FROM MILK/MIND FAITH TO MEAT/SPIRITUAL FAITH:
SEEING WITH THE EYES OF FAITH, FAITH THAT WORKS BY LOVE (God) Ga 5:6, 1 Jn 4:7-10:
This is probably the most difficult subject to understand in all of Scripture; at least that is been the case for me. At the same time it is the most important subject not only to understand, but to experience. In fact if we do not experience it by the gift of grace from God, we will not be able to understand it, nor appropriate it in the here and now. If you research the word “faith”, or “the mystery of faith”, you will find that The definitions and understandings very considerably depending on the traditions and teachings of men. The following words that I present here are not intended to be of a dogmatic nature nor did they come from the study of other men, but by simple meditation on the Scriptures and asking the Holy Spirit to give the interpretation. In this way I approach scripture more on a devotional than a dogmatic way, allowing my Heavenly Father to be my teacher. This has been my method of approaching scripture and asking for his truth and wisdom. For me scripture is a tool given by God through divinely inspired men as a means of connecting to God who is the ultimate truth. The words that came to me on this subject have developed over the last 43 years as a process of understanding gleaned from God himself to the extent that this frail vessel could receive them. For this reason, only God has the last word, and all I can be is a willow in the wind subject to his wisdom and truth that only comes from Him. I can only grow daily to the extent that I am willing to be corrected daily by my Father in heaven.
First it is important to make the distinction between faith and belief. Belief as defined in this discussion is primarily understood as a product of the mind and intellect. In it’s true sense it is the opposite of faith. The mind believes because it does not have faith, it is a substitute and counterfeit of faith. Belief is dependent on the five senses, whereas faith is the substance of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
Key words: Spirit, knowledge, belief, faith, and love.
As we read the following, it is important to realize that the faith that Scripture speaks of his of a different quality in nature then the faith that people usually think of and relate to what they personally believe is a product of their own mind and imagination. Paul stated that the Righteousness of God is from faith to Faith Rm 1:16-17. “Lord I believe but help my unbelief Mk 9:23-24. This might mean that our humanly based believe is actually unbelief. Faith comes from God only by grace and not of ourselves. Hab 2:4, Eph 2:8-10.
We also might apply the two trees in the garden in Genesis. The tree of life would be the faith that comes from the Spirit and is unseen by the natural eye. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the tree they brought death to the soul. This tree was said to be pleasant to the eyes: referring to the natural senses. The natural senses are from below and the spiritual supernatural senses are from above these two realms are separated by what Genesis calls the firmament Gn 1:7.
Most people, even Christians feel that life is overwhelming. They are easily beset with negative thoughts, with anger, reaction, and the general difficulties of living. The list goes on and on. All Christians say that they believe in God, but are they believing with eyes of faith or eyes of their own understanding / belief; there beastly nature? The gospel that contains the power of God in our daily life is not just the doctrines about Christ, but it is the person of Christ in us himself, Jn 5:39-40, Heb 6:1-6. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Col 1:27, Phil 1:21.
Paul stated that the gospel (good news) of God is the power of God from faith/belief to Faith, leading us to righteousness Rm 1:16-17, by God’s grace increasing our faith. Faith and grace are directly related Eph 2:8-10. This study is foundational because our relationship to, and blessing from God are directly related to understanding these two concepts.
What can these words of Paul possibly mean? Isn’t faith faith? Or is he trying to establish that there are two kinds of faith? I believe that he is trying to make his hearers aware that there are two kinds of faith, one that is an objective and rational belief through human reasoning, and the other that is through the spirit of faith from God in us which is not intellectually seen or reasoned. In other words belief is known outwardly, and the spiritual lis known inwardly by our spirit. Study self, examine yourself to see if you are in the faith 2 Co 13:5, that is, living in the spirit of the word Rm:8:16. In the words of Paul we read: “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the FAITH OF GOD unto salvation to everyone that believes (be sleeping in the faith that comes from God, not in our faith, otherwise our faith would be human works ) to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God revealed from faith to FAITH: as it is written, the just shall live by (His) Spiritual FAITH” Rm 1:16-17. In Scripture will context: “The Spirit of faith” 2 Co 4:13. Simply put, the first phase would be a faith about God learned through human teaching and understood only by the intellect. The second phase would be by hearing God from within our heart and spirit, and his progressive as we grow in grace and. This phase also gives us the realization of our true identity in God, and by God’s power being behind and within that identity. Let us see if we can unpack these famous words of Paul:
Great faith was demonstrated by the centurion in Mt 8:10. This was a faith that was based on the substance of things not seen Heb 11:1.
