Keep on Believing

Friday, November 16, 2018

“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:39 NIV)

The battle of the Christian life has always been not just to believe, but to keep on believing.  This is how we will grow strong in faith and see the actual fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives.

Throughout this book we have seen the biblical primacy of faith and its vital nature if we are to live in the will of God.  The writer of Hebrews sums this up in a very famous passage [that ends with the following words]:  “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."

In other words, the writer is telling us not to be like the Israelites who believed for a while and then fell away.  What doomed them from ever entering the Promised Land was not the sin of idolatry per se, or immorality, or greed—it was the horrible offense of unbelief.  Though God had promised the land to the men and women delivered out of Egypt, they never put one foot in it due to their chronic lack of faith.

Today we tend to soft-pedal unbelief as little more than a common weakness.  We say things such as “You know, Mrs. Smith just has a hard time believing that God will help her.”  God takes no such easygoing approach.  He calls it “shrinking back” and lets us know that he is definitely displeased.  In fact, to reject his promises to us is far more destructive than the sensational sins we often talk about.  The Bible calls it a “sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).  Those are solemn, awesome words!

We see now why the great target of Satan is to break down our faith.  He knows all too well that the righteous live by faith, so he aims at cutting our lifeline to God.  Faith is like the hand that reaches up to receive what God has freely promised.  If the devil can pull your hand back down to your side, then he has succeeded.  All of God’s intended supply will just stay where it is in heaven.

Remember that this faith is not merely a mental assent to certain truths in the Bible.  Many people assume, “God said something, and in my mind I affirm that it is true—that’s faith.”  They are wrong.  Even the devil can give mental assent to the truth of many biblical facts, yet he remains Satan—our adversary.  Real faith is produced when our hearts draw near to God himself and receive his promises deep with us.  There, by its own divine power, his Word will work supernaturally...

We are running the race of faith.  Those who drop out along the way are people who have stopped trusting the invisible God.  None of us want to pull back or make a shipwreck of our lives...  We desire to receive not only his ultimate promise of salvation in heaven but also the many other promises he has made to us along the way.  We want to live in the will of God.

And we don’t have much time to accomplish this.  As the Hebrews passage says, Jesus Christ is coming soon.

-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Faith)

Read Hebrews 10:35-39.

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