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Previous Editorials:         "The Mystery of Faith"   by Randy Munter

Charles H. Spurgeon
Charles H. Spurgeon

Justification by Faith
Charles Finney

Not Faith, But Christ
Horatius Bonar

Faith's Persistency
T. Austin-Sparks

  "The Mystery of Faith"  

"Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."   1 Timothy 3:10

Open your Bible to the very first book and read the very first verse, it reads, "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth." Now to the carnal man this is ludicrous. How can a man grasp the improbability of such an impossible task as to create the heaven and earth, and do it all out of nothing? Herein lies the mystery of Faith.

The simple truth is, man could never grasp the grand concept of creation by an eternal God. It is beyond our ability to understand. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33)

There is however a force greater than our understanding... Faith! We may never understand how God created all things, but we can know Him, and through our faith, we can believe that God created all things. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." (Hebrews 11:3)

The Biblical definition;
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) This takes in the whole of the Christian walk with God. Every aspect of our walk in the Spirit is through faith. "For without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is..."   Hebrews 11:6

Faith is a gift of the Spirit;
"To another faith by the same Spirit..." (1 Corinthians 12:9) The Spirit of God gives us this wonderful gift of faith, however, we must receive it, we must embrace it, we must walk in it.

Faith is the fruit of the Spirit;
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith..." (Galatians 5:22-23) Fruit insinuates a process of growth and maturing. As the mustard seed, it starts small, but grows with time and care.

Faith is a process of growth;
" cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) We have a responsibility to nurture our faith through much prayer and study of the Word of God. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;" (Hebrews 2:3)

Ultimately though, faith is a gift from God. He awakens us to it, He stirs it in us, and with our cooperation, He causes it to grow and mature for us. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) This is the great mystery of Faith.

Acting on our Faith,
Hebrews 11:13 says that, By faith, they saw the promises afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed them. Faith takes on action and action always brings about results.

Hebrews 11:33-38

  •  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
  •  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
  •  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
  •  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
  •  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
  •  Of whom the world was not worthy...

Faith must be motivated by Love,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." (Luke 10:27) Without the proper motivation of love, faith has no effect. Because God is love, and our faith is a gift from God, love and faith are inseparable, in-fact, one cannot work without the other.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

  •  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
  •  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
  •  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
  •  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
  •  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
  •  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
  •  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  •  Charity never faileth:

— Randy Munter    Editor and Webmaster

Great Mysteries of the Bible

  •   Mark 4:11   —   of the Kingdom
  •   Ephesians 1:9   —   of His Will
  •   Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 4:3   —   of Christ
  •   Ephesians 6:19   —   of the Gospel
  •   Colossians 2:2; Revelation 10:7   —   of God
  •   II Thessalonians 2:7   —   of Iniquity
  •   I Timothy 3:9   —   of Faith
  •   I Timothy 3:16   —   of Godliness

Other Mysteries

  •   Romans 11:25   —   of God's dealings with Israel
  •   Romans 16:25   —   of God's Salvation plan
  •   I Corinthians 2:7   —   of the Wisdom of God
  •   I Corinthians 15:51   —   of the Rapture of the Church
  •   Colossians 1:26-27   —   Christ in you
  •   Ephesians 3:9   —   our Fellowship with Christ
  •   Ephesians 5:32   —   the union of Christ and His Church
  •   Revelation 1:20   —   of the Seven Stars
  •   Revelation 17:5-7   —   of the harlot Woman

The Shield of Faith
By Charles H. Spurgeon

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."   Ephesians 6:16.

LIKE the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It is his destiny to be assaulted. It is his duty to attack. Part of his life will be occupied with defensive warfare. He will have to defend earnestly the faith once delivered to the saints. He will have to resist the devil, he will have to stand against all his wiles and having done all, still to stand. He will, however, be but a sorry Christian if he acts only on the defensive. He must be one who goes against his foes as well as stands still to receive their advance. He must be able to say with David, "I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied."

