Where Standeth Your Faith?
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
In our text, the very words of the 5th verse indicate that the faith of every accountable being is based in one of two positions Ė manís "wisdom" or Godís power. I ask then, where does your faith stand? Is it based on the truth of God, or mans think-soís and doctrine, or even your own thinking?
The fact that the Apostle Paul mentioned the location or basis of oneís faith makes this a most important subject! Further, he states where our faith should stand! If your faith is in manís "wisdom" or your own thinking, then this is not Bible faith, but a pseudo-faith; a faith which promises nothing. The Hebrew writer wrote, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised" (Heb. 10:23). Hence, we can rely on Godís promises to allĖthe promises of reward to the believing and the promise of punishment to the unbelieving (2 Thess. 1:7-10).
But what is faith? The word faith is rendered from the Greek word pistis and is defined by W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as, "firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing...used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual" (p. 411). Vine goes on to say that the word pistis (faith) is used of trust, and he cites our text, 1 Corinthians. 2:5. Hence, faith is trust in Godís word, just as the Apostle Paul declared when he wrote, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
Man Needs Divine Direction
The Bible explicitly teaches that man cannot direct himself and needs direction. Who better to give that direction than God our creator. The wisdom writer wrote, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1). The prophet Jeremiah declared man's need for Godly direction when he wrote, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer.10:23). Isaiah declared, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8, 9). Therefore, manís need for Divine direction is most evidently affirmed in the scriptures. Cf. Psa. 22:19; 25:9; 31:3; 32:8; 73:24; 119:105, 130; Rom. 15:4; 1 Tim. 4:12-16; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-11.
What Does Bible Faith Require?
There are several things. We have already mentioned one requirement, it being hearing Ė "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The Jews on Pentecost were pricked in the heart and said, "what shall we do" after they heard (vs. 37) the Gospel preached by Peter and the apostles (Acts 2:22-38). The Samaritans believed and obeyed the Gospel after giving, "heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did" (Acts 8:6). The Eunuch heard Phillip preach Christ (Acts 8:26-39). Cornelius and his house gathered before God, "to hear all things that are commanded thee of God" (Acts 10:33). When the men at Ephesus, "heard this (the Gospel of Christ - tgm), they were baptized in the name of. the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5). Therefore, the need of hearing is clearly established and commanded Ė "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14).
Also, Bible faith requires diligent study Ė "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15). Bible faith requires actionĖ"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was" (Jas. 1:22-24). How can one honestly claim to have Bible faith without being a "doer of the word"? Bible faith requires reading and understanding what was divinely written Ė"How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" (Eph. 3:3); cf. Acts 8:30; Eph. 5:17. Bible faith requires desire Ė "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6); cf. 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18. We must have a healthy appetite for spiritual food in order to properly grow and maintain our faith in Christ. Bible faith requires Godly works Ė "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only...For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (Jas. 2:24, 26); cf. Matt 7:21-23; Tit. 3:8; Phil. 2:12. Bible faith requires trustĖ"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5); cf. 1 Tim. 4:10; 6:17; Heb. 2:13. Bible faith requires a proper walk Ė "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7); cf. Eph 4:1; 5:1-16. Our walk must be "in the light," in fellowship with Christ and faithful saints (1 Jn. 1:7).
What Does The Wisdom Of Men Bring?
The Apostle Paul denounced the "wisdom" of the world when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:20 & 21, "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." The "wisdom" of this world says: adultery and fornication is "no-big-deal" and distribution of condoms in public schools is necessary; the "right-to-choose" to murder an unborn child must be granted; homosexuality must be accepted and tolerated; gambling is needed to fund public schools and Indian communities; drugs and alcohol can bring lasting pleasure; prayer in schools is not to be tolerated, and on and on we could go. But, what does all this bring? I submit it brings untold misery, agony, wasted lives, broken homes, shame, dishonor and loss of a good name, Aids, unwanted pregnancies, loss of innocent lives and eternal loss of souls. There is no end to the destruction! Remember the school shootings around this country?
Where does the wisdom of men lead? Please observe a "wise"(??) claim from a denominational preacher who said, "We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul....All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul on whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger....The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul...The way I live has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of my soul." (Do A Christian's Sins Damn His Soul?, Sam Morris, First Baptist church, Stamford, Texas)
Such denominational doctrine is gross foolishness when compared with Bible truth! Sadly, many people believe this damnable error. Why? Because their faith stands in the wisdom of men and not in Godís word. When one compares Divine revelation with the doctrine of men, those with an "honest and good heart" will not be lead astray. When weighed on a just balance (Godís word), the truth written by the Apostle Paul and the teaching of denomination error are not equal. Paul wrote, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Consequently, the doctrines of men lead to spiritual destruction (Matt. 15:9)!
Sadly, in recent years, some well known, highly educated and influential brethren are displaying a lack of faith in Godís word by affirming and teachng that the days of Genesis 1 cannot be literal 24-hour solar days. The claim is made that the days of creation were eons or ages of time. If the days in Genesis 1 are not literal, how can we depend on anything else written in the Bible? What then is the meaning of Exodus 20:11 wherein is written, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it"? To satisfy these brethren, Exodus 20:11 will have to be reworded to say, "For in six Ďagesí the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh Ďage:í wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath Ďage,í and hallowed it." Who, with steadfast faith in Godís word will accept this?
Let us always place our faith in Godís word and not in the "wisdom" of men. Our faith must be "grounded and settled" in "that which is written" (Col. 1:23; 1 Cor. 4:6); not in manís foolishness! May we always keep in memory Paulís words of admonition, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:5).