If you had been raised in an isolated environment and taught that you were living on a Martian colony ... would you ever question it? Why? The fact is that you and I HAVE been raised in an isolated environment - 20th century EARTH - and yet STILL have not questioned MANY faulty assumptions that will end up causing future generations to shake their heads in wonder.
We who have passed from death into life through Christ are outsiders to this world, have you realized that? Yet we still struggle to integrate the viewpoints of life and death. Sooner or later we will discover that it is as futile as scratching the itch that can't be found (I can only assume that you've experienced that before).
I have entitled this "The Redefining of 'Faith'" NOT because I'm making a new definition, but because what you have learned in this world IS a redefinition.
You know, it's the one you've been struggling with for some time now. Let's face it, if you have been born of God you have been thrust into more internal conflicts that you ever wanted ... it's all part of the package. One of those dilemmas is the unsuccessful attempt to reconcile miracle vs. activity.
In other words, we've backed ourselves into the corner with the premise:
- "There is NOTHING you can do to be saved"
- "Believing is the ONLY THING you can do to be saved"
So, which is it? Can you do something to be saved or not? If faith is the one thing you can do to be saved then you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO BE SAVED. The trick is to word it in such a way as to suggest that faith is the only thing you can do without doing anything. Heck, that makes faith an oxymoron all by itself! :)
As we have begun, so we continue ... wavering back and forth between miracle and requirement. You STILL struggle with the whole concept of faith. You STILL try to initiate faith while knowing that only GOD initiates faith. But there is that subtle fear that if you don't do it then you won't have it. Aren't you glad that He doesn't share our confusion? Aren't you glad that He continues us in the miracle? I sure am.
Where did we get this from? Not from God, that's for sure. We learned it from the world - even though we may have heard it from the pulpit. Faith has been redefined by the natural mind of man down through the ages, and the church bought into it! We thought we were outsmarting the world because we preached on and wrote down EXACTLY which things needed to be believed in order to get the blessings of God. We didn't change the world, the Church merely became worldly.
Where do you think it all began that religions became known as Faiths? You don't think faith was the founding premise, do you? Study religious history and you will discover that FEAR has always been, and continues to be, the driving force behind religion. FEAR has motivated its followers to devote themselves to their religion, and it is this devotion that has been equated with faith. But the attitude behind such devotion is nothing akin to the faith that comes through Christ, for there is nothing miraculous in the effort one spends to keep oneself devoted. But when one who doesn't give a damn about God has been overtaken by His love ... that's miraculous. And since we continue upon that same premise, it remains miraculous.
We denied Him, but somehow we came to believe IN Him. We hated Him, but somehow we came to love Him. And then somebody told us that we needed to devote ourselves to Him ... and it created a conflict within us. For by His miraculous work in Christ God had ALREADY devoted us to Himself. Though we may not have been able to say it in so many words STILL the miracle of Christ was known within us. And here we were, being told that we were NOT devoted to Him.
So we began to flip-flop back and forth between miracle and requirement. Our concept of continuing faith got infused with the natural wisdom found in our effort to keep believing in Him. We have simply adopted the redefined version of faith which is nothing more than fear-motivated religious devotion. Of course, we wonder why it seems so difficult to maintain this attitude of faith. Is it any surprise that we talk about our faith as if it was the one thing that got us in and now remains the one thing we must continue to do?
What happened to the miracle?