Ephesians; 1:3 – every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, part 5.
Thursday October 11, 2018
Spiritual over material: faith is the function of the worthless and bankrupt toward the One who is all in all.
This had led us to explore the substance of faith. What is faith?
Faith is the art of the worthless.
Faith is not reason.
I want to continue to explore how faith is not reason.
Someone may believe something through reason, but if put in the right situation, reason will go out the door and faith will fail.
At the end of the Cold War, in which America won, in 1992 Francis Fukuyama wrote what was considered a landmark book called The End of History and the Last Man in which he argued that history as we know it was over and that in fact war was over for good. Turns out that the publication was not so landmark.
In the book, Fukuyama argues that the advent of Western liberal democracy may signal the endpoint of humanity's sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government.
This means that eventually all governments everywhere were going to turn into republics who engage in free market economics. Everyone is going to become like us.
The Publication says “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
This is a prime example of human reason evolving into or becoming faith.
No one was as powerful as America at the time. Not even close. We had the UN, NATO, and tons of money. This idea drove our foreign policy. If a thug popped up somewhere wanted to upset the order, we’d smack him down. If another nation cheated us or did funky things with monetary policy or trade and put us in their debt, why heck, we’ll just pay it, we’re rich after all, and eventually their all going to become like us anyway and the world will become one happy form of Western liberal democracy. We became the world’s policeman. All was well. There would be world peace.
Post-WWII reasoning became faith: The whole world would eventually become a utopian Western liberal democracy.
This was faith based on human reason. Have we had peace since 1992?
There are tons of examples of this. What each of us want to be aware of is that we can make this same mistake with our Christian faith. We may reason that certain actions, relations, substances, situations, etc. are good for us. We reason and put our faith in a way, and when that way leads to sin and evil, we must either concluded that our faith was misplaced or self-justify our wrong.
God’s commands are clear and unambiguous. I may want to reason my way around them and call my faith in that reasoning well-founded, but I am only lying to myself.
King Saul was told to destroy all of the Amalekites and everything they owned. He destroyed most of it and reasoned that the best livestock of the Amalekites could be sacrificed to the Lord. When the people wanted to keep some of the fine things belonging to the Amalekites, Saul reasoned that it was best to placate them. When he had the Amalekite king in his possession, Saul reasoned that it would be best to keep him alive and make him and ally. Samuel arrived and tore the kingdom from Saul and drove a sword through Agag, the foreign king.
Faith based on human reason will always die. Faith based on divine revelation will withstand the gates of hell.
Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
Mat 16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Did Peter reason this out? The Father revealed to him and Peter accepted it by faith so that he was able to boldly speak out.
Mat 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
Mat 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Mat 16:20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
The same tests of faith happen to a Christian time and time again, and it is for this reason that we return to the scriptures time and time again. Our learning is far less about new things than it is reminders of the old things, like leading dumb horses back to the water, or sheep back to the meadow. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe.
Applied faith needs constant care. Applied faith doesn’t automatically remain in the mind. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe.
Faith that the spiritual things alone must be the center of our lives does not automatically remain in the mind. We have to be diligent in our study of the scripture and study for the right reason. We study to learn for ourselves more insight into the identity of the spiritual blessings and the understanding of how to use them in our personal lives. When we approach the Bible, we are asking God to show us how to be more like Him.
Faith in Christ as your Savior does not have be renewed, but faith to live by does. Faith as a daily function of depending on God’s truth and guidance toward everything in that day, applying the spiritual blessings from the Father to every material and earthly thing in my day.
Life is far too short to wait on striving to live by faith in the spiritual blessings from the Father.
Waiting can become a habit – before you know it, decades have gone by.
Psa 90 was written by Moses after leading the rebellious nation of God through the wilderness for 40 years. Imagine how those years had honed Moses’ poetic mind in the ways of sorrow and also in drawing him into a deeper understanding of the human condition.
Psa 90:1 A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
Psa 90:13Do return, O Lord; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants.
As man's weakness is connected with his mortality, so God's omnipotence follows necessarily from His eternity. "The mountains," by their majestic height and unshaken stability, give the impression of antiquity and unchangeableness.
The spiritual blessings are a part of Him, eternal. The material blessings are external to Him, temporal, which must bow to the eternal.
Psa 90:3 Thou dost turn man back into dust, And dost say, "Return, O children of men."
Psa 90:4 For a thousand years in Thy sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.
Our seventy or eighty years is nothing but a blink to God, and it does become a blink to us when we near the end. The night watch to the ones who are asleep is but a moment.
The flesh tells us that there is plenty of time to wait and that we don’t have to strive to live day by day in faith today. The flesh looks ahead and says there is plenty of time to commit all things to the Lord. The flesh will offer no apologies to the one who has come to the end of his life and realized he has wasted it.
If God sees our entire life as one day, then shouldn’t we live as each day is our last? Is this not also one of the reasons for our Lord not revealing to us the day of His return? And, of His instruction of being worried not for tomorrow?
We live every day as if it is our last, while taking care of the responsibilities demanded by there being a tomorrow.
Imagine that God sees all of human history as a few days. Imagine that when He became a man He subjected Himself to time and everything slowed to a crawl for Him, yet He never seemed to be in a hurry.
Psa 90:5 Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
One generation moves onto the next.
Psa 90:6 In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades, and withers away.
Psa 90:7 For we have been consumed by Thine anger, And by Thy wrath we have been dismayed.
And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Psa 90:8 Thou hast placed our iniquities before Thee, Our secret sins in the light of Thy presence.
Psa 90:9 For all our days have declined in Thy fury; We have finished our years like a sigh.
Psa 90:10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.
Notice the phrase, “their pride is but labor and sorrow.” Sorrow (Heb: aven) means vanity, sin, or emptiness. The pride of an eighty year long earthly live is labor and vanity, and amounts to nothing of any value. Without God it is in its entirety sinful because it was not lived according to His will. That is sorrow. Yet, as Moses will finish, with God all of the sin can be wiped away and all of the labor can be of glory.