December 4, 2019

Faith Walks By the Word of God

INTERESTING FACTS : Jacob Broom, LEGISLATOR; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
A letter to his son, James, attending Princeton University: "I flatter myself you will be what I wish, but don't be so much flatterer as to relax of your application - don't forget to be a Christian. I have said much to you on this head, and I hope an indelible impression is made."[1]
 
Daily Reading : 2 CORINTHIANS 1 - 4
 
TEXT : 2 Corinthians  4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
 
THEME : FAITH
 
2 Corinthians
 
Preface to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians
 
It is a general opinion among learned men that this epistle was written about a year after the former: and this seems to be supported by the words, 2Co_9:2 : Achaia was ready a year ago; for the apostle having given instructions for that collection, to which he refers in these words at the close of the preceding epistle, they would not have had the forwardness there mentioned till a year had elapsed. As the apostle had purposed to stay at Ephesus till pentecost, 1Co_16:8; and he stayed some time in Asia after his purpose to leave Ephesus and go to Macedonia, Act_9:21, Act_9:22; and yet making here his apology for not wintering in Corinth, as he thought to do, 1Co_16:6; this epistle must have been written after the winter, and consequently when a new year was begun. It therefore, says Dr. Whitby, seems to have been written after his second coming to Macedonia, mentioned Act_20:3. For,
 
(1.) It was written after he had been at Troas, and had left that place to return to Macedonia: now that was at his second going thither; see 2Co_2:12.
 
(2.) It was written when Timothy was with him: now, when he left Ephesus to go into Macedonia, Timothy went not with him, but was sent before him, Act_19:22; but at his second going through Macedonia, Timothy was with him, Act_20:4.
 
(3.) He speaks of some Macedonians who were likely to accompany him, 2Co_9:4. Now, at his second going from Macedonia, there accompanied him Aristarchus, Secundus, and Gaius of Thessalonica, the metropolis of Macedonia, Act_20:4.
 
(4.) The postscript says that this epistle was written from Philippi, where Paul was till the days of unleavened bread, Act_20:6; it therefore seems to have been sent from thence to them by Titus, and some other person, not long before St. Paul's coming to them; which he speaks of as instant, 2Co_13:1; and that which he was now ready to do, 2Co_12:14; and did, according to Dr. Lightfoot, in his journey from Philippi to Troas; he sailing about from Philippi to Corinth, to make good his promise; whilst the rest that were with him, Act_20:4, went directly the next cut to Troas, and there waited for him. See Whitby.
 
That the first epistle had produced powerful effects among the Corinthians is evident from what the apostle mentions in this. Titus had met him in Macedonia, and told him of the reformation produced by this epistle, see 2Co_7:5, 2Co_7:6; that the Church had excommunicated the incestuous man; that the epistle had overwhelmed them with great distress; had led them to a close examination of their conduct and state; and had filled them with respect and affection for their apostle, etc. Hearing this, St. Paul wrote this second epistle, to comfort, to commend them, and to complete the work which he had begun, by causing them to finish the contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem; and also to vindicate his own apostolic character, and to unmask the pretended apostle, who had led them so long astray. See the preceding Introduction.
 
Its principal divisions are: -
 
I. The preface, 2Co_1:1-7.
 
II. The Narration, comprehending an account of what had happened to himself; his answer to their questions concerning the incestuous person, with different other matters; among which, the following are the chief: -
 
(1.) The persecution which he had suffered in Asia, and from which he had been miraculously rescued, 2Co_1:8-14.
 
(2.) His purpose to pay them a visit, 2Co_1:15-24.
 
(3.) Concerning the sorrow which they had suffered on account of the excommunication of the incestuous person, 2 Corinthians 2, 7.
 
(4.) His own vindication against the false apostle; in which he gives an account of his doctrine, 2Co_3:6-18. His conduct, 2Co_4:1-6. His bodily infirmities, 2Co_4:7; and 2 Corinthians 5.
 
(5.) Strongly exhorts them to a holy life, 2 Corinthians 6, 7.
 
III. Of the Alms that had been collected, and were yet to be collected, 2 Corinthians 8, 2Co_9:1-15.
 
IV. His Defence against the false apostle and his calumniators in general, 2 Corinthians 10-12.
 
V. Miscellaneous matters, 2Co_13:1-14.
 
It may be remarked, once for all, that none of these or such artificial divisions are made by the apostle himself, no more than the divisions into chapters and verses. All these are the work of man, and certainly contribute nothing to a proper understanding of the epistle itself. The apostle appears to have sat down, and, under the influence of the Divine Spirit, he wrote on the different subjects treated of in the epistle just in the order that these things occurred to his mind, without intending particular heads, divisions or subdivisions. And, as he probably wrote the whole with very little intermission of time, his sense will be best apprehended by those who carefully read over the whole at one sitting.  (Adam Clarke)[2]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "FAITH WALKS BY THE WORD OF GOD."
 
