Our Faith:The Victory that Overcomes the World(1)
Glory be to God in the highest.How has been the week? It’s another Saturday when we dig deep into God’s word.You are welcome in Jesus’ name.
Few days ago we concluded a series on 1John 5:4a.Today,I will like to start a series on the ‘b’ part of the verse:
“…And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.”-1John 5:4b
What is faith? I know your mind is on Hebrews 11:1.However,that is not the direct definition of faith! It is one out of many explanations of the concept of faith in the Bible.
Faith is /ĕmûnâh/ in Hebrew language while it is /pistis/ in Greek language.What do they mean?
Faith(ĕmûnâh) as used in the Old Testament means firmness,fidelity,stability,steadiness,constancy.
“Look at the proud one; his soul is not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith/ĕmûnâh/”-Hab 2:4
It means the righteous person’s life is dependent on the firmness/stability/steadiness of his faith(I will explain the New Testament meaning of this later on).However,the figurative meaning of ĕmûnâh is explained better by this next Scripture:
“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady(ĕmûnâh) till sunset.”-Exo 17:12
As you can see in the above verse the English translation of ĕmûnâh is steady but in actual sense it is faith! So what is the place of faith in this verse?
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.”-Exo 17:11
When Aaron and Hur noticed that the stability of the hands of Moses determined their victory,they had to steady his hands.
Today,faith has not changed one bit from above definitions! A man of faith must be firm in his belief in God,steady in his resolve without wavering and uncompromising no matter the situation or else the world might overcome him like the Amalekites!
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith(pistis) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”-Heb 10:23
To further confirm that all these have not changed in the New Testament,the writer of Book of Hebrews took a part of Habakkuk 4:2 I quoted earlier to emphasise the definitions:
“But my righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him”-Heb 10:38.
“But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him.” (BSB)
Let me give two examples of people in the New Testament to explain this concept of faith very well: While one waivered,the other refused to shrink back!
“Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”-Matt 14:28-31
Doubts made Peter to be uñsteady and he began to sink! Likewise,if you ask anything from God,you must have faith in Him no matter the challenges.That is,don’t become double-minded or shaky as per God’s promises mid-way along life’s path because of some unpleasant situations.
“But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for the one doubting is like a wave of the sea, being blown and being tossed by the wind.For let that man not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.”-James 1:6-7
Let’s see the example of people that refused to shrink back from their faith:
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”-Luke 5:18-20
These guys tried to enter through the doors:There was no way!
They probably tried to beg the crowd to pave way for them: They didn’t succeed!!
Maybe they screamed to catch Jesus’ attention: Jesus couldn’t hear them because of the crowd.But they didn’t shrink back!!! No one said,’Abegi,let’s go home,I no fit kill myself'(Pidgin English).
Rather they went to the roof of the house,removed the tiles one after the other.They then lowered the paralyzed man down through the tiles: None of them gave up and most importantly the paralyzed man didn’t complain/grumble that they were squeezing him through the roof!
When Jesus saw this… When the Son of God…The One who was there when the world was created…When He saw their faith…He had no option than to grant their request.Jesus must have thought that this could only be a ‘crazy’ faith! Common! You were denied access and you went to remove tiles just to gain access? Haba! This is a ‘mad’ faith!!!
How many times have you been denied of what you want and you have quickly given up?Just three trials and you think it is hightime you threw in the towels? Many even assume it is one demon that is preventing them from moving forward in life.Yes,it is true!!! The demons are called: Inconsistencies, Unstability and lack of perseverance!
“Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped.The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
Sir,I know you have a diploma in demonology,but was it a demon that prevented the King from striking six times? Haba,it will be foolhardy to say there are no demonic manifestations but must we attribute everything to demons?
How many times have you tried to achieve your aims and you have started waivering concerning God’s promises?How I wish you could give it a trial one more time and you would have gotten God’s attention!
Have you been steady and uncompromising to the point that God Himself will say:’My son/daughter is just too full of faith,I must answer him/her now?
Failure on a project several times is not an indication for you to give up.Many times it is a way life asks a simple question:’How badly do you need this thing’? If your life depends on it then you have to be resolute in your faith in God and He will definitely answer you because He is also a faith-ful God!
Whaoooo…Time is far spent.This is just the beginning of the teaching.We are yet to see the meaning of pistis in the New Testament and many more revelations to come on the concept of faith.
Till we meet on Sunday morning,go and exhibit a constant,steady,firm and stable faith in the world.