Archive for February, 2008

Faith – Romans 10:9

FRIDAY  

NAU Romans 10:9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

NIV Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

KJV Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Mankind looks for actions to perform before God in order to gain His favor. Generally, they perform some form of good outward behavior to secure His blessing.

Romans 10:9 tells us that God is looking for two initial actions once He has done His initiatory work in man. Man’s response to God is to confess the Lordship of Jesus with his mouth (outward expression) as a genuine expression of an inward confidence. If you believe the Gospel (have internal confidence in it), then express that belief or faith with your mouth (outwardly)! The result of these actions is salvific and yet they remain expressions of response to the initiatory work of God in mankind. Behavior modification, then, will flow from an appreciative, believing heart – but that is for a future discussion.

NAU Romans 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

NIV Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

KJV Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 
Something to ponder:

NAU Luke 8:16 “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.

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Ephesians 2:8

THURSDAY 

NAU Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

NIV Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–

KJV Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

The NAU and NIV get the award for ‘best’ translation today because they capture the perfect passive participle in translating the word ‘saved’. The ‘passive’ voice reinforces that salvation is not the work of man but Someone outside of man, namely God Himself.  It is His work and His grace that brings a man into a relationship with Him. These are His gift(s) to the redeemed.

And there is one other thing gifted by God to man that results in man being brought into a relationship with God – the faith to receive His grace.  Verse 9 gives the reason this is true – that no man can boast in God’s work of salvation.

NAU Ephesians 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

NIV Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

KJV Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Faith – Galatians 5:22

WEDNESDAY   

 NAU Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

NIV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

KJV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

The word faithfulness is not found in the New Testament. The Greek word is ‘pistis’ and as we have seen in previous ‘blogs’ means faith, belief, trust, confidence. Therefore, the KJV translation is to be preferred for this verse.

But notice that the Holy Spirit is the source of not only faith but love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness or generosity! The source is not within ourselves, but the Spirit of God. These characteristics are FRUITS of the Spirit, not fruits of our efforts. He is the source, we are the benefactors.

For years I attempted to ‘put on the fruit’. Of course, it was an utter failure.  Its like sticking an unripe banana on an apple tree and expecting it to grow and mature.  It was not until I learned about ‘yielding to the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18 coupled with Colossians 3:16) that the fruit began appearing more productively.

Faith – John 6:29

TUESDAY 

For the remainder of the week we will be examining the nature of faith. Is it the work of man or the work of God? We are told to believe or have faith in order to enter into a relationship with God. But does the faith originate in us or outside ourselves? Are we the initiators or the responders of this work? The Scriptures we will examine this week give a clear answer and today we will look at John 6:29.

NAU John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

NIV John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

KJV John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

One year before He was crucified, at the peak of His popularity, Jesus is being questioned by the multitudes in the Galilee area, specifically Capernaum. They had a question that not only dominates the thinking of their time but the thinking of mankind even today – “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (NIV)

Jesus responded by saying “This is the work – believe in the one who was sent by God” – in other words, since He (Jesus) claimed to be sent by God, put your confidence in the work He was doing!

But, did Jesus mean that the belief was the work of man required by God, or that belief was the work of God in the believer? The verses we will examine the rest of the week will give a clearer answer but the context (verses 44 and 65) will give you some clues.

Faith – Hebrews 11:1

MONDAY

I have been intrigued by faith for quite a while. It is the dividing line between having a relationship with God and not having a relationship with God. Those with faith stand in awe of the God who accepts them into His presence based upon their acceptance of propositional facts. Those without faith strive for God’s acceptance through their efforts.

Faith provides what man needs before God. Lack of faith causes man to strive for what he can never attain.

What, then, is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 defines it and the remainder of the chapter demonstrates it.

NAU Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

NIV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

If we are to understand this verse we need to understand five key words – faith, assurance, hoped for, evidence and things! Understanding these words will begin to unlock what is faith and how it brings us into a relationship with God.

