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FAITH DOES NOT COME BY HEARING

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Galatians 3:5 – He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?One of the more misquoted scriptures in the Bible is Romans 10:17. People claim that the scripture is read “faith cometh by hearing the Word of God.” That is not what it says. It says “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Why then for the misquote? Some people get lazy or sloppy and skip the repeated words. Others get even lazier, do not read the Bible for themselves, and merely repeat what they have heard others say. Others get lazier still and read the Bible with a preconceived notion of what they have already heard someone say, so they omit the repeated words by mental correction. But the main issue is that some people give their own paraphrase or interpretation of the verse, what they THINK it means. That is particularly bothersome in the modern context, because “the Word of God” has come to mean preaching, and people think that Romans 10:17 means that you gain faith by hearing someone preach. Frankly, this is the most common interpretation of the verse. 

Oh how so often people forget the main concept when dealing with language, particularly in its deliberate written form: WORDS MEAN THINGS. And this is even more so with the Bible, where ALL scripture was inspired by God. If the secret of obtaining faith was merely hearing someone preach, then Romans 10:17 would say “Faith cometh by hearing the preacher.” Well, maybe God didn’t wanted to limit it to preachers, but rather meant anyone who speaks the Word. Then Romans 10:17 would have said “Faith cometh by hearing someone speak the Word” (especially the Word of Faith). But no, Romans 10:17 says what it does because, no different from Romans 10:9  – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” – it plainly means what it plainly says. What does it say? We shall deal with that after I prove that the common interpretation is correct. 

Now, there is NO WAY that the Holy Spirit would have inspired Paul to say that “faith cometh by hearing the preacher.” Why? Because it clearly contrasts what is said earlier in the Bible. Not only that, it was said earlier in the New Testament (not that it matters REALLY but some people FALSELY believe that the New Testament negates the Old rather than merely completing, explaining, and confirming it), and one of the makers of a contrasting statement was Jesus Christ Himself (not that it matters REALLY but some people FALSELY claim that not everyone in the New Testament is authoritative on every issue, especially Paul). Now, if the slightest jot or tittle was found in the Bible to be at odds with another, then it would negate the whole deal, making Christianity worthless (not to evil). How do I know? Jesus Christ said so Himself (Matthew 5:18). So of course there is not going to be some obvious contradiction on a critical issue like acquiring faith! Now, I could use Paul’s own words to rebut this foolishness (he says that a person is born with all the faith that they will ever have, and that it is only a matter of how much they will learn to use in just two chapters later in Romans 12:3), but instead I will use others.  

Most fundamentally, James says “faith without works is dead (James 2:17).” So, if you just sit and hear the preacher’s words without allowing them to work a change in you that causes the development of spiritual character and maturity and – above all things – an increase in love, then you have acquired no faith, friend. Quite the contrary, you have committed the sin of disobedience and hard – heartedness. Some might say that hearing the preacher is the first part. Maybe, but if that is what the Holy Spirit wanted communicated, then Romans 10:17 would have said “Hearing the Word of God is the beginning of faith” or “Hearing the Word of God gives you the opportunity to gain faith.” Unlike “you gain faith by hearing someone preach or speak the Word of God”, which is plainly false, that might actually be true, after a fashion. But it is still not what Romans 10:17 says, and since it isn’t what it says it isn’t what it means. 

 And as great as James’ clear statements on the true nature of faith are, he is only expounding on what he learned from His Teacher and His Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The most appropriate example is the parable of the sower given in Matthew 13. There Christ told of a preacher or speaker of The Word to four types of audiences: those who hear but do not understand, those who hear but have no foundation; those who hear and have a foundation but love the world; and those who hear, have or develop a foundation (by keeping or obeying it), and reject the world in order to retain it. Now of those four groups that hear The Word, only the latter – and by far the smallest – ever even get a chance at attaining faith, which they may or may not do. Why? Because the parable of the sower was not about building faith. Why? Because did not the Holy Spirit through Paul tell you that you are born with a measure of faith (Romans 12:3 again)? No, the parable of the sower was about SALVATION. It is very possible to be saved and inherit eternal life without ever developing your faith. It is a terrible waste and a shame mind you, and you certainly will not get to reign and serve with Christ as a priest during His Millenial Reign at the end of this dispensation after His Return. As a matter of fact, assuming that it happens in your lifetime – a good one – you would even miss the rapture and have to endure the great tribulation (which you may or may not survive, though God will not suffer you to fall). But you would still go to Heaven.

Further, Paul was never REALLY talking about “building your faith” in Romans 10:17 either. Why would the Holy Spirit tell Paul to claim that you can “build your faith” in Romans 10:17 and then turn right around and say that you were born with a measure of faith in Romans 12:3? Was the Holy Spirit trying to drive people away from Christianity in droves, or merely confuse people? And why bother if preachers were going to come along and do it anyway? No, Paul in Romans 10:17 was talking about the same thing that he was in ALL of Romans 10. What was that? The same thing that Jesus Christ was talking about in Matthew 13: SALVATION. As a matter of fact, Romans 9 and Romans 11 are on the general topic of salvation of the Jews as well. So, why would the Holy Spirit have Paul talk about SALVATION for the 46 verses that PRECEDE Romans 10:17 and the 40 verses that FOLLOW Romans 10:17 and then have ONE VERSE IN THE MIDDLE that talks about building your faith? When that ONE VERSE IN THE MIDDLE CONTRADICTS WHAT PAUL SAYS ABOUT FAITH TWO CHAPTERS LATER, AND WHAT JESUS CHRIST AND JAMES SAID ABOUT FAITH? And then again, that is just the New Covenant. What about the old? Why would the Holy Spirit tell Paul to call Abraham the father of faith seven chapters earlier in the same book (Romans 4:11) if faith comes by hearing a preacher since if by virtue of being “the father of faith” (and let alone living in a nation where everyone else but him WERE PAGAN IDOLATORS!) there was no one to preach or speak the Word of God to him! Again, was the Holy Spirit trying to confuse and drive away people concerning Christianity when preachers themselves would come along and do that job just fine?  

Now of course, I am an adherent to the doctrine of dual reference: that the same scripture in the Bible can mean two things, or even a number of things. So, first, I am going to give you the CONTEXTUAL meaning of Romans 10:17: all that a person needs to be saved is to hear the gospel and believe. They need no prior or subsequent works. They need no prior (or subsequent) faith. All they need to be saved is to hear the gospel and to believe it. Now going deeper into the context, there was a debate going on at the time on whether to proselytize the Jews (which incidentally is still going on today); whether they would have faith in the New Covenant based solely on the word and witness of the proselyte or whether they would cling to the law, or whether “something extra” was required to convert a Jew. Paul told them that all they needed to convert a Jew and all that a Jew needed to be converted unto grace and to abandon the law was to hear the gospel and to believe; that nothing else was required of the proselyte (or preacher) and nothing else was required of the Jewish conversion target. Now listen, those who are shortening Romans 10:17 are then saying, if placed in context, that the way to convert a Jew is to keep preaching to him until he acquires the faith to believe the gospel and convert. The problem is that it is contradicted by Acts 2, when more Jews converted as a result of one short sermon by Peter than by THREE AND A HALF YEARS of Jesus Christ’s ministry and sermons! And furthermore, that was not even the experience of Paul (the writer of Romans)! Paul was not converted by preaching, but rather by a vision of the Risen Christ! Several prominent Jews who have converted to Christianity, including televangelists Sid Roth and Moshe Laurie, also converted after visions of Christ. Granted Paul, Sid Roth, and Moshe Laurie had heard or were aware of the gospel previously, but it was not hearing a preacher that increased their faith so that they would convert.  

But ultimately, the best proof that Romans 10:17 contextually refers to conversion after hearing the gospel is, well, the verses immediately preceding it! Romans 10:11 – 17 reads: “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It would be clearly sufficient enough to reference “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”, for that should clearly say that in order to be saved you need to believe, and in order to believe you need to know the Name and gospel by which you are believing, and in order to know the Name and gospel so that you can believe you must hear it, AND THAT IS THE REASON WHY YOU NEED A PREACHER. TO HEAR THE GOSPEL SO THAT YOU CAN BE SAVED! 

But wait … there’s more! You also have Romans 10:16 (as in THE VERSE RIGHT BEFORE Romans 10:17) in there, which CLEARLY NEGATES THE COMMON INTERPRETATION of Romans 10:17. Wow, as if the Holy Spirit KNEW that there was going to be a false doctrine based on a false interpretation of Romans 10:17 out there one day, and put Romans 10:16 RIGHT BEFORE IT so that HOPEFULLY someone would ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE AND COME ALONG WITH THE CORRECT DOCTRINE AND THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION TO BATTLE THE ERROR! Either that, or the Holy Spirit had Paul bury something out of context in Romans 10:17 that totally contradicted everything else said about faith in the Bible (including not only by Paul himself in the very same book but by Jesus Christ, by another apostle, and by Moses, the writer of Genesis) and NOT ONLY THAT IS CONTRADICTED BY THE VERY SAME PRECEDING VERSE for the clear purpose of confusing people, driving people from Christianity (which again, preachers are doing such a good job of on their own that they do not need the Holy Spirit’s help), and, oh yes, render Christianity moot (and dangerous and evil) by placing the Bible at odds with itself not only in SO MANY OTHER PLACES but ALSO IN THE VERSE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING IT! (exhausted and gasping for breath at the end of that long rant, whew!) And what does Romans 10:16 say? “BUT THEY HAVE NOT ALL OBEYED THE GOSPEL!” Why not? Didn’t they hear it? Didn’t hear it, or hearing it over and over, give them the faith to believe and obey it? Not according to James 2:17, because faith without works is dead. And not according to the Words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 13, which say that if you hear something and do not receive or retain it, then it is like you never heard it! The fact is that a million preachers can preach a billion sermons to the same corrupt, rebellious, or stony heart, and that heart won’t develop a bit of faith, and it certainly won’t develop the love that is the evidence of faith that keeps it from becoming dead and vain.  

