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HOW TO HAVE MOUNTAIN-MOVING FAITH (page 1)

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Mr. Stanley said he never knew this covenant to be broken in Africa, no matter what the provocation. Dr. Livingstone also bears witness saying that he never  knew it to be broken. In other parts of the world it is claimed that they never  knew the Blood Covenant to be broken. It is one covenant that is perfectly sacred among all  primitive peoples. In Africa, if one was to break the covenant, his own  mother or wife, or his nearest relatives would seek his death,  would turn him over to the hands of the avenger for  destruction. No man can live in Africa who breaks the covenant . . . he curses the very ground he walks on. The vilest enemies become trusted friends as soon as the covenant is cut. No man takes advantage of the covenant or breaks it. It is so sacred that the children to the third and fourth generations revere it and keep it. In other words, it is a perpetual covenant, indissoluble, a covenant that cannot be annulled. E.W. Kenyon, “The Blood Covenant.” ______________________________ What is faith? What is faith? Many of us talk about faith as if its meaning is obvious, but do we really know  what it is?  In a rather shocking episode recorded in the Scriptures, the gentle Lamb of God severely  chastised His disciples as “perverted and twisted” people (Mat. 17:15) for their “little faith” in their  failure to evict the epileptic spirit from a young boy. Clearly, He expected them to have more faith  and He found fault with them for not having enough faith.    Christ’s admonition is surely a reflection of the fact that “without faith it is impossible to  please God” (Hbr. 1:5), so apparently the goal should be to have as much faith as possible. This  makes perfect sense given that the original fall was caused by Adam and Eve’s failure to believe  what God had said. Unbelief was then hard-wired into our ancestors and their offspring – the race  of Adam. Adam and his offspring – all of us – were “constituted sinners.” (Rom. 5:19 (Darby))  We should not be surprised that once we are spiritually born again into the Lord’s family,  this soul-ish disposition of unbelief in us must be reversed. It is no good for man to enter into  eternal union with God Himself with an attitude of unbelief in what God says. Doubt, as opposed  to trust, is inherently destructive of any relationship. It is fundamentally dishonoring to our great  God. As with Genesis 3, Satan inevitably premises every thought introduced into our minds with  “Has God said?” The Universe is a frighteningly dangerous  place – full of powerful forces and malevolent  creatures set against us and our survival. God  well knows that unbelief in what He says about  Himself and reality puts us firmly and irrevocably  on a course of destruction and death. Given the  importance of faith, we should be motivated to  search the Scriptures to settle our understanding  of what faith really is. But is that even possible? Or is faith so  mysterious that we can never really understand  it?   Apparently, this is the view of some theologians; but I submit it is a view not really based on  the Scripture but instead derives from our experience in often failing to see transpire the things  for which we have prayed and God has promised in His Word.   In other words, some theologians say that faith must be a mystery because we know that  God cannot lie, we think we have “faith”, and we cannot reconcile His character with our lack of  answered prayer.  But, if so, we must ask: why would God make faith so mysterious if it is the critical  component of a walk that pleases Him and the key to fulfillment of His promises to us as Hebrews  6:12 states? Although the Scriptures refer to a few things that are termed “mysteries”, faith is not  mentioned as one of those mysteries. (“The mystery of THE faith” spoken of in 1 Tim. 3:9 does not  mean that “faith” itself is a mystery. It is referring to the fact that what was once a mystery, the  means of man’s salvation, is one no longer after the incarnation and death of God’s Messiah, the  Lord Jesus.) Fortunately, faith is not something we need to gin up ourselves; we know from Eph. 2:8  that faith is the gift of God: For by grace are ye saved through  faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…   Moreover, God hath dealt to every man THE measure of  faith; it is not up to us. Each of us received the same dosage at  spiritual birth. Peter confirms this: …to them that have  obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness  of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pe 1:1)   That is a wonderful truth…faith is a gift. It comes from  God through Christ who is given to us.  