Faith: The Victory of the Gospel

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom we ALSO have access by faith INTO this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:1-2)

God’s grace wherein we stand by faith will only be truly walked in, known and entered into beyond earthly knowledge by the accessing of its resources through the further exercise of faith. For true faith is that which gains not merely an earthly understanding that which God has already counted to us; but steps forward in obedience to taste of true and lasting victory over the power sin. It is after these first two verses of the fifth chapter of Romans that one could almost think to skip over into the eighth chapter without seeming to miss anything – except that Paul has to deal with that stubborn and deceptively pitiful enemy of all righteousness: the sinful flesh. The victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, dying for our sins, and being raised for our justification, will not alone produce the transformation of a man into His image simply based upon intellectually knowing and agreeing upon the fact that it happened. God requires His truth being in the inward parts of a man; but the corrupted nature will suffer no rivals to its own supreme rule in the heart, from which flows all of a man’s deeds. We too easily pass over the admonitions of Jesus Himself that one must turn from wickedness, deny oneself, take up one’s cross, sin no more, etc. We see Isaiah say of our Savior that “His delight will be in the fear of the Lord;” yet we act as though this all means that Jesus was simply preaching law so we might later rejoice that His gospel cancels out all of His difficult admonitions. I contend that nothing could be more a more dangerously subtle perversion of His glorious gospel. Yet sadly, most of us have ignorantly been taught such a gospel for much of our lives.

The problem is not that what Jesus preached is impossible and therefore irrelevant to those under grace; the problem is rather that what He preached is impossible yet still relevant, and that those who are called His own will indeed be judged according to it. ALL OF IT. The problem is that we have missed the glorious POWER of the true gospel, in which the very Spirit of the Living God, having regenerated a man into a new creature, now by faith in our surrender works within His temple a work of holiness; so that “now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the END everlasting life.” (Rom 6:22) This echos the remark of Peter that the END (result) of your faith is the salvation of your soul (1 Peter 1:9).

The keeping of the fullness of everlasting life is the result of us BECOMING the righteousness of God of Christ. It is the promise to those who overcome:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5)

The fact that He chose to say it specifically this way strongly implies that those who do not overcome may indeed have their name blotted out. The Psalmist asked that his enemies be “blotted out” (69:28, 108:13), also Moses plead with God over the people’s sin, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:32) The book of life has been from before the foundation of the earth, and God never disputes that men could be blotted out of it.

The call of God from eternity to overcome is an ever-present call. It is true that the scriptures describe in human terms those who believe on and follow Christ as having been “predestined” or “elect.” Yet while God sees things in time all at once, the scriptures still in so many ways point to free will on man’s part, according to which He judges. The mysteries of eternity are not to be fully comprehended in time, but rather responded to in the obedience of faith at God’s ever-present call. For now, since the exercise of faith is required to overcome, we see before us either a road whose travelers are called chosen and elect, or we see before us a road whose travelers are called lost – according to our faith. Now the ovecomers are those who endure to the end and are saved (Matt 24:12-13). For Christ Has overcome the world, and so we must remain in Him and He in us.

Paul wrote the following to Christians,

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom we ALSO have access by faith INTO this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:1-2)

God’s grace wherein we stand by faith will only be truly walked in, known and entered into beyond earthly knowledge by the accessing of its resources through the further exercise of faith. For true faith is that which gains not merely an earthly understanding that which God has already counted to us; but steps forward in obedience to taste of true and lasting victory over the power sin. It is after these first two verses of the fifth chapter of Romans that one could almost think to skip over into the eighth chapter without seeming to miss anything – except that Paul has to deal with that stubborn and deceptively pitiful enemy of all righteousness: the sinful flesh. The victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, dying for our sins, and being raised for our justification, will not alone produce the transformation of a man into His image simply based upon intellectually knowing and agreeing upon the fact that it happened. God requires His truth being in the inward parts of a man; but the corrupted nature will suffer no rivals to its own supreme rule in the heart, from which flows all of a man’s deeds. We too easily pass over the admonitions of Jesus Himself that one must turn from wickedness, deny oneself, take up one’s cross, sin no more, etc. We see Isaiah say of our Savior that “His delight will be in the fear of the Lord;” yet we act as though this all means that Jesus was simply preaching law so we might later rejoice that His gospel cancels out all of His difficult admonitions. I contend that nothing could be more a more dangerously subtle perversion of His glorious gospel. Yet sadly, most of us have ignorantly been taught such a gospel for much of our lives.

