Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   The Steadfastness of Faith
   by Rayola Kelley

      It is obvious that we are living in precarious times. The Lord Jesus, the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John, as well as Old Testament prophets, spoke of these times. As I consider what is happening on every front, I can see why the present intense travailing, tribulation, and quasi-religious environment would cause Jesus to be concerned with the prospect of not being able to find true faith when He came the second time.

      As believers, we must not let the precarious times that surround us cause us to faint in our hearts and minds when it comes to finishing the course set before us. However, we must not be foolish or live in denial as to the times we are living in either. We know from Scripture that certain events must take place before Jesus can return as Lord of lords, King of kings, and the great righteous Judge who will bring all matters to the light for the purpose of separation and judgment.

      The question is how must we face the prophetical events that are unfolding before us? We know we cannot be foolish or live in denial about the times we live in because Scripture instructs us to be watchful, ready, and prepared. In other words, we must be sober about the matters of heaven. Sobriety points to being clear-headed in how we view matters, serious about our responsibilities, tempered in our actions, and somber about taking necessary steps to wisely prepare.

      Through the years, I have watched genuine faith come under blatant attack by pseudo faiths that were being promoted by wolves, heretics, and charlatans. Whether it was being promoted behind the guise of such movements as “Positive Confession”, “Word of Faith”, or “Contemplative Spirituality”, the harsh truth is that the faith that was first delivered to the saints has always been, and continues to be, under attack. Each affront against faith has weakened the foundation of those who have not been brought up on the pure doctrine of Christ. Instead of people being discipled to follow Jesus, they have been made converts to religious leaders, heretical movements, and lifeless denominations. This “dumbing down” of Christians has fudged the decisive lines of truth, conditioning the following generations to accept greater compromise in the Christian realm. This compromise has been so great that there is no distinction as to what identifies true Christianity. In fact, everything that has a religious connotation to it is now being labeled as “Christianity”. Clearly, the term “Christian” has been hijacked to embrace every kind of religious movement regardless of how contrary or far away from that which was clearly established by the Word of God. For example, if a person is not “born again” from above by the Water of the Word (faith in the Gospel) and the Holy Spirit who will take residence in the person’s spirit to bring forth the life of Christ, he or she is still lost. The Bible is clear that such a person will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      Christianity is not about living some sort of “decent life”; rather, it is about possessing the life of Christ. His life within a person is the real source behind wearing the label of being a “Christian.” The life of Christ will express itself in a lowly, humble disposition, through a meek attitude, and with a godly lifestyle. It will be motivated by love (charity), compelled to be benevolent, and will express itself in sacrificial ways.

      Why is faith the main target of all that which opposes God in relationship to His way, truth, and life? The main reason why faith comes under blatant attack is clear. True faith is only directed towards the true God of heaven. It will not follow another god, worship an image, serve a tyrant, compromise the truth, sacrifice purity, make peace with the unholy, or cater to the despots of the world. It will not let go of what it knows is true, will not be swayed from what is right, and will not be bullied to compromise with or submit to the tyrannical ways of man or the world.

      It is for this reason that genuine faith is the only means by which man can please God. It is the only way man’s standing and actions before God can be counted as righteousness. It is what inspires men to tread into the unknown in light of gaining the eternal.  True faith is what causes steadfastness in the soul. This steadfastness is present because God serves as the rock that true faith clings to at all times.

      Today faith is coming under greater attack as the unholy agreement between the professing Church and the world escalates. We can actually see where the professing Church is now coming into agreement with a wicked government of despots, Marxists, and arrogant revolutionaries. Together this unholy mixture has been proclaiming another gospel known as “Social Justice.” They also have been promoting a heretical salvation which does away with the “sin” factor and totally bypasses the redemption of Christ, while putting the burden on man to somehow make the ills of society right. The name of this form of salvation is known as “Collective Salvation.”

      It is clear that a line is being drawn in the sand. Although there are those who claim that they will remain neutral in the battle that is raging for truth, this unholy, blasphemous agreement will divide the true Church from the apostate church. People will have to come out of the apostate church and take a stand as to which side they are going to choose, knowing full well that it could cost them everything in the end. The cost will be obvious. For one side, it will be the life they used to know, and for the other side it will be the life they could have known. One side will consecrate all to God, while the other side will lose their souls in the end.

