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Kit Sober

Faith and Believing

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Faith and believing have always been an enigma to me.

"Name it and claim it" category philosophies are always derided by some Christians although the Bible clearly states that such true "believers" as the decendents of Abraham must believe those things which are not as though they were.

So what is the story here?

I am now thinking that it has to do with the origin of that thing believed.

So many "great believers" such as Hitler and Mussolini believed and brought into the world the results (or consequences) of their believing -- but they did follow through to the end on what they beleived.

However it could be argued that what they believed was not from the true God.

Abraham and Sarah believed God. Their faith was started by God.

And faith has come to be used as that which God implants in us. Believing is the spiritual muscle that lines up the forces of the universe and gets the work done and brings it into reality.

If this is so, then the little ditty, "believing is the key to heaven and faith unlocks the door" would be correct if that door one wants to enter is God's heart because only going after things that are on God's heart, which we receive by faith, are worth pursuing.

Watchman Nee was a great advocate of doing nothing that was not under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Do you have any thoughts in this regard?

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Good thoughts Kit.

Name it and claim it...."Shopping Cart Christianity". Now you're a child of God, time to do some praying and get some stuff! And sweat the small stuff, God cares about every little hair on your head which means he wants you to have the best shampoo and conditioner! It has to, it's what The Word says!

It doesn't take long for the needy side of man to embrace that sort of thinking. God provides for man's need much as Jesus described.

After reading Genesis and the rest of the Bible I have to think that if God had wanted humans to sing one song, all the time and do it in unison he would have created a brainless choir that knew only the song He gave them and didn't need to take bathroom breaks. He didn't do that - His creation is one that produces, generates, operates, moves, takes, keeps, gives, shares, offers and does it in such diversity it's hard to describe in few words. Just the enormity of what we are and what life is requires generation after generation to be and come into fruition.

What I offer to God in this life is my gift, made sacred by the faith that produces it and that I invest into it. That's how I see the faith of this life. In Christ I have a way, a light, a means to join together with and to know what it looks like to do that. I can only do it my way, in my time and in my life. I want to be joined to that purpose that God has for all of us and to make my part what I can with what I've got.

Faith - yes. Yes! We need it, we have it, we live it one day at a time!

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1348826912[/url]' post='546255']

Me too. Your thoughts are interesting to me. I've never quite figured out that word 'faith' to know exactly what it means. I'd like to end my confusion.

My thoughts: the word 'faith' is never used as a verb today. So it's a thing of some sort, not an action or a state of being. (I'm faithing you? No. He faithed me? No.)

So, maybe the nouns 'faith' and 'belief' are interchangeable? This definition of faith from the Bible History site sheds some light, in that faith used to be used as a verb in English, way back when:

http://www.bible-his...ussets/F/Faith/

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OB, faith isn't a verb - "to have faith" might be along those lines, but the verb is "to have" which makes "faith" the predicate ... if I remember my grammar right.

I really don't care. Believe God, have faith in God, have confidence in God ...

Whatever way you slice it, it's probably NOT any of the definitions that TWI gave it. But you know when you're doing it.

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I like to think of faith as trusting the Lord. I trust Jesus with everything and in everything, because He is worthy of that trust. I also trust that He is who claimed to be and I trust there isn't any better, or anything I could ever want more.

Probably not a textbook answer. . . . guess you will have to take it on faith!

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James 2:20 - faith without works is dead. Eph. 2: 8 and 9, saved by faith not by works.

Faith, 'pistis', our trust in Christ is not considered a "work", which I've always found interesting. Many theologians who lean towards Calvinist thinking tend to construe that "all is of God" and without the divine impetus no salvation is possible. God chooses, creation follows His choice and the creation can't say to the creator why have You made me so? Some are chosen some aren't. That's Calvin.

(I don't agree with that, in that it disallows for man's choice, man's response. Calvinist theory takes umbrage at that, as if to say that man's response is now in control. It's not - if man could choose and be in control he wouldn't be limited to God's selections. Clearly God has outlined the path and choices in the Bible and man's choice is to align, have "faith", and then place his faith in God. God's will is still sovereign, God's purposes are enacted and in play at all times. Man chooses and glorifies the Creator - or not but his choice either way recognizes God's 'sovereign will'.)

