Posted by: Nito | July 18, 2017

Mathematics of Faith – Part 5 (The Gift of Faith)

So far we have talked about the measure of ‘Faith’ and effective ‘faith’, but Bible also talks about the ‘gift of faith’. In 1 Corinthians 12:9 the gift of faith is listed as the third gift among the nine gifts that Holy Spirit distributes to each person individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).

I believe that the gift of faith signifies the removal of all person’s unbelief, the removal of all their fear and doubt, so that individual’s effective faith becomes equal to the measure of Faith given to them. Mathematically, this is expressed as:

We’ve been given this measure of Faith at the time we invited Jesus into our lives. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (NKJV). So, we are saved by God’s grace, but not by His grace alone. Otherwise, everyone would be saved because God’s grace has come to all men (Titus 2:11).

We were saved by God’s grace, after we believed that salvation is possible, hence through faith. But Ephesians 2:8 also explains that this faith is not something that we already had, but came to us in the moment of salvation as a supernatural gift from God. We received this gift of faith by hearing and believing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and because Holy Spirit came to dwell in us (John 7:37-39). As Holy Spirit brought faith as one of His benefits (see Galatians 5:22-23) we received the full measure of Faith as a gift.

As long as we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, His fruits and advantages including Faith will not leave us. That’s why Jesus warns us that every sin and blasphemy, even against the Son of God, will be forgiven, but blaspheming against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31-32, Luke 12:10, Mark 3:28-29).

Knowing these facts about our salvation, we could express the work of Salvation as the following:

This formula makes it obvious that our personal salvation is not a result of our own works (hence ‘Salvation’ is capitalised), but is a product of God’s ‘gift of faith’ (i.e. “Faith – 0”) and God’s grace herein represented with the ‘Kingdom placement’. If you didn’t recognise it,  it’s the same formula for the ‘work of faith’, which was introduced back in part 1 of this series. So, Salvation could be viewed as the work of faith that is required to place a person into God’s Kingdom.

We can see how God has done everything, from giving us the saving measure of Faith to actually doing the adoption work of translating us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Our part was just to believe God, and by doing so we have become the offspring of Abraham and have been made righteous (Romans 4:11). Without faith, without believing God, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6).

To be placed into God’s Kingdom we had to be made righteous, or in other words we had to be justified. Justification (Romans 3:21-26) means that God pardoned the sins of those who believe, because Jesus paid the price of their redemption with His blood (Matthew 26:28, John 1:29). Tough the blood of Jesus is available to all men (2 Corinthians 5:15), only those who believe will be saved (Mark 16:16) because faith is what God is looking for.

In a world where we rely on our five senses to live and move, a belief in an invisible God may draw ridicule from our environment. More specifically, the belief that the Almighty God was incarnate through a virgin and then chose to die on the cross, when He could easily destroy all His enemies (see Matthew 26:53), looks like a foolish fairy tale for the uneducated peasants. But Bible teaches us that God deliberately chose such a foolish setup in order to recognize true believers (see 1 Corinthians 1:20-25).

If we would want to summarize the discussion so far it could go as follows:

  1. Hearing the Good News about Jesus we believed and desired God,
  2. We surrendered our lives to Jesus and Holy Spirit came in to dwell in us.
  3. Holy Spirit brought the gift of faith (i.e. “Faith – 0”) with Him,
  4. And the received measure of Faith made the Salvation work possible.
  5. Hence, God’s grace saved us and translated us into His Kingdom.

But, this is not the end of the story but rather just the beginning! As the kingdom of darkness realizes that it had just lost a person, the devil and his minions start to work against the born again Christian to:

  1. Sow fear and doubt into the person’s mind and deceive, confuse, persecute, entice and make the person busy with worldly things (see part 2 and part 3),
  2. So that his or hers faith becomes ineffective and no works of faith are performed (see part 1).
  3. But as God, who lives outside of time, saw who would receive Jesus in time, He prepared all the works for them to walk in,
  4. And have already blessed them with every spiritual blessing,
  5. So they just need to use their faith to materialize those blessings into dynamite that would remove every devil’s snare, device, roadblock and evil scheme.