Finally, as to what faith really is, Hebrews 11 says that faith is the conviction of things not  seen and the assurance of things hoped for. Therefore, faith is not simply believing, as an act of  our will, that God will move to fulfill a promise, but is His gift of assurance or conviction to us after  we choose to believe, as an act of our will, that His Word is true and He will fulfill His promise, and  we persevere in that belief against all reason and natural hope, as Abraham did (Rom. 4:12).   When we exalt His Word and honor God by giving it pre-eminence over human reasoning  and emotions, faith then rises up in us and manifests as an inner “assurance” that He has already  acted in the supernatural realm in response to our willingness to believe a particular Promise,  even though the results of His so acting in the natural may not have yet manifested.  This conviction or assurance is a knowing that then quiets all anxiety over the outcome of  the crisis or circumstance, as we experience rest, joy, and confidence as opposed to stress, fear,  and uncertainty. Because of faith or assurance that God will act in accordance with His Promise,  we are able to see through our spiritual “eyes” the end, or the fulfillment of the Promise, from the  beginning.  Faith, then, is different from belief. Faith is given by God to us as an inner assurance when we honor Him by choosing to believe. And that “assurance” constitute the “riches” Paul prays that we would all enjoy in  Colossians2:2. Can faith increase? Nevertheless, our faith, once given, can apparently increase, as again, Christ faulted the  disciples in Matthew 17 for their “little faith” in attempting to move a mountain we call epilepsy.   And in that same passage, Christ explained how much their faith must increase - Christ  exhorted His disciples to “have the faith of God” which He Himself presumably possessed. Now  that would certainly mean an “increase” in faith!  But we wonder – how can we have the faith God has? Is there some deep truth in Christ’s choice of preposition for this verse – faith “of” God rather than faith “in” God? Certainly, at first glance, there seems to be a vast difference between my having faith in God, and God gifting me with the faith of God.  In the first, we are doomed to struggle to find within ourselves the strength to have "faith in God." In the second, the pressure is off us completely because the faith we are supposed to have is not the product of human effort; instead, it is gifted to us, as we saw above with the faith initially given each of us. And since it is gifted by God, it makes sense to refer to it as the faith OF God Himself. When we contemplate the Blood Covenant, discussed below, we realize that this accords with the fact that everything of His is ours and everything of ours is His. As Jesus said in Jhn 17:11 – “…and all that is mine is yours and yours is mine…” This also makes sense if we consider that intrinsic to the Father’s gift to us of Christ must be  all that is in Christ – i.e., the faith OF God - the faith Christ Himself has that when the Father  speaks His Will, it must come to pass. For whatever it means to speak of the “faith of God”, we  know this: God does not doubt that, when He speaks, what He says must come to pass.   Then God said "Let there be light" and there was light. (Gen. 1:3) God was not worried that  light would not show up. He had no doubt because He knew He had the authority to create light –  His authority to do so was and is settled fact in His mind. The faith that does not doubt and moves  mountains and creates light is the faith OF God Himself. It is based on the fact of who He is – King  over all. The point is simply this: whatever faith God requires us to have, or  “greater works” (Jhn 12:14) He asks us to perform, or mountains He has  commanded us to move, He has gifted us in Christ with the level of faith  necessary to do so, and that level of faith is the very faith OF God.   Therefore, since God’s faith is based on the fact of His confidence  in who He is, perhaps our faith is likewise based on the confidence of  who we are in Him. In other words, we must believe as fact that Christ is  who He says He is and dwells in and acts through us exactly as the  Scripture says.  For example, consider the Lord’s requirement for us “to be holy as I am holy” or, better yet,  to love one another as He loved us. The only love in accordance with that requirement is Perfect Love - the agape Love of God  which, like the Faith of God, is found in Christ, and which we can only manifest when we are so  surrendered that the Spirit of Jesus (Ph. 1:19) now in us manifests that unconditional love in a  particular situation.  In sum, we have been given the faith of God – perhaps we just have to accept that His  Gospel and His salvation is that fantastic. But shouldn't we expect as much? After all, as His blood covenant response to our cry for  help (which we will discuss below), the Father has sent to us the Creator God Himself, Jesus the  Messiah, all the way from heaven through space and time and other dimensions to give us not  only his Life but His faith!  The enemy of faith If that is so, however, why is this faith of God operating through believers so rarely in  evidence?   