And even if you do have a pure heart and all the love in the world, listening to all those sermons won’t increase your faith. Why not? BECAUSE YOU WERE BORN WITH A MEASURE OF FAITH (Romans 12:3)! Remember? But of course, preachers don’t talk much about Romans 12:3. Why? Because if they can get you to believe Romans 10:17, then it will keep you coming to hear their sermons, even if they do not have anything particularly compelling to say. And even those who DO have something compelling to say have been able to build large – and financially lucrative – ministries around the notion that the more you hear me preach, the more faith you will have. Now it may be (if that preacher is called and dealing with otherwise legitimate doctrine) that hearing his or her preaching may develop your gifts and fruits of the spirit; remove the doubt, fear, worldliness, etc.; result in your spiritual deliverance; cause you to hate and reject the world; and lead you to a lifestyle, mindset, and existence that is more like Christ. But that isn’t increasing your faith; it is helping you to effectively and consistently use the faith that you were already born with in every area of your life. You know how small a mustard seed is? Smaller than the period at the end of this grammatically incorrect sentence. So, every Christian has the faith to move mountains. But not every Christian has the knowledge to recognize the mountain, and not every Christian has the humility to ask God and first ask Him if it is His Will for the mountain to be moved, not everyone has the patience to keep praying for the mountain’s removal until the Holy Spirit lifts the prayer burden, not everyone has the submission to accept the Will of God regarding the fact that though you have already prayed in faith, the mountain will still only be moved at the time and in the manner of God’s choosing for His Pleasure alone and to bring Glory to Himself and to His Name alone even if it happens long after you have forgotten about it or are dead and gone (it’s not about you!), and not everyone has the discipline not to undo the thing that they have prayed for with destructive words. THAT is what you may get from hearing the preacher AND keeping what he says, and even then he has to be the right preacher. He has to be a preacher that preaches not his own words but God’s, and moreover this man when preaching the gospel must not preach ABOUT Christ, but instead he must PREACH CHRIST. If you are one who goes out trying to convert sinners by telling people about all the great things that Christ did and what He can do for you, then you are one who is not sent. But if you go out telling people about what Christ IS, which is LOVE and the only way to be reconciled with God through that love, then you are one who is sent. Telling people that Christ is the Son of God who is God, you are wasting your time because they aren’t going to understand and receive that except by revelation AFTER they get saved. To GET THEM SAVED, you must preach Christ, you must be able to effectively communicate who Christ is from the full sincerity of your heart in spirit and in truth, and if you have not received that in spirit and truth in your own spirit by revelation, then God will not send you to convert the lost lest you do more harm in your sincere but ill – informed attempts than good, whether by creating a false conversion (a person who converts based on expecting to receive something other than salvation and not expecting to experience any trials and tribulation and who thinks himself worthy of salvation or can earn his salvation or add to his righteousness with works) or by hardening their hearts and making the job that much harder – or even impossible – for the next preacher (hopefully a real one).  

And that brings me to the “dual reference not necessarily in context with the surrounding verses but very much in context with the whole of the Bible” interpretation of Romans 10:17. In order for hearing – and keeping – the preacher’s words to teach you how to walk in faith, the preacher must A) be called by God and B) his words must be God – breathed, inspired by the Holy Spirit. And guess what? Regarding A), that is also in Romans 10:11 – 17! (Wow, you’d almost think that the Holy Spirit had Paul put it in there on purpose or something!) Romans 10:15 says “How can they preach unless they be sent?” Now don’t get me wrong, they can preach all right, but it will be their own words, not God (the Holy Spirit) speaking through them so that they are able by sound doctrine to both PROSELYTIZE and ENCOURAGE SPIRITUAL GROWTH (Titus 1:9). Wow, there goes Paul again, saying that preaching is for something OTHER than building faith. Why? Because Romans 12:3 said … oh never mind, if you haven’t got it by now then you aren’t going to. And oh yes, in Titus 1:9, he says that a reason for preaching is TO CONVERT SINNERS, just like he did in Romans 9 – 11, which Romans 10:17 is right in the middle of!   

