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Christ's Faith is the Template
By: David Deschesne, editor/publisher
Fort Fairfield Journal, October 11, 2006
By: David Deschesne
There is a common misconception among society today that belief in God or belief in Jesus is enough to warrant safe passage into Heaven. That is not true. Even the devil believes Jesus and the Heavenly Father exist, but he’s on his way to hell along with all of those who operate on mere belief alone.
The problem with the word “believe” and “belief” seems to originate from the King James Version of the Bible.
In the KJV, when the translators came to the Greek word πισευω (pist-yoo’-o) they didn’t always adequately translate it. πισευω is a word with compound nuances. At once it roughly translates as the verbal phrase “to faith in” and the noun “faith.” The word “faith” in English is an abstract noun, it is not a verb, such as πισευω is. If the KJV translators already used the noun “faith” in a sentence, they would use the verb “believe” later on in the same sentence, even when πισευω was used in both instances in the original text. This is likely because their style wasn’t conducive to using the same word twice in the same sentence.
The late Dr. Gene Scott, Ph. D. has described πισευω with the “A-B-C’s” of Faith: “Action based upon a Belief sustained by Confidence. Since there is no action word for Faith in English, the KJV translators chose the closest one they could find - believe. Unfortunately, to ‘believe’ is only a portion of the essence of πισευω. For example, you can believe the railing on the edge of a great cliff overlooking the Grand Canyon will hold you, but until you actually walk over to it, lean your weight on it and see that it does, you never know for sure. That is what πισευω means. It means you acted upon a belief, sustained by confidence and found a level of knowledge you never had before.
God wants us to experience His power and Grace in order to have a closer, more personal relationship with Him. That closeness and trust, that is developed the same way any other friendship is, is the essence of Faithing - to coin a new verb - that redeems our eternal soul to be together with the Heavenly Father.
Mere belief still keeps you apart from God, wondering if He will get you through. Belief alone keeps us on the sidelines, instead of getting in the game; it keeps us standing in the storm, instead of running to the shelter; it allows us to see the life preserver, but fail to put it on. Belief has its place in the English language, but not as an action word to describe the act of Faithing.
Jesus received this promise from His Heavenly Father: If you die on the cross, I’ll raise you up on the third day.
Jesus exercised a level of Faith in his Heavenly Father as no mortal human could. He suffered horrible punishment at the hands of man, died a painful, grisly death all acting upon His belief that He would be raised. And He was.
When Jesus placed all of His Faith and Trust in our Heavenly Father, He demonstrated the level of Faith we are to aspire to in order to access God’s free gift of grace and redemption; indeed, Jesus’ Faith is the template - the guide - for us to follow in our Faith walk with Him.
When Jesus died and rose on the third day, He broke a hole through the wall that imprisons men’s souls. That wall is formed from the bricks and mortar of lack of Faith in the Heavenly Father. While He may have broken a hole in the wall, He doesn’t drag us kicking and screaming through it. God only wants those in Heaven who want to be there with Him. He’s not going to force anyone who doesn’t want to place their Faith in Him, to be His trusting friend. Therefore, once that hole has been knocked through the wall you have to get up on your own initiative and walk through it yourself. That is the “Action” Dr. Scott is referring to in his ‘ABCs’ of Faith. You figuratively place one foot in front of the other in your Faith walk with God, relying on Him to get you through all of life’s hurdles, valleys and obstructions from Faith to Faith.
The Apostle Paul concurs in Romans 3:22: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all that have faith* for there is no difference:” (*KJV reads “believe” but it is from the same root as faith, they just choose a more popular syntax of the day which doesn’t allow one to repeat the same word in a sentence)
Paul describes the “righteousness” - or rightness - of God as by the faith of Jesus Christ. Notice that he didn’t use the preposition “in” Jesus Christ; he used the word “of.”
If you look up the word “of” in your dictionary you will find that it means “made from or belonging to.” Paul is describing the righteousness of God as a faith which rises to the level of the faith Jesus himself possessed on His way to the cross.
We are imperfect creatures, being made perfect through that act of Faith from one minute to the next - Faith that God will get us through those unknown things and, come what may, it is His will for our lives. Like a small tree branch grafted onto a mighty tree stump, it takes nurturing and care; as the branch takes hold and grows, it soon becomes the mighty tree.
God’s spirit is the stump, you are the branch. Jesus’ level of Faith is that level of care and trust you must aspire to and aim toward. As you continue to maintain your Faith, God’s spirit grows within you and ultimately perfects you when you are with Him “over there.”