Watchman Nee wasn't Calvinist, as best I understand, not in the basic sense and in that I think he was correct by the Bible in his understanding of faith, believing, "works" (gr: ergon) and their meanings and outcomes. He allows - necessarily - for the Bible to speak as it does and let all parts speak for themselves "as is". I bring up Calvin because I think the tendency has been in theology to construe meaning across parts of the Bible that don't seem to agree rather than let them stand and get meaning from the total, even if it appears contradictory and to take a logical appraisal of how to harmonize scripture.

Which goes to James 2:20 - faith "without works" being dead - if I assume that all '"faith" is salvation faith and related to the state of peace between God and man then I have to assume there's a relationship between them.

But there isn't in Ephesians, where salvation is of "faith" - where trust and confidence in what God has done isn't a "work" of man that produces the salvation.

In James then I can simply assume that faith is faith, whatever it is and that without the "works/ergon" faith is "dead" as the body is dead without it's "spirit". Without drilling too deep on that I can say that the body dead or alive is still a body, but it produces when it has life. Faith without works is still faith. Faith with works is alive and producing.

The lesson with Abraham seems to be stated that he "had faith" and when he "put his faith" in God it was counted to him for righteousness.

The claim-it doctrines always seem to put a measurement to pistis, faith. "Big" believers get more of what God offers.

Yet God's grace is full to all, mercy to all, love to all. Salvation extended to all, God loving man and so loving "the world" that he gives His son, a true living expression of Himself in man.

No more, no less in that. It's not a quantity measurement, other than we see what God has given.

"Quality", perhaps. Faith with responsive effort is "alive", producing, bringing forth "fruit".

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Some definitions of faith make it out to be a gooey amalgam of trust, believing, suspension of critical thought, hope, wishful thinking, and prayer. This gives rise to the canard of "well, we just have to take it on faith." In other words, just close your eyes and swallow whole. To which I say - phooey! I tried living by that definition once, and I wound up hurt and used. Maybe a truer definition of faith is the other side of that coin. Maybe faith is our personal collection of the things of God that we have known to be absolutely true and trustworthy, proven by our experiences and knowledge. It's interesting that the Bible qualifies faith, describing some people as having great faith, and some having weak faith (the 'slow of heart', to borrow a phrase); meaning, perhaps, that some are more convinced by their personal collection of proven beliefs - their faith - than others are convinced by their own.

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Yeh, "great" faith looks to be relative to the challenge, not the amount of faith any one of us produces. "Faith in" and "faith of" Jesus Christ could be subjective or objective. Faith that is in a thing or faith that is from/of a thing - in this case Jesus Christ.

If I have faith in the faith "OF" Jesus Christ, that has one meaning. I can also have my own faith "IN" Jesus Christ to which seems to end up in the same place as faith "OF", as it's used in the bible in Romans, Galatians. Things have happened through the faith of Jesus Christ, my faith in Him is said to open that up to me, to those who "believe" in Him.

The believe in Jesus Christ, faith in Jesus Christ was described in Wayfer terms as two kinds of things - one my believing, the mental effort that I put towards acceptance and then the action that I take on that. The "faith of Jesus Christ" was taught as being "spiritual" and I guess it is in one sense but that tends to disconnect it from the reality of the processes that were that, that faith of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a living person, He had faith, His faith accomplished what and where mankind's faith didn't or couldn't.

Man's faith, like Abraham's, was "counted" for righteousness - but again it doesn't appear that his faith, his effort, accomplished anything but rather it was his acceptance and actions towards and on the things of God, God's "word", faith in and towards God.

In the bible all the to's, from's, in's and of's seem to paint a circular path that points to the thing getting the faith - faith is something that I "have" that involves something else and a movement, recognition, of that thing, in it, on it.

I might say that faith describes an attitude yes, a level of acceptance and subsequent action. I get you OperaBuff when you reference "taking it on faith" - I'd agree, I don't know that I can do that in a vacuum.

Some do treat faith as a blanket check they write - "whatever it is, I'm in" kind of a thing. But then in life we often find ourselves challenged and not altogether in for certain things. People will often "drift" in their faith, falter, become weak as they say. A lot of teaching kind of does the "hut hut hut!" Marine Corps boot camp kind of messaging, "push yourseeeeeelf! soldier! you ain't gonna get up that hill thinking about yo' mama, now move iiiiiit the Lord is on your siiiiiide and He don't like wimps!!!!!!!"

Which is a disconnection of everything which God has built salvation and redemption on, the things by which - we have access to this "faith"......mercy and grace.

So to me the appropriate attitude when challenged is to do what they did in many of the bible's records - remember God's grace to me, HIs mercy, and place myself before Him in prayer as someone ready to do what I need to do but in need of what only He can do to help me. I know I have been blessed - by his mercy and grace. Given a place in His Kingdom - by what Christ has done. I know that He loved me while yet a sinner and has given me access to Him that doesn't hold me to the very shortcomings and lack that causes me to need the help that brings me constantly to Him.

In my "faith", I don't see "God" as sitting there as it were and me showing up scuffing the floor with my holey shoes, tattered clothes and sad face while Jesus looks on and rolls his Eyes and they say to me ...

"Oh. SO......it's YOU again...why am I not surprised? What is it THIS time? No, don't tell me, let me guess. You need something. You need Me. Again.......(sighing).....tell me again why we did all of this Jesus?.....Good Me, it's always the same...."

I see a relationship built on trust, understanding and where over time I can accept the truth about myself, God, all of this stuff. "Faith".

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operabuff was barking up the right tree. There is no difference biblically between faith and believing, or between faith and belief. The NT Greek root word is pistis (as mentioned above). This root word is behind faith, belief, believe and believing. Anyone who knows any Greek realizes that it is really silly to distinguish between faith and believing when they both translate the same Greek word.

The problem here is English. As noted above, "faith" is a noun, and English does not have a verb form of that word (like "I faithed God" or "I am faithing in God"). It is a fluke of English that we use "faith" as the noun that is equivalent to "believe" as a verb. A rough comparison: we use "go... went... gone...." rather than "go... goed... gone..." but we don't claim that "went" is radically different from "go." This is a fluke of English just like the use of faith and believe)

VPW uses the word "believing" as though it is a noun. But "believing" is a verb (participle), not a noun.

VPW, and whoever he copied from, didn't know English or Greek decently enough to understand this.

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Actually, John, in this context is a gerund, not a participle. A gerund is a form of a verb altered for use as a noun in a sentence. "Running is my favorite sport." Running is not a noun, but it is the subject of that sentence. All subjects are nouns or pronouns. So running is a noun in that sentence; it is a gerund.

Participles are verbs altered to be used as adjectives. We distinguish between running water and standing water. Running and standing are verbs used as adjectives. They are participles.

There is no problem using believing as a gerund, which Wierwille did. The problem was differentiating Biblically between faith and believing. We're expected to believe, for no Biblical reason, that faith and believing are different things. In Greek, the silliness is more obvious: there is no appreciable difference between pistis and pistis. Wierwille's distinctions were arbitrary, capricious and frankly a little silly.

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Gotta agree with johnj and Raf on this.

But I think there's another level or degree of pistis that I was ignorant of until a few days ago. I saw this while doing homework for Greek.

In I Corinthians 14, where it says tongues are not a sign for believers, but for unbelievers, it could well be tranlated accurately that tongues are not a sign for Christians who are confident of their "faith", that is, that they have received the holy Spirit (promised in Joel), and that they WILL receive the Spirit of resurrection life (promised in Ezekeil 37) in the age to come, but rather tongues functions as a sign for Christians who are not yet confident of those things.

When a Christian who is not yet confident that she or he has received the gift of holy Spirit promised in Joel, then speaking in tongues is supposed to help them build that confidence by reminding them of the promise. I think that's what I Corinthians 14:4 and Jude 20 are all about.

And I no longer think that tongues are any more "supernatural" than circumcision was.

