop? In fact , I’ll ask you. Why DID Jesus seem so shocked by something of a miracle that went out from Him?[the Spirit granting “faith” to the Centurian guard] He said something to the effect of “I have not seen such great faith in all of Israel”. I think the writer even mentioned He was “amazed”? ADAM
theshovel's picture

Hello Adam! :) Jesus walked among the people as a man, just as we do. He experienced the same kind of emotions and feelings we have. I really don’t think Jesus knew who, what, or when most things were going to happen. And I’m sure that was all by design. It was the life within him that reacted to every situation and person he encountered, not a pre-planned script he followed. He knew why he came, he knew that he would be living by the life of God, and he knew where he was heading in the end. His actions and reactions were real. You see, it’s one thing to know what can and will come to pass, it’s another thing altogether to experience it first-hand in a body that reacts accordingly. I believe his amazement (or wonder) was not so much a shock ” as in difficult to comprehend ” but a reaction from the impact at seeing it play out “¦ especially in view of the rejection he had received from his own people. After all, he had just finished his long discourse with a large gathering of Israel (Sermon on the Mount) which ended with many rebukes. Anyhow, the Centurion did not approach Jesus himself, rather some Jewish elders came with high praise for this outsider. They claimed he was worthy because he loved Israel and helped build their synagogue. Apparently, the Centurion got wind of the news that Jesus was coming, and he begged him not to come, on the basis that he was unworthy to have Jesus come to his house. “Just say the word and my servant will be healed.” How did the Centurion come to this understanding? He based it on the reality of being under authority. He told his men to do something, and they did it. He somehow understood that Jesus had the authority to do the same. Consider the contrast, and then consider how even knowing how the story turns out, that your own heart can still be struck with wonder in hearing it told again. Imagine the real sense of relief in having been confronted by this Centurion with such a wonderful display of faith. I think it simply came out of nowhere and surprised him with the utmost joy.

Jim you stated: “Jesus walked among the people as a man, just as we do. He experienced the same kind of emotions and feelings we have. I really don’t think Jesus knew who, what, or when most things were going to happen. And I’m sure that was all by design” You know, I kind always wondered about this piece. I say that because so many times you can see Jesus proclaiming powerful realities and even stating that He was “I AM”. I mean He even saw Phillip when he was still under the fig tree before he was brought to Jesus. John goes on to call Him the Word, The Life, The Truth. But! Sometimes…as you read carefully…you will see Jesus actually responding sometimes with wonder, showing vulnerability and even flat out stating that some things only the Father knew. Maybe, just maybe THAT[what you wrote there] is exactly what the deal was. I just have to wonder though, I mean, Jesus KNEW ALL THINGS right? Hmmmmmm… I would like to know more about this! Home work for Adam..read 1John Love, A

Hi Jim, I wonder is this pretty clear cut to you? I still am having trouble understanding what you are conveying here? I guess I simply thought that Jesus knew ALL things. In fact I remember the Disciples confessing that very thing before Him.[while He was in the flesh] If He was and IS the very Word of God, then my assumptions run to the likelihood that He knew if someone believed[ahead of time] and was not amazed by it. As you say, thrilled yes. Amazed no. Surprised? Yeah I do not see that for some reason..well for the above reasons I guess.[for we are taught Jesus IS God not ONE with Him] Sure He was in a body, yes. He however knew things BEFORE they happened. He also was given to know the things the Father knows. Do you see this as something miraculous or something just fleshly in the Centerian? If miraculous, then God was doing it and apparently did not let Jesus in on it.Yet. I think sometimes I/we get confused on just how much God allowed for Jesus to see..for at times He saw things before they came to take place. Other times He again seems surprised. Like when He seemingly is taken off guard by Peters ‘good confession’ and realizes that it was His Father revealing it him[pete].
theshovel's picture

Maybe you're trying too hard to figure this out. It seems as if you're confusing the knowing of all things with intellectual knowledge. After all, consider how John wrote:

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 1 John 2:20 (MKJV)

Is the truth of the believer's knowing all things tainted in any way by the many intellectual things he may or may not know? No. In fact, it has no bearing whatsoever. The knowledge of God is from another place, It is of a different sort. The information he may or may not have accessed in his encounters does not really define his knowing of all things.

Not sure if this helps, but it should give you an idea of how I view it. :)


Hey Jim, I appreciate that. I actually had been reading your Q/A’s on the ‘Trinity’ lately and this ties in well. I sense something I need to know in it all. At the same time I am of course hearing the objections raise in my mind in the form of: “I don’t see Jesus grasping for intellectual knowledge when He was able to see Phillip under the tree or in knowing that a man would provide a donkey for one of His disciples exactly when He needed it”. I guess I just see these things and assume He actually knew and knows ALL things.[maybe it was just ‘given’ to Him to know right then though..that is what I am considering] Whether intellectual, or spiritual, creational..you name it. Keep in mind though I am coming to see something in small ways that I had not seen from the angle I now am slowly seeing it with respect to His humanity.[Jesus’] As I explained to you before I had been coming to see the joining of man and God in the new that others were saying was impossible at the time I set aside the issue long ago…at that time I had been given to see some glimpses of the humanity of Him who is our Saviour but, had to resist it because of fear 0over’ compliance’[legal] issues at the time. So it is not foreighn to me..and yet it is.

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