Our next question is: does the scripture make a distinction between human faith and belief, and that of spiritual faith from heaven and belief from God and of God? Let us examine the Scriptures to see what they may reveal to us.
Scripture reveals to us that these two kinds of faith have been at odds with one another from the beginning of humanity. We first find it in the distinction between righteous Abel, and wicked Cain Gn 4:1-16. Here we find that God was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not with Cain’s. Abel’s offering represents God’s faith by God’s grace, but Cain’s offering represents his own works and righteousness; or human faith. Thus cain became jealous and killed Abel. This animosity between these two kinds of believers is repeated throughout the whole of Scripture as well as in the history of religion. We see it in the attempt of Joseph’s brothers trying to eliminate him in the pit, and the prophets being killed by religious men of human faith, or belief. Jesus and his apostles, plus the thousands of Saints have been persecuted by the early Christian orthodoxy system who did not understand and process the faith of God.
John said do not be like Cain, who belong to the evil one, because his works were evil 1 Jn 3:11-12. Jesus said Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment Jn 7:24 Paul gives a clear teaching concerning the nature of carnal works in 1 Co 3 and the folly of trying to relate to God through the limits of the letter of Scripture 2 Co 3 Heb 4:12-6:6, as did Jesus Jn 5:39-40 by mental reasoning alone. I believe this study is very important because the principles not only relate to faith but also to other critical words as : the word of God, truth, and the new covenant.
FAITH BY HEARING:
Most of us equate faith with some belief system that we can reasonably and objectively establish and agree on a rational level, but is this true faith as taught in Scripture? Christian denominations by the thousands reckon faith in this manner.
Faith in “belief” is the kind of belief that has to do more with self-will then living faith: based on our thoughts more than the thoughts of God. As God spoke through Isaiah He said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. “Believe is a product of the natural mind. Believe is directly related to the word knowledge. Knowledge is to know. There are TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE that must be noted. Scriptures make it clear that there is a distinction between carnal knowledge and spiritual knowledge Rm 8.
As for hearing the voice of God… it cannot be heard by the uncircumcised ear Jer 6:8,10, Ac 7:51 which prevents the coming of faith Rm 10:17.
“FAITH BY HEARING AND HEARING BY THE WORD (CHRIST) OF GOD:”
Faith works by divine love Ga 5:6, and love is beyond knowledge which can only be received through direct revelation Eph 3:14-21, from Spirit to our spirit 1Co 1-2. In many places within Scriptures we are exhorted to gain the knowledge of God. Faith is of no use if obedience to God’s commands based on the Divine love are not Integral with it. Jesus said why call me Lord if you do not do the things I say Mt 7;21-23.
James the brother of Jesus said that faith without corresponding actions is dead Ja 2:14. Most of us equate faith with some belief system that we are to agree with; with or without a true understanding and corresponding actions both God’s Spirit working through us, but is this true faith? Belief in belief is the kind of belief that has to do more with self-will then living faith: with our thoughts more than the thoughts of God. James said that this kind of faith or belief is the kind that the devil has. When faith is mature it translates into certain knowing Heb 11:1. This certain knowing manifests itself in actions of godliness.
Carnal belief is a product of the mind alone. Believe is directly related to the word knowledge. Knowledge is to know. There are two different kinds of knowledge or knowing that must be noted.
Scriptures make it clear that there is a distinction between carnal knowledge and spiritual knowledge. Jesus said, “This is eternal life: that you KNOW God Jn 17:3. this word know in the original Greek is Gnosis; defined as an intimate spiritual knowing of God on a spiritual level.
Philosophers and theologians call this study of knowledge “Epistemology”. Paul made it clear that philosophy alone will never lead one to ultimate truth and faith; and indeed it is to be avoided because it puts Christ to an open shame, and those who follow that way crucify Christ afresh Col 2:8-14, Heb 4:12-6:6.
