The Pryor Times


December 12, 2013

Passing the test of faith

PRYOR, OK — When God created man, He did not make him like a robot that automatically did whatever he was programmed to do.  God made man a free moral agent, with the ability to choose to obey or to disobey.  Actually, the choice is between obeying God or Satan.

Back in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Satan convinced them that such was not a reasonable request.  He said that the fruit looked good, that it would taste good, and that eating it would make them wise like God.  The consequences of their disobedience are still being felt today, as man all too often continues to choose to obey Satan rather than God.

In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Man must learn to trust God’s ways rather than his own ways.  Solomon said that there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).  The prophet Jeremiah said that man does not have the ability to direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23).

To please God, man must walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  That means to be obedient to God’s word, since faith comes by hearing His word.  At times, man needs a very strong faith to obey God, because from a human point of view it does not seem logical to obey.  For example, it took great faith for Abraham to obey when God told him to offer up his son, Isaac, on the altar.  Abraham passed this test of faith and he was richly blessed.  That same kind of obedient faith will bless us today (Galatians 3:26-29).

When Naaman, the leper, was told to go dip seven times in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5), he became angry.  That seemed like a strange thing to do.  How could that help his leprosy?  Eventually, Naaman passed this test of faith and went and dipped seven times in the Jordan River.  When Naaman did it, he was cleansed of his leprosy.  It was not the water that cleansed him; it was his obedience.  Again, God’s way worked.

From a human standpoint, it seemed strange and unreasonable for Joshua and the Israelites to march around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day.  Why would they do that?  They did it because they trusted God and knew that His way would work.  Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”  They passed their test of faith and did exactly what God had commanded them to do.  

Without faith, it would have seemed strange for the Israelites to keep the Passover.  But a failure to sprinkle blood around the door would have been disastrous.  Passing their test of faith saved their firstborn from death.

If our faith today is not strong enough to lead to obedience, then our faith is dead (James 2:26).  I John 5:4 says that our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.  A dead faith is not a victorious faith.  Victory comes through obeying God’s word.

God’s word is truth (John 17:17).  Jesus says in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  But that truth must be obeyed.  We purify our souls when we obey the truth, which is God’s word (I Peter 1:22-23).

God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4).  Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  (See Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21)  Do you have enough faith in God to do whatever He commands?  Will you pass the test of faith?

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