Thursday, February 23, 2006

What Kind of Faith?

1 Tim. 3:9, "but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience."

There truly is a bit of faith we must have in "the" faith that I had in mind which we must have to fill in our exegetical deficiencies isthe faith required of us that appeared along with the arrival of Jesus Christ. The faith Paul refers to below.
Gal. 3:23 “But before faith came, we were kept under the custody of the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed”.
That new object of our faith is a part of the mystery which was not revealed in the promise to Abraham. Although, Abraham had a broader faith than in just God’s promise which was in God being the one and only true God. The new faith that came was faith that will lead them to instead of Canaan, to the kingdom of God. The faith that Paul was once trying to destroy. A faith that makes us now sons of God. The new household of the faith which replaced the old. A faith no longer based on the assurance of an unseen promise but things able to be seen in the form of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. God revealed more of His unfolding will to us, part of which was, that now we have to behold His Son and have faith. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life”.

The faith which was revealed to us in the ressurection of Christ is different than the faith in a promise, but it too, provides us with the sufficiency to ascertain God’s truth withaccurateness through exegetics. His Son gave us a very finite amount of words and information, all true and complete in themselves. He also left us wanting to know more about a lot of things. Seems like He did supply us with, as Paul says in 1 Cor., “the things freely given to us by God”, as well as things unrecorded, suggested in John’s remark which went something like, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”. He’s freely given us all things which pertain to what He thinks we should know, and there is yet much left to wonder about that we would like to know.

Even Peter saw some things would be a struggle for us to understand: Peter remarks in 2Pt 3:16 about “some things hard to understand…” Even John suggests that God has told us what He feels is necessary and didn’t tell us a great deal more. 1 Jn 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

James suggests that we remain uncertain, although not to questions of any import. James says in 4:14, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Paul explains to Timothy, “We can be sure about life and immortality through the gospel“, 2 Tm:110. But many of the details are not forthcoming. Christ is the knowledge and wisdon of God, and Peter reiterates “…who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God”. In my opinion, the life, death and reserrection of Christ is the greatest example of the knowledge of God we have available to us.

God certainly told Job that there were alot of things he would never know. He told Him that He was presumptuous to thing he even could know. God finally told us “where is the way to the dwelling of light?” but He also pointed out to Job that he would NOT know.

So I see how many questions man desires to answer for himself by means of exhaustive exegesis will not be able to be answered with certainty because the information we have is not complete. And that proof which I do cite in this comment is not thorough by any means, but will certainly start one on the way to the understanding how man is tempted to, and indeed truly does, try and over-reach in his exegetical endeavors.
The world, the flesh and the devil are certainly factors that interfere with man’s exegesis of God’s written truth. Aside from satan prowling the earth like Peter says, here are some other inklings that there are things “warring against our souls” and preventing us from getting to the bottom of the truth together.

“But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations knowing that they produce quarrels.”
“...known the sacred writing of scripture which are able to give you wisdom that leads tosalvation through faith….so that we may be adequate and equipt for every good work.” 2Tm 3:15-17. They do not equip us for omniscience.

Peter describes his job in 2 Pt 1:16 as making “known the power and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ”, to which he was a witness. That power and coming is salvation to all who believe. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men… 2Tm 1. Things were heard and then subsequently misused by men to start numerous conflicting Christian traditions and conflicting denominations.

Peter points to things that will complicate the message when referring to, “The fleshly lusts which war against the soul “. And the devil, “enticing unstable souls”, 2 Peter. But still not preventing the Spirit from prevailing and teaching the truth of God in His word to the ‘workman’ who rightly divides the word of God..
But the obvious problem of men’s inability to agree with one another on exegetical meaning remains a glaring obstacle to a unified Body of Christ, and to it’s growth, and as an abomination to the Lord.

What I cannot conclude is that God’s word cannot be accurately interpreted by Christians because of the flesh, the world and the devil, or that there is truth which we cannot know and therefore must simply trust Him on, but I can conclude that ‘agreement’ on the meaning of major aspects of God’s truth is unlikely by Christians, by virtue of the fact that disagreement is so widespread, and if anything, getting worse, shown by more and more lines of fracture among the already divided denominations and differing theological camps. And it is unlikely precisely, in my opinion, for reasons instigated by, the world,the flesh and the devil. And more. Presenting, I believe, serious obstacles to unifying Christain thought, than we may believe, with consequences more grievous to the Lord than I think many of us are ready to accept.

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