What is faith?

18 December 2020

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

In Jacob 1:22-25, we read, “And you must steadily be doers of Torah and not only hearers, deceiving yourself. Because if someone is a hearer of Torah and not a doer, this one is like a man when he observes his own natural face in a mirror, for he observed himself then went away, and immediately forgot what manner of person he was. But the one who looked into the perfect Torah, the one of freedom, and continues to do so, not being a forgetful hearer but a being a doer of work, he will be blessed, happy in what he does.”

Here Jacob tells us to have the Torah (the law of Moses) as the object of our faith. He then says if we have the Torah as the object of our faith, we will be blessed and happy.

Why is Jacob so focused on the Torah? Should he not instead focus on the cross? After all, we are not saved by the Torah, are we?

To answer this question, we need to read Hebrews 10:35-11:1: “Therefore do not cast away your faithfulness which has great reward. For you need patience so that after you do the will of Yehovah, you would take the Gospel. For yet a little while, the One Who will come and not delay says Habakkuk 2:3. And Habakkuk 2:4 says, And My righteous one will live by faith, and if he would withdraw, My inner being will not take pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back but of those who are faithful in preserving life. And faithfulness is being confident of things being hoped for, proof of things not seen. Indeed the elders were approved by this.”

After reading Hebrews 10:35-11:1, we understand why Jacob focuses on the Torah instead of the cross. The reason is that Jacob has a different understanding of faith than most Christians.

Most Christians understand faith as defined in Hebr 11:1, “Faith is being confident of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.” So to our understanding, faith is being confident of what we hope for accepting as proven things we do not see. The way we see this is this: If someone needs healing, or we need something ourselves, Hebr 11:1 says if we are confident of our healing and we trust Jesus will meet our needs, we have faith. Or if we are confident Jesus died for us, and we trust in the cross, we have faith to be healed and cared for by God regardless of how we live our lives. So we pray and ask to be healed and our needs to be met, and we pray with faith because the Gospels say if we ask in faith, we will receive. In our minds, how we live our lives does not matter and does not affect our faith as long as we claim faith in the cross. This is because we believe we are saved by grace through faith, so everything else comes to us by grace through faith.

Jacob would strongly disagree with our understanding of faith. He sees faith as faithfulness to the Torah, and if we stay faithful to the Torah, then we will take the Gospel. What is the Gospel, according to Jacob? The Gospel is the Kingdom of Yehovah; everything we need here on earth and eternal life in Heaven when we die. But if we shrink back and stop being faithful, Jacob says our faith will not be pleasing to Yehovah, and we will never see the Gospel.

How do we know this is how Jacob sees faith? Because of Hebr 10:35-11:1.

From verse 35-11:1, the author of Hebrews says, our faithfulness to the Torah will give us a great reward. This reward is the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of Yehovah here on earth and in the life to come. But we need to be patient because we are not guaranteed an immediate fulfillment of the Gospel. We are, on the other hand, assured that if we remain faithful, no matter what, it will be pleasing to Yehovah, and we will be able to take the Gospel. How do we stay faithful? By having the Torah as the object of our faith. Then it goes on, from verse 11:3 and to the end of the chapter, to list people who were faithful and, because of their faithfulness, took the Gospel. These people lived many 100 years before Christ was born, people like Abraham, Noah, Sarah, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. But because they all remained faithful to the Torah, they got to experience the Gospel.

If the Gospel is “Jesus died for you,” how could all of these people who lived 100s of years before Christ take the Gospel? The answer is that the Gospel is the message of the Kingdom of Heaven, which we can experience only by being faithful to Heaven’s constitution. What is the constitution? It is the Torah, the law of Moses.

Does that mean we will all be healed, cared for, and live a problem-free life if we only stay faithful to the Torah? The writer of Hebrews answers this question from verse 33. Here he describes how the Kingdom of Heaven looks like for those who stay faithful. One of the first things we notice is that it is not guaranteed problem-free life; instead, it ensures Yehovah’s help amid our trials. Because they stayed faithful, they stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the fire, escaped the edges of the sword, strengthened from weakness, became strong in war, and caused armies to fall. Women received their dead by resurrection, but others who were faithful were tortured, rejecting to compromise because they wanted to remain faithful. They took mockings, scourgings, trials, chains, prison, were stoned, sawed in two, died by the sword, and suffered.

The answer is no; being saved is not a guarantee for a problem-free life. We are not guaranteed to walk in health and victory, but we are guaranteed to see Yehovahs help in everything we do. We are assured that He will help us amid our trials, He will give us a way out, and He will strengthen us to endure what we have to go through as long as we stay faithful to the Torah. (Psalm 23). And if we remain faithful, no matter what, we will, in the end, see the most significant victory of all – eternal life in Heaven in the New Jerusalem.

If you can accept what Jacob is trying to tell you, it will change your life. When faithfulness and love for the Torah become your number one priority, you walk by faith and not by sight. Then you are pleasing to Yehovah; then you love Yehovah and His Son Yeshua, then you will live united with Yeshua loved by Him and His Father Yehovah. Then, and only then will you be a child of Yehovah. (John 3:16, 1. John 2, James 2, John 14)

So make the right choice today, repent, and make the Torah your number one priority.

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