BUILD YOURSELF UP IN THE MOST HOLY FAITH, BY PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT JUDE 17-23:
It is my belief that the faith that the Scriptures speak of is of a higher nature than what man is capable of having in and of himself, AND A KIND OF HEARING THAT IS NOT ACCORDING TO THE NATURAL SENSES, but a HEARING that is BY THE WORD OF GOD IN SPIRIT Rm 10:17, Jn 6:63, Heb 11:1. This is why Paul defined this Faith of God through Christ in us, which is the power of God unto righteousness and not of us (flesh), lest any man should boast Rm 1:16-17, Eph 2:8-10 as we are progressively crucified with Christ Ga 2:20. THAT IS WHY GOD SAID: “HEAR HIM” Mt 17:5. In other words “Hear his still small voice” in our heart 1 Ki 19:12, Rm 10:8, 17. In Jesus words: “Therefore take heed how you hear” Lk 8:18, 20. This hearing is beyond the physical senses.
As for hearing the voice of God as Abraham did whereby the faith of God (not his) was experienced and pleased God, which is the faith we must also posses. Without this kind of faith which is God’s faith itself awakened in us. Without this kind of Faith it is impossible to please God for only God is good and true Heb 11:6. All flesh is as filthy rags Isa 64:6; that includes our own limited carnal faith .
In a sense our faith is included but only in the sense of faith in God’s Faith and not by our own understanding Prov 3:5. Also see Hab 2:4. In Paul’s words: “from faith to faith unto righteousness” Rm 1:16-17. The first phase is the faith that we have positionally and theologically in God. The second level of faith is of a higher nature which is the faith of God in us through Christ Jesus: the word in our heart Rm 10:8 which brings us to true righteousness and the true knowledge of God. It is at the child level (milk) that our faith is dependent on doctrines of scripture, and is important, but will not bring us to maturity. We are made wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus (meat) 2 Tim 3:14-15. We must move progressively from scriptural doctrines to putting on Christ himself and coming to him Jn 5:39-40, Eph 4, Heb 4:12 – 6-5; “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” Ja 4:8.
I believe that this is the faith that comes by Spiritual AWAKENING Eph 5:8-18 which brings spiritual hearing: and hearing by the word; or voice of God in our heart not the words of the letter written on paper or stone by man alone Rm 10:8, 17; for the letter killeth but the Spirit gives life 2 Co 3. Jesus made it clear that eternal life is not through the searching of scriptures alone, but rather is by the coming to him in Spirit Jn 5:39-44 and hearing his words which are Spirit and life Jn 6:63. He is the way, truth, and life Jn 14:6. Thus Jesus is equated with the word of life but not necessarily the written scriptures in and of themselves, yet scriptures do point to this truth Jn 5:39. This is why Peter wrote that truth does not come through private interpretation of scriptures but by the Morning Star: the Christ that rises in our hearts 2 Pet 1:12-21.
Jesus also said something very important in regard to distinguishing between these two kinds of words related to faith that are under discussion. He taught that we are either justified or condemn, based on which kind of words we are hearing and believing; one leads to justification and the other leads to condemnation and is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit Mt 12:31-37.
I realize that this subtle distinction between the two kinds of words, which relate to the two kinds of faith is not taught in orthodox Christianity and not easily understood by our limited intellect, it could be called heresy by those who have not been taught by the Holy Spirit, but rather have been taught by the doctrines of men per Jesus and Paul Mt 15:9, Col 2:22. Paul even goes so far as calling them doctrines of Devils 1 Tim 4:1. Jesus said that it is by men’s traditions / words that the teaching of God is made of non-effect Mk 7:6-13.
As Paul had warned the church in his day, Jesus had also given a warning concerning how we hear, saying: “Take heed therefore how you here for whosoever has, to him shall be given, and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken, even that which he seems to have” Mt 13:12. Paul asks: Do we obey the truth through the Spirit by the hearing of faith, or by the works of the law? Ga 3:1-3, 2 Co 3.
