Faith - Part 2
We previously saw that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Though we have many English translations available to us, the Greek words for faith and their typical translations are:
All three of these Greek words stem from a common root. The flavor of the meaning of these words involves confidence, trust, fidelity, holy fervor, reliability in business transactions.
Faith involves more than simple "belief". It is a conviction that involves loyalty and trust. Faith causes you to do what you promise, to be faithful to your word.
In part one we reviewed early examples of faith: Able, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham.
Hebrews 11 indicates that these men were good examples of faith. This passages basically states that
Now, it would be more easily understandable if we have a better English word to describe what the meaning of this passage more clearly. Instead of "faith", we could understand this passage better if we used the English word "faithful" as follows:
Now, it become much more clear. These men were faithful to the commands of God. They obeyed God.
They all had a trust and loyal commitment that caused them to be willing to obey. This simply means that they were men of faith.
Now, we'll look at two more examples of faith.
One of the central aspects of Jesus’ mission was his faithfulness to his father. Jesus’ desire to do his father’s will was central to everything Jesus did and said.
Jesus' parents took Jesus to Jerusalem at the feast of Passover. At age 12 or 13 boys went through a ceremony marking their transition to manhood. This is the Bar Mitzvah. While no ceremony was needed, Jesus began to take on the responsibilities of being an adult.
In the caravans that traveled between distant cities, such as between Nazareth and Jerusalem) the men surrounded the caravan to provide protection. Women and children traveled within the center of the caravan.
It is likely that Joseph, riding the perimeter of the caravan, not seeing Jesus thought he we with his mother. Mary, now that Jesus was now an adult, thought that Jesus was with Joseph.
After several days, Mary and Joseph met, each thinking that Jesus was with the other, or with other relatives on the trip. Though they searched, they could not locate him. And, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
After several days, they found him in the temple talking with the Jewish doctors of religion. Jesus indicated his loyalty to his heavenly father:
Later, during Jesus' ministry, his disciples were concerned that Jesus had not eaten for a while. Jesus, told them his mission involved being faithful to his Father.
Another time Jesus had fed many followers with a miraculous distribution of food. The followers of Jesus were seeking some additional sign to confirm that he was the Messiah. Jesus indicated that he was that bread that came from the Father.
Jesus indicated that everyone that the Father had given him would recognize him and become his disciples. Again, he emphasized his mission was to do the Father's will.
Later the Jews that wanted to kill him because he broke the Sabbath and said that God was his father.
Jesus again described his relationship with the Father by indicating that he had special communications from the Father. He talked being guided in his ministry through visions or dreams as well as hearing the voice of the Father.
At the last supper, that final Passover meal, Jesus summed up his entire ministry at the Passover supper with these words:
Perhaps the best illustration of Jesus' loyalty to his Father was what occurred after this Passover meal. Jesus took the disciples up to the Mount of Olives, called Gethsemane. There Jesus was deeply troubled because he knew that a group was coming for him to lead him away to his eventual death.
Like any person, he deeply wanted to live and continue to be with his friends. But, he overcame his own desires and remained faithful to the will of his Father.
Throughout his life, Jesus humbly obeyed the will of his heavenly Father. Every aspect of his ministry was done at the leading of his Father, including the manner of his death.
What better illustration of faith would there be?
You and Me
Yes, faith and faithfulness is required of us.
As disciples of Jesus, we must be willing to do the bidding of Jesus by following his commands.
Jesus is known as the Lord. And, most people today do not understand the meaning of "lord".
Back in the time the King James translation was done, a lord was a elite landholder who exercised administrative and judicial authority. Serfs would swear loyalty to their lord just as they owed allegiance to a monarch.
King James, himself, rules Scotland as a absolute monarch. But, he had trouble with the English House of Parliament when they refused his heavy taxation.
The Greek word "kurios" is translated "lord" in the New Testament. It refers to one who possesses and disposes of something, the master of the realm, the sovereign.
This is the sense of what a lord is.
But, modern society hears so much about the "little lord Jesus asleep on the hay" that they completely misunderstand how Jesus is lord. It's easy to think of Jesus as a little baby who is lord of nothing other than his manger.
But, even during Jesus' time, he could not understand why people would give him the title of "lord" but continue to do whatever they wanted to do instead of obeying him.
Can you imagine why anyone would call Jesus "Lord" but think of him as someone who need not be obeyed?
But, yet many do call him Lord and keep on doing whatever they want to. It's as if they are saying, "Lay you head down of the straw and go back to sleep little lord. And, let me do what I want to do."
Jesus knew such people in his day. And, he said that even though they honored him with a title they would not themselves be honored. And why? Simply because they didn't obey him.
Jesus indicates that those who spoke in his name but did not do what God wanted would not enter the kingdom of heaven. Not only that, he indicated that doing your own thing in the name of Jesus was a work of evil.
But, many think that because they do something in the name of God that they are, themselves, something special.
But, if you call Jesus your lord, you should do what he wants you to do.
The perfect example is Jesus himself. The Father sent Jesus to the earth. Jesus indicated that his Father was greater then he, himself, was. And so, as disciples and servants of Jesus, it is Jesus who is greater the we.
Jesus spoke many times of how people should act toward on another. He also gave his disciples commands that they were to accomplish.
If you have become a disciple of Jesus, then you have repented. That is, you have decided to forsake you way of doing things and want to do things Jesus' way. That, simply, is repentance.
Just as God gave ancient Israel a "yoke of commandments", so Jesus give his disciples a yoke. But, his yoke is much easier to bear and lighter than the 613 commandments God gave Israel.
So, we as Jesus' disciples have a yoke to bear. It is simply Jesus' commands and instructions for his followers. And, if we love Jesus, we will keep his commands.
At the final Passover supper Jesus spoke earnestly to his disciples. If you knew you were going to die, you would tell your friends the most important things you could think of. That's just what Jesus did.
He talked about his disciples loving him and how he and the Father would love the disciples.
God's conditional love may be something you have never thought about. But, Jesus makes is quite clear that if you love Jesus and keep his commandments, then Jesus and the Father will love you. A little later at the Passover meal he repeats that message and makes it crystal clear.
We often hear that God loves each and every person. You've probably heard that if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have died to save you.
Displayed on billboards and distributed in "gospel tracks", you've probably read John 3:16. Nearly everyone has. It describes the love God has for the entire world.
But, let's look at what it says again.
Notice that it's about those who have faith in Jesus being given eternal life.
There was an Old Covenant that pertained only the Israel. They accepted obedience to God in return for being God's special nation.
Now, through the death of Jesus, God opens up salvation to anyone who has faith in Jesus.
To have faith in Jesus means to have a trust and loyal commitment to him that causes you to be willing to obey.
The death of Jesus did not save anyone. It provided the opportunity for people of every nation to repent, desire to rely on, honor, be loyal, and faithful to Jesus, and to receive eternal life.
Your life of faith will be seen by others as a life of faithfulness to Jesus and his teachings.
Jesus indicated that his life of faithfulness to his Father would show the world that he loved his Father.
One of Jesus' commandments is that the brethren love one another. By following this you will show the world that you are, indeed, Jesus' disciple.
If you have faith in Jesus, you should
Then, when Jesus returns, he can embrace you and call you a good and faithful servant.
I welcome your comments:
Back to the main page of Freedom in Christ
Copyright © 2006 Robert Sherman