So faith (or call it belief, as it were) comes by HEARING. What are you hearing? THE HOLY SPIRIT. So, faith comes NOT by hearing a PREACHER, but by HEARING THE HOLY SPIRIT, or more precisely, BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. And the Holy Spirit comes by what? THE WORD OF GOD. What is the WORD OF GOD? THE SPOKEN WORD OF GOD. It can be the words of a man INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Or it can be THE ACTUAL SPOKEN WORD OF GOD. What is THE ACTUAL SPOKEN WORD OF GOD? Well, the answer is IMPLIED in John 1:1 – 3; it is kind of abstract and hard to get a handle on, but let me try my best to summarize it for you … JESUS CHRIST! How did the Holy Spirit come into the world, freely available to all? By Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension. John 16:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away (die on the cross, rise again, and ascend to the Right Hand of the Father): for if I go not away, the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Now I could quit while I am ahead and claim that Romans 10:17 means that hearing the Word of God, Christ Jesus, as inspired by the Holy Spirit either from hearing a preacher, reading the Bible, divine revelation, etc. helps you to learn to live by faith. But if I were to do that, I would be no better than the folks who tell you that Romans 10:17 means that you need to spend $65 by cash, check, or money order for DVD copies of their series of sermons on how to increase your faith that they gave at their “Increase Your Faith Conference” that was attended by 3000 people, each of whom paid a $100 registration fee and a $50 attendance fee for each of the six sessions. But hey, do not feel bad for how those 3000 people each spent a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $400 (for a total of $300,000 to $1,200,000), because they are pastors who are going to use that teaching as the basis for their own sermon series on faith – building that they are going to sell to their congregation plus whoever hears them on the radio for $6 a cassette tape/$10 per DVD (say 1000 people, most of them members of their own congregation, buy it, then that is from $6,000 to $10,000, not a bad return on a $400 investment). OK, so maybe I am a JUST A LITTLE better … anyway, well realize again that you are born with a measure of faith when you were created in your mother’s womb. Who did that? God, of course. How? By God’s Spoken Word, Jesus Christ. And how does Jesus Christ, God’s Spoken Word, do things? Well the same way He healed, cast out devils, and preached when He was God and God’s Spoken Word and man in the flesh, and the same way that you can do even greater things than He did (John 14:12) – provided you know how to exercise the faith that is. And that is “NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS” (Zechariah 4:6). The Holy Spirit, to be exactly. 

So, God created you. By whom? His Spoken Word, Jesus Christ by whom all things, including you, were made (John 1:3). And what did the Spoken Word, or Christ, use to make you? The Holy Spirit. And when you were made, you were made with what? Your own personal measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And what put that faith there? The Holy Spirit when it made you of course. You live and die with the same measure of faith that you were created with when God spoke your being into existence while you were yet in your mother’s womb and gave you the spirit of man. Now to be honest, that is where your faith actually resides anyway, your spirit man. You can consider your spirit man a piece of God’s Spirit if you want, or you can call it an image of God’s Holy Spirit. Either way, it contains your measure of faith. How? Well, what is faith exactly? Belief, knowledge, conviction, confidence, trust, what have you, that God exists and that God is who He says He is. So … think … logically … if your spirit man is possibly a piece of God and is at the very minimum an image of God … and not to mention from God THEN OF COURSE IT IS GOING TO KNOW THAT GOD EXISTS AND IS WHO GOD SAYS HE IS! Your spirit man knows the existence of God, the nature of God, the power of God, the righteousness of God, the wrath of God, the judgment of God, the pre – existence/self – existence/omnipotence/omnipresence of God, and you had better believe that it wants to be reconciled with God in a measure greater than you can ever imagine. The only question is whether you are going to listen to it. If you listen to it and believe the gospel, then your spirit man gets its wish and becomes made a clean spirit by Christ’s Blood, just like the Holy Spirit only lower, or just like an angel only higher (the King James Version translation of Psalm 8:5 is a bit problematic, but the MEANING is clear in I Corinthians 6:3 where it says that we will JUDGE angels). But if you reject it and Christ and God the Father AND thereby blaspheme the Holy Spirit with it because of your corrupt soul and flesh from Adam, then your spirit becomes an evil spirit, analogous to Satan or any other of the fallen angel demons, and you will receive the same fate that they will: eternal punishment and separation from God in the lake of fire. Just realize this: your spirit man was formed (or placed) in you by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit thereafter is your connection with the Father while you are on earth, because your spirit man and the Holy Spirit are of the same essence, and the Holy Spirit is God and is God’s, part of the triune Godhead. (Now see people, without the trinity doctrine, NONE of this stuff works, let alone makes sense!) And you have faith in God because your spirit man is of God, from God, is of the same essence as at least 1/3 of the Godhead, and (perhaps) has even seen God. At the very least, it has heard God’s Voice. Hold that thought. So again, of course it is going to believe.
So you might say “OK then, you have demonstrated that my faith came from the Holy Spirit, but where does this BY HEARING stuff come from”? Boy, lucky for you that I am not the sort who likes to quit while I am ahead! Well go back to the part of the Bible that so many of you folk think is so irrelevant, so I can show you how you can’t even understand the New Testament without the Old. Isaiah 55:11: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” So when God spoke you into existence, He spoke faith into you; you received your faith when you began to live and got your spirit man (just as you die when your spirit man leaves Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 wow, there’s that Old Testament showing you what Romans 10:17 means again). And you are alive right? Of course. So God’s speaking your existence from the fullness of His Divine Purpose and Pleasure obviously was not in vain. But who did the HEARING for you to exist so that you could get your faith? The Holy Spirit? No. Jesus Christ? An interesting possibility, especially when you consider His brief earthly existence, but no. So, who did the hearing that resulted in your receiving your faith? Why you did of course. And by you, I mean THE REAL YOU. Your spirit man. The part that will live forever either in Heaven or in the lake of fire after your body is gone (Job 34:14 – 15). Go back to the good Old Testament again, Job 32:8: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Proof right there that God talks to, deals with your spirit man. But after you came into existence as a flesh and blood human being, right? So, if that be the case, how did God speak to my spirit man during my creation? Well, the answer is that your spirit man, the real you, existed BEFORE your creation as a human being. It was with God BEFORE your creation as a human being, it goes to you DURING your creation as a human being. It is the phase that actually gives you life! When God “breathed life into Adam and he became a living soul” Genesis 2:7 was when God gave Adam the spirit of man, after which that jar of clay actually began to live. “Breath” is commonly used as an analogy or reference to “spirit” in the Bible, such as when the resurrected Christ breathed on His disciples and said “receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). So, God didn’t speak and create your spirit – at least not at that time anyway – He spoke to your spirit when He created YOU. And your spirit heard God’s Voice and knew that there was One True God, and that is where you got your faith. That is why when you speak in unknown tongues, though the natural you does not understand, your spirit man does, because your spirit man came from God, is of God’s essence, and knows God’s language. It is the spirit man that is edified, and thereby you are edified. That is how you are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the spirit man (Ephesians 3:16). What if you do not speak in tongues? How do you get edified and strengthened? What if you cannot speak in tongues? There are other ways for strengthening and edification. Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” YOU cannot utter, let alone understand, those groanings, the language of God, but your spirit man can.
 