The problem is not that what Jesus preached is impossible and therefore irrelevant to those under grace; the problem is rather that what He preached is impossible yet still relevant, and that those who are called His own will indeed be judged according to it. ALL OF IT. The problem is that we have missed the glorious POWER of the true gospel, in which the very Spirit of the Living God, having regenerated a man into a new creature, now by faith in our surrender works within His temple a work of holiness; so that “now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the END everlasting life.” (Rom 6:22) This echos the remark of Peter that the END (result) of your faith is the salvation of your soul (1 Peter 1:9).

The keeping of the fullness of everlasting life is the result of us BECOMING the righteousness of God of Christ. It is the promise to those who overcome:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5)

The fact that He chose to say it specifically this way strongly implies that those who do not overcome may indeed have their name blotted out. The Psalmist asked that his enemies be “blotted out” (69:28, 108:13), also Moses plead with God over the people’s sin, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:32) The book of life has been from before the foundation of the earth, and God never disputes that men could be blotted out of it.

The call of God from eternity to overcome is an ever-present call. It is true that the scriptures describe in human terms those who believe on and follow Christ as having been “predestined” or “elect.” Yet while God sees things in time all at once, the scriptures still in so many ways point to free will on man’s part, according to which He judges. The mysteries of eternity are not to be fully comprehended in time, but rather responded to in the obedience of faith at God’s ever-present call. For now, since the exercise of faith is required to overcome, we see before us either a road whose travelers are called chosen and elect, or we see before us a road whose travelers are called lost – according to our faith. Now the overcomers are those who endure to the end and are saved (Matt 24:12-13). For Christ Has overcome the world, and so we must remain in Him and He in us.

Paul wrote the following to Christians,
“The gospel… by which you are BEING saved.” (1Cor 15:1-2)
– The Greek for “saved” is so often in this tense, though rarely translated into English as such. The salvation of a man is the deliverance and transformation of all aspects of his being according to the image and likeness of Christ, by whom such reconciliation IS possible.

This is why there exist scriptures about falling away, and about there being left no sacrifice for the sins of those who once tasted and saw of the heavenly gift and of the powers of the age to come yet turned away. If the scripture says that there remains no sacrifice for that person, this means that it did once before apply to them. If the scripture says that they fell away, it means that they actually had something which God considers legitimate to fall away from. For in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the very power of God operative UNTO salvation; the righteousness of God is revealed FROM faith TO faith, since the righteous live by faith (Rom 1:16-17). Therefore, let the righteousness which He has indeed imparted to those who believe now be revealed in them by such ever-increasing faith, which is the fruit of this gospel of the power of God. For we must enter into the labors of the Spirit of Christ if we will reap fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36-38).

Therefore it is graciously written:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh IN you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
(Philippians 2:12-13)

What a wonderful revelation! To those who believe on Christ, God is WORKING IN YOU something which must be, and therefore by the surety of God’s promise indeed can be, WORKED OUT by you.

BY FAITH:

And what He is determined to work in you, by the Holy Ghost indwelling you, is this: “righteousness unto eternal life” as the apostle Paul puts it. Now this is the grace of God which works mightily in us through our faith, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:21)
Salvation is by grace; yet most have seemed to miss what is meant by it being through faith. For true living faith dictates action upon that which we have not yet fully seen or fully known. The desire of God and the prayer of Jesus that His people be sanctified and holy is answered when His people surrender themselves to be the obedient vessels of HIS desire being carried out both in and through them; for the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us that we might walk in the newness of HIS Life! There is nothing of more sure substance than this very Life of God, which He has given to the Son to have true Life in Himself, who gives it also to us in measure according to our faith. For just as “the Life was revealed” in the person of Jesus (1 John 1:2), so also He desires that said Life will be revealed in those who believe on Him, who no longer obey sin unto death, but rather obey Christ Jesus unto righteousness (Romans 6:16). And we will surely walk in the evidence of things unseen when we manifest a faith that is of such true substance in our hope (Hebrews 11:1).

And this is the gospel of God’s power about which Paul said,
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’
(Romans 1:16-17)

The grace of God is His power unto His righteousness being revealed in those who work OUT what He is trying to work IN them. Faith UNTO faith is the continual casting aside of what we now see for the seeing of God’s righteousness being manifested in us from one degree to the next. Do you not know that God IS and always HAS been desirous to work such a work in you unto completion, that in His light you shall see light, that it might be made manifest that your deeds are wrought in God? For the Light of God is the radiance of the power of His holiness both to judge and to transform us from one degree of glory to the next by the Spirit of the Lord (2Cor 3:17-18). This is the fruit of the true gospel. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
(John 3:17-21)

Now some object and say that this is a salvation by works, and that it boasts in the will of man. For in their spiritual blindness and perversity they believe that such faith is a work of the flesh. But as God demands faith on our part, HE gives us the means by which to walk in it: which is the crucifixion of the flesh and the power of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing in this gospel by which any man can boast. For except He died and first counts me dead with Him, I could not reckon myself dead and begin putting to death the deeds of the body; and except He now lives and counts me alive with Him, I would not have access to the power by which to walk in the newness of His Life. We do not take credit for the faith by which we walk; nevertheless we fear God so as to humble ourselves and walk with Him obediently, and therefore we boast only in He who alone can empower this impossible thing. There is also no flattery in knowing that those who were given much yet did not allow it to be cultivated in them will be beaten with more stripes than those who were given little. We are called to holiness, by which comes the knowledge of the holy, with which comes greater accountability. To whom much is given, much more will be required – this is the cost of the gospel of Christ which must be counted. Yet this is no reason to excuse not earnestly seeking the knowledge of God; for to do so willfully is to remain in sin. And such will also be judged.

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
(1 Peter 1:17-19)

That Jesus shed His precious blood to cleanse us once for all is exactly why we ought to fear Him and receive the unction to walk with Him; for He will not be crucified a second time if we choose to willfully abuse the grace of God. He sent the Holy Spirit that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled IN US; that is, that we may walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we were called. Let us not neglect so great and complete a salvation. There is a difference between ethereally “accepting” grace and actually walking in it; and those who have not been crucified with Christ forsake truly following Him on that narrow path, which by His power is made possible, even to the degree that the Psalmist could say of it, “You gave me a WIDE place for my steps, that my feet did not slip.” – Such is the grace upon grace we are called to walk in from faith to faith!

Those who object to bearing any responsibility in what God has freely given are revealing that, at the very least, they still walk according the flesh and not according to the Spirit. I have even had one say to me that turning away from sin has nothing to with the gospel of Christ, and that God is not concerned so much with our refusal to forsake sins as He is concerned with our love of said sins. My friend, if you consistently and willfully refuse to forsake your known sins, then you do indeed love them.

Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness,
for sin IS
(not “was”) lawlessness.
And you know that He was revealed that He might take away our sins,
and sin is not in Him.

Everyone remaining in Him does not sin.
Everyone sinning has not seen Him, nor known Him.
(1 John 3:4-6)

Now it is true that “by works of the law shall no man be justified.”
But this is because of the limitation of the flesh. Paul therein speaks of works being attempted in a man’s own strength. For the law of Moses was holy and right and good; but it was the law of sin working in our flesh which rendered it ineffective – not because of any defect of the law itself! Jesus will say “I never knew you” to those whom He calls “LAWLESS ones.”

For the perfect law of God’s heart is now revealed in Christ Jesus, and must be obeyed; but because of the weakness of the flesh, it shall be accomplished only by faith in the grace and power of God through the Spirit who gives unction. For in the flesh dwells no good thing, and it is the realm of our being in which the devil and every demon has the greatest advantage, whose work Jesus appeared to undo.

Little children, let no one lead you astray; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as that One is righteous.
The one practicing sin is of the Devil, because the Devil sins from the beginning. For THIS the Son of God was revealed: that He would undo the works of the Devil.
Everyone who has been begotten of God does not sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.
(1 John 3:7-9)

And of those who are found in abiding faith unto so great a salvation, Paul declares,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free IN Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4)

This law of the Spirit of life is known through the “law of faith” which excludes all boasting (Rom 3:27). This is to live beholding ourselves in the mirror of His “perfect law of liberty” – liberty from all bondage as slaves to righteousness in Christ Jesus. For God’s grace is not frustrated by works in general, but by works begotten of the flesh in particular. For just as faith without true works is in fact dead; likewise, to remain vainly striving in the powerlessness of the fleshly nature is to remain wallowing in spiritual decay and sin unto death. Therefore, since the law of God’s righteous requirement is beyond our flesh to apprehend, our faith must be allowed to work obedience in view of allowing for the revealing of God’s own righteousness in us by the Spirit; counting ourselves as truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ, who died and was raised that we might also follow after Him through death unto true Life.

