Walking in a Pure Faith
We All Walk By Faith, but Not All Faith is Pure
- If all faith was pure faith, then the Bible would not say it needs to be refined.
- Faith is whatever we believe to be the truth within our hearts whether it be the truth or a lie.
- Our faith produces the “fruit” of our labor, whether it be the fruit of His Spirit flowing from the faith that he has bestowed upon us producing good works pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6), or bad fruit that flows from a faith that is “dead” (Jam. 2:17).
- A pure faith is the outcome of our belief having been refined.
- Doubting is not the absence of belief or something to overcome so that we might believe, but rather, doubting is holding a belief that is contrary to the truth; impure faith.
This may sound strange, but we never need to ask ourselves, “Am I walking by faith?” Rather, we need to ask, “Is the faith by which I am walking pure?” The Bible describes faith as either being a pure faith – one that rightly reflects God’s truth – or an impure faith – one that contains falsehood and needs to be refined as with fire, “…so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet.1:7) If all faith was pure faith, then there would be no need for a refining process.
Faith is whatever we believe to be the truth within our hearts whether it be the truth or a lie. It is the driving force behind all we do. It determines our motives. Our faith produces the “fruit” of our labor, whether it be the fruit of His Spirit flowing from the faith that he has bestowed upon us producing good works pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6), or bad fruit that flows from a faith that is “dead” (Jam. 2:17).
A pure faith is the outcome of our belief having been refined. We see this suggested where James the apostle encourages his readers concerning asking God for wisdom “… ask in faith without any doubting.” (Jam. 1:6) In the verse before this James talks about how a refined faith produces endurance resulting in the believer “lacking in nothing” or a purified faith. However, if we harbor doubting then we have a belief problem or am impure faith. Doubting is not the absence of belief or something to overcome so that we might believe, but rather, doubting is holding a belief that is contrary to the truth; impure faith. The reason I doubt the truth is because I believe something else. If I ask God for wisdom and yet hold a contrary belief, I will become like a “surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” In this state of doubting I should not expect “… to receive anything from the Lord” since I am holding two opposing beliefs at the same time “…being a double-minded man, unstable in all [my] ways” (Jam. 1:6-8)
The Church in Laodicea in Revelation chapter three had a problem with impure belief. They believed that they were doing much better than they actually were. This is the problem with believing a lie with the heart is that even though it is a lie, it feels the same as if it were true. Jesus said to them concerning their lack of purified faith, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” (Rev. 3:15-18) I believe the gold he was referring to was an analogy of faith. Other scriptures as those already mentioned support this perspective as well.
We all walk in faith, there are really no other options.
- God will either bring about or allow difficulties and trials to come as a refining fireto expose the impurities in our faith.
- Walking by faith, whether based in truth or not, is an automatic experience. It is how God created us to live.
- Trying to conform our behavior to the truth is not spiritual and certainly not transformation.
- To the degree that our heart belief is contrary to the truth, we will struggle as we attempt to conform our behavior to it.
- We are in a state of double-mindedness when we hold two or more opposing beliefs at the same time: one in the heart and the other in our intellect.
- The faith that transforms our lives is not an intellectual exercise in positive thinking, memorization of Bible passages, blind obedience or even the choice to walk in truth and obedience. A pure faith is gained by allowing ourselves to be persuaded by God of the truth within our hearts, bringing about a confident assurance and deep conviction concerning His truth.
We are living our lives through what we believe to be true in our hearts. Because not all we believe is the truth, there is a need to identify what is impure in our faith and have the Lord renew it with truth. God desires that we know His truth in our hearts so that we might walk in truth. God will either bring about or allow difficulties and trials to come as a refining fire to expose the impurities in our faith.
Walking by faith, whether based in truth or not, is an automatic experience. It is how God created us to live. Not only do we feel whatever we believe with our hearts, we will also live out our heart belief. We can control our behavior to some measure to conform to what we intellectually believe, but our heart belief will eventually win out in some measure. Controlling our behavior as an attempt to act like the truth is not spiritual and certainly not transformation. Controlling behavior is what anyone can do in some measure whether they are a believer or not.
Following our heart belief is effortless. To live opposed to our heart belief (when trying to conform our behavior to the truth we know intellectually) struggle will ensue. For example, if we believe with absolute certainty that God is faithful, then it requires no effort to trust Him. In the same fashion, if we believe that He is not trustworthy, then feeling fearful, worried and or full of dread is the inevitable outcome.
If we believe in our hearts that God is not trustworthy and then seek to apply the biblical truths we have memorized, which declare Him to be our faithful provider, struggle will ensue and walking out the truth will prove difficult. This is an example of double-mindedness; holding two or more opposing beliefs at the same time, one in the heart and the other in our intellect.
A pure faith is not gained by trying hard to believe something, nor can we increase our faith through any effort on our part. The faith that transforms our lives is not an intellectual exercise in positive thinking, memorization of Bible passages, blind obedience or even the choice to walk in truth and obedience. A pure faith is gained by allowing ourselves to be persuaded by God, bringing about a confident assurance and deep conviction concerning His truth.