The Scripture answers that question – it is the inherent unbelief of our flesh; it is our  carnality that makes this faith “little” or of no account. For the flesh cannot exercise the faith OF  God.  For the mind of the flesh is hostile to God…(Rom. 8:7) The faith of God is totally at odds with  the natural man – our earthliness. That which is of the Spirit of God in us and that which is of the  flesh oppose each other and are contrasted for us by Paul in Romans 8.   For all who are according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, and  those who are according to the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death,  but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:5-6)   Our flesh is of the natural, earthly realm, and …the natural man does not accept the things  of the Spirit for they are foolishness to Him and he does not understand them. (1 Cr. 2: 22)   Therefore, although the Spirit does not doubt the Word of God, our flesh is full of doubt  and unbelief in respect of the things of God, and, according to Jesus (Mar. 11:21-24), it is that  doubt that is deadly to our ability to exercise the “faith of God” and throws us back on the “little”  (or zero) faith of the flesh which accomplishes nothing.  We also know that we will be tested and our faith refined like gold as a result; but what is  the key to a faith that survives trials and tribulation and  comes out on the other side stronger than ever? Experience  tells us that many believers lose their faith in the midst of  trials. How can we avoid the outcome? What is it that we  need to know about the Lord and faith, and what are to  understand about that knowledge so as to be filled with the  assurance that is real faith?  For Paul himself prayed for the Colossians that they  would “reach all the riches that come from the assurance of  understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery which is Christ…” (Col. 2:2)  As we continue to ferret out and examine the secret to having mountain-moving faith,  perhaps we should go back to the beginning - to Abraham, the father of us who believe (Rom.  4:11), to learn how his fleshly unbelief was overcome so that the God-like assurance or faith that  our prayers have been answered will, in fact, be experienced by us as Abraham himself  experienced it.   How did Abraham overcome doubt and survive trials? What was the secret of his faith?  What did he focus upon such that he believed in God’s promise even when every verifiable fact  led him to believe that it couldn’t be so?  Let’s find out…  Background to Abraham’s secret to faith The Scriptures hold up Abraham to us as the model of faith. As we know, God spoke a  magnificent promise (or set of promises) to Abraham. Abraham believed God, and the real  meaning of the Greek verb “to believe” here is that Abraham went “all in”, and as a result of his  full commitment, his faith was credited to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15:6)  Abraham’s faith in God’s ability and willingness to fulfill His promised blessings grew so  strong that he was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac and put him to death, despite the fact that it  was Isaac specifically who was to be the vehicle of God’s promised blessing of descendants as  innumerable as the stars in the heavens! (Gen. 15:5)  Although we are told in Scripture that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of  God. (Gen. 10:17) Abraham had no written word of God upon which to meditate and renew his  mind and thus increase his faith.   We then ask – what did Abraham meditate on? How did Abraham, our faith model, then  manage to grow his faith?  The answer seems almost buried in a series of obscure verses in Hebrews 6:  12 …Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises  because of their faith and endurance.   13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to  swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:  14 “I will certainly bless you,  and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”  15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had  promised. 16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater  than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath  is binding.   17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who  received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change  his mind.   18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two  things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.  Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope  that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain  into God’s inner sanctuary.   20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order  of Melchizedek. Clearly, this passage harkens back to the blood covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15. The  sum and substance of the above verses is that the precise reason that God entered into a blood  covenant with Abraham was simply to ensure that Abraham, and by extension you and me, would  never doubt that God’s promises would be fulfilled. God made a promise, and then just to show  Abraham that He was deadly serious, He confirmed the promise with a death oath.   