But remember: you are one that God FOREKNEW (Romans 11:2). You are one that God PREDESTINATED (Ephesians 1:11).  I do not mean in the salvation doctrine sense of predestination; that only means that before your physical existence in the flesh was, God Knew your spirit and Wrote your destiny into your spirit (should you choose to accept your destiny, you have the FREE WILL to thoroughly reject it, or to accept or reject parts of it).  And your spirit knew/met/was aware of God (when it was actually created, which again was before you came to be or life came into you as a living person) and knew its destiny. How? God TOLD your spirit man your destiny. That is how your spirit man has faith in not only the fact of God’s existence, but what God wants you to do! Since your spirit man already knows what God predestined you to do on this earth, it has the faith that those things can be done by God’s Holy Spirit! Not by your flesh, not by your spirit man, not by religion or works or your words, but by God’s Spirit!  

And that was what Romans 8:29 means. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Now a lot of people think that Romans 8:29 means that God chooses who will be saved. No. Remember, God is timeless, He knows everything. He knows everything that you will do and won’t do, He knows every choice that you will make and what influenced that choice, and knew it before you were even made. Hmmm … could that be why God chose to make you in a particular place in time? To put you in a certain environment to use you in that environment to have you do His Will? Or so that your environment will condition you to do His Will? Why God chose your parents, your class, your race, your gender, your nationality, your neighborhood? Let us get down to what it REALLY MEANS, ok? You have free will. Why? Because your spirit man was made in the image of God. And when God made your spirit man, He KNEW what the will in your spirit man was! God didn’t choose or control the will in your spirit man. If He did, you wouldn’t have free will. He just KNEW what the will in your spirit man was when He made it. How did He know? Who knows. Some assert that God purposefully made your spirit man in a way that would predetermine its will. But that would violate scripture, where it says that it was never God’s Will that any man go to the lake of fire, because the lake of fire was created only for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41, II Peter 3:9). And how could a loving God create you so that you would be eternally destroyed? No, the fact that God foreknew you doesn’t mean that He imposed His Will upon your spirit, or created you as an evil spirit. God did not even create Satan and his demons as evil spirits, they were merely angels who used their free will to rebel (Ezekiel 28:14 – 15). Rather, when God made your spirit man, He tested your spirit man (Psalm 7:9), and if you are a sheep, He put you on one side and put you in Christ (Romans 8:29, Matthew 25:31 – 34) and put you in a place and time where your willingness to contend for Christ and do the Will of the Father would have His desired effect on time, human events, history, etc. until your time in the natural realm is up and you return to the Father to await and receive your reward according the measure by which you past His test, which determined the predestiny that He created for you which determines your measure of faith. But if you are a goat, oh well. Can you change? Who knows. But rest assured, even if you could, then God knew that you would have when He tried you, and put you into a situation that was conducive to your change and where your change would do His Will and bring Him glory. And consider this: how did God know that Christ and Christ alone could redeem mankind? Because He foreknew Christ’s Spirit, Christ’s Spirit being the Word of God and God, of course. (Again, without trinity, none of this makes sense!) And God knew all of the spirits of every man who would ever walk the earth (were they all created at the beginning of time?) and knew that none of them were up to the job. That is the meaning of Revelation 5:1 – 5: “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”  

Let me backtrack a bit though. There is a bit of variance. Each man has the ability to underachieve, live up, or even exceed, his own predestiny. That is why God intervenes to give us all a choice (to literally change history) and why Satan intervenes, using his evil influence to limit the development and fulfillment of potential and thereby buy himself more time. Consider the Moses saga. Moses was supposed to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt at the 400 year mark, but he acted presumptuously without first seeking God, lost his temper, killed a man, and then ran away, resulting in a 40 year delay. Then after Moses led the children of Israel out of
Egypt, God gave them a chance to enter the Promised Land immediately, which was ANOTHER 40 year delay. But even that delay was only 40 years instead of FOUR HUNDRED MORE YEARS for it was only Moses’ intercession that saved the children of
Israel from utterly perishing and God having to start all over with Moses’ seed. And even after the children of Israel entered
Canaan, they quickly plunged into idolatry and asked for a king, which led them into deeper idolatry, which led them into captivity, which delayed Christ’s coming into world for who knows how long. And when it was time for them to leave Babylonian captivity, most refused because of their businesses, angering the Lord again and delaying Christ’s entrance longer still. Not only that, their disobedience delayed the time that Israel would again be a free nation until 1948, which had to happen before Christ’s SECOND return. And Christ’s SECOND return cannot happen until Israel accepts Christ, and that will not happen until the gospel is preached unto all nations (Matthew 24:14, Romans 11:25), and the preaching to all nations was delayed because after Christ gave them the great commission, all the apostles and disciples tarried in Jerusalem and in Israel and the nearby area! It took Roman persecution (Acts 12 – 13) starting with Herod executing James Zebedee to get the apostles and disciples to actually go forth into other regions. And what delayed things further still for an unknowable time was Constantine’s decision to make the church a part of the world, the state religion of Rome, rather than separate the church from it – or should I say the decision of the early church leaders to accept Constantine’s deal to end the persecution – and then allow the church to be merged with Roman, Babylonian, and other forms of paganism. And it was delayed still longer by the development of so many such devil’s doctrines (predestination, Unitarianism, anti – trinitarianism among them). And it was delayed still longer by the commonly held belief of many European Protestants until almost the 1800s that it was not God’s Will to proselytize non – westerners. But all during this time, God has raised up people to combat these delays and perhaps even speed things up, including William Tyndale, William Carey, Martin Luther, William Seymour, Billy Graham, and so many preachers and prophets who are the reason why Christianity is growing fastest in the third world. So, if you are greater than what you could have been, then you speed up Christ’s Return. If you are lesser, then oh well.
 

And even more fascinating is that there obviously appear to have been several “borderline” figures. Of course, you are going to think of people who had within them the margin to just escape the lake of fire or just miss heaven. But an even more fantastic case of a borderline person was none other than Saul. He had the potential to be Israel’s greatest military leader ever, to utterly defeat and drive out all of the enemy peoples of God and possess the entire land that God intended for
Israel. God gave Saul, and by extension a great deal of humanity a test, a chance to see if put in ideal circumstances, king of Israel with the whole nation loving and obeying him and under the guidance of Samuel and with God going out before him in every battle, to see if he would choose righteousness. Instead, Saul chose to be utterly, monstrously evil. Rather than considering that Saul might have been saved had he not been made king, realize that God hoped by giving Saul all those things it would cause him to cross the borderline into righteousness, but he did not. So, God had to choose for that position someone whose spirit man was already and thoroughly after God’s own heart. And then there was also the case of Jeroboam’s son Abijah (1 Kings 14). God saw that there was SOME GOOD in Abijah, and slew him while he was yet an infant before he could be corrupted by the wicked environment that Jeroboam created in Israel so that the borderline Abijah would not cross the threshold into evil. And then there was the king Rehoboam, who did evil because he did not prepare himself to be king by seeking the Lord (II Chronicles 12:14). And then, of course, there was Adam. Did God create Adam in utter perfection and expose him to utter perfection to see if a corrupt spirit of man could be redeemed by his environment? Now I have hinted on our companion ministry that the world that we are living in now was a recreation of a prior creation that was destroyed by Satan. Was Adam the representative in an experiment to see if all of the rebellious spirits of men could be redeemed if put in the right environment? Is that why even in the Garden of Eden there HAD to be just a LITTLE temptation? Recall: God gave Adam only ONE RULE, and created conditions where Adam would have NO NEED and NO DESIRE to break that rule, and still he could not keep it because he was just rebellious from the beginning. 
 

Then again, there seem to be some people who, though they had potential to do great good in them, veered horribly wrong. Solomon, who was originally so virtuous that he could have had anything from the Lord but asked not something for himself but something that he could use to serve God by leading God’s People to righteousness but yet later went after false gods? That is an example. So yes, it is apparent that even by being foreknown with a predestinated mission, we have some level of free will. David, for instance, committed murder (and I believe also rape) in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba, but repented. Even Christ was tempted not only in the desert, in
Gethsemane, and on the cross, but all during His Ministry (and perhaps beforetimes) to choose His Own Will over God’s. Even His first miracle, turning water into wine before it was time for Him to begin His ministry, was a test to see if He was capable of surrendering His Own Will to keep the law by obeying a lowly human (his mother). (Did God provoke Mary to ask that of Him as a test?) And then there was the case of Moses. God was actually going to kill Moses because he did not circumcise his son, but ZIPPORAH SAVED MOSES BY HERSELF DOING IT (Exodus 4:24 – 26). It appears that Moses’ wife (from a strange people) did not want to circumcise her son, and Moses acquiesced to her. Had Zipporah’s unwilling obedience not covered her husband’s sin … well talk about another delay! Israel almost certainly would have gone back to
Egypt! (Then again, it was expedient that Moses married her, a woman who would eventually obey God’s Will and thereby intercede for her righteous yet somewhat flawed husband.)
 

Now, it is not for us to know the mysteries of God, but there is certainly enough in the Bible to explain a lot of things! But if true, and I am certain by faith that it is to a great degree, then this explodes the best argument against biblical Christianity: that requiring that a person accept Christ to go to Heaven is unfair. The fact is that a person’s opportunity to accept Christ while on earth may actually be a second chance after having failed the spirit man trial before God! Also, a ministry named Christian Ambassadors claims that the vast majority of people (those who have never heard the gospel) will be resurrected and given ONE LAST SHOT at accepting Christ. This belief is listed on the statement of beliefs section of their website (item 2.9) with scriptural justification stated in that item as Romans 11 and Revelations 20:4-15, I do not see it but perhaps there is something in there which I have not yet attained. But even if it is fanciful, it does not change the fact that God is still a loving, just, and righteous God who have us a chance during our trying time at the creation of our spirit man. For all we know, the very motivation for God to create this physical universe was to give all of these rebellious spirits that He created higher than angels in His Image for His Pleasure a shot at using our free will to be reconciled with us. If that is the case, when God saw that even exposure to a perfect environment while encased in a perfect surrounding couldn’t redeem rebellious man, He Himself paid the price for our rebellion with the degradation and physical death of His Own Son, a portion of the Godhead.  

But enough about all that, fascinating as it may be (for good or ill). The point of all this is to get you away from the false “increase our faith” doctrine. We know that this doctrine is false because when the disciples asked Christ to increase their faith (which meant that Christ could have either done it supernaturally or told them how to accomplish it within themselves if it could be done, and Christ had already told them that whatever they asked would be done because no good thing would be denied them), rather than granting their desire – which was a desire to please God and a good one – or telling them what they must do and endure so that this desire would be granted (as Christ also did when they asked Him how to be saved and how to pray), Christ demurred, telling them that if they had the faith of a mustard seed they could move mountains. That was Christ’s telling them that they already had all the faith that they needed to please God and to do all that God wanted them to do, that they merely needed to learn to live by faith and not by sight or to seek after the desires of their own flesh. After all, where have you seen it written in the Bible about ANYONE that God blessed him by increasing his faith? Or that God added faith to this woman so that she would do His Will? No, the Bible is not about people surrendering and submitting to God so that they will obey Him and do in the natural realm what God has already accomplished in the spirit realm. The only mention of faith growing in the Bible is II Corinthians 10:15! And yet, it is clear from the context of that scripture that where it was translated as “when your faith is increased” it is supposed to read “when you increase in your faith”, or when you use more of the faith that you were born with a measure of! 

And that is why this doctrine is so dangerous. It causes all of these people to waste precious time and energy trying to do what cannot be done, which is to increase their faith. So, they do these “faith – building activities”, go out and try to do works, and they fail because they do not know how to live by faith. Usually those works are what proceed from their own flesh or from religion and were never the Will of God for them anyway, and if they were walking by faith they would know that. And you also have this much – abused Word of Faith movement, where its abuse is often teaching people to increase their faith so that they can receive from God the desires of their own hearts. Whether it is some spiritual thing that you want to use for God or some ministry that you want to do, or if it is some material thing or pleasure of the flesh, if it is not God’s Will for you it just isn’t, just like God had to tell David when David wanted to build God’s House. And the worst part is that rather than teaching people things that would help them walk in the faith that they already have, they teach them things that push them backwards. They emphasize the gifts of the spirit when the key is the fruit of the spirit. They encourage Christians to be aggressive when they should be submissive. They fill Christians with pride when they should be humble. They teach Christians to be noisy when they should be quiet, to praise themselves and each other instead of God. What is worst of all, they teach Christians to try to change their surroundings instead of accepting the surroundings that God placed them in. Imagine if Jesus Christ were like that. Imagine if He felt that He didn’t want to be born in some animal’s feeding trough in some dirty stable. Imagine if He felt that He didn’t want to be raised in obscurity as the son of a poor carpenter; that He felt that He deserved the finer things in life. Or imagine if He decided that He didn’t have to go to the cross and started using “the Word of Faith” to get God to choose some other person or some other way of redemption for mankind. (By the way: since God foreknew Judas Iscariot … that answers THAT age – old controversy of predestination versus free will! God just put the spirit of a thief and a betrayer in the right place at the right time!) Or another example: David. Quite simply, he could have said “I am God’s anointed to be king, Saul has sinned, refuses to repent or submit and God has rejected him, so why am I hiding in the hills like an animal? WHY DON’T I JUST KILL SAUL! 

