Two Kinds of Faith

Eternity Online: John Edmiston (Editor)

Two Kinds of Faith

(Heb 11:29-40 NKJV) By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. {30} By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. {31} By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. {32} And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: {33} who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, ....

...And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. {36} Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. {37} They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; {38} of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. {39} And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, {40} God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
These last paragraphs of Hebrews 11 tell us of two kinds of faith. First is the faith that conquers, secondly the faith that is loyal and enduring. The faith of victory and the faith in fiery trials. The faith of victory over circumstances and the faith of victory in circumstances. It takes faith to see the walls of Jericho fall and faith to wander in deserts and holes in the ground. It takes faith to win a kingdom and faith to be tormented and destitute for Christ. Both are faith.

Moses demonstrates both kinds of faith in his life. Firstly he bore the reproach of Christ considering maltreatment with the people of God better than the riches of Egypt. According to Jewish tradition Moses was in line to be Pharaoh. He turned his back on that to be a wandering servant of God. Moses also parted the Red Sea through faith and kept the Passover. Moses knew both the faith that endures and the faith that wins great victories. Similarly Abraham waited patiently wandering in tents as an alien and a stranger upon the earth. He also saw the great miracle of the birth of Isaac. And on it goes. Despite these great victories of Moses and Abraham and the OT saints they "died without receiving the promise" - and "the promise" is the Holy Spirit and a living relationship with Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:14)

Faith is not complete in the victory or the enduring it is only complete in Christ. Despite all the wonders wrought by the faith of the Old Testament saints their faith was not complete. They longed for something more and that something was Christ and in Christ both they and us have faith made perfect at last. Faith to see a great thing done is good - but little more than positive thinking. The rejected wicked people of Matthew 7:21-23 had faith to cast out demons, and prophesy and work mighty works. But they did not know God, their faith stopped at doing things and did not extend to believing God and doing His will. Christless faith is nothing, in fact is wickedness. Faith, even to move mountains, without the love of God is nothing (1 Cor 13: 1-3).

Tomorrow is my 20th birthday as a Christian - I was "born again" on May 1st 1978 while visiting an Anglican Franciscan friary. As I reflect on these 20 years I see both kinds of faith in operation. Faith to endure the hard times and be a Christian and faith to win great victories for God. Above all this I know that the greatest and most complete and wonderful thing is that I know my Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour and have entrusted my whole life to Him! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Amen! (2 Tim 1:12 NKJV) For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

John Edmiston ([email protected])
Editor - Eternity Online Magazine
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