Reminders – Hear, Believe, Obey, Rest
We talk about faith a lot and well we should, for faith is the basis of our salvation. But the word “faith” has many definitions and nuances depending on who is using the word. The unsaved believe and have faith in themselves for salvation. Their faith, based on their human nature, is that their works will satisfy God. By contrast, a Christian has the faith of, and in, Jesus, which alone satisfies God. Hebrews 11:6 Biblical faith comes by hearing the voice of our Lord in our spirit. This voice we hear is the living Word of God (Jesus,) speaking of the written Word (the Bible.) But it is not enough to just hear. Paul reminds us that the Israelites heard the Word (i.e., the will of God) but didn’t enter into rest after leaving Egypt because they didn’t believe, thereby, obey what God had told them to do. Hebrews 4:2
Likewise, James tells us to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of it, admonishing us that, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:17-20 In other words, saying you have faith but not acting on it is worthless. Biblical faith that is exercised always produces good works. James uses the illustration of a man who looks at himself in a mirror, then walks away without correcting what has been revealed in the mirror. He doesn’t comb his unruly hair, wash the dirt from his forehead, shave the whiskers off his face, brush the food away from his teeth, clean the sleep from his eyes nor the snot from his nose. What good has looking in the mirror done him? He turns and forgets what he really looks like and thinks he’s a perfectly groomed, handsome guy. The problem is that everyone who sees him as he is thinks otherwise. He is like the man who reads the Bible yet ignores the conviction of the Holy Spirit concerning his actions. He thinks he’s already attained human perfection, but everyone who knows him thinks otherwise. Contrary to the mirror man, the wise man looks in the perfect law of liberty, confesses his short-comings, and obeys the Word, which is what his new nature loves to do anyway.
Final Thoughts: James 1:21, speaking to those who have already received eternal life says, “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” The engrafted word is three-fold here. First, it is the living Word, Jesus, who took up residence in us when we became born again. Second, it is the written Word, the Bible, that has been read, meditated on, studied, and memorized. It is the resource by which the living Word speaks from. Third, it is the spoken Word of God which is heard in our spirit. The salvation of our souls is that daily deliverance from sins. Humbly hearing, then obeying what we hear, is living by faith, and will deliver us from our fleshly desires. Jesus said in John 6:63, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” We are then admonished, “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:7,9 Hear, believe, obey, rest.