Faith - Section 3

  1. Living by Grace: Humility and Faith - "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. (James 4:6 and Romans 5:2)”  
    1. How does a believer in Jesus Christ access the ongoingsanctifying grace of God for daily godliness? It is accessed the same way that the initialjustifying grace of God was acquired—by humility and faith. We were justified, declared righteous in God's sight, when we humbly trusted in the Lord Jesus. We humbly agreed with the Lord's account of our guilty condition. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:236:23a). We also put our trust in Christ concerning His offer of life (based upon His death and resurrection on our behalf). "But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23b). Thereby we partook of the justifying grace of God through humility and faith. This is how the Lord wants us to continue to relate to Him for sanctifying grace.
    2. Our God wants us to walk in humility, because grace is what we need for growth in godly living. Remember this great truth of grace: "But grow in the grace…of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). If we are unwilling to walk in humility, we will not enjoy this wondrous sanctifying impact of grace, because "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." When we live by self-sufficiency, God resists us. When we walk in humility, God gives us grace for living.
    3. Our God also wants us to walk in faith, because faith accesses grace. "Through whom [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand." We now stand in a kingdom that offers "grace upon grace" (John 1:16). Abundant grace is available for every step we are to take. This grace is partaken of by faith. Whenever we trust in the Lord Jesus concerning any issue of life, we are reaching by faith into God's unlimited resources of grace, by which we are enabled to live effectively.
    4. Hereby we see that living by grace involves two relational realitieshumility and faith. We do not produce either. Neither one is a work. Humility admits we cannot do the work (of being holy, loving, perfect). Faith relies upon the work of another, the Lord Jesus Christ. These two attributes become real in our lives through a growing relationship with the Lord. The more we get to know the Lord Jesus Christ, to that degree humility and faith will become realities in our lives.
    5. "O Lord, You are my salvation, from justification throughout a lifetime of sanctification. Forgive me for underestimating my need for You. Forgive me concerning the self-sufficient, self-confident ways by which I have often lived. I humble myself before You. I want to live by trust and confidence in You. I long to live by Your grace, not by my best efforts. Help me to know You, that humility and faith might develop in my life, Amen.”  - From the DBD 2/4 message in the MacSword Program.
  2. Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. In Jesus Christ, we have all God’s treasures, and we need no other. If we truly delight in the Lord, then the chief desire of our hearts will be to know Him better so we can delight in Him even more, and the Lord will satisfy that desire! This is not a promise for people who want “things,” but for those who want more of God in their lives. - From the BE Series Commentary by Warren Wiersby.
  3. The resources of God's grace cannot be earned, deserved, or produced by man. They must be freely provided by the Lord. From beginning to end, the saving, rescuing, transforming work of God's grace is "the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). This truth highlights the strategic nature of faith. Only faith accords with grace. "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace." Faith alone is compatible with grace. Any other approach will not fit with grace. - From the DBD 2/7 message in the MacSword Program.
  4. If you’re angry with God because he seems so far away, understand why. You’re in Old Covenant thinking. Our natural moral calculations always overestimate what we’ve done and what we deserve and underrate what God has done. This is why the Old Covenant is an unworkable arrangement. Our deepest beings are too infested with hostility toward God for merit-based pay to work. We fail God more than we know. Then we blame him and get bitter and small and hateful. If that’s where you are with God right now, hang on. Trust him as much as you can, and let him lead you forward. He has something better for you. According to his New Covenant arrangements, everything he demands he also provides, freely and forever, through the finished work of Christ on the cross. You need to believe that. - From commentary on Isaiah 62:8-9 from Preaching the Word Commentary Series (40 Vols.) by R. Kent Hughes et al, Crossway Publishers
  5. Those who daily put their faith in the Lord Jesus for the issues of life access grace for godly living.  - From the DBD 2/7 message in the MacSword Program.
  6. Psalm 25:2 - O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. - Trust takes time. We need to practice putting our trust in the Lord, but when we do, we find a new confidence that He will be faithful to us. The more we trust, the more we are convinced that our trust is well placed. The key to trust is to try. Try putting your faith in the Lord, and watch wonderful things happen. 
    Prayer: Assist me as I try to let go of my doubt and fear and put my trust in You. I sometimes become my own worst enemy, Father. Save me from myself. Amen. - From the March 7, 2017 devotional reading from Wisdom from the Psalms by Dan R. Dick.
  7. You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on you, 
because he trusts in you. 
Trust in the LORD forever, 
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. 
(Isaiah 26:3–4)
  8. How do you know God loves you? He gives you many evidences: God says he loves you; you’re never out of his sight; he cares about every detail of your life; he gave you the capacity to enjoy all kinds of pleasure; he has good plans for your life; he forgives you; and he is lovingly patient with you. God loves you infinitely more than you can imagine.
    The greatest expression of this is the sacrifice of God’s Son for you. “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, “I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.”
    God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself so that we might offer ourselves freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to him brings freedom, not bondage. When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant, but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend. - From the Day 10 reading of “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
  9. Trust in the LORD, and do good;
 dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him, and he will act. 
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, 
and your justice as the noonday. 
(Psalm 37:3–6)
  10. Trust in him at all times, O people;
 pour out your heart before him;
 God is a refuge for us. Selah
 (Psalm 62:8)
  11. Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge him,
 and he will make straight your paths. 
(Proverbs 3:5–6)
  12. John 16:28 - I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.   You say that you believe in Christ as a great man, a great teacher. Good! That is better than nothing. But it is not enough to save you. Why stop there? Why stop with Jesus the man? Why not have the whole Christ as he is here presented? Maclaren has well written, “These four facts—the dwelling in the Father; the voluntary coming to earth; the voluntary leaving earth; and, again, the dwelling with the Father—are the walls of the strong fortress into which we may flee and be safe. With them it ‘stands four square to every wind that blows.’ Strike away one of them, and it totters into ruin. Make the whole Christ your Christ; for nothing less than the whole Christ, ‘conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, … crucified, dead, and buried, … ascended into Heaven, and sitting at the right hand of God,’ is strong enough to help your infirmities, vast enough to satisfy your desires, loving enough to love you as you need, or able to deliver you from your sins, and to lift you to the glories of his own Throne.” - From the commentary on John 16:28 from the Boice Expositional Commentary series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice. 
  13. It is God's will that we live our entire lives by faith (which accesses grace). "The just shall live by faith." This truth is comprehensive. It applies to every aspect of our lives. When we arise in the morning, we can entrust the day into the Lord's care and guidance. As we communicate with our families, we can depend upon Jesus for love and patience. In our drive to the office, we can pray in faith concerning the opportunities and challenges that may await us. If a crisis develops unexpectedly, we can immediately cry out to the Lord for peace and direction. When times of Bible study and worship approach, we can exercise faith toward God to make them spiritually genuine and personally effective. Whatever, whenever, whoever, "The just shall live by faith.  "Dear faithful Lord, I long to live by faith more and more as each day dawns. I see that this is the only way I can access Your glorious grace. Lord, I need Your grace constantly. No other resource will suffice. Too often I am striving by my best performance. What weariness and failure always results. Show me the areas of my life where I am not trusting in You, that I might look to You anew. In Your gracious name I pray, Amen."  - From the DBD 2/7 message in the MacSword Program. 
  14. How do we avail ourselves of that life which is essential for fruit? "Abide in Me, and I in you." We are to look to Jesus for life, counting on Him to live in and through us. Then His life, working in us, brings forth Christlike fruit. How do we know if we are abiding? If we are willing to depend upon Jesus for spiritual fruit as a grape branch relies upon its vine for grapes, then we are truly abiding in Christ. Such dependency brings valid expectation for great measures of Christlikeness to be developing in and through our lives. "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit."  - From the DBD 2/11 message in the MacSword Program.
  15. Believers will live in Christ's kingdom. - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 1:11-13 Note 2:11-13.
  16. Our faith can stand up to any question, but sometimes people ask questions - and keep asking questions - just to avoid facing their own spiritual needs and acknowledging who Jesus really is.  - From the section on “Faith” on page 133 of "Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  17. Jesus is faithful.  He will stay by our side even when we have endured so much that we seem to have no faith left.  We may be faithless at times, but Jesus is faithful to his promise to be with us "to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).  Refusing Christ's help will break our communication with God, but he will never turn his back on us even though we may turn our backs on him.  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 1:11-13 Note 2:13.
  18. Recalling the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32-33, he wrote, if we disown him, he will also disown us.  Paul had in mind those who profess Christ and then turn away, denying the faith they formerly claimed.  Paul issued a warning that denial of Christ has eternally damning consequences.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:12b-13  pg. 285.
  19. But God is gracious when we are feeble.  Paul offered this encouragement for the times when we fail:  if we are faithless, he will remain faithful.  If we belong to Christ, we are his completely.  In the midst of difficulty, he holds on to us if we stumble.  He lives within us, sharing his life with ours as we take from his life - and so he cannoth disown himself. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:12b-13  pg. 285.
