There is a faith that withers under the burning heat of trial, and there is a faith that stands in the fiery furnace and overcomes the world. It is sufficient for every trial and is refined like precious gold in fire.
Faith that overcomes is the kind of faith that has counted the cost of following Christ, and answered that to gain the whole world is rubbish when compared to knowing Jesus Christ!
A FAITH THAT CARRIES THE CROSS
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. ~Luke 9:23-26
There is a kind of faith that picks up the cross every day; it shines like a bright light into the darkness.
Although it may be admired by some from afar, the closer people get to someone that has this kind of faith the more uncomfortable they become.
Any faith that is unwilling or unable to pick up the cross daily and follow Jesus is a faith that will not endure unto the end.
Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, perfected that faith upon the cross and proved it when He rose again and ascended into Heaven!
A FAITH THAT REJOICES IN CHRIST
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh
However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
~Php 3:2-3, 7–12 (World English Bible)
The faith that overcomes this world has fixated its eyes on Christ and rejoices continually in Him because it has something to rejoice about. It can truly say that it has surveyed the One who hung upon the cross and now sees the gain of all that the world has to be nothing but refuse!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
~1 Peter 4:12-14
Jesus blessed those who were persecuted, reviled, and hated for His sake, giving them the Kingdom of God- the faith that overcomes has peered into the Kingdom of God and saw a great treasure that eclipses all the vain things the kingdoms of this world have to offer.
To the faith that overcomes, even fellowship with Christ that comes through suffering is more desirable than all the comforts and joys of this vain world!
This faith will seem very strange to the world, even reckless, as they observe that we rejoice even in suffering because of the fellowship we have with Christ. Therefore, the faith that overcomes is a faith that rejoices in even the least thing of Christ more than even the greatest thing of this world, indeed, counting even the greatest thing of this world as repulsive because of Christ!
Faith is not blind towards Christ, rather, it has peered deeply into the hidden mysteries of the age that have now been revealed to us all in Christ Jesus alone!
A FAITH THAT HAS SUBSTANCE
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The faith that brings joy to the believer and presses on into Christ is also the faith that has substance. Contrary to the faith that is empty, this faith would never be satisfied with “having the appearance of godliness but denying the power therein”, rather, it actually obtains the evidence of things that cannot be seen.
When the believer who has this faith hears the Word of God, to him or her, the Word is living and fills his or her heart with the riches and glory of God. For someone that has this kind of faith, reading the word of God is not a dull task that is dutifully undertaken in the vain hope that they will somehow be better off by performing this task, to this believer, reading the word of God is an experience that transcends what we see here and enters the realm of glory!
Just like reading the word, prayer is undertaken by the believe who has the faith that overcomes the world, not in a dutiful manner, but with expectation of receiving the evidence of the things that still remain unseen!
No one believes they are getting into Harvard, but doesn’t bother making the necessary preparations to go. Likewise, someone that has received the call of God and is assured of that call also joyfully makes the preparations to go with God!
Therefore, James wrote,
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So, the faith that overcomes this world also has substance! It is not without the evidence of what it confesses, and, therefore, moves in earnest expectation of the things that it hopes for with certainty!
Faith can be identified and is distinguishable between various qualities of faith. Paul wrote about faith that is shipwrecked, about double-minded faith, and about genuine faith.
We can feel what kind of faith we have because certain kinds of faith leave us empty, while other kinds of faith make us complacent; some kinds of faith make us content with the world, while other kinds of faith wither in doubt and fear when trials and temptations come. But the Word of God tells us us that there is only one faith that overcomes (Ephesians 5:4, cf 1 John 5:4).
We should be diligent to strengthen our faith in Christ and make sure we have the faith that overcomes and enters the Kingdom of God. There is a faith that blindly presses on, ignoring the warnings of those often unlikely people that God sends to turn you from a path that will end in destruction.
My beloved brothers, you are the Church that the Lamb of God was slain to clothe in Salvation. May you be full of grace, mercy, and peace, having the faith that overcomes this world, amen!