Owen Bourgaize relates an encounter with a woman who saw him as he drove to his office. After parking his car, the lady standing nearby said, “That’s a nice car, but I wouldn’t want to drive it”
Obviously puzzled Owen asked, “Why not?”
“It’s green,” she replied. “Furthermore the license plate number adds up to 13.”
Apparently, she was governed by superstition regarding lucky or unlucky colors or numbers.
Owen then asked, “What influences us? Is it fate or faith? It is worldly wisdom or the Word of God?”
In my reading of Galatians this week I noticed two words that stood out several times. “By faith.” The expression is used no less than 8 times in 6 chapters. Paul affirmed, The just shall live by faith.”
What does that mean? How do we live by faith? And why do we live by faith?
Faith is not wishful thinking. It’s not whistling in the dark. It is not an unrealistic, Pollyanna approach to life. “Faith is not jumping to conclusions. It’s concluding to jump.”
The Bible defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Some folks say, “I have to see it to believe it.” That’s not faith. Faith says, “I believe it. And one day I will see it.”
Faith is assurance. One version says, “substance.” It literally means, “placing under, or place a thing under.” It is the foundation. The substructure. The base.
Another expression repeated several times in Galatians is “in Christ.” Our faith is “in Christ.” Paul reminded them and us, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
Our faith is not founded upon fables, fiction, or feelings. It is founded upon facts. The fact that God is. That Jesus is the Son of God. That He was sacrificed for our sins. And raised to be Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We have solid evidence in the accuracy of the Word and the promises of God.
By metonymy, the gospel is referred to as “the faith.” It is called the “one faith” (Eph. 4:4). When I embrace it, believe it and obey it, I come into a relationship with the Lord. My life changes. I see things differently. My attitudes and actions are guided by faith in the faith. Paul put it this way in Romans 5:1-2.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Living by faith means my values are formed by the faith. My relationships are governed by the faith. My family life is founded on the faith. My business dealings are directed by the faith. My social engagements are guided by the faith. My earthly citizenship is conducted by the faith. My entertainment choices are influenced by the faith. All of my decisions are decided by the faith. My faith in the faith.
But if the just live by faith, what do the unjust live by? What guides them? Controls them? Directs them? Governs them?
Just look around at unbelievers. Their lives are influenced by impulses. Feelings. Opinions. Political correctness. Greed. Sexual perversion. Selfish desires. And even superstition. At the very best, people trying to be good without God are left to their own devices, human wisdom and the prevailing morality of our culture. Where has that gotten us?
Live by faith. Faith in the faith.
Faith will furnish hope. Provide peace. Give assurance. Sustain us through trial. And reward us eternally.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman