Exercising in Faith

When we think of the “end times” persecution of Christians, what comes to mind when considering faith? For many, we believe that once we make our declaration of faith, we are good to go. Jesus will rapture us away before the tribulation, so there’s nothing to worry about. If you have not already read it, I recommend reading, Seeking First The Kingdom of God.

We are told in the scriptures that such beliefs are foolish. I do not believe in the rapture, and it’s not a huge barrier if you do. The foolishness does not come from such doctrines necessarily, but instead, the foolishness is when we fail to prepare spiritually—because in essence, this preparation is the purpose of our lives as we are raised up to be children of God—which is the purpose of the creation.

Faith is Power to Overcome

Faith is a gift given to us by God so that we can approach Him through the blood of the Son. If our faith does not come from God, but instead is something we try to create within ourselves, then that faith is not real. There is no power of life in it.

Real faith brings life. That means we are given, by grace, power to overcome this present world. As our faith grows and is strengthened, we find greater ability to stop living sinfully and start living according to the righteous commandments of Jesus Christ – commandments that cannot be contained or obeyed according to the letter of the law.

What does faith have to do with being prepared for “end times?”

If our faith gives us power to overcome sin and attacks from the devil in this present world, how much more will our faith shield us from attack from the false prophet and those who do his bidding?

If you read about the “Armour of God” in Ephesians 6, we are told:

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:16).

Powerless, dead faith will not withstand any real persecution or “fiery darts of the wicked.” Consider ourselves now. In what ways are we denying Christ? Are we ashamed to talk about Jesus? Are we afraid to openly honor his name? Do we believe that we are enslaved to the present prince of this world? Are we throwing our hands up and submitting to sin?

We know the affliction of the “end times” will be more severe than mankind has ever known. We know that deception will run rampant. We know that all who hold fast to the name of Jesus will be killed. We need to be very strong in the faith, and we need to start seeking the Lord to strengthen our faith now.

You might think, “I’d never deny Jesus. I’d die first!” If any of us think we will not deny Jesus, consider Peter. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with God so that we do not deceive ourselves into thinking we are ready when we are not. This is not something to take lightly and there is no room for complacency in the kingdom of God.

How do we exercise our faith?

First, take comfort in this one thing: your faith is the workmanship of Jesus who is faithful and true. If you have any measure of faith, continue seeking the things of God and he will give you everything you need. You might be put through some hard things that try your faith, but it is through such hardships that faith is cultivated and made strong.

Secondly, continue seeking Jesus to have your faith built up. You do this by seeking to do his will presently with faith in his righteousness that is given by his loving grace. As we see sins lifted and the temptations of this world less appealing, we will grow in confidence that our salvation is sure. We will grow in our love for Jesus and begin to know him personally. We will see doubt and sin fade away, and we become strengthened spiritually and made ready to stand against all things that dishonor his name and hinder the faith of our brethren.

Food for Thought

Faith is one of the most fundamental concepts of Christianity, and one that has been sorely misunderstood by many. This article isn’t meant to look at faith docrinally, but is meant to encourage you to seek Jesus more earnestly so that he can show you want faith is about. Even so, here are some scriptures that might get you thinking about faith:

James 2: 14:20 (please study for context):

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

2 Peter 1: 2-11 (Please study for context):

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

In Conclusion

The name of Jesus is powerful, and with faith in him we have everything we need to grow in the things of God so that we can stand strong no matter what comes our way. We should all be pushing on in the faith no matter which time we are living in. “Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” is how we live this out presently, regardless of whether we will face the “end times” or not.

This was originally posted at KindlingTruth on March 16, 2018 as part of a series that considers how Christians should prepare for “end-times.” This article focuses on faith in terms of seeking the righteousness of God as promised in the gospel. I want to write a follow-up article that adds to the thoughts given here with a focus on faith in terms of trusting the Lord in all things.

Inserted 5/14/2021: Exercising in Faith: Learning to Trust in the Lord

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