THE FOUNDATION OF FAITH
By Keith Malcomson
Heb.6:1-2 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”
We see here in Hebrews chapter six, that Faith is a foundational doctrine for all believers and it follows repentance. Repentance and faith are two different sides of the same coin. There is no contradiction: they are intricately connected. Where you find real repentance you will find real faith; where you find real faith you will find real repentance.
Most of the problems we see across the Church today, what we see of worldliness, carnality and backsliding invading the Church all come back to this: the lack of repentance. When repentance is undermined, there is a destruction of true faith. When repentance is taken out of the Gospel and out of the lifestyle of believers, there is a terrible consequence, for faith cannot come without repentance. The great push for such ministries as Inner Healing, Deliverance and Counseling is because Christ is not central any more. We have lost the simplicity of repentance—real, genuine life-changing repentance—and we have lost the reality of faith that comes out of repentance. True repentance will drive us forward to true faith. Faith comes as a product of real repentance.
Show me a man who truly repents, who breaks over his sin, feels his sin and turns from his sin, and you show me a man who walks by faith and who really knows what God-given faith is. Anyone who has side-stepped true repentance does not have true faith in God. The only way to receive a true gift of faith is true repentance.
Faith Toward God
This is not faith in faith, it is not faith in circumstances and it is not faith in the Church. This is ‘faith toward God’ and it needs to be correct right in the roots of your Christian life. This faith is not focused on man, or religion, or tradition; it is utterly caught up in God and is absolutely foundational to your Christian walk. Your faith needs to be real and genuine in order that you can build upon it and walk by it. What are you going to do ‘by faith’ if faith is not genuine in your foundation?
Mark 1:15, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.” When you have faith toward God, you have faith toward the Gospel. The Gospel is, repent and believe in Christ; believe in the blood of Christ; put faith in the Word of God; this is true faith.
This saving, foundational faith is not about some mystical experience or some profound revelation about Christ. This is basic faith: you are a sinner, you were born a sinner, you were on your way to Hell but Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He rose again on the third day, and is now ascended to the right hand of the Father. If you put your faith in Him you shall be saved from the wrath to come. It is faith in what God says about Himself. It is faith in Jesus Christ.
Many people say they believe this but go out and live how they want whilst damnation is hanging above their heads. They assure themselves by saying, “Oh, well, I believe that Jesus died for me…I’ll be ok.” But their life has not been transformed because they have never repented of their sin, never dealt with sin in their heart, and never changed. They may say, “I believe Jesus died on the Cross. I believe there is a God. I believe there is salvation. I believe there is eternal life…” but if they have never repented of their sin, their faith is a dead faith. It is an intellectual faith. It is a counterfeit faith. They believe facts about Christ but it is not a faith that has turned them from sin unto righteousness.
The Word and Faith
In the Parable of the Sower and the Seed in Luke 8 Christ is the Sower and the seed is the Word of God and as you know there are four different types of ground in this parable. So in each case the Sower is the same, the seed is the same, but the ground is different. The response to the Word or the fruit resulting from the seed depends on the condition of the ground.
You show me someone who brings forth little fruit or someone who brings forth much fruit and you show me the state of their heart. The Word has a different affect on each heart because each heart is different. If your heart is in the right place, you will bring forth much fruit. But if you heart is not in the right place, you will not produce any fruit. It does not matter if the Word of God is expounded eloquently or if the preacher bursts a blood vessel when preaching none of this makes a difference if your heart is not in the right place.
Note what Christ says about one of these types of ground: Luke 8:12, “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” Here are people who have heard the Word; are happy to receive it; they intellectually agree with the Word; they have no problem with the Word—they are not rejecting it, in fact it seems that they receive it in to their heart, but they have not believed unto salvation. They have received the seed of the Word that has the power to change their life yet they do not believe with the heart and therefore have not been saved. This shows us that you can have great dealings with the Word of God but if you never mix it with faith you will never come to real faith.
Here Jesus warns that the Devil comes to take away the Word because that Word has the possibility or potential to bring you to faith and to save you from your sin. The Devil knows that the power is in the Word of God to change your life beyond imagination. It is all in the power of the Word of God so the Devil comes to steal the Word. When you hear a convicting message, the Devil will come to you to steal that Word away from your understanding and out of your heart. We are in a warfare for the Word of God.
There is a warfare over what you do with the Word of God. Hell knows the importance of the Word of God when it is mixed with faith. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Word of God and faith can never be separated. Without the Word of God we would not know what to believe! We would have no ground of confidence. The Word is settled in Heaven forever. The Word of God is perfect and cannot lie so we can rest our faith on that Word. When we take that seed of the Word and mix faith with it, it changes our life. We can sit in a meeting, hear one message, mix it with faith and it can change the whole direction of our life. The Word can set us free from something, purely because it has caused faith to be raised up in our heart. That is why it is not enough to merely believe intellectually or just to nod your head, or say, ‘Amen’, or say ‘Yes, I agree with that.’ If you do not mix faith with the Word, the Word is of ‘none effect’.
Romans 10:10-11, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;” Note that faith has everything to do with the heart of man. You believe into righteousness; literally faith moves you into righteousness when you are truly born-again; “and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on [into] him shall not be ashamed.” This tells us that faith moves us. Faith will take us out of the kingdom of Satan and put us in to the kingdom of God. True faith will take away your sins. True faith will take you out of a place of sin and put you in the place of forgiveness. You cannot have true faith and remain the same. True faith moves you into righteousness in Christ.
Faith is a moving word. It is not passive; it is not static. True faith put you into Christ. You show me someone who is really living by faith and you show me someone who is really growing in their walk with God. On the contrary, if someone goes to all the meetings and all the Conventions yet never changes, I will show you someone with unbelief in their heart. They have no faith. The greatest preachers will not benefit them if they do not mix faith with the Word.
Justified by Faith
Romans 3:28 “…justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Now the Catholic Church is built on faith and works. They say that you need both to be saved, but we know that we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Martin Luther, nearly 500 years ago, stood up and declared this Truth at the beginning of the Reformation: by faith alone we are justified. By faith we are made righteous or made acceptable unto God...BY FAITH, not by works.
I want to warn you with great care: If ever you fail God; if ever you sin; if ever you fall short, do not think that you can work your way back! You cannot work your way back to being good enough or get back into a close place with God. You cannot strive toward that. What you do have to do is stand still and simply believe. You are justified by faith. You are made righteous by faith. You are washed in the blood by faith. You are forgiven of your sins by faith. If ever you move to striving or trying to attain unto that sense or feeling of forgiveness by your works or deeds you will end up a very defeated, frustrated person. So many start with faith but carry on with works. To start in faith is something dynamic but if you carry on with self-effort or try to present something you’ve done to God, God will reject that; He only accepts faith.
Romans 3:25 says we are to have, “…faith in his blood…” This is not just a passive, intellectual understanding. It is literally trusting with all of your heart that the blood was shed for you. You do not need to understand how it works. All you need to know is that your faith is in the blood of the Lamb. That is all my salvation and all my redemption. I could walk with God for 50 years yet have nothing to offer God in merit.
Hebrews 10:38-39, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” To live means: everything you do; your breathing, your actions, your conversation—the entirety of your life: everything you think; everything you say; everything you do. You were washed in the blood by faith now you must live out your faith. You must live your entire life by faith. Your prayer must be by faith; your service must be by faith; your worship must be by faith; the preaching must be by faith. God is not interested in anything we do unless it flows out of a heart of faith in Jesus Christ. Remember that without faith it is impossible to please God.