Today’s post is a continuation of the last.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor 1:20 NIV)
Many years ago I followed a number of the leaders in the Word of Faith movement. Though I learned a number of things from the “faith teachers”, sadly much of it was misguided and has had little long-term benefit. We were taught that real faith was developing an absolute certainty regarding short-term outcomes…all based upon the authority of God’s Word (as we perceived it). Certainly there is an assurance and confidence that springs from real faith. A big danger is when it is our faith that we are trusting in and NOT the Christ who is the goal of faith.
Our perspective and logic can be in the wrong direction.
In the faith camp we started with a preferred outcome for our faith, and then sought the Scriptures for proof-texts to believe and claim and build our faith on. This, we were told was “working the word”. It was how to get what you wanted and needed from God. Again, there is a measure of truth in this. But it is dangerously incomplete.
Certainly it is a good thing to trust in God’s word. There is nothing wrong with believing the word of God! You cannot be saved unless you do!
But what I finally realized was that we had a very serious case of the tail wagging the dog!
Little did we know that many, if not most, of our presuppositions about what God’s Word meant were seriously off track!
The verse at the beginning of this post is a great example. We were all taught that this verse was our title-deed to claim any promise from God in the Bible. Yes we are gloriously “accepted in the Beloved”, and are joint heirs with Christ (which, by the way, was almost entirely a future/heavenly orientation for Paul). Nonetheless, this text is not an entitlement clause for self centered “faith.”
Here’s how the faith teachers unwittingly twisted it: Since Jesus died and has risen, and has given us His perfect righteousness, in Him we can claim and expect the perfect fulfillment of every promise God has ever made. (Again, there is a measure of truth here, as long as it stays connected with the full counsel of God.). Or else we may massage the text to say, “I can use Jesus to get everything I want from God, when I want it.” Sadly, this was what we were taught faith was.
The problem with this is that it is an adulteration not only of Scripture but of God’s eternal purposes in Christ.
The Holy Spirit is not saying that Jesus is our ticket to God’s promises (and thereby all the short-term blessings and benefits we desire – perhaps even more than Him). Rather, He is saying that the promises of God all point to and have their ultimate fulfillment in His Son, Jesus Christ!
And this is a HUGE difference!
It’s amazing how prone we are to make Jesus into a means to an end, rather than the glorious and all-satisfying end that He is in Himself!
This is not faith. It is covetousness. And covetousness is idolatry- and idolatry is heresy.