Faith

I was thinking about the faith of the centurion again.

Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.

The fundamental part of faith is that it is a belief in authority.

Hebrews 11 defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” But what are the assurance of things hope for and conviction of things not seen? That’s faith in God’s authority to do what He said and what He promised.

It’s very easy to get distracted with how much humans are rebellious against God, but faith requires an immense trust in authority that it overrides our inclinations to be rebellious. One who fails to trust in God’s authority and act accordingly is very similar to those who choose to be intentionally rebellious. Eliminating this lukewarm faith is of primary importance.

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12 Responses to Faith

  1. Jack says:

    In other words, Faith is the conviction that the power and authority of God is real, present, and can be relied upon. When I first realized this a few years ago (from reading this same passage in Matthew 8, by the way), it put a lot of things in place for me. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Derek Ramsey says:

    “Faith is the conviction that the power and authority of God is real, present, and can be relied upon.”

    Do you recall when Boxer quibbled with myself, Gunner Q, you, and others over the definition of faith (see here)? Faith is trust. What is trust in God if not the conviction (or sure belief) in God. And what is this conviction if not the assurance that he is trustworthy, will do what he says, and can be relied upon. This is implied and restated in many places, including Matthew 21:22:

    “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

    My question is what did you (or DS) think it meant before? Isn’t the Bible perfectly clear on this point?

  3. Paul says:

    I can agree that belief in God’s authority is part of faith, but trust in Him in all things is more core to ‘faith’ in my opinion.

    Interestingly, when further studying relationships between men and women, it is clear how often the NT establishes certain authority relations that Christians should honor and uphold, even if it means to literally suffer the consequences; slaves/servants should obey their masters (even the bad ones!), young ones should obey the elder(s), children should obey their parents, all should obey government, women should obey their husbands, and everyone should obey God above all.

    Obedience to God by doing what He asks is ESSENTIAL to faith.

    John 14: “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

  4. Derek Ramsey says:

    @Paul

    “Obedience to God by doing what He asks is ESSENTIAL to faith.”

    1 Kings 13 tells the story of a prophet who was commanded by God to not do something. He was fooled and did it anyway. God punished him with death because obedience is that important. Consider DS’s statement:

    “The fundamental part of faith is that it is a belief in authority.”

    This is too soft. Mere belief in God—intellectual assent—fails to fully capture the essential nature of our relationship to God. The authority of God is not like the authority of man. God is absolutely sovereign. Not only do we have conviction that the power of God is real, present, and reliable, but it is absolute. It demands obedience. So, yes, faith is about authority, but it is also about why God has authority.

  5. Jack says:

    “My question is what did you (or DS) think [faith] meant before? Isn’t the Bible perfectly clear on this point?

    As a younger believer, I thought faith was simply taking God at His word and believing it until you see the truth of it. Although there are many examples of faithful individuals in the Bible, I did not see very many descriptions of faith in the Bible, other than Hebrews 11. For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t sure what faith is, or whether I was doing something in faith or not. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned how faith is deeper than my conscious awareness. It involves trust, confidence, hope, and obedient action, as well as God’s authority. For me, it took time to apprehend the many facets of faith, and I’m sure I still have more to learn. Part of the challenge is to figure out how God’s truth applies to my own life, so that my faith can find an authentic expression according to God’s will for my life.

  6. @ Derek

    My question is what did you (or DS) think it meant before? Isn’t the Bible perfectly clear on this point?

    I don’t think it’s not that I didn’t believe that, but the difference from a head knowledge to a heart knowledge.

    It’s easy to understand something intellectually, but with more maturity you understand the greater depth of the authority (and love, and kindness, and so on) of God and how it should play out in your life. Primarily obedience.

  7. BenLTaylor says:

    John Calvin on the exact sin of Adam’s fall (Institutes II.1.iv):

    The idea of sensual intemperance [as their motivation behind the fall] is childish…The prohibition to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a trial of obedience, that Adam, by observing it, might prove his willing submission to the command of God…Augustine, indeed, is not far from the mark, when he says (In Psalmum 19), that pride was the beginning of all evil, because, had not man’s ambition carried him higher than he was permitted, he might have continued in his first estate. A further definition, however, must be derived from the kind of temptation which Moses describes. When, by the subtlety of the devil, the woman faithlessly abandoned the command of God, her fall obviously had its origin in disobedience. This Paul confirms…Hence infidelity was the at the root of the revolt. From infidelity, again, sprang ambition and pride, together with ingratitude; because Adam, by longing for more than was allotted him, manifested contempt for the great liberality with which God had enriched him. It was surely monstrous impiety that a son of earth should deem it little to have been made in the likeness, unless he were also made the equal of God. If the apostasy by which man withdraws from the authority of his Maker, no, petulantly shakes off his allegiance to him, is a foul and execrable crime, it is in vain to extenuate the sin of Adam. Nor was it simple apostasy. It was accompanied with foul insult to God, the guilty pair assenting to Satan’s calumnies when he charged God with malice, envy, and falsehood. In fine, infidelity opened the door to ambition, and ambition was the parent of rebellion, man casting off the fear of God, and giving free vent to his lust.

    Calvin goes on, but his emphasis on a lack of faith (“infidelity”) and the accompanying rebellion against God’s authority (“disobedience” and “rebellion”).

  8. BenLTaylor says:

    Notice faithfulness is alway associated with the holy or promised land. It’s obviously in Adam and Eve. It’s certainly in Hebrews 11…

    In addition to my above comment, Hebrews 11 as a whole is talking about the promised land (that we’ve yet to receive after judgment day). In fact, the Greek word for assurance (hypostasis) can mean a few things, and the last meaning listed in BDAG (the most authoritative Greek-English lexicon of the NT and early Christian writings) is “title-deed.” One might render v. 1 as: “Now faith is the hoped-for title-deed…” Notice that frames the remainder of chapter 11 as an argument for the promised land.

    In fact, the next part of v. 1, “the conviction of things not seen,” use words associated with law (pragma: matter; deed; lawsuit; elegchos: proof, refutation). Then v. 2 more fully introduces the fathers of the faith claiming land God promised them: “For by it the people of old received their commendation (martureo).” The word martureo, which commonly means to testify and from which “martyr” comes, is widely known to have originated in a law context.

  9. Paul says:

    John Calvin apparently missed that it was Eve that craved to eat the fruit of the tree and to be like God, took the fruit, ate of it, and persuaded Adam to eat too.

  10. Hamba Yasmo says:

    Could you comment/blog about this info pic ?–> https://imgur.com/a/whQSCA9
    It challenges the God-Male-Female hierarchy in 1st Corinthians.
    Would love to know your inputs about it.

  11. Paul says:

    The first slide is bollocks. The NT makes clear that the pre-fall order is: God > Christ > Man > Woman.

  12. @ Hamba

    The first graphic is wrong.

    Adam had authority over Eve before the fall:

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/structures-of-authority-before-the-fall/

    Pre-fall Adam was commanded God to keep the garden (work) even before the curse.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/not-curses-but-punishments-genesis-3-part-2/

    The curses emphasize a particular part of what was already in place and make it more difficult.

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