The essence of true faith is believing what God has said whether you see it or not.  Faith is believing God is true and that he cannot lie.  True faith  relies on the integrity of God and what he has promised.  It is based on what is recorded in the 66 Books of the Bible.  Therefore, the just (righteous) live their lives fully dependent on what God has written.
 
Admittedly, living by faith though simple, is not always easy.  This is especially true during times of pressure, stress, and testing.  Day to day, you must trust in what God has said on any subject from salvation to your personal health.  Whether it is food, clothing, or shelter, you must trust that God will supply all of you needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Faith, in a manner of speaking, walks in the dark of this world by the light of the Word of God.  "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path," said the psalmist.  This is your life.  It is a total dependence on the faithfulness of Almighty God. He cannot lie, and has always been faithful to all who have trusted in him throughout human history.
 
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:7, that we have the deposit of the Holy Spirit in our flesh and bones because it proves that the power received and shared does not come from us but rather comes only from God.  The presence of Christ in us demonstrates that we must walk by faith since we cannot accomplish anything worthwhile for God without Christ and the Holy Spirit.  In other words, knowing that we are merely flesh and blood, weak and often frail, as we overcome or succeed in this life, we learn little by little the power is coming directly from God and not from us.
 
What may surprise you, as it does many young and inexperienced Christians, is the amount of trials true Christians go through.  In this postmodern age, many Christian preachers tell thousands of other professing Christians, that God is always interested in your comfort and in making life convenient, easy, and effortless for you.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, as you walk by faith, you will at times find yourself in dilemmas, troubles, a measure of persecution and rejection, sorrowful, anxious etc. and so forth.  That is, the life of the true Christian is one of testing, even though the testing - thankfully, is periodic and not continual. 
 
Read again the words of the Apostle Paul.
 
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
 
If you did not know better, you would think you are witnessing the report of someone who was weak in faith.  However, knowing that you are reading the words and the account of the life of - arguably, the greatest of the apostles of Jesus Christ; you realize if one of the greatest men of faith in the Bible had many difficulties, so will you.  Once again - to be troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down does not fit well in the scheme of many Christian preachers theology today.  They often leave you with the impression that because God loves you, life will (or should) be handing you out nothing but continual blessings, a non-stop stream of ease and effortless living.  Although true faith brings triumph and victory, of that, there is no doubt - it is not without warfare.  Further, it is a warfare that leaves you with many battle scars. 
 
Nevertheless, as the Apostle Paul mentions, you have the same spirit of faith as the patriarchs of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament.  This is why you speak the way you do, if indeed, you speak in faith.  Because you believe, you testify of your confidence in God and in his Word and speak of "things to come" as though they already were.  This is how Abraham - the father of faith, spoke.  In turn, this is how you speak as well.  (  2 Cor.4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;)
 
With this in mind, that is, it is Christ in you supplying the power through his Spirit; you are going to make it.  Further, when you feel as though you cannot go on, the LORD is faithful to remind you and to fill you again with confidence and hope.  (2 Cor. 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.)
 
Remember, even though your physical body may be sick or weak, and certainly, its ages and gets older, the eternal spirit of God continually renews the inward man - your spirit and soul.  Your inward man never ages.  You have been grafted into Christ and given the gift of the eternal life.  Since eternal life is the life of God himself, obviously it cannot end.  For this reason, your inward man - constantly and continually, is renewed by God himself every minute, every day, every week, every month of every year.  Believing on Jesus Christ means you will never die!
 
Therefore, like the Apostle Paul consider your afflictions to be "light." If you do, you are walking by faith.  Further, you believe your afflictions are only momentary, and that they also work a greater good in your life rather than evil.  This is faith.  Once again, it is simple but not always easy.  However, faith looks not at things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen.  In other words, faith does not look at what is seen, but rather by what is said.  Faith looks at what is said by God.  This you find in his Word the Holy Bible.  (2 Cor. 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.)
 
As you walk by faith today, keep in mind you are in the company of greatness.  You are walking with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  You are walking with David, Job, and all the prophets from Jeremiah to Malachi.  You are walking with the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Most of all, you are walking with Jesus.  That alone is the great reward of living by faith.  Remember then that Jesus said to the Devil when he was tempted - "it is written." This is so, because faith walks by the word of God.

  • [1] Jacob Broom to his son, James, on February 24, 1794, written from Wilmington, Delaware,
  • [2] Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.
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