Since faith is not of ourselves, but is the direct gift of God, we must conclude that it is the perception of that ideal and of that which is comes by direct revelation and defines the Gospel according to Paul Ga 1:6-12. A sense of that which is superior in knowledge i.e. Intuition of truth which is a process from faith to faith, or milk to meat unto the goal of perfection Phil 3, Heb 6:1-6, 12:1. Deep within us even beyond our conscious knowing our soul longs for perfection in God. The means to this cannot be achieved through the natural, but is only discerned and achieved by spiritual vision Prov 3:5, 29:18-19 and not by the Tongue of man Rm 10:8-17, Isa 28-30 which was so clearly portrayed by Isaiah in 6:5 his words: “Behold I am a man with unclean lips.” In Jeremiah we learn that the heart of man that is not renewed by the Holy Spirit is desperately wicked 17:9. The children of God are taught by God Isa 54;13. His anointing (Spirit) leads us to all truth 1 Jn 2:20-27, Jn 14:15-26.
Before Faith came we were kept wards under the law, shut off from the faith which should afterwards be revealed Ga 3:23. Notice that this faith was to be revealed, and according to Paul by personal revelation as he himself experienced which reveals the true gospel to the heart of man Ga 1:6-12. Before the intuition of Truth came into the evolving soul, the qualities were under law, reason, cause and effect, and were kept in bondage to authority of men; but afterwords through intuitional wisdom from God was acquired.
Yet beyond all knowledge is the REALM of FAITH, and here, as in the case of the more strictly cognizable things, the object of our contemplation must actually come within the human spirit, beyond the limitations of mind, and be assimilated before it’s true being can be realized Eph 1:17-23. God is also said to come into being in the souls of the faithful, since either by faith and virtue he is conceived in them, or in a certain fashion by faith, begins to be understood. In a certain sense we have the doctrine of the incarnation presented from an entirely subjective individual standpoint as presented in 1 Co 15 and 1 Jn 4. In this way we can see that faith is nothing less then a uniting of our will with God’s will in a transcendental way, as timeless being beyond the physical realm, yet while the physical body is in the physical realm. When the seed of the new birth, called the inward man, his faith awakens in it. This faith is not a notion, but a real, strong, essential hunger, and attracting by a magnetic desire of Christ, as it proceeds from a seed of the divine nature in us, so it attracts and unites with its light: it lays hold on Christ; puts on the divine nature, and in a living and real manner grows powerful over all our sins Eph 3:14-20, enabling us to overcome the world, for greater is he that is in us then he that is in the world 1 Jn 4:4. This is the meaning of” Christ coming in the flesh”: meaning not just Jesus, but all who who are in Jesus by His faith! We will have to continuously fight the good fight of faith as long as life lasts on earth, between the mental conditions and the souls consciousness. Doubt is the carnal mind that acts as a veil separating us from the knowledge and presence of God 2 Co 3. But as the mental beliefs brought into harmony with the Spirit of faith condition, more and more the fight will grow weaker and less frequent, and it is possible that they will cease altogether, and the mental believes become entirely and absolutely subordinated or rather absorbed in the souls consciousness of it’s being possessed of the Dinine love of the Father.”Fight the good fight of faith” 1 Tim 6:12, Eph 6:10-20.
Divine faith is not anti-rational, but supra rational; it is that whereby we lay hold of the spiritual and eternal. Man’s whole nature longs for fuller satisfaction than it can find in the dark valley of material existence; faith contacts the regions in which those satisfactions lie and brings the tokens of them into our conscious experience. Unless you can interpret life in terms of the spiritual, it is mere chaos, not even rational. Faith discovers the truth of things to the soul as they really are; not as what the false imagination would interpret 2 Co 10:5. Faith wraps the soul up in the bundle of life with God.
Faith and belief are essentially the actions of God in the believer by grace Hab 2:4, Eph 2:8-10. Not empty believism that the Devils believe Ja 2:14-26. What is not of spiritual faith is spiritual idolatry to God. We must be one body in the Lord of Spirits Heb 12:8, for God is Spirit Jn 4:24. This is the positive usage of belief is used in Scripture.
Test yourself to see if you are in the faith 2 Co 13:5, The faith that is in your heart Rm 10:8,17 through Christ in me my hope of glory Col 1:27. Paul prayed that the church would receive this revelation Eph 1:14-23, and in fact Paul based his gospel on the church receiving the gospel by revelation even is Paul did Ga 1:6-12 and Jesus taught Mt 16.
The intellect must be quickened by the Spirit: The two edged sword before it becomes whole Heb 4:12-6-6, Jn 5:21-5:40, 6:63, that we may be able to call upon God’s name Ps 80:18, 143:11, that we may be able to follow in God’s way Ps 119:37.
And let it be so, Amen.