He must wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. He must have weapons for his warfare not carnal but "mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." He must not, I say, be content to live in the stronghold though he is then well guarded and munitions of stupendous strength his dwelling place may be. But he must go forth to attack the castles of the enemy and to put them down, to drive the Canaanite out of the land.

Now, there are many ways in which the Christian may to a great degree forget his marshal character. And alas, there are not a few who, if they are Christians at all, certainly know but very little of that daily warfare to which the Captain of our salvation calls His disciples. They will know most of fighting who cleave closest to king David. They who are willing not merely to be with him when he is in Saul's court with his fingers amid the strings of the harp, but going in and out before the people and behaving discreetly, so that "all Israel and Judah loved David because he went out and came in before them."

They must be men who are willing to go with David into the cave of Adullam when he is outlawed, when his character has become a stench in the nostrils of every proud hypocrite and when Saul the king in his day the representative of that worldly religion which is not of God, but stands in the strength of man when he hunts David to seek his life. Thus the men who are willing to follow Christ in the midst of an ungodly and perverse generation must come right out from it and be separate. Their life will have to be like the life of the men of Napthali who hazarded their lives onto the death in the high places of the field.

You will remember that Jonathan, one of the sweetest characters in the Word of God, is one of whom, after all, there is little to be said. His life was inglorious from the very time that he forsook David and his death was among the slain of the Philistines upon the dewless mountains of Gilboa. Alas, poor Jonathan he could give David his bow but he could not draw the bow for David. He could give David his garments, even to his armor but he could not put on the armor for David. The attraction of his father's court was too much for him and there he stayed.

In that Book of the Chronicles, where the Holy Spirit has recorded the names of the mighty men that were with David in Adullam we find not the name of Jonathan. We find the names of those who broke through the Philistines to give David a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem. We find the name of the man who went down into the pit in the time of winter and smote the lion. But Jonathan has not the honor to stand recorded in the list of the great host which was like the host of God. And there are Christians of that kind nowadays. They have a soft religion religion which shuns opposition, a reed-like religion which bows before every blast unlike that cedar of godliness which stands aloft in the midst of the storm and claps its boughs in the hurricane for very joy of triumph, though the earth be all in arms abroad.

Such men, like those who shunned David in Adullam, lack the faith that shares the glory. Though saved, yet their names shall not be found written among the mighty men who for our Great Commander's sake are willing to suffer the loss of all things and to go forth without the camp bearing His reproach. Those Christians too, who having come clean out from the world diligently engaged in building up the Church will have to fight more than others who are rather built up than builders.

You remember, in Nehemiah's day, how the Jews worked when they built the walls of Jerusalem. With one hand they held the trowel and in the other they held a weapon. "The builders, everyone had his sword girded by his side and so built." Moreover there were master masons along the wall and the laborers all actually worked. But here and there you might see a sentinel ready to sound the trumpet so that the workmen might prove warriors and rush to the fray and drive away their foes.

Be very diligent in doing good to the Church of Christ and you shall soon have reason to defend your cause. Serve your Master zealously and diligently and let the Lord's blessing rest upon your labors, the Lord's blessing will entail Satan's curse, the smile of God will necessarily incur the frown of man. According to your nonconformity to the world, your daring to be singular when to be singular is to be right according to your diligence in building up the wall of Jerusalem, you shall be compelled to recognize your soldierly character. To you the text shall come with greater emphasis than to more cowardly souls. "Above all, take the shield of faith wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

Having treated the character of the persons who will most require the shield provided in the text, let us proceed at once to discuss the words before us. We will do so thus. First, let us expound the comparison. Secondly, enforce the exhortation. And thirdly, propound it as a word of comfort to any trembling sinners who are now specially attacked with the faith of the fiery darts of the wicked.

I.   First, then, let us EXPOUND THE METAPHOR. Faith is here compared to a shield. There are four or five particulars in which we may liken faith to a shield.