  20. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 1. Observe, Those who have work to do for God must stir up themselves to do it, and strengthen themselves for it. Being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus may be understood in opposition to the weakness of grace. Where there is the truth of grace there must be a labouring after the strength of grace. As our trials increase, we have need to grow stronger and stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. Or it may be understood in opposition to our being strong in our own strength: "Be strong, not confiding in thy own sufficiency, but in the grace that is in Jesus Christ." Compare Eph. vi. 10, Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. When Peter promised rather to die for Christ than to deny him he was strong in his own strength; had he been strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, he would have kept his standing better. Observe, 1. There is grace in Christ Jesus; for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John i. 17. There is grace enough in him for all of us. 2. We must be strong in this grace; not in ourselves, in our own strength, or in the grace we have already received, but in the grace that is in him, and that is the way to be strong in grace. - From the Matthew Henry Commentary in the MacSword software program. 2 Timothy 1
  21. If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
  22. The Bible says, “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). It is in Christ’s death that we see God’s love. Does that not move you? True, you may have held back before, hardly knowing whether you were a true believer or not. But you can come forward. He died for you. He paid the price for your sin. He bore the anguish of the cross for your salvation. How can you fail to love him? If you love him, how can you fail to confess that to everyone? - From the commentary on John 16:38 from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice. 
  23. The solid foundation of God's truth never changes, is never shaken, and will never fade.  When we follow God's truth, he will never forsake us.  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:19 Note 2:19.
  24. What if God does leave you to yourself? What if God doesn’t intervene to save you from yourself and Isaiah 34 writes your final chapter? What if that itching envy in your heart, that bitterness eating away inside you, that anger raging inside you, your ungrateful self for whom nothing is ever good enough, the you lurking in the fantasy twilight of lust, the you buried alive in the coffin of greed, the you that’s too sophisticated for childlike delight in God — what if God does not save you? The you that you are becoming now is what you will be forever. Unless God saves you, you will eventually find that you cannot stop anymore. And the grumbling and blaming and all the rest will take over and churn on forever like a machine, and you won’t be able to stop and rest. That hell is when you become the photographic negative of what you were meant to be when God made you. God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). - From the readings located  in Isaiah 34-35 in Preaching the Word Commentary Series (40 Vols.) by R. Kent Hughs et al., Crossway Publisher.
  25. Jesus came to earth to offer people fullness of life. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly(John 10:10). Jesus taught that if we looked to Him for our spiritual nutrition, we would find ongoing life. "And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life'" (John 6:35). Jesus did not refer to Himself as a leader establishing a new religion. Rather, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life'" (John 14:6). The life Jesus provides is His life expressed in and through us: "Christ who is our life" (Colossians 3:4). That life produces a lifestyle marked by His love, His joy, His peace, His wisdom, His courage—and whatever else is of His holy character. The new covenant of His grace holds forth this life, and the Holy Spirit delivers that life into humble, trusting hearts. "It is the Spirit who gives life." - From the DBD 2/22 message in the MacSword Program. 
  26. Believing in Jesus' name involves trusting in His person and His work. It encompasses relying upon who He is, what He says, and what He has done and can do. Such faith brings a unique new birth: "Who were bornnot of bloodnor of the will of the fleshnor of the will of manbut of God" (John 1:13). This birth is from God. It cannot come by inheritance or genetics through our human bloodline. It is not available through an exercise of our human will. Neither can we have it pronounced upon us by some religious leader.  The Lord desires us to walk in a heavenly, spiritual life, not a mere earthly, human existence. Only a birth from the Spirit of God could bring us this type of life. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." All genuine spirituality must come from a work of the Holy Spirit on our behalf. This is true concerning our starting out with God in new birth and justification. "You…were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).  - From the DBD 2/23 message in the MacSword Program.
  27. Each person stands responsible before God for his acceptance or rejection of God's truth as found in Jesus Christ.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:25-26  pg. 289.
  28. Biblical Christianity is not theoretical or bookish.  It requires that we fill our minds with truth as well as our everyday living.  Christian faith is an apprenticeship by which we progress toward greater mastery of the art of living.  This is why Paul told Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15). - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2 Life Application  pg. 293.
  29. Don’t forget:  Without fuel, a fire grows cold - and without the “Fuel” of the Bible, prayer, and Christian fellowship, our faith grows cold. - From the section on “Faith” on page 133 of "Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  30. The Lord isn’t interested in beautiful vessels to bear His name.  Think of yourself as a cup, a glass, or a bowl.  You’re a vessel in the Master’s hand, bearing the water of life to a needy world.  - The pierced hand, which gave thee healing, has appointed thee to thy Lord’s service, and made thee a chosen vessel to bear His name. - Charles Hadden Spurgeon. - Excerpt from the April 20th devotional reading on page 115 of the book Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah.