A Pedigree of Faith

by Lester Young

Today I’m going to tell you something that may cause your religion to shudder – and depending on just how much “religion” you have, you might even feel it recoiling in horror. What could I possibly say that would elicit a response like that, you ask? Well, allow me to answer that question by posing another one: What kind of faith do you have? Now I’m not referring to your ‘amount’ of faith or the level of your faith or anything like that. What I’m really interested in is… I suppose a better way of getting at it would’ve been asking not “What faith do you have?” but, “Whose faith do you have?”

If you’ve been born again, that should be an extremely easy question to answer. But to be truthful, it’s not a subject that’s garnered very much direct attention – or teaching. None of us can truthfully say we don’t have any faith at all, because Romans 12:3 clearly states that each and every person in Christ Jesus has been given Faith by our heavenly Father for the purpose of being used. (And since it’s just been mentioned, I invite you to read It’s All About the Mustard for a couple of interesting thoughts about that.) Now if God is the One who provided the faith – after all, He’s the Source of it (John 1:1, 14; Romans 10:17) – what faith do you think He’d give us? Whose faith do you think He’d give us? Whose faith could He give us? (Hint: He’s only got one Brand. God is pure; that is, He’s all or nothing [Psalm 99:9; Proverbs 30:5].) Since He’s a Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children, it should come as no surprise – and we should indeed expect – that the endowment of Faith we’ve been given is not some substandard knock-off, but the Real Deal (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17).

As always, our Big Brother Jesus points us correctly by telling us to “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). But in order to drive the point home more fully, we need to consider the literal Greek rendering of that phrase, which is “Have the faith of God”; in other words, “Have God’s faith!” That means to take (as in ‘possess’) His faith as your own! And if we’ve been commanded to take God’s personal faith as our own, it can only mean that that’s what He’s already given us – and nothing less than that (John 3:27).

What would you think if Mr. Bill Gates himself called out of the blue and told you he really wanted you – you specifically – to help him strengthen his global brand awareness and spread the word about how great his company’s products are. As part of the deal, you’ll be compensated handsomely, and Mr. Gates has also promised to personally send you a really big box of wonderful, magnificent, next-generation stuff that’s yours to keep! So you wait with bated breath until, finally, the package arrives. You tear into it and find this thingy and that doodad and the other gizmo and lots of additional odds-and-ends – and yes, they’re all nice pieces of equipment. Then you get down to the bottom of the box, where you’re sure the reeeeally good stuff is, and you pull out… <drum roll>… a ‘brand-new’ 1990 Tandy 486 computer freshly loaded with, um, Windows 3.1, and… an Apple Ipad. “??!&?” (…which, by the way, perfectly describes the look on your face). After gathering back your breath – and your civility – under one roof again, you slowly stand up, turn toward the direction of Seattle and mumble, “…Seriously?!?”

Of course, you’d like to question Mr. Gates about sending such a curious selection of goods – especially considering the fact that he’s counting on you to be a positive spokesperson for his organization. Why would he send you such an outdated and technically inferior item, something that can’t even come close to the performance of today’s modern units? And if he’s trying to strengthen his own brand, what the heck possessed him to send you an Apple Ipad?? After listening to your queries (which seem quite reasonable to me), he responds by saying, “Well, after considering everything, I didn’t think you were good enough… I mean, I really couldn’t send you my own things, my company’s best stuff – you kiddin’ me? So anyway, you take that stuff I sent you – it’s pretty good – and here’s what I need you to do to strengthen my brand. …” (That <click!> was you hanging up the phone.)

Mr. Bill Gates is obviously not that stupid. Certainly, our heavenly Father isn’t – nor is He that unreasonable. In Biblical contexts, being a child of someone connotes not only doing the same things as the parent but also being equal with that parent (John 5:17, 8:44). Jesus took that principle literally which, needless to say, upset quite a few folks around Him (John 10:30; Philippians 2:6). Because we’ve been given the mind of Christ and commanded to have His same attitude too, when we say the same things He says and do those same things He does we shouldn’t be particularly surprised if we end up rattling some ‘religious’ cages just like He did (Luke 6:40; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5-6).

