Thursday, May 28, 2009

God Rocked My World This Morning...

As I was preparing for Sunday’s teaching this morning I looked at Abram’s question to God in Genesis 15 about how he (Abram) could know he would possess the land. I wrote the following and then sat back stunned as it settled in with me:

“God doesn’t mind our questions, just our unbelief, our lack of trusting/believing Him when He tells us something . . . which really means we consider Him untrustworthy . . . it is actually a reflection of what we think of His character, and it is very serious when we consider God’s character untrustworthy because that means we believe that He can lie . . . which means we think He can sin! . . . which goes against EVERYTHING God is and His holiness, and the death of His own Son on the cross.”

I have, over the last few years, had an amazing and ever-increasing awakening to what faith means. It used to be, to me, some ominous “thing” I never had enough of that God required of me to have before I could please Him or have a relationship with Him. Then, some time back, while studying Peter walking on the water, I had a new realization that totally turned me upside down (and has done the same for many others who heard that teaching). In a nutshell, I saw how faith is ultimately our confidence (and trust) in God, His Word, His character, His nature, His trustworthiness, His goodness, His love, His promises (provided we know and follow their precepts).

If faith was simply a quantitative “thing” Jesus would have accused the other disciples (and not Peter) of little faith because AT LEAST Peter WALKED on water while they just sat in the boat! Compared to them he had a lot! But Jesus, I believe very intimately, talked to Peter instead and I believe what He was asking Peter was a deep, core, heart-level relationship/character question which was, basically, “Peter, down deep at the core of your and My relationship, do you really believe that My character is such that I would call you to come out on the water, and then turn away from you and let you drown?” Jesus is saying, “You didn’t ask Me to stop the waves or wind. All that you required was that I call you. You completely trusted me despite everything around you. Do you really believe that my character is such that I would call you to come out on the water and then turn away from you and let you drown?”

It wasn’t about the wind or the waves—they were already there when Peter got out—it was about God’s character, and we can’t have a good, two-way, equal relationship with someone (or please that person) if we doubt their character, and can’t trust them, and cast aspersions on their character by our words or actions. This morning I saw that even deeper. To believe that God can’t be trusted to perform His Word is to believe that He can lie . . . which means to believe that He can sin. It is the ultimate blasphemy and character aspersion there is to say to a Holy God who so hates sin that He sent His own Son to die to pay for it that we believe He, Himself, could sin. What a slap to God’s character. No wonder we couldn’t have a relationship with Him, built on the foundation of Jesus dying for our sin, if we ultimately believed that God Himself could sin . . . no wonder we walk by, and remain in, faith as a Christian when we realize that faith isn’t a “thing,” but our heart’s trust and belief in God’s goodness and trustworthiness and love. It is that we commit our life in to, and that we walk in, and that which forms the core of our loving relationship with God.

The question isn’t, “Do I have enough faith?” It is, really, “What, at my core, do I believe about God’s goodness and trustworthiness and holiness and love and character and nature—all of which is revealed in Jesus.” It is that belief we take our thoughts and fears captive to and choose to trust in no matter what we see around us, and that is faith. For example, it is not, ultimately, “Do I believe the Bible?” but, “Do I believe the Bible’s author?” That is taking it to its deepest level and out of an intellectual exercise in to a relationship basis.


  1. Erick,

    Thank you for your openness to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

  2. You said:
    "faith isn’t a “thing,” but our heart’s trust and belief in God’s goodness and trustworthiness and love."

    Agreed. But our faith must be in the TOTAL revealed character of God, which includes His justice and even His wrath.

    As you know, in Exodus 34:6-7, God reveals His character to Moses (and us): "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished. . . ."

    I like what you said: having faith in God means we believe He does not lie -- He is who He says He is. Thus we must also believe in and TRUST His justice -- justice that does not let sin go unpunished. PRAISE the Lord Jesus for taking the punishment for all who will believe and receive. But if someone we loved and prayed for refused to believe and receive to their dying breath, we must not doubt God's revealed character. God does not lie: that person will spend eternity suffering his own punishment for sin. We must not compromise the truth or our faith to ease our sorrow over that horrible fact.

  3. Thank you Erick - That is so true, FAITH in TRUSTING God!


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