The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Hymn of Faith; II Timothy 2:11-13

Through His Death, we Live, through Endurance, we Reign;
As we own Him, He owns us & though we stumble, He bears us Upright!
He is faithful; He keeps His Word; He is our Father; He is our Constant!

The apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, 'by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [ it is ] the gift of God'. Being one of the most favored passages on both sides of the equation, but in particular to the Calvinist, this short passage is also one of the most debated! The Calvinist likes to point out that faith is itself a gift of God, whereas the Arminian would most likely insist that it is salvation or grace which the Gift the apostle speaks of & that it is through OUR faith that it is given. Neither is wrong & in a sense, both are right!

'Faith', according to the writer of the Hebrews ( 11:1 ), 'is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. Scriptural faith had a Goal, an End; it was & is fulfilled by the Hope of the Eschaton, 'Christ in us, the hope of glory' ( Colossians 1:27 )! Now, we say Faith is Fulfilled, not that it is no more, but that it reached the Pinnacle of its Purpose in the Advent & Revelation of the Son of God. The Revelation of Jesus Christ was the End, or Goal of Eschatology; the Creator & Father of us all dwelling with His Creation was & is fulfilled in us ( John 14:23 )! One might say ( some claim this ) that though the Holy Spirit dwells within His People, the Son of God, Jesus, has yet to return & walk on this earth, but Jesus made it pretty that the Essence of the Creator dwells with us in Fulness when He said 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him'. It would no doubt be argued from both ends of the spectrum that though this may already be fulfilled in Spirit, it is not yet fulfilled in Truth!

There is no doubt that in order for one to believe something, especially something intangible, some amount of faith must be exercised! Most people find it fairly easy to believe in something tangible, something that can be witnessed by physical sense, either by touch or by sight. Many are willing to take someone else's word for it & have faith that person is being truthful in representing their experience. Others say, 'I won't believe it till I see it for myself ( seems to me that one of Jesus' own disciples said something to that effect )! For most people to believe something, especially a 2,000+ year old document, or scroll actually, it takes a fair amount of faith!

The apostle Paul also told his son ( in the Faith ) Timothy, 'All Scripture [ is ] given by inspiration of God, and [ is ] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness' ( II Timothy 3:16 ). How much Faith must it have taken for the original recipients of this letter, to say nothing of us, almost 2,000 years later, to believe what the Scriptures say about themselves? By Faith, we can look back at that document, or rather, those documents & say with the apostle, 'yes, this is the written revelation of the Word of God; everything it says about Him is true & faithful'! As Christians ( at least, for the most part ), we believe what Scripture says about itself, the Nature of the Creator & how we should then ( NOW ) live!

Eschatologically speaking, Faith did come to, or reach, its End, its Goal! It is still exercised ( as it MUST be ) & fulfilled in us, both we who are the Body of Christ & those who come to Faith ( so to speak ), but Scripturally speaking, our Faith has found its Resting Place! No longer do we wait for the Hope of Glory for which those first-century Christians looked: our Faith has come Home to us!

We Rest in Him; in Him we find a Constant, for even though we often doubt & lose our faith ( even just for an instant ), He remains Faithful, for He is Faith itself!

Charles Haddon Shank

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