Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Decoding Law Usage in Modern Langauge

10. Faith

I can hear it now, "WOAH THERE, Buddy! You have gone to far now! How can "Faith" be Law?"

Answer: When it is perverted and twisted by sinful man so that it is a quality that man possesses and maintains rather than a gift from God. When it is understood to be nothing more than the understanding possessed by the devil and his angels... or when it is understood to be a synonym for "doing right by God"... or when it is henotheistically understood that non-Christians can possess the same qualities as Christians when it comes to "having faith" in something.

When the church talks about faith, it is talking about belief and hope... in what? That's an important question because in the Biblical definition of "faith" that word always has an object that it points to: Faith... in Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Savior of the World. On top of that, it is not a human creation, but is something that is given by the Holy Spirit as pure gift. Faith, rightly understood, is extra nos. It comes from outside of you as a gift from the Holy Spirit.

The world has a different meaning for the same word and you start to hear Christians using it more and more these days. This faith needs no object. It is a cognitive analysis of trust that is given from the individual that possesses it... usually based on evidence or convincing propositions. This kind of faith is better described as "loyalty" or "allegiance". The military oath of enlistment has the phrase "I will bear true faith and allegiance". That is what we are talking about. I know that this is a little bit of hair-splitting on words, but the practical application of this seemingly minor difference is truly significant. This is how a word as fundamental to the Gospel as "faith" can become a human quality that must be preserved by human effort... and therefore is perverted into Law.

Many times you will hear people talk about "having faith", or about how their "faith is important to them", or that they are a "people of faith", or that they are afraid they are "losing their faith", or even that they "have faith in Jesus". When you investigate through asking questions, you learn that this word they are using does not really have an object and is something that they have to preserve through their effort. It is a very secular use of the term... a term that they do not really understand from a theological perspective. You learn that this "faith" word is really a pious sounding synonym for "loyalty" or "obedience".

This is where decision theology comes in. It takes the gift of faith and blurs it. It confuses it by making it seem as though the work of the Holy Spirit is not the free gift of "faith". Instead, it makes the Holy Spirit seem as though He is an advisor or salesman that provides very convincing promptings and propositions that influence the sovereign individual and cause them to decide to have faith in what is being presented.

...then you start to wonder in times crisis........ did I respond in faith properly? Did I do it right? Did I do it enough? Should I do it again?


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