Several important facts are brought out in Paul’s letter to the church of the Thessalonians. 1) Those in the church who did not “love the Truth” (God’s Word–Jn. 17:17) would perish. 2) Their rejection of the Truth was orchestrated by Satan. 3) Their sins having separated them from God (Isa. 59:2), they did not know they were perishing. 4) Because they refused to believe and obey God, HE HAD SENT THEM “STRONG DELUSION” so that they would “BELIEVE A LIE.” 5) The lie was that they could sin and get away with it simply by repenting. Satan’s promise to Adam and Eve that they could defy God and “… not surely die” became the foundational principle of professing Christendom shortly after the founding of the New Testament Church. The apostles began warning her early on about what was happening, but to no avail. As had been the case with the Old Testament prophets, the people were being taught “smooth things, lies and deceits” and they “… love(d) to have it so” (Isa. 30:10/ Jer. 5:31). Nothing has changed.
Much has been spoken, written and sung about the personage of God and Jesus Christ. Their Word is owned by most everyone who claims oneness with Them. Though this is good, it is not good enough. Believing in the Father and the Son is essential. However, as the Bible writers declare time and again, it is MAN’S REACTION TO WHAT THEY SAID that determines our eternity. The formula is simple: Believing and obeying what They said will result in eternal life upon Christ’s return to earth. And as is always the case Scripturally, the opposite is also true.
What is Truth? Jesus said in John 17:17 that God’s Word is Truth. Notice that He did not say that the Father’s Word CONTAINED the Truth, but that it IS the (only) Truth concerning all things spiritual. Faith is believing God’s Truth. Truth and faith are inseparable. That each depends on the other is brought out in God’s rule concerning the source of faith: “FAITH comes by … hearing the WORD OF GOD” (Rom. 10:17). In Bible times most people were illiterate, therefore their only source of Truth was to hear it read in the Temple or a local synagogue. The message is clear: THERE IS ONLY ONE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH–GOD’S WORD. We are told in Scripture that those who seek salvation must LIVE BY FAITH (Gal. 3:11). To live eternally with the Lord one must live currently by faith. This faith is based on “… every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4). Only the just(tified) live by Bible-based faith (Rom. 1:17). BIBLICAL FAITH IS THE ASSURANCE THAT THE HOLY BIBLE IS GOD’S WILL IN WRITTEN FORM, AND THAT JESUS WAS HIS WILL IN HUMAN FORM (Jn. 1:1-4,14/ Rev. 19:13). GOD, CHRIST AND THEIR WORDS MUST BE VIEWED AS ONE. Simply put: FAITH IS TAKING THEM AT THEIR WORD. Faith in God and Christ will not result in salvation. We are told time and again that we must have faith in Their Words, and that this faith must be accompanied by obedience to those Words. There is no other path to eternal life. As a human being Jesus of Nazareth had to live (“walk”) according to that rule. We are no better than He was. As we are told in 1 John 2:6, if we call ourselves by Christ’s name we must “walk as he walked” in this life. There is no alternative.
In summary, faith is believing the Scriptures and obeying them. Faith without obedience (“works”) is dead (Jam. 2:17,18,20). Dead faith=dead man. Faith=believing and obeying what God arranged to have recorded in His Holy Bible. To “live by faith” as we are commanded to do is to make certain that our words, thoughts and actions reflect the Scriptures with absolute confidence that doing so will result in God’s favor in this life and kingdom living in the next life. Jesus noted that our lives reflect our faith when He said, “… according to your faith, so be it unto you,” (Mat. 9:29), and “As a man thinks in his heart (mind), so he is” (Prov. 23:7). According to the Messiah, our faith determines what we receive and what we are in this life. Our faith also determines our status when we stand before Him on Judgment Day. L.J.