By teaching people to “grow their faith” all that is being done is getting God’s children to create Ishmaels (as in Abraham/Sarah) over and over again when Abraham and Sarah were not walking in obedience and submission to God and tried to do things their own way (including polygamy). Christians should be teaching people to do as Christ did, which was submit to the humiliation of being born in a stable, of being raised as a carpenter, and dying on the cross so that He could inherit a glory far greater than His humiliation and bring greater glory still to God’s Name. Or as David did, when he submitted to the persecution of hiding like an animal from Saul and even executing judgment by his own hand when Saul murdered the priests of God and waiting until God’s Will was done, so that thereafter David would inherit a glory greater than his humiliation by being king and give a greater glory than that to God. Or as Abraham did when he suffered the pain of deciding to obey God and offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and he inherited a glory greater than his pain when God spared Isaac and Abraham became the father of faith. I do fear that with this false doctrine, they are even turning otherwise righteous men into Solomons, who reject obedience to God seeking carnal pleasures, or Saul, who did the same in order to please the people. They rejected humiliation and abstention (and really, Solomon did not have to abstain from much; he could have had any Hebrew wife he wanted!) and forfeited the greater glory for the lesser glory that turned out not to be glorious. Solomon went into a deep depression and stated that all is vanity; Saul was troubled by an evil spirit and consumed with envy and hatred at blameless David and thereby lost his life and his progeny.  Satan is responsible for this false doctrine because he uses it to delay the Will of God – the imminent return of Jesus Christ – and to carry to destruction spirit men that might otherwise be saved, for so long as Christians are pursuing vain corrupt works of the flesh rather than God’s Work the gospel is not being preached as it ought, and of course Christians get so consumed with self and/or frustrated with failure that they fall into apostasy, blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and become reprobates. I will not list their names here so as not to offend, but there are so many people who started out as great men and women of God who fell into apostasy; some of the biggest names and most influential people in Christian history.  

This is what Satan DOESN’T want you to know. The key to being Christ – like is not seeking things that you do not have. It is accepting what God has already done in you. Even if you somehow exceed your predestiny, it will not be the result of your seeking to. Rather, it would be the result of your total surrender to the point where your entire self – will completely breaks and you just totally lose yourself in Christ. If that happens, then God may add to your tasks that which someone else has neglected or failed to do. But know this: the battle is already won. The victory is already yours. You already have the faith, the gifts of the spirit, and the fruits of the spirit because of what you became when you were reborn in Christ. You just have to stop pushing, stop trying to change yourself or change things, and just accept what God has already done for you. You just need to sit back and let God show you the way. That is what “having the faith of a little child” means. A little child waits for you to wake her up in the morning, and trusts that you will do it at the right time. She waits for you to dress her, and trusts that you will do so appropriately. She allows you to feed her and take her to the bathroom, and trusts that you know what you are doing. She places her everything under your complete control, and limits her actions within the boundaries that you set for her. You tell her “Mommy needs to clean this room, you go play over there” and she does it. Most of all, she has faith that you will not harm her or allow any harm to come to her. And I guess that is really the big deal. A lot of saints keep “pressing towards the mark” in the wrong way and for the wrong reason because they do not trust what Christ accomplished for them on the cross. They are not 100% certain of their salvation because they still see their faults, they still feel their desire to sin. They are displeased with their works because they do not appear to be as impressive as what someone else is doing, or it is not the vision that they set for themselves. Or maybe because they have lost that “new Christian feeling” (akin to losing that “new car smell”) and think that they need to do something to get it back, sort of like trying to take a second honeymoon with Christ.  

What they do not realize is that all these things are the signs of a maturing Christian. Rather than endure these things until God sees that they are sincere and rises up to reassure them, rather than standing still and know that He is God, they run from the maturing process. Like a kid who runs past the vegetables to the dessert tray or the knave who comes into an inheritance and blows it on overpriced useless luxury vanities, such Christians seek out and put on shiny new religious trinkets to reassure themselves instead of the full armour of God so that the Holy Spirit can grow them in faith (again, not grow their faith but grow them in faith). And the religious system is right there to give these people exactly what they want. Instead of telling them not to trust their insecure flesh, they give them teachings and doctrines to make them happy wallowing in their unsound, rotting, stinking, leprous flesh! And about such preachers, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around a neck and they be cast into the sea than they offend even ONE of Christ’s little ones in this manner! Instead of showing people how to please their flesh, these preachers ought to tell people to deny their flesh. They need to tell them that instead of following me around to all of my revivals and buying all my CDs and listening to them to that you can gain faith by hearing my words – spirit inspired as they may be – and then going off somewhere to try to work your way to your self concept of righteousness, you need to stay at home, shut yourself in a room, pore over your Bible, and commit yourself to prayer. Do not forsake fellowship and instruction, but just like in school where the A students are the ones who excel in homework, extra credit, and independent study outside the classroom, your spiritual growth is going to be a function of how much quiet time you spend with the Lord. Why? Because the more quiet time you spend with the Lord, the less you are doing with your hands. And the less you do with your hands, the more you stand back and let God work with HIS HANDS, which He has the whole world in remember? So just let go. Let God. And let the faith and everything else that God has already placed in you come forth. 

Prayer:

Father God, in the Name of Jesus Christ, may Your children not seek more things or new things, but rather embrace and come to use the things that You have already given them. May they not reject Your Divine Will by trying to change or improve upon it, but may they instead just accept where You have them now and seek and entreat of You where and when You would have them go next. Above all, may they be joyful in where You have placed them at this particular time, for the joy of the Lord is their strength and is necessary for them to obtain spiritual maturity. In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen! Deliverance:

The demon that works in this area is false doctrine. It gets people to reject what God has already done for them instead of teaching them that they should embrace and grow in what God has already formed in them and what Christ has already accomplished for them on the cross. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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