For “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” And faith works itself out as the fruit of the indwelling Spirit, but the works of the flesh are evident, according to which anyone who walks in them will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21). All deeds begotten outside of such faith compound one upon another in a ruinous heap fit only for the furnace.

Therefore, just as by faith we indeed stand in the storehouse of God’s grace, let us now, by the exercise of ever-increasing faith, access all of its resources unto Godliness. This is what His divine power grants us, if only we will walk in it rather than our own power. For the natural man is “carnal, sold under sin” (Rom 7) and only does that which wars against the desire of the new man’s regenerated spirit; but now we may, by the grace of God through the crucifixion of our flesh in Christ, live as spiritual ones in Him by faith: submitting our spirit, which He has made alive, to the rulership of His Spirit. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)

For through law I died to law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf.
(Galatians 2:19-20)

So we see that our freedom in Him is freedom from sin as slaves of righteousness. True faith in God’s grace is seen not merely in the intellectual acceptance of forgiveness; but in a walk which can only be explained by God’s power working in the man who denies himself and allows the Spirit of God to be his animating principle.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
(Galatians 5:16-18)

For the gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own words is not the cancelling of the law (for the law is spiritual – Rom 7:12-14); but rather it is the power of God to fulfill its requirement in those who walk by the Holy Spirit, who writes the law of God’s own heart upon theirs. The Spirit of the Living God has first regenerated not our flesh (for the day of our final resurrection is yet to come, though He does to a degree even now quicken our mortal bodies), but rather He has regenerated our spirit (the inner man); so that, by being evermore strengthened in our inner man by God’s Spirit, we no longer have to live from the outward man (the flesh), the deeds of which body must be put to death by the Life of the Spirit that we may truly live. For “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:24-25)

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(Romans 8:12-14)

Therefore I bow before the Father… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the INNER man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19)

The breadth and length and height and depth of the fullness of God, known through the love of Christ, is comprehended by the faith of Christ, a knowing for which we are strengthened to walk in. It is by such faith working through God’s love that we shall become those who speak of “that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (1John 1:1) For then the Lord will have disclosed Himself to us. This is to truly know, in actual experience, that which surpasses knowledge.

It was such an increase in knowing the Lord Himself for which the apostle Paul longed and strove for in spirit:

That I might be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law (which is weak through the flesh), but through the faith OF Christ (which is mighty through the Spirit in those who are crucified with Him), having the righteousness of God on faith; to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.
(Philippians 3:9-11)

And also for his brothers he prayed:

May the God of peace Himself fully sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will perform it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

And how may He perform it? That in view of such mercy, we offer even our bodies as living sacrifice to Him, yielding all our members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification.

What amazing grace unto a glorious and comprehensive victory! And this is only a sampling of God’s grace upon grace available to everyone who is born of Him by the Spirit (John 3).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(Romans 8:31-34)

Now as for faith, I still must say in light of the above scripture: is it not astonishing that Jesus Himself, not only at least once before (John 17), but even now, makes intercession for us? I contend that Jesus has never and will never pray anything without pure and unwavering faith, knowing the perfect will of God! I recently heard from a brother to whom the Lord once said, “Have faith in My faith.” – Now here is an incredible word! For HIS faith is the present verification of eternal reality, it is His “verily verily” to those who will walk in its promise, it is the perfect will of God made known to those who earnestly seek His kingdom and righteousness. This is the confidence we have in Him! (1 John 5:14)

Every prayer that Jesus prays in faith for us can find its manifestation where our faith marries HIS. And in this we shall obtain the substance of things hoped for, overcoming just as He overcame and sat on His Fathers throne (Rev 3:21). For by faith Christ Jesus has laid hold of us, so that we also by faith might lay hold of Him!

