Walking by Faith
R. E. Corns
To be pleasing unto God, all things must be done by FAITH. Paul in his letter to the Hebrews declared that we could not please God except by FAITH (Hebrews 11: 6). We urge in our efforts to evangelize the world that all must come to the Father by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are taught by inspiration that all efforts outside of faith constitute sin. We as Christians should understand that we cannot please God by accepting the status quo, tradition, and customary practices and be pleasing unto God. "For whatsoever is not of FAITH is sin" (Romans 14:23).
The alien sinner is urged to come to God by faith in Jesus Christ as the son of God. He is, urged to accept the inspiration of the Bible by faith. He is taught that he must be baptized by faith. He is taught that he must confess by faith. He is taught that he must repent by faith.
It has been said that, "consistency is a Jewel." If we teach faith as a prerequisite to all religious things, then are we not bound by heaven and the laws of reason and logic to teach that all things must be done by faith? It will not help any to rely upon the wisdom of men.
We would not consider one as a follower of the Lord if after his conversion he laid aside his faith and followed the wisdom of men. Unfortunately, some converts and some who have been in the church for years have resorted to the old sectarian habit of insisting that the Bible does not tell a man how to worship, or how to edify, or how to manifest benevolence. To preach, teach and publish such false doctrines not only destroys the Bible as our only guide but it denies that God has told one what to do after baptism.
From the pages of inspiration we learn what men must do in all phases of life. The Bible tells an alien to hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized. Does inspiration stop here? The apostle Peter declared that if any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11). Brethren, do we just speak as oracles of God to sinners only? Is faith applied to sinners only? Or must faith be applied to all men?
Many brethren in the Lord's church no longer speak as the oracles of God. Opinion is substituted for the oracles of God. "Get the job done" is the hue and cry by those who have long since left the paths of restoration. "The Lord did not tell us HOW to do it," cries the circus-type promoter of worldly-minded projects.
Although brethren may not differ on the matter of worship by faith, they differ on the matter of benevolence. Benevolence is taught in the inspired word of God and this is a matter of faith also. In every instance where benevolence is taught we find a "thus saith the Lord" for benevolence--the HOW, the WHO, the WHEN.
In Acts 11: 28-30 we have a "thus saith the Lord" for what we call congregational benevolence. Try as we may, we cannot set aside this scripture. "And there stood up one of them named Agabus and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea, which also they did and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul." This alone should suffice when we speak of benevolence.
We note that the Spirit spake through Agabus concerning this dearth. We also note that it was a continuing thing. There were no monthly promises, no solicitations on the part of Agabus, no sending through a grand benevolent society, no employment of fund raisers, no promoters for this cause! The problem was simply stated and every man took action.
We have a "thus saith the Lord" for the act of these brethren. It was an act of "walking by faith" in benevolence. Their authority came from the Spirit, or, the word of inspiration spoken by Agabus. We can see the how, who and when of benevolence in this example.
WHO--"every man according to his ability." It seems that we are going far afield in letting just a few pay the bills even today. Some want to claim exemption for this or that. The word of inspiration says "every man."
WHEN--when do we give to others? We do not give by FAITH to promote human institutions. We do not give by FAITH when we give to a big drive for funds. We probably give for other reasons such as; (1) because others do, (2) we feel that we ought to, (3) we just want to come up even with the sects.
Inspiration says that giving of faith is when the need arises. Need or necessity is not classed as worldly pride. Need is not because someone else does it. A scriptural need is not a tennis court or football field. Need is not brick and mortar. Need is when the human body is lacking in that which will sustain life.
Many have faith. There is no question here. But every time the promoters get to work I think of James 2:14--"Can faith save him?" Does the individual have the saving faith? Saving faith is the kind that we receive from a "thus saith the Lord" in the conversion of the alien sinner. Saving faith is the kind we worship by. Saving faith is the kind we edify by. Saving faith is the kind that we do our benevolent work by.
May the Lord help us all to a "thus saith the Lord" for everything we do, not for just some of the things we do. May we be blessed with that wisdom that cometh from above which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
Truth Magazine VII: 4, pp. 18-19