Faith is the Means

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The power to live the victorious Christian life is “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).  The power of the Exchanged Life, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God is the fuel that frees us from the power of sin.  And the means or vehicle to lay hold of this power is faith.

God has promised that our old self, our sin nature, died with Christ.  I believe this by faith.  God has promised to take up residence inside us by His Holy Spirit.  I can’t always feel this, but I believe it by faith.  God has promised Christ’s resurrection power to all believers.  I believe this by faith.  God has promised that sin will not be our master.  I need constant clarity on how this works in practice, but I believe this by faith.

Three times in the New Testament – Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 – God succinctly states, “The righteous man will live by faith.”  Paul summarized the role of faith in experiencing the power of the exchanged life in Galatians 2:20.  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

The power to live the Christian life comes by faith, not by human effort or self-righteousness.  Listen to the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians,  “That I may be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil 3:9).  We often view these kinds of verses in the past tense.  That is, we were not justified in our initial salvation by keeping the Law, but by faith in Christ.  But I believe this encouragement applies to our ongoing salvation, our sanctification, our growth in acts of righteousness, as well.

Twice in Philippians 3:9 we are reminded of the role of faith in our righteousness; “righteousness which is through faith in Christ” and “righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”  Our present righteousness does not come from a self-righteous effort to keep “the Law”.  (We often form a New Testament version of what keeping the Law looks like.)  Our righteousness, our present righteous actions, come through faith in Christ.  Faith is the power.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (I Jn 5:4).  In our conflict with sin, fueled by our enemies – the world, the flesh, and the devil – we are the overcomers by faith.  Let’s learn to believe God’s words in our every day experience and thinking rather than search for excuses for our weakness.  You have the power!

4 Comments

  • Steve M.

    I like this, brother, and I agree with the main thrust. However, your first line does not square well with what I know you believe. You write: “The power to live the victorious Christian life is our faith in God’s promises.” Faith IS the key vehicle or means by which you and I lay hold of God’s grace, but the power to live the victorious Christian life is Christ in me, not your/my faith itself. Care should be taken not to use words that suggest that we have faith in faith (as do those in the so-called “Word of Faith” movement). I know you and your heart, and know that we’re of one mind on the Good News. This is just a fraternal encouragement. Holy kisses.

    • Steve, Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you completely. That first line is poorly worded. Faith is indeed the vehicle or means to lay hold of the promise, but the power is Christ in me, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and all that became new at our new birth. In fact, the power of the Exchanged Life is what I have been writing about for some time now and this post has the potential of confusing the issue. A re-write is in the works. Thanks again, Jay.

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