For this is God’s love, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world: OUR FAITH.
(1 John 5:3-4)

– Brendan

“The gospel… by which you are BEING saved.” (1Cor 15:1-2)
– The Greek for “saved” is so often in this tense, though rarely translated into English as such. The salvation of a man is the deliverance and transformation of all aspects of his being according to the image and likeness of Christ, by whom such reconciliation IS possible.

This is why there exist scriptures about falling away, and about there being left no sacrifice for the sins of those who once tasted and saw of the heavenly gift and of the powers of the age to come yet turned away. If the scripture says that there remains no sacrifice for that person, this means that it did once before apply to them. If the scripture says that they fell away, it means that they actually had something which God considers legitimate to fall away from. For in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the very power of God operative UNTO salvation; the righteousness of God is revealed FROM faith TO faith, since the righteous live by faith (Rom 1:16-17). Therefore, let the righteousness which He has indeed imparted to those who believe now be revealed in them by such ever-increasing faith, which is the fruit of this gospel of the power of God. For we must enter into the labours of the Spirit of Christ if we will reap fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36-38).

Therefore it is graciously written:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh IN you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
(Philippians 2:12-13)

What a wonderful revelation! To those who believe on Christ, God is WORKING IN YOU something which must be, and therefore by the surety of God’s promise indeed can be, WORKED OUT by you.

BY FAITH:

And what He is determined to work in you, by the Holy Ghost indwelling you, is this: “righteousness unto eternal life” as the apostle Paul puts it. Now this is the grace of God which works mightily in us through our faith, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:21)
Salvation is by grace; yet most have seemed to miss what is meant by it being through faith. For true living faith dictates action upon that which we have not yet fully seen or fully known. The desire of God and the prayer of Jesus that His people be sanctified and holy is answered when His people surrender themselves to be the obedient vessels of HIS desire being carried out both in and through them; for the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us that we might walk in the newness of HIS Life! There is nothing of more sure substance than this very Life of God, which He has given to the Son to have true Life in Himself, who gives it also to us in measure according to our faith. For just as “the Life was revealed” in the person of Jesus (1 John 1:2), so also He desires that said Life will be revealed in those who believe on Him, who no longer obey sin unto death, but rather obey Christ Jesus unto righteousness (Romans 6:16). And we will surely walk in the evidence of things unseen when we manifest a faith that is of such true substance in our hope (Hebrews 11:1).

And this is the gospel of God’s power about which Paul said,
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’
(Romans 1:16-17)

The grace of God is His power unto His righteousness being revealed in those who work OUT what He is trying to work IN them. Faith UNTO faith is the continual casting aside of what we now see for the seeing of God’s righteousness being manifested in us from one degree to the next. Do you not know that God IS and always HAS been desirous to work such a work in you unto completion, that in His light you shall see light, that it might be made manifest that your deeds are wrought in God? For the Light of God is the radiance of the power of His holiness both to judge and to transform us from one degree of glory to the next by the Spirit of the Lord (2Cor 3:17-18). This is the fruit of the true gospel. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
(John 3:17-21)

Now some object and say that this is a salvation by works, and that it boasts in the will of man. For in their spiritual blindness and perversity they believe that such faith is a work of the flesh. But as God demands faith on our part, HE gives us the means by which to walk in it: which is the crucifixion of the flesh and the power of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing in this gospel by which any man can boast. For except He died, I could not put to death the deeds of the body; and except He now lives, I would not have access to the power by which to do so. We do not take credit for the faith by which we walk; nevertheless we fear God so as to humble ourselves and walk with Him obediently, and therefore we boast only in He who alone can empower this impossible thing. There is also no flattery in knowing that those who were given much yet did not allow it to be cultivated in them will be beaten with more stripes than those who were given little. We are called to holiness, by which comes the knowledge of the holy, with which comes greater accountability. To whom much is given, much more will be required – this is the cost of the gospel of Christ which must be counted. Yet this is no reason to excuse not earnestly seeking the knowledge of God; for to do so willfully is to remain in sin. And such will also be judged.

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
(1 Peter 1:17-19)

That Jesus shed His precious blood to cleanse us once for all is exactly why we ought to fear Him and receive the unction to walk with Him; for He will not be crucified a second time if we choose to willfully abuse the grace of God. He sent the Holy Spirit that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled IN US; that is, that we may walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we were called. Let us not neglect so great and complete a salvation. There is a difference between ethereally “accepting” grace and actually walking in it; and those who have not been crucified with Christ forsake truly following Him on that narrow path, which by His power is made possible, even to the degree that the Psalmist could say of it, “You gave me a WIDE place for my steps, that my feet did not slip.” – Such is the grace upon grace we are called to walk in from faith to faith!