Pure Faith is the Persuasion of God
- The New Testament Greek root meaning of the word faith is peito which means to persuade or to be persuaded.
- God’s persuasion of the truth is the central focus or the crux of faith and also the central focus of all we do in TPM.
- Faith that is based upon God’s truth originates with God, the persuader, and is made steadfast in the hearts of those who are persuaded.
- Only God can persuade a person of the truth in his heart.
- God’s persuasion of the truth comes only as He grants us a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17-18) and the Spirit illuminating that which we may have previously known with our intellect.
- Only illumination given by the Spirit can bring about faith – persuasion – resulting in absolute certainty of belief. TPM is about hearing with the heart resulting in mind renewal and genuine transformation.
The root word most often used in the New Testament that is translated “faith” is the word “Pistis.” Pistis is translated in the Scriptures, depending on the context as: trust, confidence, assurance, belief, etc. The root of the word pistos is the word peitho. Peitho has a much narrower meaning. It simply means to persuade or to be persuaded. God’s persuasion of the truth is the central focus or the crux of faith and also the central focus of all we do in TPM. Biblical faith or a pure faith is the persuasion of God concerning His truth, accomplished by the inner working of the Spirit in the heart of the believer. In this sense, faith that is based upon God’s truth originates with God, the persuader, and is made steadfast in the hearts of those who are persuaded. Only God can persuade a person of the truth in his heart. Other people can persuade him of intellectual truths as long as he trusts them and believes that they hold a higher authority in knowledge than he does himself. In another article we refer to this as the “Authority and Trust Principle.”
In Ephesians chapter one, the Apostle Paul provides a list of unfathomable riches that God the Father has bestowed upon the believer. It is impossible to merely read through the first part of that chapter and fully grasp the glory and splendor of what is proclaimed there. In order to truly believe it with faith — that is with absolute certainty — God must grant or persuade us of the truth.
We cannot believe these things unless God persuades us. This is why, following the list, the apostle prays, “[may the] God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, … give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19). When God does this, we enter into authentic faith.
Paul knew that apart from a divine persuasion, the Ephesians would not be able to truly know what he had just proclaimed. When God grants His perspective and persuades us of His truth, He “opens the eyes of our heart” and we will then see with a pure faith.
God’s persuasion of the truth comes through hearing with our hearts. Heart language goes beyond the intellect. A “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17-18) is given to us when the Spirit speaks to our hearts, illuminating that which we may have previously only known with our intellect.
If someone speaks a Bible truth to you, you may not hear it with your heart. More often than not, you will only hear it with your mind. You may hear a Bible verse so often that you may even come to memorize it. However, unless the Spirit illuminates it in your heart, you may only comprehend it intellectually, but when the Lord “opens the eyes of your heart” you will believe the truth with absolute certainty. It will change your belief from being intellectual understanding to being heart belief. This is God’s persuasion of the truth to our hearts; a purified faith.
Only illumination given by the Spirit can bring about faith – persuasion – resulting in absolute certainty of belief. TPM is about hearing with the heart resulting in mind renewal and genuine transformation.
From “Faith to Faith”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome the words, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “‘but the righteous man shall live by faith…'” (Rom. 1 :16-17). Salvation begins with God persuading our hearts of the truth (peitho) and then because we are persuaded of the truth we possess faith. So it is faith to faith that enter in to the faith and how we live our Christian lives. We each enter into God’s salvation because we are persuaded by God of His truth, and it is by the faith that we possess that we walk in this persuasion.
This is why the apostle concludes this thought by quoting the Old Testament passage saying, “the righteous man shall live by faith…” Because of God’s persuasion of truth within our hearts, we believe resulting in our salvation: we are justified and made right with God through faith (See Rom. 10:10). It is from this faith that God has bestowed upon us that we stand justified being made righteous. It is the continual persuasion of God (peitho) of the truth that we “…grow in the knowledge of God and bear fruit…” (Col. 3: 9-10) We begin in faith and we continue in faith, thus, “from faith to faith.”
Being made righteous in him through faith (peitho) we then continue our walk in Him through being persuaded of God of more of His truth in our hearts (peitho). As God grants us more and more truth (“…opens the eyes of our hearts…” Eph. 1:17-18) we naturally and effortlessly walk in the heart belief we possess. This is walking in the Spirit and experiencing the fruit of His Spirit. His fruit is His fruit. We cannot produce it we can only bear it. We can only bear it because we are persuaded in our hearts of His truth. He is the persuader and we are the persuaded.
This is why the Apostle Paul prayed, “…be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, SO THAT you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” God persuades us of the truth “SO THAT” we might walk in Him. Unless we are persuaded of the truth -that is, believe it with absolute certainty, we cannot bear the fruit. We cannot know the truth beyond an intellectual assent unless God “…opens the eyes of our hearts” and unless He grants us (peitho) “…a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him…” (Eph. 1:17-18)