Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Ephesians 6:10-17
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
- Hebrews 11:1
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
- James 2:19
“The shield of faith described by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian Christians is of paramount importance because it is the grace ‘with which you can extinguish all the ﬂaming arrows of the evil one’ (Ephesians 6:16). This is not an uncertain promise. Rather, it is divine assurance that faith equips us to escape the very extremities of evil. But what is faith?
“First, the Bible defines faith as ‘being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1). Thus, in biblical vernacular, faith is a channel of living trust—an assurance—that stretches from man to God. In other words, it is the object of faith that renders faith faithful.
“Furthermore, faith is the assurance that God’s promises will never fail, even if sometimes we do not experience their fulfillment in our mortal existence. Hebrews 11 underscores the fact that we trust God to fulfill his promises for the future (the unseen) based on what he has already fulﬁlled in the past. Thus, our faith is not blind, but based squarely on God’s proven faithfulness.
“Finally, the faith that serves to protect us in spiritual warfare is not to be confused with mere knowledge. Millions worldwide believe in the trustworthiness of Billy Graham. They have heard him proclaim the Good News on television and yet do not believe that his message corresponds to reality. Thus, they have the knowledge that it takes to be saved but do not have saving faith. Others hear the message, agree that it corresponds to reality, but due to the hardness of their hearts do not bow. Rather, like the demons, they continue to live in fearful anticipation of the judgment to come. (See James 2:19.) Some, however, have what Scripture describes as genuine justifying faith—a faith that not only knows about the gospel and agrees that its content corresponds to reality, but a faith by which they are transformed.”
- Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book (Question 6)
Hank Hanegraaff takes a bit of a different approach than did Tony Dungy yesterday. I had read the Hanegraaff book when I read the devotion from Tony Dungy, but I went back over the Hanegraaff book for inspiration. When I saw the question on what was the Biblical definition of “faith” I thought that the two were meant to be viewed together, or at least on consecutive days.
As C. S. Lewis put it, faith is like a rope, or cord. If we use it to tie a package together, that is an entire different type of “faith” than if we are hanging off a cliff by the rope. Measuring our trust in terms of life and death makes a big difference. And if you truly believe, it is a matter of life and death.
I read something from an actor in Hollywood. They were Jewish and felt great comfort in following the rituals and traditions. But it was not one of those must-do things. If it is not, as Dungy said yesterday about the leper, Martha, Mary, and Jairus, if it is not a must-do, then you do not have it. Get back to me when it is more important than breathing.
I heard Billy Graham preach many time, on television. I believe what he said. I stake my life on the Truth that Jesus is in my heart.
In a recent panel discussion on a different television show, the pastors were saying that we know that we are saved by the special ways that the Holy Spirit lets us know that He is within us to stay. The emotions of the moment may fade, but for me, when I read the Bible when I got up the next day and I finally understood what the author was saying, I knew. I knew. And as the pastors suggested, I can go back to that moment and know that God is faithful, and He would never leave me.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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