Those who object to bearing any responsibility in what God has freely given are revealing that, at the very least, they still walk according the flesh and not according to the Spirit. I have even had one say to me that turning away from sin has nothing to with the gospel of Christ, and that God is not concerned so much with our refusal to forsake sins as He is concerned with our love of said sins. My friend, if you consistently and willfully refuse to forsake your known sins, then you do indeed love them.

Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness,
for sin IS
(not “was”) lawlessness.
And you know that He was revealed that He might take away our sins,
and sin is not in Him.

Everyone remaining in Him does not sin.
Everyone sinning has not seen Him, nor known Him.
(1 John 3:4-6)

Now it is true that “by works of the law shall no man be justified.”
But this is because of the limitation of the flesh. Paul therein speaks of works being attempted in a man’s own strength. For the law of Moses was holy and right and good; but it was the law of sin working in our flesh which rendered it ineffective – not because of any defect of the law itself! Jesus will say “I never knew you” to those whom He calls “LAWLESS ones.”

For the perfect law of God’s heart is now revealed in Christ Jesus, and must be obeyed; but because of the weakness of the flesh, it shall be accomplished only by faith in the grace and power of God through the Spirit who gives unction. For in the flesh dwells no good thing, and it is the realm of our being in which the devil and every demon has the greatest advantage, whose work Jesus appeared to undo.

Little children, let no one lead you astray; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as that One is righteous.
The one practicing sin is of the Devil, because the Devil sins from the beginning. For THIS the Son of God was revealed: that He would undo the works of the Devil.
Everyone who has been begotten of God does not sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.
(1 John 3:7-9)

And of those who are found in abiding faith unto so great a salvation, Paul declares,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free IN Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4)

This law of the Spirit of life is known through the “law of faith” which excludes all boasting (Rom 3:27). This is to live beholding ourselves in the mirror of His “perfect law of liberty” – liberty from all bondage as slaves to righteousness in Christ Jesus. For God’s grace is not frustrated by works in general, but by works begotten of the flesh in particular. For just as faith without true works is in fact dead; likewise, to remain vainly striving in the powerlessness of the fleshly nature is to remain wallowing in spiritual decay and sin unto death. Therefore, since the law of God’s righteous requirement is beyond our flesh to apprehend, our faith must be allowed to work obedience in view of allowing for the revealing of God’s own righteousness in us by the Spirit; counting ourselves as truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ, who died and was raised that we might also follow after Him through death unto true Life.

For “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” And faith works itself out as the fruit of the indwelling Spirit, but the works of the flesh are evident, according to which anyone who walks in them will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21). All deeds begotten outside of such faith compound one upon another in a ruinous heap fit only for the furnace.

Therefore, just as by faith we indeed stand in the storehouse of God’s grace, let us now, by the exercise of ever-increasing faith, access all of its resources unto Godliness. This is what His divine power grants us, if only we will walk in it rather than our own power. For the natural man is “carnal, sold under sin” (Rom 7) and only does that which wars against the desire of the new man’s regenerated spirit; but now we may, by the grace of God through the crucifixion of our flesh in Christ, live as spiritual ones in Him by faith: submitting our spirit, which He has made alive, to the rulership of His Spirit. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)

For through law I died to law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf.
(Galatians 2:19-20)

So we see that our freedom in Him is freedom from sin as slaves of righteousness. True faith in God’s grace is seen not merely in the intellectual acceptance of forgiveness; but in a walk which can only be explained by God’s power working in the man who denies himself and allows the Spirit of God to be his animating principle.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
(Galatians 5:16-18)

For the gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own words is not the cancelling of the law (for the law is spiritual – Rom 7:12-14); but rather it is the power of God to fulfill its requirement in those who walk by the Holy Spirit, who writes the law of God’s own heart upon theirs. The Spirit of the Living God has first regenerated not our flesh (for the day of our final resurrection is yet to come, though He does to a degree even now quicken our mortal bodies), but rather He has regenerated our spirit (the inner man); so that, by being evermore strengthened in our inner man by God’s Spirit, we no longer have to live from the outward man (the flesh), the deeds of which body must be put to death by the Life of the Spirit that we may truly live. For “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:24-25)

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(Romans 8:12-14)

Therefore I bow before the Father… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the INNER man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19)

The breadth and length and height and depth of the fullness of God, known through the love of Christ, is comprehended by the faith of Christ, a knowing for which we are strengthened to walk in. It is by such faith working through God’s love that we shall become those who speak of “that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (1John 1:1) For then the Lord will have disclosed Himself to us. This is to truly know, in actual experience, that which surpasses knowledge.

