FAITH and OUTCOME

BY:  JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

MARCH 28, 2007

Hi John

One of the things you have stressed if I have read this right is the following:

It is the faith of Christ, not our faith.  It is the faith of Christ who is in us.  I think this is the idea, if I have grasped this ok.

Ok so what part do we play if any?   Why then do some people, actually move and have their being in faith, where as others don’t.  Do we play any part at all?  Or are we completely passive in all this?

Do non-believers have the faith of Christ in them?  What is evangelism?

I guess the problem I have is that I don’t see how this works out in practice.  Bear in mind I worship in an evangelical/charismatic church and hence faith of Christ in us, is probably outside their understanding or belief.

By the way my latest sermon on Unhindered Love is on my web site at www.grahamm7.plus.com.

If you want to hear it, then you can go to our church web site

at http://www.meadgatechurch.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=41

Every blessing to you guys over their in USA.

I do long to hear how you are doing Charles with your chiropractor

Yours in Jesus

Graham

Graham, I welcome this opportunity to try to clarify for you my understanding of the source, meaning, place and nature of (saving) faith. If one begins with the solid premise that it is only the life of Christ in us—Christ, our life, as Paul said—that is in perfect alignment with God, is rightly related to, and pleasing to God, then a true understanding of faith begins to open to us.

It is simply elementary that Christ lives in us inclusive of His faith, for how could we say that He is our life, but He is so without the faith-element of His life. That’s so contradictory as to make it theologically nonsensical, for at the very heart of the life of Christ is His dependence upon, trust in , assurance of, and conviction regarding the Father being His life-source (Jn. 5:26: “The Father has life in Himself and gave the Son to have life in Himself). St. John wrote that “we know and believe the love God has for us.” That’s Christ in us, knowing the Father’s love, and trusting in that love’s choices for us.

What few Christians realize is that the relationship of the Father and the Son is not a matter of the Father doing His part, and the Son doing His. At the heart of God being all in all, is the truth that the Father is all to the Son in whom all things consist. Jesus always deferred to the Father to explain who He was and why and how He did what He did. It was simply ALL the Father in the Son. The Son completely depends upon the Father because the Son is completely dependent on the Father. That is the nature of our true inner-man life.

Institutional Christianity simply refuses to accept that. It is addicted to the idea that for things to work out right between us and God, “we have to do our part,” and if we do, then “God will do His part.” That makes God dependent upon us “getting it right” before He can get on with His purpose and will.

So, to answer your question as to what is our part, I simply have to say that we bring absolutely nothing to the table. It’s all God, as my friend, Lenny Antonsson loves to say. That’s the point at which the natural mind, as I like to put it, is faced with an intolerable intellectual tension, wondering just how such a relationship works itself out. The first shallow-thinking, shoot-from-the-hip reaction is almost always: “Well, if it’s all God that makes us mere robots.”

No it doesn’t, for as the Lord causes us to commune and participate in the life of Christ, the very first thing we experience is freedom, the freedom of God. God is free to be all that He is without any one’s help, and He lives out His freedom in us, in His Son, in the Spirit. So how could being caused to participate the freedom of God make us robots?

You see, at the heart of our flesh’s alienation from God, at the heart of our blindness and ignorance is the desire to get credited for “holding up our part of the deal.” We like the idea of grace, as long as the successful operation of grace is attributable to us “letting God” do what He wants to do. Institutional Christianity is really stuck in that conceptual rut.

God can only do what we allow Him to do, they say. If that’s so, then who’s running the show? Who, in practical terms is sovereign? Dare we even entertain the notion of God being frustrated at us not allowing Him to carry out His perfect plan for us individually and for all mankind? I’ve heard preachers go so far as to say that “we tie God’s hands” by the misuse of our ‘free will.’ ”

I have to say that I’ve been very sternly confronted by the Lord regarding this very fundamental issue. This is nothing less than either giving God His rightful glory, or stealing some of it for ourselves. But, I will acknowledge that when confronted by the absolute sovereignty of the operation of God’s grace—that He causes us to do what He wants us to do on His time schedule, leaving us in darkness as long as He chooses, and shining His light into our hearts when He chooses—we do wonder how, in practical terms, we should proceed to live out our lives.

The unaided natural mind is very dumb about such things. It hobbles around always wondering what it ought to be doing, and what are the right decisions to be made. As the Lord grants us life-changing mind changes, and we advance a bit into maturity, we can hardly fail to notice that “the well-laid plans of mice and men, often go astray.” We begin to notice that God has not handed over even the minutest measure of His sovereignty to us at all, and we are really determining nothing of any importance at all. Do I have any practical advice? Sure, I’m a preacher, ain’t I? 🙂

My practical advice is to encourage you to accept the sanctity of your humanness, the humanness that Jesus glorified in Himself. “Call thou not common or unclean what God hath cleansed.” With a prayer in your heart, go about your sanctified life in Christ, trusting that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Don’t let your failures throw you. In your successes and in your failures, our majestic Lord moves on with absolute certainty in His determined purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. What about evangelism? Throw off any and all vestiges of the notion that evangelism has to do with saving people from hell, and getting them to heaven.

Evangelism is sharing the good news that all mankind is “accepted in the Beloved,” that death has been conquered, and is nothing to be feared, and that Christ has made all men whole, brought to a state of well-being in spirit, soul and body in Himself, delivered from the deviation of personhood which is sin, a truth to be manifested in due time. Evangelism is about the truth that the resurrection of Christ terminated death, rather than death terminating Him, and He will lead us all alive into glory.

Evangelism is telling folks that there is nothing that can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, nothing that can disqualify them from the enjoyment of citizenry in the kingdom of God.

Evangelism is sharing the assurance that God will be faithful to Himself, always, unswerveringly and unobtructed in acting in the integrity of unconditional love, the love that accepts us exactly as we are, but, thank God, will not leave us as we are in our brokenness.

Evangelism is about the good news that God, in Christ, has, and does share fully the depths of our human condition, and in His all-inclusive sharing of it all, He makes it all end in glory.

 

FAITH and OUTCOME [John R. Gavazzoni] 3-28-07          1

 

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