John 3:19 (KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Jesus was speaking to the world in general but directly to Nicodemus. Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who practiced the law perfectly in deed, that he preferred darkness because his deeds were evil. The law is not evil, as Paul would teach repeatedly it was meant to expose humanity of their need for a Savior. The law in itself had no power to produce righteousness that we, as a fallen creature, desperately need. The righteousness that we all look for is God’s righteousness, which is the body of Jesus Christ “law made into flesh”.
When the apostle John died, the church slipped into apostasy as darkness started to prevail over the truth of the light and the Catholic Church began to emerge. In 1557 Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the local Catholic Church which can be summed up as “The just shall live by faith”. This was the first time a glimmer of the true light pushed through the darkness of false doctrine.
“ Luther came to understand justification as being entirely the work of God. Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are done in cooperation with God, Luther asserted that Christians receive that righteousness entirely from outside themselves; that righteousness not only comes from Christ, it actually is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us (rather than infused into us) through faith. “That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law,” said Luther. “Faith is that which brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ“. Thus faith, for Luther, is a gift from God, and “. . .a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.” This faith grasps Christ’s righteousness and appropriates it for itself in the believer’s heart.”
“The just shall live by faith” is a profound statement for a believer, but before a person can live by faith he has to be made “just”.
*My comments are within scripture*
Galatians 2:16-17 (KJV)
6 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ (who’s faith?), even we have believed in Jesus Christ (a derivative for the cross of Christ), that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law (anything can be made to be law not just the Law of God for example praying, fasting, memorizing scriptures.): for by the works of the law shall no flesh (there is only one flesh that is justified: Christ’s) be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners (found to be trusting in the works of the law through our flesh), is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
This is a notable example of how people can take something that is true (the bible) and convert it into something false. False doctrine is one of the reasons why a person can continually feel a lack of knowledge. Total truth is always present within scripture, but the lack of truth comes when we attempt to turn the truth into something that it is not.
1 Cor 13:9 (KJV)
9 For we know in part …
While we are maturing in the faith of Jesus Christ, we only “know in part”. The other “part” we will fill in with our own understanding if we are not careful. This is exactly how believers went into the darkness of the Catholic Church and this is why modern believers dwell in darkness today.
Just to be clear, this is not a “Catholic” issue, but a “Church” issue. I am simply using the Catholic Church as an example of how we as believers can dwell in a “works related” relationship and totally miss a more purposeful and fulfilling relationship.
Martha was a woman that thought there was so much to do for the Master of the Universe, and Mary sat at Christ’s feet and learned of him.
Luke 10:41-42 (KJV) 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I have heard many times that Martha was doing something that was necessary, but Christ said, “one thing is needful” and Mary chose to do the needful thing: setting at the foot of Christ and hearing him.
Luke 10:39 (KJV) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Let us not take scripture and comprehend it with our own understanding.
Isaiah 5:20-21 (KJV)
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
The modern-day church is facing the same darkness that Martin Luther faced. Martin Luther’s church read from the same bible that we read from today, but the “priests” preached everything but the true gospel. Hundreds of years later believers have not realized their error and made the corrections that are so desperately needed. We would like to think that we have evolved in our mental capabilities, but the fact is technology does not measure human’s intellect.
As Martin Luther stood at the door of the church ready to nail his thesis, what had to be going through his mind? What was he going to face when it came to acceptance? The people welcomed the truth, while the leadership rejected it. Jesus faced the same criticism from the leaders of his day as well.
What made the false prophets in scripture false?
Jer 14:14 (KJV)
14 Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
It is not to say that these prophets were not called to be prophets, but they were not chosen to be prophets, “many are called but few are chosen Matt. 22:14”. A chosen minister is one that preaches a singular message, the cross of Christ. A person that has been called, but not chosen yet (I say “yet” because every chosen minister is first called), will preach the cross but will also preach “pet” doctrines as well (“things of nought” i.e. unprofitable doctrines). For example, King Saul was one that was called whereas King David was chosen.
1 Sam 8:11-17 (KJV)
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth (tithe) of your seed, and of your vineyards…
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth (tithe) of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
Saul was “called” to be king and always took from the people. David on the other hand was “chosen” to be King. He (David) is the old testament representation of Christ (8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David… 2 Tim 2:8 (KJV). Let us seek to not only be called of God but chosen as well.
Romans 8:30 (KJV)
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified (A person that has not been justified cannot live by true faith), them he also glorified.
Going back to Gal. 2, we should all pray to be judged. Judge me now Lord.
It has been almost 500 years since Luther posted his thesis, what has truths have been revealed since? Where is the Lord bringing us too? What is he trying to show us? What is he trying to teach us?
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is based upon the Word of God. The Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among men. So why do we base our faith upon our senses and internal feelings which yield uncertainty and insecurity?
Hebrews 11:4 (KJV)
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain (This shows the FACT that the object of our faith must be “Jesus Christ and him crucified”), by which he obtained witness that he was righteous (Righteousness can only come from Christ and can only be obtained by putting our faith exclusively in the cross.), God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Mark 11:22-23 (KJV)
22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
I have heard many preachers use this peculiar verse, to include myself, that all a believer must do is “speak to the mountain” and it will be moved. It is easy to be caught up in the flesh, and believe we have the power to cast the mountain into the sea simply by speaking the words. If this was true then Jesus would not have said “Have faith in God” but have faith in your words, which is faith in self and not in God. We should have faith in God, that he will remove mountains out of our path.