The natural idea which lies upon the very surface of the simile is that faith, like a shield, protects us against attack. Different kinds of shields were used by the ancients but there is a special reference in our text to the large shield which was sometimes employed. I believe the word which is translated "shield," sometimes signifies a door, because their shields were as large as a door. They covered the man entirely. You remember that verse in the Psalms which exactly has the idea, "You, Lord will bless the righteous, with favor will You compass him as with a shield."

As the shield enveloped the entire man, so, we think faith envelopes the entire man and protects him from all missiles wherever they may be aimed against him. You will remember the cry of the Spartan mother to her son when he went out to battle. She said, "Take care that you return with your shield, or upon it." Now, as she meant that he could return upon his shield dead, it shows that they often employed shields which were large enough to be a bier for a dead man and consequently quite large enough to cover the body of a well man. Such a shield as that is meant in the text. That is the illustration before us.

Faith protects the whole man. Let the assault of Satan be against the head, let him try to deceive us with unsettled notions in theology, let him tempt us to doubt those things which are verily received among us. A full faith in Christ preserves us against dangerous heresies and enables us to hold fast those things which we have received, which we have been taught and have learned and have made our own by experience. Unsettledness in notion generally springs from a weakness of faith. A man that has strong faith in Christ has got a hand with such a grip on the doctrines of grace that you could not unclasp it.

He knows what he has believed. He understands what he has received. He could not and would not give up what he knows to be the Truth of God, though all the schemes that men devise should assail him with their most treacherous art. While faith will guard the head, it will also guard the heart. When temptation to love the world comes in, then faith holds up thoughts of the future and confidence of the reward that awaits the people of God. Faith enables the Christian to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt and so the heart is protected.

Then when the enemy makes his cut at the sword-arm of a Christian, to disable him if possible from future service, faith protects the arm like a shield. And he is able to do exploits for his Master and go forth, still conquering and to conquer, in the name of Him that has loved us. Suppose the arrow is aimed at his feet the enemy attempts to make him trip in his daily life endeavors to mislead him in the uprightness of his walk and conversation? Faith protects his feet and he stands fast in slippery places. Neither does his foot skip, nor can the enemy triumph over him.

Or suppose the arrow is aimed at the knee and Satan seeks to make him weak in prayer and tells him that God will shut out his cry and never listen to the voice of his supplication? Then faith protects him and in the power of faith, with confidence, he has access to God and draws near unto His Mercy Seat. Or let the arrow be aimed at his conscience and let it be winged with the remembrance of some recent sin. Yet faith protects the conscience, for its full assurance of atonement quenches the fiery darts with that delightful text, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin."

So there is no part of a man which is not secure. Although Satan will certainly attack him in every direction let him come where he will
"He that has made his refuge God,
Shall find a most secure abode."

Nor does faith only protect the whole man, but if you will think for a moment you will see that the Apostle suggests the idea that it protects his armor, too. After not counting various pieces, he says, "Above all." The man of God is to put on the girdle and the breastplate and he is to be shod and he is to wear his helmet. But though these are all armor, yet faith is an armor for his armor. It is not only a defense for him but a defense for his defenses. Thus faith not only shields the man but shields his graces, too.

You may easily perceive how this is. Satan sometimes attacks our sincerity. He tries to cut the girdle of Truth which is about our loins. But faith enables us to be all sincere, like Moses who forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king and refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Then the enemy will often make an attack against our righteousness and try to batter our breast-plate. Yet does faith come in and enable us like Joseph to exclaim, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God." Or like Job we cry, "Till I die I will not remove my integrity from me."

Or like David we can cry, even in the worst of slanders, "You Lord that delivered me out of the jaw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." You see how faith guards the breast-plate and protects the girdle? All our virtues are unable to live of themselves they need grace to preserve them and that grace is given us through faith. Are you meek? Cover your meekness with faith, or else you will give way to a hasty speech. Are you full of decision? Let your decision be shielded with confidence in God or else your decision may waver and your firmness may give way.


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