      The harsh reality is that the visible Church has been going apostate from the faith first delivered to the saints for years. As this element of the Church has given way to the world’s influence, devised a ”seeker-friendly” gospel, mixed pagan rituals with Christian truths, and conformed to a worldly “approved religion,” it has become lost to its true calling. On the other side are those individuals who contend for the true faith as they warn and exhort Christians of the dangers that await them in the path they are taking. Such watchmen are forever trying to pull souls out of the fire as they bring them back to center as to what is true, right, and godly.

      This brings us back to the days we are living in. The one aspect of the Christian faith that we must be sober about is the fact that genuine faith is under blatant attack in America. Instead of discerning the times in which we live, it appears as if much of the professing Church is being caught up with the wave of delusion. Granted, this delusion has the veneer of religion attached to it, but there is an anti-Christ spirit behind it. This anti-Christ spirit is seducing many with a false light into an unholy reality that will one day cause them to crash against the rocks of judgment. For this reason, we must know where we stand and in whom we are going to believe. We are going to have to make some tough decisions as to what will serve as our absolute authority, who we are going to ultimately believe and follow, and what we will end up loving.

      As for me, I choose the way of Abraham. He chose to believe God and allowed His Word to be his final authority. He chose to love everything associated with his God, from His truth to His ways in order to embrace his ultimate inheritance. In Abraham’s life there was only one absolute and that was his God. There was only one purpose and that was to inherit the unseen promises of God. There was only one way to walk, and that was in accordance to all that God had ordained.

      As we follow Abraham, we see the type of steadfastness his faith towards God produced in him. By faith he separated from the world (Ur) in search of the Promised Land. He separated from his father (idolatry) in order to discover God as his portion. Even though Abraham took a detour here and there, he always came back into line with his God.

      The more I consider Abraham’s steadfastness, the more I realize I must possess the same resolve in relationship to my faith if I am going to complete the course. The truth is we as believers are walking through a spiritual minefield. At times we are going to be overwhelmed as we encounter the travailing of our souls, the distress of tribulation, and the reality that we could be swallowed up by the different deceptive waves of the age we live in.

      What does Abraham’s faith show us about his steadfastness towards God? The first thing that I noticed was that Abraham’s faith was steadfast because his resolve was based on the character of God. He believed that God never lied; therefore, he could trust His instructions. If He said “go,” he could go with confidence, knowing that the Lord would never lead Him astray.

      When we bring this down to layman’s terms for us today, we must believe what God has said in His Word. If His Word commands us in a certain way, we must obey it. If His Word instructs us to wait, we must wait. If His Word tells us to be faithful in the small ways, we must in good faith be responsive to do so in order to be entrusted with more. If His Word promises a matter, we must make sure we are adhering to its condition to benefit from such promises. God desires to do much for us, with us, and through us, but the conditions must be present for Him to have His way in our lives and in our circumstances.

      When the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, he was assured that God would fulfill it in due time. We can actually see that Abraham was not caught up with seeing the covenants of God being fulfilled. After all, the covenants that God made with him were not necessarily for his benefit. God makes covenants so that He can show that He not only means what He says, but says what He means. He is also faithful to not only remember what He promised or agreed to, but He is true in bringing a matter about regardless of the time that has elapsed between the actual pledge or agreement and its coming to fruition.

      Abraham walked according to promises and covenants that would not be brought forth for generations to come. For example, there was a four-hundred- year lapse between the covenant that God made with Abraham concerning his descendants possessing the Promised Land to when it actually happened. The beauty about Abraham’s faith is that the promises and covenants of God caused him to look past them being fulfilled or coming to some type of fruition, towards eternity where all matters of heaven would find their ultimate fulfillment.

      As Christians, we are part of a covenant that identifies us to the status of being children of God. However, we will not completely benefit from our status until we come into the fullness of our spiritual inheritance. Like Abraham, we should be looking beyond this present age towards the next one to come. We must be walking according to that which God has established, and not that which belongs to this present age. We must be looking beyond the temporary to that which has been promised, and be assured of an eternal inheritance.

      As we consider the possibilities before us in relationship to the times in which we live, we need to consider them in light of God bringing forth all of His promises and covenants. We are living in precarious times, but they are also exciting days. We know that the prophetical events are pointing to wickedness hitting a pinnacle that will cause all of it to be brought low by the wrath of God. Meanwhile, we must become resolved and steadfast in our faith towards God. We must walk with confidence towards what is true, stand sure upon what is right, and remain immovable in the course set before us. We must set our face towards our destination, knowing that only faith towards God will enable each of us to keep our eyes steadfastly on the glory that awaits us.