The first word – FAITH – is pistis in the Greek. It means ‘trust’, ‘confidence’, ‘conviction’, ‘assurance’, or ‘belief’ in a set of facts.

The second word – ASSURANCE – is upostasis and means a real (not imaginary) foundation.

The third word – HOPED FOR – is elpizw and means a hope or expectation.

The fourth word – EVIDENCE – is elegcos meaning ‘something that is proven or tested as being true’.

The fifth word – THINGS – is pragma meaning an accomplished fact.

OR, to paraphrase Hebrews 11:1 using these definitions, Faith is confidence in a set of facts we are expecting to be true, something that has been tested as a true and accomplished fact even though it has not yet been seen.

At first glance this would appear to contradict rational Christianity because faith is defined as something we are expecting to be true and established as true even though it is SCIENTIFICALLY unproven. And if the remainder of Chapter 11 were missing, I would certainly concur! However, the remainder of Chapter 11 was written to balance out this potential contradiction. There is a real foundation upon which we base our expectation that is established on actions no longer seen. The proof is seen in the following witnesses:

1) The Creative work of God (v3);

2) The offering of Abel in contrast to Cain (v4);

3) The walk of Enoch (v5);

4) The action by Noah (v7);

5) The responses of Abraham and Sarah (v8-19);

6) The action of Isaac (v20);

7) The action of Jacob (v21);

8) The proclamation of Joseph (v22);

9) The action of Moses’ parents (v23);

10) The action of Moses (v24-29);

11) The action of Joshua and Rahab (v30, 31);

12) The action of numerous other unnamed individuals (v32-40).

These are established past, historical events by God or past responses to established interactions with God that serve as motivators for our present confidence in a future reality.

The writer of Hebrews is telling us that without established, historical reference points we cannot have faith. He categorically states that the twelve proofs listed in Chapter 11 are established, historical reference points upon which we can ultimately ‘hang’ our confidence in the finished work of Christ on the cross for establishing an eternal relationship with God. Our future expectations of a relationship with God are based upon confidence in 4,000 years of God’s past interactions with man culminating in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

What is faith? It is present confidence in God established past events and God promised future expectations.

Psalm 34:9, 10

FRIDAY

NAU Psalm 34:9 O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. 10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

NIV Psalm 34:9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

KJV Psalm 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

There’s that word again – FEAR the LORD! ‘Yirah’ makes another appearance! Those who fear the LORD are reminded (commanded) to keep their focus – not on their circumstances but on the LORD! The inexperienced (i.e. the young lions) lose their focus and put it on their circumstances rather than the LORD. When they lose their focus they experience suffering. But when they have a proper focus (verse 10) they do not lack His care and attention.

Are you afflicted? Keep your focus on the LORD. He promises protection for those who fear/reverence Him. When this focus is maintained they will experience the fullness of the LORD’s protection.

Psalm 34:8

THURSDAY

NAU Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

NIV Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

KJV Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.


In the previous seven verses there have been six declarations and one directive. That one directive came in verse three as a directive to glorify and exalt the Lord. These are actions of the mouth. They are directive to speak positively about our God, the One who protects and comes to the aid of the afflicted.

Verse 8 is also a directive. It also involves (figuratively) the mouth. But this time rather than speaking, the afflicted but fearer of God is to ‘taste’ Him. This word is associated with food and eating. However, it is also associated with the concept of experiencing something.

How can the fearer of God ‘taste’ or experience Him? The end of verse 8 gives us the answer – take refuge in the Lord. Again, we must ask what does it mean to take refuge in the Lord? The Hebrew language provides the answer – flee to Him for protection!

But wait, verse 7 tells us that the Angel of the Lord surrounds those who fear Him and provides protection in affliction! How can we take refuge if we are already being protected? Interestingly, further study of this Hebrew word shows that taking refuge can also be translated to trust. Therefore, verse 7 and 8 are telling us that those who fear the Lord are protected by the Lord and that we should trust in His protection.