In other words, there was a promise and an oath - the Lord’s blood covenant secured His  promise to Abraham, and, by extension, to us.   The Lord went to extraordinary measures to prevent Abraham from ever “going wobbly”, to  firm up Abraham’s belief in His promise so that Abraham’s mind would not falter and his  confidence not waver in God’s faithfulness – that all God said would come true and, contrary to  present Western theology,  He would never change His mind.  Hbr 6:15 above says that Abraham obtained the promise through patient waiting. The  implication is that Abraham cultivated expectation in God’s fulfillment to fuel his ability to  patiently await fulfillment, despite his advancing age and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. (Rom.  4:19)  But, we might ask, why is there a necessary role for Abraham at all? Couldn’t the Lord  simply have fulfilled His Promise regardless of Abraham’s reaction?  Obviously, the answer is “yes” but in doing so wouldn’t have some of God’s purposes been  frustrated? For instance, without Abraham’s confident expectation of fulfillment, he would be free  to attribute any fulfillment as coincidence or chance or luck – fulfillment in that case would not  cause him to glorify and praise God.  Moreover, if one of God’s purposes is to elevate man  who, after the rebellion in the Garden fell to the bottom of  Creation’s totem pole, into a functioning member of the  Godhead, destined to a role of real significance and  participation, then man’s lack of participation in the process  would do nothing for that purpose – man would remain an  outsider to the ways and the knowledge of God.   Certainly, God doesn’t need angels either to do  anything, but since the divine purpose from the beginning  was to share of Himself, He has created angels and man and  given them power and authority in the Kingdom. And this  purpose especially gives the lie to Satan’s charge in the  Garden that God was worried about man becoming “like God,  knowing good and evil”, that God was seeking only to  perpetuate Himself and His rule and to keep men down with  His mandates and requirements.   It turns out, after all, that rather than holding back and  keeping us down, God’s purpose all along was to share the  Godhead with us!  We receive the Promises of God by “hearing with faith” – this is how we, as Abraham did,  participate with God in working miracles, as Gal. 3:2-5 states:  2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with  faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit  to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith  It is “hearing with faith” that makes it possible for Paul, and us, to do miracles.  We conclude, therefore, that the Lord has designed His interaction with man for maximum  benefit to man and at the same time for the glory of God, and that benefit would be forfeited if  man had no role in the fulfillment of God’s decrees. And the role of man is to hear the promise  with expectation of fulfillment as he puts his faith into action.  We should note here that this perspective on our role in responding to God’s Promises is  sadly missing from modern church theology. Because God’s “sovereignty” has been redefined to  now mean that God is always free to do anything at any time, we have little expectation of the  Lord holding up His end of the covenant, as we now see Him as bound by nothing – not even His  own Promise or Word. And so, instinctively, it seems, we don’t hold up our end. This perspective undermines all  sense of “prevailing prayer” or perseverance, for how can one be encouraged to exercise  perseverance when he has no faith that God will do as He says He would? Daniel had to fast and  pray for three weeks straight before getting an answer to his prayer, even though God had sent  the answer immediately. The problem was that the answer to prayer was held up by a fallen  angel, and it took three weeks for Daniel’s prayer to break the demon’s resistance and God’s  messenger angel to make it through to Daniel. (Dan. 10:15-20)  We are therefore not often encouraged to exercise faith, because we are given no reason to  do so, and as a result, our faith struggles to grow and mature. Instead of engaging the Enemy (who  most really don’t believe exists), we usually shrink  back, having no assurance of victory, and spend our  time on “religious activities” instead of exercising our  faith and battling Satan to free the souls of men.  Contrast our modern take on “sovereignty” as  fickleness or unreliability, with Abraham’s assurance  or conviction that God would do precisely as He had  promised. Abraham never looked to give God a face-  saving exit from His magnificent Promise, yet that’s  what we moderns insist upon doing. We do so  because we like to think ourselves as spiritual, but we  really don’t have a heart for the battle, and we really  do not have the faith in God’s Word to persevere until we see the fulfillment of the Promise.  