It was such an increase in knowing the Lord Himself for which the apostle Paul longed and strove for in spirit:

That I might be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law (which is weak through the flesh), but through the faith OF Christ (which is mighty through the Spirit in those who are crucified with Him), having the righteousness of God on faith; to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.
(Philippians 3:9-11)

And also for his brothers he prayed:

May the God of peace Himself fully sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will perform it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

And how may He perform it? That in view of such mercy, we offer even our bodies as living sacrifice to Him, yielding all our members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification.

What amazing grace unto a glorious and comprehensive victory! And this is only a sampling of God’s grace upon grace available to everyone who is born of Him by the Spirit (John 3).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(Romans 8:31-34)

Now as for faith, I still must say in light of the above scripture: is it not astonishing that Jesus Himself, not only at least once before (John 17), but even now, makes intercession for us? I contend that Jesus has never and will never pray anything without pure and unwavering faith, knowing the perfect will of God! I recently heard from a brother to whom the Lord once said, “Have faith in My faith.” – Now here is an incredible word! For HIS faith is the present verification of eternal reality, it is His “verily verily” to those who will walk in its promise, it is the perfect will of God made known to those who earnestly seek His kingdom and righteousness. This is the confidence we have in Him! (1 John 5:14)

Every prayer that Jesus prays in faith for us can find its manifestation where our faith marries HIS. And in this we shall obtain the substance of things hoped for, overcoming just as He overcame and sat on His Fathers throne (Rev 3:21). For by faith Christ Jesus has laid hold of us, so that we also by faith might lay hold of Him!

For this is God’s love, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world: OUR FAITH.
(1 John 5:3-4)

– Brendan

2 comments on “Faith: The Victory of the Gospel

  1. Tim Shey says:

    I like what you wrote on “being saved.” Here is something that I wrote that is similar to what you wrote:

    Time, Timelessness and Jesus Christ

    When I think on the word “saved” (as in, “I was saved twenty or thirty years ago” or “when were you saved?” and so on), as a Christian, it is probably an incorrect word or concept. To be saved implies the past. The Lord Jesus Christ is past, present and future. As a Christian, I abide in Christ right here right now.

    Let’s say someone surrendered their life to Christ a number of years ago. This is the BEGINNING of being connected with the timelessness of Jesus Christ. As we take up our cross and die daily, our body and soul life are put to death, so that the spiritual life within us (Christ) grows stronger and stronger every day. As the passions of the body and soul life die, time dies. Think of the sinful, physical body as shackled to time: the physical body is born on a certain date (time), it lives for 85 years (time) and then dies on a certain date (time).

    There is a point in physical time when someone surrenders to timelessness—the Lord Jesus Christ. Worldly people and lukewarm Christians are still bound to time; spiritual Christians are timeless.

    The power and beauty of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that that timeless event (it defied time and space) pierced human time and presented us with the possibility of living a life connected to timelessness and sinlessness (abiding in Christ)—if we act in faith and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.

    I John 1: 7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

    The above scripture absolutely implies, not some historical event (time), but the timelessness of Jesus Christ. To an unbeliever, the phrase “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” is totally insane: the death of Jesus Christ happened over two thousand years ago (time). To a Christian, what happened at Calvary is happening right here right now
    (timelessness). If we walk in the light (abide in Christ daily), the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us (not cleansed us) from all sin.

    Enoch walked with God and then God took him because (after many years of obeying the Lord through proper blood sacrifices [dying to self] and believing in the future Messiah) he walked in timelessness and eventually timelessness (God) took him. Enoch was no longer shackled by time.
    Prophets are very timeless because the timeless Holy Ghost inspires them to speak of future events as if they are happening right here right now.

    Time to stop writing.

    Like

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