Faith Is Looking to Jesus
by Tom Stewart
he central focus of True Religion
is Jesus Christ. "Looking unto Jesus the
Author and Finisher of Our Faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Faith is confidence
in Jesus, Whose "Name is called The Word
of God" (Revelation
19:13). Unlike the blind leap of faith described
by the world, True "Faith is substance" (Hebrews 11:1) and "evidence" (11:1) of the trustworthiness of Jesus. Until or unless we place our confidence
in Jesus Christ, we will not and cannot exercise True Faith. "Now faith is the substance
[Greek, hupostasis, which literally means confidence]
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"
(11:1). All that
we know about Jesus, that we can trust with absolute certainty, has been revealed
to us in the Scriptures. "Thy Word is
17:17). When we confide and rely upon the revelation
of the person and character of Jesus Christ that has been revealed to us in Scripture,
then we are Truly Believing. "So then
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
Some have supposed that Jesus was merely a very significant man to come upon the human scene over 2,000 years ago; but, He was and is all that, and much more. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and Truth" (John 1:14). If we have truly understood Jesus, then we have come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Living God-- the same Creator that generated the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). "16 For by Him [Jesus, i.e., the Father's 'Dear Son' (v. 13)] were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: 17 and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16-17). The world's inability to accept Jesus as anything more than another entry into their pantheon of gods, does not diminish the Truth that Jesus is the One that all men must trust for Time and Eternity. "Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). In fact, the Saints have the serene confidence that the entire world will ultimately confess-- willingly or unwillingly-- that Jesus is Almighty God. "That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth" (Philippians 2:10).
Confidence in Jesus Christ to redeem us from the misery of our past sinful life is the beginning of Salvation, if we have yet to be thoroughly persuaded by the Holy Spirit that any attempt to live life without Jesus is worse than useless, but actually sinful. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). If we have concluded with the Apostle Paul that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13), then we must have realized the meaning of the words of Jesus Christ, speaking as a man, that "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). In other words, we must look to Jesus to begin the Christian life, which is Salvation; and, we must continue to look to Him to sustain us in our Christian walk, which is Sanctification. "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My Soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38). And, from what should we not "draw back"? We must never cease to trust Jesus to guide, comfort, deliver, and provide for every urgent requirement of life by a Spirit-directed manifestation of the character of the "Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13), as can be found by diligent search of the Scriptures. "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life: and they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).
Spiritual Life begins in us by the simple Look of Faith to Jesus. "14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Eternal Life" (John 3:14-15). For what do we trust Him? As the One Who suffered in our place for violating the Unchangeable Law of Perfect Love Toward God and Man. "For He [the Father] hath made Him [the Son] to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus]" (2Corinthians 5:21). The Law of Love is honored and enforced by the Almighty from Eternity to Eternity; so then, how can New Testament Saints beg themselves free of it, in the name of avoiding the Quagmire of Legalism? "5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the First and Great Commandment. 39 And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 5:18; 22:37-39). After all, the Look of Faith to Jesus will always result in the Works of Faith, when given the opportunity. "Even so faith [i.e., only an intellectual apprehension of the Truth], if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). [See our articles, "How to Trust God" ---New Window, "Is Faith the Only Condition for Eternal Salvation?" ---New Window, and "The Excellence of Love" ---New Window, for Scriptural discussions on faith and love.]
It is asked, If looking in faith to Jesus saves us, then what is so important that we need to keep looking? In answer, why would we want to withdraw our confidence in the One Who Demonstrated the Greatest Love to Us? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Beside this, abiding in the holiness of a "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6) is absolutely essential as an ongoing rule of life for anyone who professes Christ, i.e., "Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2Timothy 2:19). "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). It is only the Deceptiveness of Sin that we would ever argue for the right to continue in any sin, while retaining our Hope of Heaven. "15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under Grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:15-16). Our continuing Assurance of Salvation is not a faded memory of a juvenile profession of faith in Christ, but it is the continuing renewal of the Holy Spirit expressing tokens of our sonship to us, as we walk in joyful obedience. "And being made perfect, He [Jesus, the Son of Man] became the Author of Eternal Salvation unto all them that obey [Greek, hupakouousin, present tense, i.e., are obeying] Him" (Hebrews 5:9). We trust not our fallible intellect or the records of man for a testimony of our Saving Faith in Christ, but the Infallible Word of the Spirit that we are His. "3 And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments. 4 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him" (1John 2:3-4). [See our articles, "He That Endureth to the End Shall Be Saved" ---New Window and "That Ye May Know That Ye Have Eternal Life" ---New Window, for a discussion of the necessity of persevering in faith and holiness, as well as, an exposition of how we are to know that we are going to Heaven.]
Looking to Jesus is more than Salvation and the Assurance of Salvation, but it is the only acceptable thing that we can do to please God in Earth or Heaven. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). If God is pleased with us, then He will reward us with a fuller revelation of His most excellent character to us. "He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). To the chagrin of the Devil, his demons, and all wicked men, a clear and ongoing revelation of the person and character of the LORD Jesus Christ is sufficient to establish the weakest Saint in the greatest extreme of life. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). For example, the sufficiency of Christ to grant us a way of escape, is established by faith in His Promise, i.e., "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36), and in confidence in His character, i.e., "3 According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:3-4). [See our articles, "The Character of God Is Revealed in the Rapture" ---New Window and "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, for more on the character and Promises of Christ. Also, "The Relations of Christ to the Believer" ---New Window by Charles G. Finney ---New Window, is an in-depth approach to the Entire Sanctification found through Christ Jesus.]
May the world realize the Saving Benefit of looking to Jesus; but just as important, may every True Saint be reminded of the vastness of our "riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19) through continuing that simple look of faith.
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