Now the reason we can do exactly what Jesus did is because we’ve been given the exact same Equipment Package He has: the Holy Spirit – the Father within, Who’s responsible for doing the actual work (Luke 4:18-19; John 14:10, 16-18). It’s also why God is fully justified in commanding us to be just like Jesus here on the earth: if we hadn’t been endowed with the same things Jesus used to get the job done, He couldn’t rightly require or expect us to do the same works that He did (John 14:12; 1 John 4:17).

Jesus appropriated God’s very own faith as His own. By faith, He took and used the faith of God (Habakkuk 2:4; Mark 11:22). Now we’ve been recreated in the exact image of God’s Firstborn Son. He’s our Elder Brother and His Spirit resides in us. That’s why Hebrews 12:2 calls Him the Author – the Chief Leader – of our faith: because He has the faith of God, we’re supposed to follow His example and believe that we too have God’s very own faith, and do things exactly the way the Son does them (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:10-12).

So the next time you’re exercising your faith for something but nothing seems to be happening, and thoughts start creeping into your head questioning if anything’s really out there working, keep these principles in mind. Have a little faith in your Faith! Remind yourself that you weren’t as an afterthought just given any ole faith to use: God’s given you His very own faith to live by (Mark 11:22; Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:28). In other words, you’ve got the Good Stuff!

Stay tuned, because there’s another angle of this Faith of God that I’d like to touch on later (…because I do enjoy angles).

 

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5 Responses to “A Pedigree of Faith”

  1. Good evening,
    I really needed to hear this tonight and I want to say thank you. I will also print this out and look at those Bible verses that you referenced. To be honest, even though I am a born again Christian, I never saw it the way you have explained it. Have faith in God meant for me in God and not have the faith of God. So again thanks, because I have been praying for a breakthrough in an area that means everything to me and as you have said, I feel like nothing is happening, not realizing that I have to have faith in my faith.
    Excellent article.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

    • Hi there, Pat.
      I’m very glad that you were able to hear a timely word. Take it and don’t let go of it, because if you ‘heard’ it, it’s for you. Yeah, there hasn’t been a whole lot of teaching on that point. There has been some, and I believe it to be increasing, but still not nearly enough. I did a little digging into some of the nuances of the Greek translation of Mark 11:22; and while some very old ‘expert’ opinions vary, there’s nevertheless compelling evidence for taking it both ways. And as I thought about it, that made a lot of sense, too. Of course, we should place our faith ‘in’ God – as opposed to, say, trusting in man. But faith is a fruit of God’s Spirit, which we have. So it stands to reason the faith that’s in there would have to be God’s. And we have Christ’s Spirit residing in us – whose faith must He invariably have? As you stated, it’s a totally different way of looking at that verse, but I’m convinced an altogether correct way. If Jesus gave us His peace and His joy (John 14:27, 15:11), He would certainly give us ‘His’ faith, too — because they’re all fruits of that same Spirit. But as Jesus continually said, “According to your faith, be it unto you” (Matthew 8:13, 9:29). How we measure (or esteem) what we hear is how it’ll be distributed back to us (Mark 4:24). It’s a revelation that’s largely been lost, but I believe is making a very strong comeback, because I think we all as the Body of Christ are living far below where we should be, when considering what we’ve been endowed with.
      It’s great to hear from you again, Pat… and thanks very much for your encouragement! God bless you!
      Lester

  2. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
    We are taught what faith is – so we have the faith of God. Why does God have “hope,” or “confidence?” Why does God need “assurance?” I do not believe that God’s faith, which we have changes in molecular structure (if you will) during the giving of faith from Him to us. Lester, I feel His embrace, I know He has lead me every step of the way – but your teaching today feels like a roller coaster. I cannot disagree – you have scripture to back you up and I understand He is outside the timeline that fogs the future but I’ve never really thought about God’s Faith as God’s Faith – He’s God, I’m the one in need of Faith. I guess it just “feels” and I can almost hear you sigh, disconcerting.