The following diagram illustrates this process and reflects what is written in Romans 8, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31, NKJV)

 

Every person is born with a fallen nature (Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:3) so he or she starts living an earthly purpose-driven life. However, at some point in life God’s grace that brings Salvation appears to them (as it appears to all men) calling them to live a heavenly purpose-driven life (see Titus 2:11-12).

Let’s examine three hypothetical people: Person A, Person B and Person C. As Bible tells us to each of them God’s grace has been revealed and it’s up to them to respond and accept God’s invitation. I believe that God’s nudges and calling come as a series of “glimpses” of what our real purpose is. These could come from various sources as God reveals Himself through them.

Person A and B accept the call and receive Jesus into their lives. This is what we call salvation and, as explained above, the blood of Jesus justifies them. As they are justified they start walking in the works that God has prepared for them beforehand (Ephesians 2:10). This is called predestination, and each one who is born again in Christ has a certain amount of good works to walk in.

The purpose of all these good works is to destroy the works of the devil, and “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). The whole creation eagerly waits this liberation “from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (see Romans 8:19-21), which means that as we are victorious in our individual walk we bring closer the day when all evil is removed from the creation (Revelation 20:11-15) and all things are finally gathered together under the rule of Christ.

Obviously, devil will want to stop this from ever happening, so he will create “roadblocks” to our walk with Christ, but because we are already blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3) we should use our faith to materialize those blessings into a dynamite that would remove every devil’s snare, device, roadblock and evil scheme.

But awakening to the simple truth that devil is a defeated foe (Colossians 2:15), and that we only have to remember who we are in Christ (i.e. submit to God) and then resist the devil for him to flee (James 4:7) may take some time. This process is called sanctification, which according to the dictionary means, to set a person apart for the use originally intended by the Designer.

Waking up to this original purpose is to present our bodies as a living sacrifices, separated for God’s works, breaking the mold and yoke of the world and transforming ourselves by the renewing of our minds. By doing so we use our faith to walk in our predestined works and prove that what God willed (i.e. redemption of the whole creation through His children) is good, acceptable and perfect will (see Romans 12:1-2).

If we would want to describe our faith walk with a formula it would look like this:

In mathematics, a limit of a function (i.e. “lim”) is used to highlight the behavior of the function near the particular input. In the case above we are looking at the formula for the effective faith, trying to see what happens when unbelief disappears.

It is possible, because Holy Spirit distributes gifts to each person individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), that Holy Spirit would temporarily or permanently remove person’s unbelief so they would operate in the gift of faith.

The above formula is valid for such occasions as well, but it primarily highlights what renewing of our mind does—it gradually removes all of the unbelief until effective faith becomes equal to the measure of Faith, so we say that the person has a gift of faith.

In the next post we will talk about the will of the person and what role it plays in the person’s walk with Jesus. Submitting to God and resisting the devil (see James 4:7) has a lot to do with one’s will. As hinted on the above diagram, some people (i.e. Person B) may find it too hard to finish the race in full speed. Somewhere on the way they got slowed down by devil’s blows and they’ve got “out of the race” so to speak.

They’ve got discouraged too much to continue the race with the winning attitude, however, God’s Word says that God surely glorified them as well, because He glorifies everybody whom He calls and justifies (see Romans 8:30).  If you identify yourself somewhat as a Person B please note that you aren’t out of the race completely; you just experienced a bump in the race track and you should get  back on it. Devil may have slowed you down, but God is for you (and will always be), so you are on the winning team!

Get back into the race by connecting / reconnecting with people of faith. Leave the people that don’t live for Jesus behind and refocus your energies on reconnecting with the Holy Spirit. Right before Romans 8:28-31 verses discussed above, God’s Word tells us that Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak and don’t know what/how to pray. He makes an intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered (see Romans 8:26-27). This just means that as you pray in the Spirit, He will intercede for you, so that the race obstacles are removed, conditions improve and you start running in the race again.

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