If you have been around Reform Church’s teaching for a while, you’ve heard terms like, “the obedience of faith” before.
The Bible strongly teaches that new covenant obedience is strictly faith in Jesus. It doesn’t teach that faith in Jesus is part of your obedience. And it doesn’t teach that faith is what produces obedience. No, the Bible clearly teaches that there is a new law in place in the new covenant (Heb. 7:12) and that law is that every person put faith in Jesus. End of conversation. Faith is the only obedience God requires.
For those who would protest and say, “If faith is the only obedience, then what about loving each other, witnessing and good works? Are they not important?” Although this isn’t the topic of this article, faith produces love and good works (Gal. 5:6). So that’s not a problem. If love and good works aren’t present, it’s not a problem with the works, it’s a problem with the faith (2 Pet. 1:9).
But now that we’ve addressed that, here is our point: Today in the church we have completely butchered the definition of faith. In fact, it is so hard to say “faith” without the people you are teaching having a million wrong opinions floating in their head. And if we have a wrong idea of what faith is, then we certainly can’t have a good understanding what the obedience of faith is.
To a lot of Christians, faith is believing hard enough that what God says will come to pass. Wrong. To other Christians, faith is believing that the result they want to see will manifest. Wrong. And still to other Christians, faith is an action. To them faith is acting in accordance with what you believe. All of this is so terribly wrong. And there’s not a whole lot of biblical evidence they’re going to show you for these claims.
How can we as a church, teach people that new covenant obedience is “faith in Jesus” if everyone hearing us has a million different definitions of what faith is? It makes it impossible.
Faith is seeing Jesus. That’s what it means. It’s not believing something will come to pass. It’s not an action you take. It’s just seeing Jesus — understanding what Jesus did a long time ago.
Let me explain this: Below, Paul says that we should not look (with our minds) at the things which are seen, but at the things, which are not seen
2 Corinthians 4:18 (KJV) …we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…
Ok, so Paul is talking about seeing the unseen — seeing what your eyes can’t see. And guess what Paul calls this “seeing the unseen” just a few verses later?
2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight
He calls it faith. Paul defines faith as seeing the unseen — seeing the invisible. Paul defines faith as a kind of spiritual perception. Faith is being able to see something in your mind and being able to understand something that your eyes can’t see!
So far, I’ve got most Christians still nodding. “Yes, faith is being able to see the unseen.” But let’s be more specific, what exactly does God want the eye of your mind focused on? What unseen thing does God want your mind to see?
Hebrews 11:27 (KJV) …he [Moses] endured, as seeing HIM who is invisible.
When the verse above speaks of “him who is invisible” it is speaking about Jesus. Faith is a seeing Jesus in your mind. Not that we should try to picture Jesus’ physical form or something. No, faith is a kind of spiritual perception by which we are able to see and understand what Jesus has done for us, despite the fact that we have not seen His finished work with our eyes (yet).
Even simply saying “faith in God” is not enough. It’s about understanding what Jesus did.
1 Peter 1:8 (NKJV) …Though now you do not see Him, yet believing…
We need to uncomplicate faith. I think every Christian could come to grips with what I have defined here — that faith is seeing Jesus. But oh Lord, as much as they’ll nod to that, they certainly have a ton of other definitions they’ll use for faith as well, as it is convenient. “Yeah of course faith is seeing Jesus”, they say. And in the next breath, “Faith is an action” and “faith is how you reach out and take your manifestation” and “faith is what you confess” and “faith is how you react to problems” and “faith is believing that what you hope for is going to happen (as even paraphrase non-translations of the Bible even say). Wow, faith certainly has a lot of definitions. It seems “seeing Jesus” is just one of many. What a problem that is.
We have butchered the meaning of faith in the church. That’s a fact. Just get to know Jesus and take your time doing it for God’s sake. He’s the one that commanded every man to put faith in Jesus and God gets to define it. Not you or me.
Faith is understanding what Jesus has done for you and me 2,000 years ago. Period.
Romans 16:26 (ASV) …according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith…