Faith’s Foundation Is God #AWTOZER

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IF OUR FAITH IS TO HAVE A firm foundation we must be convinced beyond any possible doubt that God is altogether worthy of our trust. This conviction must be more than a tenet of our creed to which we give nominal assent. It must penetrate the profoundest depths of our spirits; it must get through all outward forms to the eternal substance of which our beings are composed, that sacred stuff which was once made in the image of God. As long as we question the wisdom of any of God’s ways, our faith is still tentative and uncertain. While we are able to understand, we are not quite believing. Faith enters when there is no supporting evidence to corroborate God’s word of promise and we must put our confidence blindly in the character of the One who made the promise. Faith that asked no proof was manifested by our Lord when He was enduring His ordeal of agony on the cross. Though rejected and forsaken, and in His great pain and weakness tempted to wonder how it could be thus with Him, His faith found its rest in the holiness of God: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Though the whole world shouted against God and every testimony of the senses was against His goodness and love, Christ knew God was holy and could do no wrong, so He would bear the agony until His Father released Him. Here was faith in its most perfect expression. The faith that made the sun stand still or brought down fire from heaven was elementary compared with this. Remember that faith is not a noble quality found only in superior men. It is not a virtue attainable by a limited few. It is not the ability to persuade ourselves that black is white or that something we desire will come to pass if we only wish hard enough. Faith is simply the bringing of our minds into accord with the truth. It is adjusting our expectations to the promises of God in complete assurance that the God of the whole earth cannot lie. A man looks at a mountain and affirms, “That is a mountain.” There is no particular virtue in the affirmation. It is simply accepting the fact that stands before him and bringing his belief into accord with the fact. The man does not create the mountain by believing, nor could he annihilate it by denying. And so with the truth of God. The believing man accepts a promise of God as a fact as solid as a mountain and vastly more enduring. His faith changes nothing except his own personal relation to the word of promise. God’s Word is true whether we believe it or not. Human unbelief cannot alter the character of God. Faith is subjective, but it is sound only when it corresponds with objective reality. The man’s faith in the mountain is valid only because the mountain is there; otherwise it would be mere imagination and would need to be sharply corrected to rescue the man from harmful delusion. So God is what He is in Himself. He does not become what we believe. “I AM That I AM.” We are on safe ground only when we know what kind of God He is and adjust our entire being to the holy concept. Since true faith rests upon what God is, it is of utmost importance that, to the limit of our comprehension, we know what He is. “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” The name of God is the verbal expression of His character, and confidence always rises or falls with known character. What the psalmist said was simply that they who know God to be the kind of God He is will put their confidence in Him. This is not a special virtue, I repeat, but the normal direction any mind takes when confronted with the fact. We are so made that we trust good character and distrust its opposite. That is why unbelief is so intensely wicked. “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar.” The character of God is the Christian’s final ground of assurance and the solution of many, if not most, of his practical religious problems. Some persons, for instance, believe that God answered prayer in Bible times but will not do so today, and others hold that the miracles of olden days can never be repeated. To believe so is to deny or at least to ignore almost everything God has revealed about Himself. We must remember that God always acts like Himself. He has never at any time anywhere in the vasty universe acted otherwise than in character with His infinite perfections. This knowledge should be a warning to the enemies of God, and it cannot but be an immense consolation to His friends. Though God dwells in the center of eternal mystery, there need be no uncertainty about how He will act in any situation covered by His promises. These promises are infallible predictions. God will always do what He has promised to do when His conditions are met. And His warnings are no less predictive: “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psa. 1:5). In the light of all this how vain is the effort to have faith by straining to believe the promises in the Holy Scriptures. A promise is only as good as the one who made it, but it is as good, and from this knowledge springs our assurance. By cultivating the knowledge of God we at the same time cultivate our faith. Yet while so doing we look not at our faith but at Christ, its author and finisher. Thus the gaze of the soul is not in, but out and up to God. So the health of the soul is secured.

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