Love,

Steve

Edited by Steve Lortz

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1349761455[/url]' post='546686']

operabuff was barking up the right tree. There is no difference biblically between faith and believing, or between faith and belief. The NT Greek root word is pistis (as mentioned above). This root word is behind faith, belief, believe and believing. Anyone who knows any Greek realizes that it is really silly to distinguish between faith and believing when they both translate the same Greek word.

The problem here is English. As noted above, "faith" is a noun, and English does not have a verb form of that word (like "I faithed God" or "I am faithing in God"). It is a fluke of English that we use "faith" as the noun that is equivalent to "believe" as a verb. A rough comparison: we use "go... went... gone...." rather than "go... goed... gone..." but we don't claim that "went" is radically different from "go." This is a fluke of English just like the use of faith and believe)

VPW uses the word "believing" as though it is a noun. But "believing" is a verb (participle), not a noun.

VPW, and whoever he copied from, didn't know English or Greek decently enough to understand this.

In addition to the Bible History link that I provided above, check out this interesting study from the Enjoy The Bible Ministries site:

http://www.enjoytheb...ies/jesus1.html

They both posit that faith is fidelity. This makes sense to me; at least, fidelity is a synonym that helps my understanding.

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Faith and believing have always been an enigma to me.

"Name it and claim it" category philosophies are always derided by some Christians although the Bible clearly states that such true "believers" as the decendents of Abraham must believe those things which are not as though they were.

So what is the story here?

I am now thinking that it has to do with the origin of that thing believed.

So many "great believers" such as Hitler and Mussolini believed and brought into the world the results (or consequences) of their believing -- but they did follow through to the end on what they beleived.

However it could be argued that what they believed was not from the true God.

Abraham and Sarah believed God. Their faith was started by God.

And faith has come to be used as that which God implants in us. Believing is the spiritual muscle that lines up the forces of the universe and gets the work done and brings it into reality.

If this is so, then the little ditty, "believing is the key to heaven and faith unlocks the door" would be correct if that door one wants to enter is God's heart because only going after things that are on God's heart, which we receive by faith, are worth pursuing.

Watchman Nee was a great advocate of doing nothing that was not under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Do you have any thoughts in this regard?

I've been thinking about this stuff lately. I think believing & faith are the same, but I think you are hitting close to home, Kit, when you say it has to do with the source of our believing. Someone may decide to get to the place that he can do 50 pushups. He believes he can do it. He keeps believing & following through faithfully on his believing all the way to the point that he does it. His believing is in his own ability. His faith is in himself. "Unbelievers" can believe this way. This is not the kind of believing or faith the Word talks about that comes from hearing & that hearing coming from the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. We were trained to think this verse is saying that salvation is a gift. And it is, but that's sort of by proxy. Most directly, this verse is saying that believing, or faith, is a gift. Remember, pronouns (generally) refer to the nearest preceding nominative. "It, the gift of God" refers to faith. And then, through that faith, salvation is also a gift. That kind of believing that is a gift of God is not OF ourselves. We don't decide we are going to do this work or that. There are works GOD before ordained for us to walk in. We just decide that we are going to follow his lead or not.

It's like the children of Israel following the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. If the cloud moved, they followed it. If it didn't move, they stayed still. They didn't decide when & where they were moving - GOD did. And if they followed God, he led them to places where they were doing things that with men are impossible. They were following God's believing.

A serious problem comes in when we confuse the believing that is from faith in ourselves, & the believing that is from God.

If I may, I posted the following on another thread:

Mark 9:22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Jesus' response was like, "No, that's not the way it works. You have to believe that I can do anything. Then the possibilities are endless."

Jesus wasn't telling the man it depended on the man's believing in & of itself. Then it would be all praise to the man, MR. BELIEVER. The man was expressing lack of conviction that Jesus could do anything. Jesus was telling that man that he had to believe Jesus could do. All praise and glory to the Lord of glory.

We were taught that it was the man's believing that delivered his son. No, no, no. That's like freaking magic. The man doubted Jesus' ability to do. Jesus spoke the Word to him. Don't doubt me; believe. The man heard him. He believed in him, but didn't know where to take it to see his son delivered, & asked Jesus to help him there. That's all the believing that Jesus needed. He then worked the work of God, that which is with men impossible.

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