The Subtle Shift from Faith in The Faith to Faith in Our Faith

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August 16, 2021

1 Timothy 4:7-10 (NIV)

7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

CONSIDER THIS

There is one more bit I want us to glean from this text. It is v.9

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.

Paul does this no less than five times in his writings to his trainees. 

Here’s another one:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15. 

Here’s my favorite:

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:4-8)

Trustworthy sayings. This gets at the matter I have been wanting to engage with you. In this second half challenge we must understand the difference between “our faith” and “The Faith.” Our faith is important, but the most important reality is THE FAITH. Stay with me. Our faith is our quality of belief. The Faith is the substance of what we are believing. Watch this. Hebrews 11:1 puts it this way:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

Notice it does not say that Faith is the hope for the substance of these things. No, faith is the substance. It is the reality. THE FAITH is the substance. Our faith is our confidence in THE FAITH—which is the substantial reality.

Why do I make this distinction? Thanks for asking. I notice this in myself and maybe you can see it in yourself. It is a short step from placing our faith in THE FAITH to placing our faith in faith itself. Our faith subtly shifts from a confidence in the bedrock substance of the Word of God to an ebb and flow reality based on our circumstances and experience. If things are going well, “our faith” rides high. If things aren’t going so well, not so much and we work at being more sincere and committed in “our faith.” These are the times we tend to get tossed to and fro on the waves of our feelings, even mistaking our faith for our feelings. I think the word I’m searching for is piety. Piety is the quality of being religious or reverent. We think if we can be more sincere, or pious, or reverent that will do the trick. 

In reality, what we need is not more sincerity, good as that is. What we need is more substance. We need to anchor down into THE FAITH. Let’s bring this back to what we formerly called our “devotional life” and are now upgrading into our “training in godliness.” Training in godliness can’t be reduced to reading a bunch of things other people are saying about God and his word (including me and the Daily Text). And to be clear, the aim of the Daily Text is to get us to the substance of THE FAITH. 

And that’s where “sayings” come into play. Trustworthy and true sayings, which are all over the Scriptures, are meant to be said and given our “full acceptance” as Paul exhorts. Every. Single. Day. Now, I’m not trying to mess up your coffee with Jesus time in the morning (nor am I critiquing). Stay with that. I am asking you to take your training in godliness to the next level. Progress in the second half of the gospel will require it. We must center down much more deeply on “THE FAITH,” which is the way the Holy Spirit deepens “our faith.” 

I want your life and my life to be held together by THE FAITH. For this to happen, our days must be built on THE FAITH. This only happens as THIS DAY is constructed and held together by THE FAITH. TODAY. 

So, these sayings are trustworthy and worthy of full acceptance:

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

“If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has gone. BEHOLD, the new has come!” 

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Want to take another step in THE FAITH? Try this: 

I believe in God the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord. . . . IYKYK. 

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank you for this faith once handed down to the Saints. Thank you for giving us the unchanging, unwavering, unalterable substance of yourself and all you have done. What a treasure! What an inheritance! What a hope! Come Holy Spirit and search my heart and restore my deep anchored-ness in THIS FAITH. Let my faith not be in faith itself but in OUR GREAT FAITH. Order my training, Lord, every single day, starting today. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

Are you tracking with what I am trying to say here? on one hand it seems subtle. However, in the end it is not very subtle at all. It makes all the difference. What is coming through to you? Are you ready to make the shift from a “devotional life” to next level training in godliness? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I perceive that while it seems a small matter, there is a big difference between knowing a lot about Jesus and our salvation in contrast to knowing Jesus who is our salvation. The former is the same as the faith of demons, the latter is The FAITH “to contend for that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (Jude 3b). Our incorporation into Christ is THE FAITH that saves.

  2. The whole reason I have hung in with Christianity is because I knew it had a track record. My problem was I was well versed n THE FAITH/OUR GREAT FAITH but My Faith was never adequately developed. I can say without a doubt that I have done much better now that I have both. I would not want to have one without the other because it he!ps to know that I am not the first to embark on, what at times, feels like such a ridiculous and costly journey. And the journey that transformed OUR GREAT FAITH into My Faith was extremely costly. I now run an antique mall as I wait to understand if I even have a future with the current church landscape. I once read that any current church landscape is always the training ground for forgiveness; the current state of affairs has pushed that to a whole other level.

    Not everybody is in a position to “do something”; I am just trying to survive.

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