I hear the Lord call to his people to be of a sober mind, to be alert and vigilant for without knowing it we can slip into error and end up believing with all our heart a distortion. I sense that this warning is relevant in the coming days as the enemy’s smoke and mirrors strategy increases and enlargers for he knows that his time on earth is short. I sense that the fundamentals of our faith, the gospel that Paul preached is undergoing a time of transition and repositioning driven by the enemy, who as a roaring lion is seeking believers to confuse.
The building blocks, with Christ as the chief corner stone are coming increasingly under attack as well intended believers are building using the wrong materials. The materials themselves are scriptural but they have been weakened and distorted by the subtleness of well intentioned, but mis guided teachers. Coupled with this is the tendency for believers to accept what has been taught without having a Berean attitude to search out the scriptures for themselves.
But when the enemy comes in like a flood to drown believers in his twisting of the scriptures God will raise up a standard. This standard from the throne room of the Father is a surging wall of fire that will engulf the body of believers burning away the impurities that have become imbedded in the gold. It is time I believe for the tares to be exposed as having a false DNA that does not match with the DNA of Christ. Prophetic teaching is beginning to be heard and found by believers who are surging into the Father’s heart.
No longer are those believers who are pressing into the Father’s heart content to listen to scriptural teaching based on the wisdom and understanding of the world. They are seeking out prophetic teaching that carries the flame and fire of the Holy Spirit. Prophetic teaching comes with resurrection power refined in the adversity of Gods discipline and love.
One of the misguided and distorted facts that have become mainstream in many believers’ circles is that Faith is all that matters. Faith heals us, faith brings prosperity, faith brings victory over our circumstances. If only you had more faith you could move that mountain. You could rise up from your sick bed leaping and dancing. Faith is all that counts and the more faith we have the more able will we be able to please our Father. Come on they reason we need to build up our faith for it is obvious you do not have enough otherwise you would be victorious.
Lets go back to the one basic truth that captured the monk Martin Luther’s spirit 500 years ago – ‘By grace alone’ found in Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. N.I.V.
Careful exegesis of this verse reveals that saved and grace are linked together for we are saved by grace. The text is very plain that the channel or conduit is faith. It is through faith that we received the grace; but it is grace that saves. We receive saving grace through faith. ‘Through’ has a totally different meaning/understanding to ‘by.’
Think of it this way. Imagine water flowing through a hose. The water is the important part, but it is communicated through the hose. The hose does not quench your thirst; the water does. But the hose brings water to the place so you can benefit from it.
Grace is the water while the hose is faith . Paul goes out of his way to further stress the importance that our salvation has nothing to do with our efforts in the following verses. We are saved not of ourselves lest we could boast. Grace is a gift. We are Gods workmanship created in Christ Jesus by grace – there is nothing of ourselves in these verses. That suggests we are not saved by faith. Absolutely unconditionally nothing but grace.
Our faith does not save. Our faith does not heal. Only Christ saves. Acs 4:12. Only Christ's wounds heal. 1 Peter 2:24 Our faith does not give us anything to do with salvation and eternal life.
Our faith is based on the blood of Christ. Our faith is build around the resurrected Christ. It is Jesus Christ and him alone. Without Christ we have nothing.
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I live in the middle of a whole lot of teachers that teach your paragraph 5. I grew with them. But never understood or knew Christ. A few of them have moved on and now teaching a far worse teaching.
I admit I sometimes use "by faith" but usually in a inclusive meaning of God's grace. Unless using against works. That requires a "by" as a "not" by works.
I love your analogy of the hose and the water.
It makes me sad when I hear people say they are not healed or a situation remains unchanged because they do not have enough faith. They look at me through sad eyes feeling like they have not done enough and therefore do not deserve anything from God.
Deserve? No, we don't deserve anything from God but His grace gives us what we do not deserve!
Faith helps us to remember God's promises. Faith reminds us that God's grace is sufficient. It reminds us that God is with us no matter what, even when life is not going the way we had hoped and that this light affliction is but for a moment. It reminds us that there is coming a day when there will be no more pain, suffering, sickness or death and that in the end, God will wipe away every tear.