Grace Through Faith

The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith.

Grace (charis) is defined as the divine influence upon the heart. A benefit of favour.

Paul uses the Greek word charis to define God’s favor bestowed by his Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Paul is preaching to ancient Greeks who were idol worshippers.

Characteristics in ancient Greece were often personalized as gods in Greek culture.

In ancient Greek mythology Charis is a representation of several Greek goddesses known as the Charities whose characters are charm, beauty, goodwill, human creativity and fertility.

Paul was pointing out to the Gentiles (non Jews) that the benevolence of God acquired for us salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

Grace or unmerited favor extended by God according to the scriptures must be accompanied by Faith in order for salvation to occur.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

Some people preach that God’s grace saves in and of itself. This is not true.
While God’s grace poured out by his divine love is extended to all it is not realized by any until grace is received by faith.

What is faith? In ancient Greek mythology Pistis or Faith was the personification or god of good faith, trust and reliability.

It is the same in our common law. Faith or “good faith,” is having an honest and sincere intention.

Many believe faith to simply mean belief. Again this is not true. To intellectually believe something to be true does not mean one receives that truth for themselves.

I may believe that red peppers have a very high amount of vitamin C and are good for me but I may not want to eat them because I don’t like them or because I am not in the mood for them or I’m indecisive about other aspects concerning them. Maybe I think I may get heart burn if I eat them.

Believing something to be true does not mean adhering to that something personally.

Pistis in the Greek is faith which sincerely believes and trusts in something which in turn leads to conversion or changing from one particular thing into another. 

Pistis according to the ancient Greeks was faith or belief which came about by the act of persuasion.

To be fully persuaded is induced by evidence or proof which is given.

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21

Blind belief is not Biblical faith. God has given much evidence for his existence and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Examples of this are;

Jesus rising from the dead seen by many witnesses.

Witness testimony of the disciples.

The power of the Holy Spirit confirming the word through signs following.

Jesus mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians in their historical texts.

The testimonial of Christians throughout history.

The history of the Bible.

Nature itself.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

In the Old Testament we can see an example of faith in action.

Abraham heard God’s voice telling him to follow him.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4

Abraham heard God’s voice speaking to him. What Abraham did not know is where he was going. Abraham trusted God because he was a friend of God. You don’t become someone’s friend without a bona-fide relationship.

According to the Bible, faith comes by hearing God’s word or voice. (rhema)

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. Romans 10:17

Evidences of faith are built by having a relationship with God.

This relationship requires obedience to his voice.

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5

Believing or Faith (pistis) in God requires trust. This trust is developed by having a relationship.

Paul used the word pistis to describe trust in God for his grace.

How is grace through faith received? The Bible tells us it is by repentance or metatoia.

Metatoia in ancient Greek meant changing one’s mind about something or some one. Metatoia was depicted by the ancient Greeks as a sorrowful goddess filled with regret for having failed or missed the moment.

In early Christian literature (See Tertillian) metanoia is expressed as a change in one’s thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior or way of living. This change is a key ingredient for receiving salvation.

Jesus made it very clear in scripture that without repentance there is no salvation.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

In conclusion, God’s grace extended through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Savior is received by faith which is trusting in God through obedience to the truth.

Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 1Peter 1:22

This faith is realized by repentance or a turning away from one’s own ways to walk in obedience to the voice of God through his eternal word. 

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1 :22

When this is done, God through his grace by faith imputes or accredits to the recipient his righteousness.

That is the convert now is in perfect standing with God. 

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Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Mustard Seed Faith

Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith. 

This was the Lord’s response.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)

(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)

https://www.askdifference.com/mulberry-vs-sycamine/

A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)

The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.

Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man planted.

The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.

The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.

The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10

On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44

Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.

Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too. 

Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

Take for example the scripture. But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19  

When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!

After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.

God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness. 

Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.

We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.

Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147

Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.

That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!

The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.

So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,

“I trust in your word.” Psalm 119:42

https://kimbalogh.online/2021/03/08/abide-in-the-vine/


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Consider The Lilies

In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.

The most probable flower that Jesus was referring to is considered by plant specialists to be an Anemone coronaria, a common field flower which can be red, purple or pink with black centers.

The Anemone coronaria incidentally is Israel’s national flower. They are usually found in meadows and grassy hillsides. In Jerusalem the red ones are more frequently found while in the basalt slopes north of the sea of Galilee blue and white are found growing on the hillsides.

The Hebrew name for this flower is Kalanit from the word kala which means beautiful like a bride.

Consider the lilies of the field. The Kalanit arrayed like a bride which Jesus says are more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory.

Jesus likened these field lilies to be more beautifully arrayed than Solomon’s kingdom. 

Considering that Solomon’s glory was a magnificent kingdom full of pomp and splendor this is a fantastic statement.

Why would the Lord say that field flowers were more beautiful than Solomon’s glory?

The fact that their name means bride may give us a clue.

Was Jesus looking to his future bride? His bride so beautiful that she is more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory?

These field lilies are not only beautiful but Jesus told us that they do not toil or spin. That is they do not do any work!

To toil in Hebrew is kopiaō which means to work hard or labor until one is fatigued.

To spin is nēthō which means to spin yarn.

Spinning yarn was a laborious work in Jesus’ time. Spinning was twisting fibers together by hand in order to make material for clothing.

In Solomon’s kingdom all the pomp and splendor was achieved by hard work. Also the temple Solomon build was constructed by slaves. These slaves did hard labor. Probably from sunup to sun down.

The lilies of the field do not labor or spin. They just naturally grow and become beautiful without any labor at all. With rain and sunshine provided by their Creator the lilies of the field become beautifully arrayed in their glory.

It seems that Jesus is pointing out that under the law like Solomon’s Kingdom, the slave must work to build a temple or building for God to take up residence.

Those under the law are servants of sin who must labor under a ruler or the law, sacrificing animals to atone for their sin in a temple made by men.

Jesus is using a metaphor to tell us that the splendor of the dispensation of the law is not as glorious as the dispensation of grace where the beauty of the Lord resides in his bride.

The bride has no need to labor for the Savior has purchased her with his own blood. The bride has no need to spin or be clothed with the temporary intermedatories of animals because she is clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

The bride is altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely in her pure white garment! Altogether more splendid than the glory of the former dispensation!

Consider the liles of the field for they neither toil nor spin. They take no thought to toil laboriously to achieve right standing with God.

All the work has been done by Jesus Christ the Messiah ! (Yeshua Mashiach) It is finished!