Believing Is Just Part of Faith and Faithing (first 9.9.10)
Some of the difficulty we non Hebrew bible students have with understanding what the bible is actually saying and actually meaning is that certain languages like our English and Spanish are especially weak in explaining the bible concept of faith (bear with this rather long intro as I get to a clear bible example at the end).
For example in English and Spanish the word "belief" and "creencia" refer primarily to the mental assent aspect of our biblical faith, of our mind agreeing that Jesus is Lord and messiah. This is all well and good, but it doesn't nearly go far enough in explaining the bible concept of faith. Why? Because in the Hebrew bible culture, an eastern culture, faith (as opposed to our western culture) is way more than believing in our heads.
King Ahab and Jezebel believed in God as did all of the Israelites struggling with idolatry. And the devil believes (James 2,19), but the bible tells us that we live by faith, and follow God, not just believe in our heads.
Faith is more than our beliefs and creencias. It's an active and practical trust and daily confidence that leads to ongoing acts of obedience, and other ongoing acts of faith, like repentance and worship and picking up our cross and following him, long after profession. As Gene Scott always used to say "faith is confidently acting on the promises of God again and again."
Faith is the sum and substance of all the things we hope for (Hebrews 11,1)- and that sum and substance also consists of new challenges and more faith decisions that go beyond our first profession.
So faith in the bible is way more than mental assent to a list of beliefs, and then sitting on the fence blind to God's grace all around us.
Bible Doesn't Separate Faith And Belief Only Our Language Does
So when we read "belief" and "believing" or "creencia" and "creyendo" in our bibles, it is actually referring to faith and faithing, and fe y feyendo if you will, instead of just belief and believing. But our languages (which are accidentally poor on this point) separate belief from faith when neither the Hebrew bible culture or Greek language of the New Testament bible do. In it's all the same root word faith.
In other words, there is no separation in the bible between what believing in our head and professing with our mouth and attaching our very selves to Jesus and confidently acting on his promises and obeying him and following him and witnessing for him- these are all part of the full biblical concept of faith. They all go together, like politics and money and votes, like love and marriage and kids, like spagehtti and sauce and having a full stomach.
There's no separation in a bible faith between the faith in our heart (soul, personality), in our head (belief), on our lips (profession) and in our feet and hands (our actions). In the bible faith is just as much in our heart and mind as in our feet and hands. In other words, if you have a Lord, you don't just get up every day with him in your heart and minds, but in your feet and hands too.
Why Living By the Full Sense of Faith is Important
So if, and supposing what we are saying about faith is true, why is this important? For a couple of reasons.
One, because we are saved by faith, and we live by faith, and by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We don't live by just professing the beliefs in our head. Once we catch the insight that all those "beliefs" in the bible translated in English are really coming from one root word and big concept of bible faith, which is always referring to more than mental assent and profession, then out the window goes carnal and disobedient Christianity where we seem sometimes to make more demands on God than he makes on us.
Two, when we realize that we have over-emphasized the mental assent and philosophical aspect of our faith, to the detriment of the biblical baisis of obeying, following, serving, growing to maturity, we become more open to the "something more" aspect of our faith.
And that "something more", there's got to be something more, is the distinct event of baptism in the Spirit whereby God lives inside us, and writes his law inside us, and we experience the fullness of the the "born again" experience.
Of course it helps to ask for Baptism in the Holy Ghost too.
Please don't get sore and start theological discussions if you are not baptized in Holy Ghost. You might not have had the sense to ask for it yet.
You might have been told that belief and profession were the sum and substance of faith.
And even if you don't have it yet it's not that you lack for true and valid experiences of God's grace, it is just that you haven't benefited from this distinct experience that gave birth to the first church on the day of Pentecost.
Scriptural Application of How Believing Is Not Separate From Faith and Blessed Fruits of Faith
I'll try and tie all this up and prove it with scripture. Please Look at Psalm 84,4-7:
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house [where the presence is experienced]; they will still be praising You;
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart [everything about him, mind, body, soul, feet and hands] is set on pilgrimage [faithfully and wholly serving God].
As they pass through the Valley of Baca [ie a Spiritually lifeless "faith", the desert while going back to Zion, where the Spirit is], they make it a spring [because they bring the Spirit of God, have it in them, praise the Lord]; the rain also covers it will pools [they bring the life of God wherever thay go, praise Jesus, rainmakers so to speak].
They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion [each one has the Holy Ghost Strength that only God can give, that also brings them back always to the place of strength, to Zion, where each of us is born again of water and the Spirit per Psalm 87,5 and John 3,5]
Please now turn to John 7,37-38 (The Interlinear Bible 1986):
And in the last day of the great feast [tabernacles, re. water from the rock in the desert, for the people fleeing Egypt, who was Christ 1Corinthians10,4), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
The one believing into me, as Scripture said, "Out of his belly [the Holy Ghost in us] will flow rivers of living water [will flow Christ, praise God]
This verse could just have easily said "the one faithing into me," if our English used faithing as a participle for "belief." It could have just have easily said "if one holds fast to me, runs to me and me only and, clings to me as Lord, throws his life into mine, he will get full of me, and get real drink in him."
And when this type of all out gung-ho faith happens no matter how you variously describe it, it all points to the same reality, baptism in the Spirit. You can check up on me- as to what faith actually means in the NT bible see Thayer"s Greek English Lexicon of NT: n. 4100, p. 511 (Baker, 1977).
So faith here at John 7,37-38 includes the mental conviction and trust that Jesus is Lord yes, but that is always just part and parcel of a whole range of active obedience and right response to the person of Christ, and word of Christ, which comprises biblical faith, which includes drinking in all the faith, a life long discipleship service (pick up your cross daily and follow me) and living by the entire concept of biblical faith, by the entire word of the gospel. The Apsotle Paul left Ephesus and his last words to them, Acts 20,27, were not isolated fragment of so called "proof texts" that make salvation way easier than Jesus ever intended, but the exhortation to the whole counsel of God.
Making salvation user friendly has lead to man made and contorted doctrines such as the Holy Ghost baptism ceased with the first twelve apostles (what? Acts 2,39), or is now magically imputed at water baptism (even for infants!), or profession, or even by denominational decree, or sacraments, or that occasional wafts of God's grace must be enough.
Or, perhaps we don't need any more grace at all now that we have believed and or professed, and were saved by the faith that flowed from it.
And on and on the philosophical rationalizations go.
Meanwhile our great and majestic and miraculous and empowering faith is reduced to "try" "try" "try." Now trying is good, but trying without God's Spirit having taken up residence within you, doesn't get you very far down the King's highway.
Conclusion: Faith Is Way More than Belief And Leads to Way More Than Profession
God would have all of us live by faith rather than by mere belief.
Mere mental belief might plant the seed of the word- seed of salvation (1Peter1,23).
But watch out seeds often die in nature.
Better still is a full, committed, ongoing bible faith (always confidently acting on the promises of God again and again) that securely plants that seed, from true repentance onward, and also nourishes it, and waters it with the Holy Ghost, unto the bud and produce of that seed, unto the full first fruit of it, which is baptism in the Holy Ghost.
As for myself, what do I know, but I'm fixing to live by what the whole bible says is faith not just my beliefs and the accidents of a translated and inexact language. Why? Because the way I reckon it, my very salvation may depend on it, wanting to finish the race and all, not to mention the beneficial power from on high to spread the gospel in the meantime.
But perhaps you have figured out a better way to spread the gospel than Jesus gave the first church 2000 years ago.
So brothers and sisters peace out, and keep on faithing on Jesus.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...