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The Kind of Faith in God That Destroys

The Kind of Faith in God That Destroys

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Published by dlee7067
Even men who believe in Jesus as the Son of God will be condemned. It is only a certain type of faith that saves. What is the difference between saving faith and the faith that fails to save?
Even men who believe in Jesus as the Son of God will be condemned. It is only a certain type of faith that saves. What is the difference between saving faith and the faith that fails to save?

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Published by: dlee7067 on Mar 13, 2009
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06/16/2009

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The Kind of Faith in God That Destroys
There is a faith, a so called Christian faith, that destroys. Those who hold such a faith,while sincere, do not understand faith from a scriptural point of view. Faith is all toooften defined as "what I believe." There is more to saving faith than just believing inJesus, believing he is the Son of God.If faith alone, defined as what one believes, could save by itself then even the demonscould be saved for James says, "even the demons believe--and tremble!" (James 2:19 NKJV) What they believed was that there was one God but by studying the gospelaccounts one also knows they believed in Jesus for they often confessed him. One suchexample is Mark 3:11, "And whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him, they would falldown before Him and cry out, saying, 'You are the Son of God!'" (NAS)Another example is found in Luke 4:33-34 (NAS), "And there was a man in thesynagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loudvoice, 'Ha! What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come todestroy us? I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!'"Yet another example is Luke 5:41 (NAS), "And demons also were coming out of many,crying out and saying, 'You are the Son of God!' And rebuking them, He would not allowthem to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ."But, it is not just demons who have faith that has not availed. In Mark 10:17-23 we havethe account of the man who is generally referred to as the rich young ruler. It is too longto quote in its entirety so I quote only the relevant verses. (Mark 10:17 NAS), "And asHe was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and beganasking Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'"And then (Mark 10:21-23 NAS), "And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and saidto him, 'One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and youshall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But at these words his face fell, andhe went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, lookingaround, said to His disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter thekingdom of God!'"Here was a man Jesus loved and a man who certainly believed in Jesus. Did his faithsave him? His faith failed when he was asked to act upon it. There is a message in thatand yet he did believe Jesus was the answer.John 12:42 proves beyond doubt there is a faith that destroys rather than saves."Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees theywere not confessing him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved theapproval of men rather than the approval of God." (NAS) Would you say these believerswere saved?
 
In the late chapters of the book of Acts we find Paul being examined by one official after another on his way to Rome after being put in custody in Jerusalem. One of the first of these was Felix the Governor. It is said of Felix that he had "a more exact knowledgeabout the Way", a reference to Christianity, (Acts 24:22 NAS). Then in verses 23 - 26,"And he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have somefreedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him. But some dayslater, Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heardhim speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, 'Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you.'"Paul preached faith in Christ Jesus and things that are entailed in that. If Felix did not believe why was he frightened? Are you afraid of what you do not believe? Did the faithof Felix save him?In the Parable of the Sower you find 2 of the 4 types of men who hear the word that believe and yet end up being condemned. Luke 8:13-14 (NAS), "And those on the rockysoil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firmroot; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. And the seed whichfell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their waythey are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit tomaturity.In verse 13 Jesus says specifically that these men believe. Are they saved? How aboutthat class of believers represented by the seed that fell in the thorns? Are they saved?The Bible clearly teaches men can be believers and yet remain unsaved. Other examplescould easily be given of men who believe but will be condemned for they have the faiththat destroys and not the faith that saves.There are many passages that teach we are saved by faith and yet it is certain many believers have been lost. How do we explain lost believers? How do we explain thosemany passages that specifically say that believers are saved and yet find believers that arenot?There are two answers to this troubling question. (1) The word "faith" and its synonymscan be and are used from time to time as a figure of speech called a synecdoche. What isa synecdoche? It is where one puts the part to represent the whole. In speaking of salvation when it is said one is saved by faith and nothing else is mentioned then it isunderstood that faith is used in an all inclusive sense to include everything that naturallyfollows from the belief.In his book entitled Hermeneutics, D. R. Dungan says, in discussing synecdoches, "Thisis many times the case with the salvation of sinners. The whole number of conditions areindicated by the use of one. Generally the first one is mentioned-that of faith-becausewithout it nothing else could follow." (Page 305)
 
Faith is the basis of Christianity. Surely, a man lacking faith in Jesus will not beconcerned with obeying Jesus or keeping any commandments so why proceed withanything else? There is no reason to until faith is first established. But, when faith aloneis mentioned as the saving factor it is a use of the word as a synecdoche. It includeseverything that flows from a living faith.(2) There are two types of faith - the kind that leads a person to take action on his beliefs(a living faith) versus the kind that is merely mental assent (a dead faith). The latter kindcan never save. James says, "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, thatfaith without works is useless?" (James 2:20 NAS) Later he says "faith without works isdead." (James 2:26 NAS) Thus James confirms what we have said all along in this paper - there is a kind of faith that leads to destruction.When the Bible talks about being saved by faith it is talking about the kind of faith thathas works (works of obedience), the kind of faith where the word is used to stand for andrepresent everything that Christ requires of us (the word faith used as a synecdoche).It is the kind of faith where if God told you to go out and offer your only begotten son asa sacrifice, as he did Abraham, you would do it. It is the kind of faith where if you weretold to go build an ark for there would be a worldwide flood you would believe it enoughto do it. It is not the kind of faith that questions God and tries to reason out ways todisobey and yet remain justified while doing so.Many want to be saved by their faith and good works all the while disobeying God inrefusing to accept clear statements of scripture. They may do many good works in thecommunity (and this is fine and good) and think they have the book of James covered bythe good works which they do.The trouble is they will not take God at his word. They cannot accept that Jesus and theHoly Spirit said what they meant and meant what they said. Forget baptism for theremission of sins (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21). They do not believe the wordsout of Jesus' own mouth, "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; buthe who has disbelieved shall be condemned." (Mark 16:16 NAS) They make it read, "Hewho has believed and has
not 
been baptized shall be saved."Paul says in Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is thehead of the church, he himself being the Savior of the body." And, then again, (1 Cor.12:13 NAS), "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." One gets into the body of Christ, into the church, of which Jesus is the Savior, at baptism. The body is thechurch (Eph. 1:22-23).The kind of faith many have who call themselves Christians is the kind of faith that says"yes, I know that is what it says but I don't believe it" and that even when the words aredirectly spoken out of the mouth of Jesus. I ask you do I truly believe in a man when Iwill not believe what he says?

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