    • Excellent, excellent comment, Sandy. If you’ve voiced it, it probably means that other people are thinking something close to it, too. And that means I didn’t do as good a job of explaining what I was trying to say so that it could be understood. Therefore, I want you to know that I appreciate your feedback as well as your concerns. And while I happen to be quite fond of roller coasters, they do have a proper time and place — and this obviously isn’t one of them. So I’ll see if I can smooth it out a little bit.
      I’ll start by going back to the KJV rendition of Hebrews 11:1: “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If you look up the Greek word (hupostasis) in that phrase, it means more than just the abstract concept of ‘confidence’. It also has a concrete or practical rendering: ‘substance’. Faith is the ‘essence,’ the essential building blocks, if you will, of everything in existence. Faith is actually a ‘spiritual’ substance, a spiritual ‘commodity’ that everything is made out of. It’s what God used to make stuff — all stuff. He spoke and it was so — and those Words of His were full of Faith.
      The Greek word for ‘hope’ (elpizo) has a much stronger definition that our Western thinking of what hope is. Our hope is little more than wishing something would happen. But that Greek word describes a very strong, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt expectation that something is going to happen — so strong, in fact, that as far as the expecter is concerned, the thing is just as good as done, right now! Now doesn’t that kind of conviction that what He says will come to pass sound just like ‘confidence’? (Isaiah 55:11; Mark 11:23) It makes you ‘bold’ — like a ‘Lion’.
      God doesn’t need assurance — He’s already ‘assured’. He’s fully confident that His Word and His plan will be. He used Faith (the actual substance), expectation (Hope) in the veracity of His Word – because, after all, He can’t lie; and Love (which is Faith’s fuel [Galatians 5:6]) to create all (1 Corinthians 13:13). Because we’re made in His image (just like Him), it’s how we’re supposed to operate, too.
      San, when we use God’s Words at His direction, it’s much easier to confidence that they will come to pass – much more confidence than our own words or plans could ever evoke from us. If we believe in Him – and believe that He can’t lie – then by default His Words must be the Truth (Numbers 23:19; John 17:17; Hebrews 6:18). His Words already contain His Faith, His confidence that they’ll bring themselves to pass. So — use His Words. Just like Jesus did: He said only what His Father told Him to say, when He told Him to say it — so His confidence was in the power inherent in God’s Words, which we know are the same as God Himself (John 1:1, 8:28). He sought the Father for what to say and do (everyday, big things and little things; important decisions and not-so-important ones), then when He heard He said/did whatever He was told – i.e., He stayed in obedience (John 15:10) – then He rolled the care of it all over onto God, walking away in confidence that the Word would come to pass, because it was God who was responsible for actually getting the thing done anyway (John 5:19; Mark 11:14-15, 20; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 John 3:21-22).
      And because Jesus is our Example, that’s exactly the way we’re supposed to do it.
      God indeed has Faith, He has Expectation – as a matter of fact, He is those things, just as He is Love (1 John 4:8). He’s not saddled with a physical, human body that can cause Him to doubt those things, but we are. Jesus was (and still is – but that’s a whole other subject lol). He had to use what God gave Him to walk victoriously here on earth. But fortunately, God gave Him everything He has, everything He is (John 10:30, 16:15). And He’s given us everything He’s given to our Lord Jesus – that’s why He’s our Father too, and Jesus our big Brother (John 17:22, 20:17; Hebrews 2:11-12). That’s why we’re supposed to do everything in life like Him, because as He is, so are we in this world — we have His same Equipment: His Faith, His Hope, His Love, His boldness and confidence (1 John 4:17). We just have to believe wholeheartedly that He’s given it to us (because His Word says He has), and therefore start acting like it.
      Is this making any sense, San? I hope that is is, that you can follow kinda where I’m going with it. It’s a revelation that the Body of Christ – all of us: you, me, all of us – sorely needs to get hold of again. Anyway, long-winded as this was again, I hope it helps at least some. 🙂
      Thanks for listening, Sandy

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