Does everyone who has faith in God have the same kind of faith? Does it matter if we don’t? Do all types of faith lead to the same end result?
The Lord Jesus led me to read 2 Peter 1 (Select vv. NASB).
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Vv. 1-3
This letter is addressed to those of us who have received a faith “of the same kind” as that of the New Testament apostles, i.e. a faith equal, equally precious, and of the same consistent value as the faith that they had.
So, does this mean that there is more than one kind of faith? The Bible does appear to teach that there is, in fact.
The Bible speaks of a faith which is not accompanied by repentance or obedience. It speaks of shallow faith which does not last when persecution comes. It speaks of faith absent of genuine fruit, which should be in keeping with repentance. It speaks, as well, of dead faith, which is absent of works of the Spirit. And, it speaks of professions of faith in Christ which are lies, because the people claiming faith in Christ are still walking in darkness.
Added to that is the fact that even the demons believe, and they shudder, but obviously their faith does not result in salvation and eternal life with God.
Many people have “faith,” but it is often more in a religion, or in a concept, or in their own ideas of who God is. Or, their faith is actually founded in men, and not in God, and not in His Word, but in a false gospel which tickles itching ears and tells them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. So, at least here in America, many people will claim to be Christians and to have faith in Jesus Christ, but not all faith is genuine faith.
So, what constitutes genuine faith, that is of the same kind as that of the NT apostles? It is, for one, the kind of faith taught by Jesus and by the NT apostles. It is spiritual, not natural; of the Spirit, not of the flesh, for it is divinely persuaded by God as to his holiness and righteousness and as to his will and purposes for our lives. And, because it is supernatural faith, it submits to God’s will and purposes. It is crucified with Christ in death to sin, and it is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, it results in us being spiritually born.
We now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, though not necessarily in absolute perfection, for our salvation is a process, a daily walk, which involves daily dying to sin and self and daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh. It isn’t as though we will never sin again, but it is that sin is no longer our master, but now we are sold out to Christ and to living to his righteousness.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. V. 4
Many people have been given this concept of God’s grace to us that it is merely forgiveness of sins resulting in freedom from the punishment of sin and the promise of heaven as our eternal home when we leave this earth, either through death, or through the Lord coming to take us to be with him.
But, that is only half the truth, not the whole of it. For God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. For, you see, the gift of God’s grace to us is not a mere get-out-of-jail-free card, nor is it carte blanche to continue in willful sin against God without guilt and without remorse.
For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. FOR, IF we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17).
You see, the gift of God’s grace – the gift of salvation from sin – is more about escaping the corruption that is in the world by lust, and it is more about us becoming partakers of the divine nature than it is about anything else. Jesus died to transform us, and to conform us to his likeness. He said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose them (die to sin), for his sake, we will have eternal life with him.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Vv 5-8
Yet, when we believe in Jesus Christ with this genuine faith, that is not the end of it all. That is only the beginning! We have a lifetime ahead of us of putting off the flesh and putting on the Spirit; of resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God in full assurance of faith. We have a lifetime of resting in the Lord, believing in his promises, rejecting Satan’s lies, forgiving others who have sinned against us, and walking in love, etc.
We have now entered the process of sanctification in which we grow in our faith, and we mature in Christ, we learn perseverance, and we experience suffering, which God uses in our lives to purify us and to make us holy. This is not the time to sit back and relax and put our feet up and assume that now that our eternity is secured we can just go on with our lives, business as usual, still living to please our flesh and do what makes us “happy.”
When Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He paid the price for our sin so that we could be set free from our slavery (addiction) to sinful practices. He redeemed us with his blood, i.e. he bought us back for God. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, but we now belong to God, to live holy lives pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him.
For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. Vv. 9-11
If our salvation from sin does not result in transformed lives, of the Spirit of God, turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, then I would question whether or not what we have is truly genuine faith.
I do know that it is possible for a genuine believer to fall back into sin, for a period of time, and to forget that he (or she) was delivered from slavery to sin, for we have biblical examples of this taking place, but a true follower of Christ should not be one who makes a practice of sin, in lifestyle, or the Bible says he (or she) does not have the hope of eternal life with God.
So, we should be diligent in making certain of our calling, first to make sure we truly are in Christ, by genuine faith, and then to make certain of what all God requires of us for salvation, not in the way of earning our salvation, but in the way of following our Lord in obedience in doing what God requires of his followers.
For, our obedience to God (to Christ) is what reveals that our faith is genuine, and that it is not a false faith which allows us to continue in sinful practices. If our faith is genuine, which is revealed by these godly practices, then “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
Fit for Service
An Original Work / October 5, 2011
Holy Spirit, come within us.
Cleanse our hearts,
and from sin free us.
Make us holy vessels fit
for service to the King.
Fill us with Your love and power.
Anoint us within this hour
To be living witnesses
For Jesus Christ, our King.
Our praise to Him bring.
Father God, our heart’s desire,
Come and speak to us in power.
Revive our hearts to obey You;
Live for You always.
May we love and serve You only,
Walking with You;
Not a phony.
May we always tell the truth,
And show integrity.
Your true servants be.
Jesus, Savior, sanctify us.
Purify our hearts within us;
Be transformed into Your likeness,
Holy unto You.
May we always listen to You
Speaking Your words
Now within us.
May we heed Your counsel to us;
Follow You today.
Do all that You say.
Friday, January 12, 2018, 12:21 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. May we take this to heart, and make certain of our salvation, that we are genuinely in Christ Jesus, by faith in him.