Monday, September 22, 2008

Faith or Formulas

Faith. What a huge subject to examine. The Bible talks a lot about faith in the New Testament. My former church talked and taught a lot about faith. We were a faith church. The pastor there supposedly lived by faith. He taught the people to "live by faith". We were taught not to be satisfied to by where we were in life because then our faith would become stagnant. We were to always be "stretching" our faith. This meant to always be striving for the bigger or better house, the nicer car, the better job, a bigger income, nicer clothes etc. We were taught that these things made others look at us and want to know Jesus.

I began to do some reading on what the Bible says about faith. I could not find one place where Jesus taught us to use our faith to gain material things. He actually told us not to even think about the material needs in our lives. He said that as we seek first the kingdom of God that all the things we have need of would be added unto us. He actually said that the Gentiles seek after material things. He never told His disciples to go out and tell others of all the nice things that they could have if they followed Him.

We were also taught a lotabout confession. We had lists and lists of scriptures to confess that related to one situation or another. There were confession books and prayers to pray over and over. In Matthew 6 Jesus talked about prayer. He said that the heathen pray using vain repetitions because they think they will be heard for their much speaking. Is that any different than believing that something will happen for us because we say it over and over? The example of prayer that Jesus gave is simple and pure. It is not a constant and repetitive confession.

Faith is a much bigger thing than a cheap meal ticket or credit card without a limit.

Stephen did miracles through faith.
People were healed through faith.
We are justified by faith.
We are made righteous by faith.
Whatever is not of faith is sin.
We live by faith.
We walk by faith in the Son of God.
We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
We are the children of God by faith.
Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit.
We are saved by grace through faith.
We have the shield of faith.
We inherit the promises of God through faith and patience.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.
Faith without works is dead. ( this does not mean faith to get rich)

To say that God has given us faith for us to get material things for ourselves cheapens and degrades faith. I went to Hebrews 11 and read the people of the Old Testament that were mentioned for their great faith. Solomon, the wealthiest man that ever lived was not mentioned as having great faith to attain riches. The ones mentioned here are those who lived by faith and overcame by faith.

How sad it is that in a time where we have the means and ability to reach a lost and hurting world with the true gospel of Jesus Christ that faith has been reduced to a get rich and get what you want scheme and true prayer has been reduced to repetitive formulas.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

This is an amazing and insightful post.
It makes me sad that we've reduced God to a get rich quick Santa type caricature of Himself and His Word to a book of formulas and incantations.