The Inward Basis of Faith
The believer has a birthright in Christ. This has to do with our position in Him as born-again members of His family. This is not a position belonging to us because we are members of the human race, but because through trusting Christ we have become children of God.
Part of our trouble in our use of the Word of God is that we don’t meditate upon it. We read it but don’t take the time to let its teachings sink in. We may even memorize it, but our efforts do not go beyond what is needed to memorize. For this reason our knowledge of it lacks depth.
Consider the first chapter of Ephesians. There we are told that we have been blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). What are some of these blessings? The passage list them for us. One of these is the fact that we were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). God has chosen us to show His favour, and through us His power, so that a dying world may know what the power of an Almighty God can do in a life.
In verse 5 we learn that we have been “predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ.” Predestination has to do with a goal that is ahead, so we have the promise that God will undertake for us so that we reach a place of mature sons. Mere relationship is not the main thought in this portion as is the matter of position. God will see to it that we are placed as mature sons at the right time.
Verse 7 tells us that we have “redemption through Christ blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.” Notice that the source of all these blessings is Christ. The forgiveness of our sins and our acceptance before God are due to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Young people, Christians and non-Christians alike are seeking for what they call reality. Many of them are frustrated when they look at us who are supposed to be mature in Christian things, and find that we are not. We talk about Christian standards, but too often we live selfishly following our own standards. Where then is the challenge for young people today who want to follow Christ? Where is the reality for them in the adults who should be showing the way?
It was the older generation of Israelites who revolted against God at Kadesh-barnea according to Numbers 14. It was those who were over the age of 20 and had the responsibilities of homes and families. They were supposed to set the example for the younger people; but instead they defected, not having the spiritual qualities of faith and trust in God that were needed for such a decision. It is no wonder God said that generation had to go back into the desert and would not be permitted to enter the Promised Land.
That younger generation was not guilty of delinquency. The delinquents were the older generation. The young people failed to see reality in their parents. Undoubtedly, this is part of the reason today why our youth are troubled and often act irresponsibly.
We as believers must be strong and of good courage. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose in following the Lord fully. Our strength is in Him, not in ourselves. We are admonished to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
Not many are called to lead a great nation as was Joshua. Yet, all of us Christians who have reached adulthood have certain responsibilities of spiritual leadership whether in the church or in the family. Joshua felt weak but God assured him: “You be strong, for I will be your strength. This is God’s promise to us also.
Joshua felt very in adequate. God reassured him not to worry about his inadequacy. The Lord promised to take care of any situation that he would face. It would only be natural for Joshua to have some fear has he considered the great task before him, but God quieted his fears, giving him boldness.
Paul learned this lesson well and wrote about it in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” In answer to this, Paul stated: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Paul came to the place where he saw that any spiritual power he possessed had a source in the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to translate this truth into the realm of our spiritual warfare. Our ability to overcome, victorious living on our part, is God’s responsibility, for it is part of our birthright. We can be strong in Him and be of good courage for the result is sure. He supplies the strength. It is our responsibility to act in faith.
Joshua had not forgotten the first stop the Israelites had made at Kadesh-barnea and how they turned against him and Caleb and others who dared to believe God. There is always opposition for those who want to go on with God, and this can be very discouraging.
Remember, our strength lies in what comes from God, from the God of grace. Eternal life finds its source in Christ, for He said concerning His own in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Until we see this truth, we will never have the power of God in our lives. As long as we try to keep ourselves, we ignore the power of God and what He wants to give us. Defeat is all we can expect under such circumstances.
Sad to say there are others who, when they come to understand that they can enter into spiritual possessions here and now in Christ, they back off when they realize that spiritual warfare with Satan and his hosts is involved. They are content to remain in the wilderness rather than make progress in divine things. Sadly, they are satisfied with having their sins forgiven and an assurance of heaven, but do not want to develop and mature in spiritual things. Existence in the spiritual wilderness satisfies them.
“Therefore…let us go on unto perfection…” (Hebrews 6:1)