Recall that Abraham’s faith strengthened to the point that he was ready to slay Isaac, his  only son, through whom the promise of descendants as the sand of the sea was to be fulfilled,  because he regarded God’s promise as a greater reality than the death of Isaac. Ultimately,  Abraham did not see Isaac’s death as sufficient to thwart God’s ability to fulfill His death oath  promising innumerable descendants.  Hbr 11 says that Abraham considered that God was able even to raise people from the dead   and would do so, of course, to ensure fulfillment of the promise of innumerable descendants.     Now that is an incredible thought… Abraham was no less savvy about the ways of the world than you or me. He knew what  death meant, and He knew that an unheard of miracle would be required for God to fulfill His  Promise to him, and yet he was undeterred.  Now think of the active faith of Abraham necessary to believe that! Think of the constant  doubt that he had to chase away every moment during that long three day  journey to Mount Moriah with Isaac as he contemplated sacrificing his own  son through whom his many descendants were to come. Of course, he had  to chase away similar doubt day after day and year after year when  awaiting the pregnancy of Sarah.   What was Abraham’s secret to persevering to the point where he  obtained the Promise? What fueled his faith and gave him assurance  despite having no Scripture?  Only one thing – the Blood Covenant, as Psalm 25 reveals:  The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him. He will make them  to know His covenant.  There it is! – the Secret of the Lord, the Secret of Faith. It is the Abrahamic Covenant!  Abraham understood what the Blood Covenant meant, and that understanding was his  constant “assurance”. He knew that a blood covenant was the most significant and profound ritual  to which a human being could subject himself, because it meant this: the eternal joinder for all  purposes of two individuals or families into one.   The fact that the Living God had entered into this covenant with him must have resulted in  untold hours of meditation and contemplation, to the point where Abraham realized that,  because of the death oaths which attend a blood covenant ceremony, God could no sooner violate  His promise to Abraham than He could destroy Himself and the Universe He had created.  So then the question for us now becomes: can we get the same assurance through  understanding the Blood Covenant so as to exercise the faith of Abraham sufficient to see God’s  promises consistently realized in our lives?  And the answer is YES – we can enjoy the same faith as Abraham if we understand one  thing: that God Himself turned His Promises into a legal obligation. And legal obligations have  real consequences, and once we understand that, it changes everything *** Abraham’s secret to mountain-moving faith It says in Genesis 15 that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as  righteousness. But only a few verses later, after the Lord promises to give Abraham the land of  Canaan, Abraham the Believer’s response is: “How will I know [that I can trust in what you just  promised me]?  Now that is quite incredible! Abraham needed some “assurance” if he was to count on this  promise going forward, because a simple promise just wasn’t good enough for him to really  believe. So how did God give Abraham that ultimate assurance?   As stated above, by making the promise a full blown legal obligation. This is the key to understanding Abraham’s great faith, and the basis for our also having and exercising the faith of Abraham. A legal obligation carries with it the ramifications of a failure to  perform the obligation – in other words, a breach or a failure to  comply with one’s legal obligation has real consequences. And it is the  consequences of a breach that give to a party to a legal obligation the  assurance of performance by his counterparty.  With a mere promise, a promisor may fail to comply without  suffering consequences other than to perhaps his reputation, and that  is of little deterrent when the promisor cares little for his own  reputation. But when the promise becomes a legal obligation, justice  requires that a party’s breach of his legal obligation be remedied at  the cost of the breaching party.    We know that the foundations of God’s throne are justice and righteousness. He always  rules righteously. No wrong or offense will be left uncompensated. This ensures that the breach of  every legal obligation will ultimately be paid for.  Accordingly, in God’s economy, any legal obligation should be taken extremely seriously.   (C) Copyright. All Rights Reserved. All or parts hereof may be disseminated or copied without cost with appropriate attribution to this website.
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