Is there a key to the Christian life? If so, what is it and where does it come from? It runs through all our readings today and, in fact, throughout the Bible.
Ezekiel 25 & 26
Key to the Christian life
Hall of Fame of Faith
As we continue through the “Hall of Fame of Faith,” notice that all the Old Testament saints listed throughout this chapter received the blessings of God “by faith.” They didn’t achieve great things for God because of any inherent goodness in them, nor did they receive it because of their own bravery or intelligence or any other characteristic, but rather, through faith. The same is true today.
In fact, faith runs through all our readings today: faith to be saved (Eph. 2.8-9), faith to trust God’s ways in our Proverbs reading, faith to live the Christian life (2 Cor. 5.7), faith in prayer (Jas. 1.6, 5.15), faith to keep us from the pride we see condemned throughout Proverbs, and more.
We are to do all that we do in faith. In fact, Scripture says, anything not done in faith is sin (Rom. 14.23). We might even say that faith is the key to the Christian life. Over and over again we must put our faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Father’s faithfulness in our lives.
So, if we lack faith, where does it come from?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10.17).
Faith comes from time spent in God’s Word, meditating on it, studying it and growing in our understanding of it. And it’s strengthened when we obediently act on it.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5.12-14).
The New American Standard Bible says, “ … who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
As we practice living obediently we grow in our understanding of and faith in God’s Word.
Today’s Other Readings:
Ezekiel 25 & 26:
Those Who Put Their Faith in Him
In these two chapters, God was declaring his intent to bring judgment on the pagan nations around Judah and Israel. But even while He brought judgment on those nations, He always responded in mercy to anyone who put his or her faith in Him. We see a great example of this in our New Testament reading in Hebrews where we are told that Rehab, a harlot, was saved because she put her faith and trust in the One True God (Heb. 11.31).
The Fear of the Lord
Verse 1, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.”
This is a reverential respect. The fear of the Lord is an acknowledgment that He is God. He is the Potter; we are the clay. It’s an understanding that His way is good and that He has the right and the authority to command His creations to live as He sees fit.
Proud or Trusting in God?
“He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.”
Pride causes us to think our way is better than God’s, our timing is what matters, that we are somehow smarter and more efficient and know what we need. That pride causes us to try to take control of matters and too often we create a mess and stir up strife. But when we wait patiently on God, walk in His ways, and trust Him, Proverbs says, He can even cause our enemies to be at peace with us (Prov. 16.7).
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll discuss the questions, “Where is God when life is hard?” “Should we submit to church authority?” and “Is believing ‘in’ God enough?”
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Books on Faith:
Come Home: A Call Back to Faith by James MacDonald
The prodigal. The wanderer. The skeptic. The rebel. Each of us knows someone who has walked away from God, and it is heartbreaking and bewildering. We wonder how to reach out to them and bring them back, but often it seems impossible. Maybe you yourself are the one who has walked away and sees little reason to return to faith and the church.
The invitation of this book is this: come home. It invites the departed to return and offers the promise of the gospel – that all wrongs and sins can be forgiven through Jesus. There is no expiration on the promise of forgiveness and the open arms of Christ, so no matter how long the wanderer has wandered she is still welcome. All hurts can be healed, all brokenness mended. Just come home.
Whether you are a family member or friend of the prodigal or whether you are that person, this book offers hope and an open invitation to return the safety of forgiveness and restoration in Jesus.
Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Navigator author Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on God’s sovereignty. The revelations changed his life. In Trusting God, Jerry shares the scope of God’s power to help you come to know Him better, have a relationship with Him, and trust Him more—even when unjust things happen. Tragedy, grief, loss, and death are part of life. Discover how Trusting God can reveal biblical truths about God.
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