There is only one mountain that God will not remove out of our path which is Calvary’s hill, but all other mountains and valleys will be made level for those that walk-in faith in the cross of Christ.
Isaiah 40:3-4 (KJV)
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
A believer’s life should not be filled with mountains, valleys, or pot holes. It should be filled with a smooth and confident path. Our faith must be properly placed or our journey through life will be plagued by obstacles and pit falls at every turn.
Matthew 17:19-21 (KJV)
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
The disciples tried to cast the devil out of the child and failed. Jesus tells them why they were not able to help the child: One, because of “unbelief” i.e. faithlessness and two, because of a lack of prayer and fasting. Since we should understand that Jesus’ words are to be understood spiritually, then fasting would not mean refraining from food because that is the carnal interpretation of fasting. The spiritual meaning for fasting would mean to abstain from the efforts of the flesh. When the disciples tried to cast the devil out they placed their “faith” within their own abilities when they should have placed their faith with God alone. So, when they failed, Jesus said it was because of their “unbelief”. The word “unbelief” in the Greek means: faithlessness, i.e. (negative) disbelief (want of Christian faith), or (positive) unfaithfulness (disobedience): – unbelief. Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
The disciples would never admit to walking in “disobedience” because they were Christ’s disciples. The fact remains though, that when they were not obedient to the faith, they were in direct conflict with the cross, and therefore “disobedient.” Believers today, even though they are followers of Christ, can be and are living in disobedience just as these disciples were.
Matthew 16:24 (KJV)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
The disciples had taken up their “crosses” and were following Christ, but that does not negate the fact that they were disobedient to the faith of the cross.
Romans 16:25-26 (KJV)
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel (the cross of Christ), and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery (the mystery of the cross), which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
The obedience of faith is obedience to the Cross of Christ. Faith does not come in whatever flavor we are in the mood for today. There is only one true faith and there is nothing beyond that.
Ephesians 4:4-5 (KJV)
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, …
Since there is only one true faith it would make sense that if our “faith” is wrong then we are not living in faith and we are walking without faith. The word of faith teaches that there are different “types of faith.” They believe that their faith is put into action by speaking scripture out loud over a particular situation, but this is not faith, it is law. Quoting scripture is not wrong but believing that because “I am quoting scripture then the mountain will be removed” is wrong because it is law. Nothing can be spoken in to existence.
Galatians 3:12 (KJV)
And the law is not of faith: …
It is hard for some to understand that we could make a law out of something that was not meant to be law, but the fact is that whenever we believe that our faith is being put into action by speaking things into existence or performing good deeds, then we have just made it into law.
James 2:21-22, 24 (KJV)
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James states that it is works and faith working in conjunction with each other that justifies a man. How can we resolve this issue that James brings up? We must ask, what is the narrow way? Out of any example he could have used he shows us a sacrifice.
Romans 5:9 (KJV)
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, …
The work of the cross justifies everyone that willingly puts their faith into that single specific work. Please understand that I am in no way speaking out against “good works.” I am simply pointing out that “good works” has nothing to do with putting faith into action.
Romans 10:16-17 (KJV)
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17 (KJV) preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ… The cross of Christ is the gospel and for a preacher to preach anything else is in fact preaching a “false” gospel.). For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is His (God’s) word that brings faith and not our words. Only the word of God can bring faith to a person. The Word of God is Jesus Christ, “the word made flesh,” and only HE can transform someone. Hearing can only come by the word of God.
Amos 8:11 (KJV)
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
Faith will become a famine and the church will hunger for it. Believers that are shut up under law as they wait on faith to be revealed have trusted in the works of their own hands and the words of their own mouths calling it faith but in reality, it is nothing more than law being worked out within their lives. We must turn from the will of the flesh and put total trust into the work of the Lord’s Cross.
Famine according to dictionary.com means “extreme and general scarcity” of something. If this scripture in Amos is true, then we are living in a time of faithlessness. True and pure faith has become something very rare and extremely difficult to find today.
Luke 18:8 (KJV)
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Top 10 Largest National Christian Populations
1 USA 224,457,000 85% (Out of 313,847,465 [July 2012 est.] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html)
2 Brazil 139,000,000 93%
3 Mexico 86,120,000 99%
4 Russia 80,000,000 60%
5 China 70,000,000 5.7%
6 Germany 67,000,000 83%
7 Philippines 63,470,000 93%
8 United Kingdom 51,060,000 88%
9 Italy 47,690,000 90%
10 France 44,150,000 98%
According to the above statistics, Christians in the United States constitute 85% of the population. Although this percentage does not seem like famine proportions, if scripture is correct, then there is a famine in the land and most “Christians” are not operating in faith. We live in an age where there is a church on every corner to fit everyone and anyone’s denominational need, but what makes one person’s belief different from another’s? Who is right? EVERYONE would say that their church is a good church and that it is operating in biblical faith, but facts do not lie. Since there is currently a famine of faith in the land we must now ask ourselves the hard question, “Do we (I) really have faith?” “Am I living in faith?”