You have the faith! How did you get it, and what good is it?
Faith is defined by scripture:
Hebrews 11:1 ( ESV) "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."This passage must be used in conjunction with another one:
Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,"These two verses are linked by two words: hope in the first, and saved in the second. Providing you are a rational person what is the most important thing for you right now? That you shall have eternal life. Scripture calls that saved. If you in fact desire eternal life, that is your hope.
You cannot see eternal life because it's in the supernatural realm. If you are a Christian then you have a conviction that it's there, although it cannot be seen. Conviction is having a firm belief. Assurance is that you know that you shall live forever. Why would you believe that? It's two-fold - because of God's mercy, and because your works are a reflection of your faith. If you trust God for eternal life, then the outcome of that is to serve him. That service is called works.
Because of God's grace, you have been saved by faith, if you believe and trust in Jesus. Grace is God's gift to mankind. It's getting what is not deserved. No one can pay for grace because it is always a gift. Ephesians above, points out that faith is not you doing anything, but it is a gift. When you have faith, it's because God endowed you with it. Now let's look at the illustration below.
However, when a force is applied (shown in bottom picture in red), then the ball (mass) will accelerate from zero to some speed, as the force is applied through distance d. Moving the mass over distance d is work. (W=Fd), and it takes some amount of time to do that work. That is the energy it takes. The force (F) shown comes from outside the system
In the top photo in green is shown faith (f). Mass is symbolic of faith. Mass can be increased, decreased, remain steady, or vary. Likewise, faith can be zero, a little faith, faith as a mustard seed, faith to move mountains, the faith of Abraham, great faith, steadfast faith, or the faith of God. Consider faith to be a divine mass. It can't be seen, but is there because one of it's components is hope!
The outside motivation symbolic of force in Newton's equation is something outside our system. Ephesians above says that faith is a gift of God. (G represents that gift or grace, and is the divine force which accelerates the supernatural mass of faith).
Just as mass just sits there without an external shove as can be seen on the top pictures, faith is dormant until God gives it to the person. God's gift is the divine force to motivate one to be a Christian. All we have to do is sit there, be receptive to God, and he applies the force (grace) to save us.
Once that force is applied to the mass, we hope the mass will indeed move. Our hope is well-founded because the law of physics to which I credit God, is 𝚺F=ma. We not only hope the mass will move, but because it's truth, we are assured that it will. Why? Because movement is a result of the force. It's cause and effect.
Likewise, faith is available, but is stagnant until God comes along and provides grace (the gift of faith G). One would expect that when God applies the external force then faith would start to move. If it doesn't, the gift was never actually applied. Just as force must actually contact the mass, and be received, grace, God's gift, must be accepted! (𝚺G=Fw; where w = movement toward working).
Once the gift is received, hope comes into action. Because of the gift, the person with faith expects to move a distance. That distance is from the now to the time that eternal life is reached. Our faith is steadfast, and our hope is that a chock won't be placed as a barrier to reach the distance to receive the prize. It may be that a barrier to faith is encountered, the faith is rejected, or gravity will slow the faith, just as it does for the mass. For the mass, friction is the restriction which decelerates to stoppage. With faith, the friction is doubt. It can slow faith and roadblock faith until hope is replaced by unbelief.
When a force is applied to a mass, it moves. The distance it moved is called work (W=Fd). Likewise, when the grace (the gift) presents faith, then because of God's Law, it is expected that work come about as faith increases.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV) "Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."Just as with an external force, the mass is expected to move, and result in work as W=Fd; then one would expect that when the Gift of faith is applied, then faith would move steadily and work would result, G=Fd. In fact 1 Thessalonians defines what is called the Law of God. It's change toward positive works, because if we love him we will obey his commands.
Just as the mass fails to move if the force is not applied, faith is dead if the gift of faith is never accepted:
James 2:17 "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."That is God's law! One would expect that faith would cause work to be done if grace was accepted, but because the person never actually received the gift, one would never expect faith to result in action, and thus no work carried out. Indeed faith without works is dead, and it is not faith at all!
Mass, as it travels, does work. It expends energy as it does things like move from one point to the next over distance d. Likewise, the faithful Christian must expend energy in doing things for God. It takes a motivated Christian to turn God's gift into action. That power which results from exercising faith is called love! It's the works we do for God and others because of the grace he gave us; G in the picture.
Love is works over time, and works are doing things for God and others. Love is fueled by the blood of Jesus, because it was his blood in which we believe!
Faith doesn't need to vary up and down. If the force F is applied to the mass m, and then taken away periodically, the mass will accelerate and decelerate. If a steady force is applied the movement causes increased speed. As the distance is traveled the mass moves faster and faster.
Colossians 1:23a (ESV) "... if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,"Steadfast faith is using the grace that God has given to continue on in hope. Those who have steadfast, or unwavering faith, will proceed the distance without much hindrance until the distance to the prize is reached.
If the force F is applied to the mass m continually, rest assured that work will be done until distance d is reached. The work assures the mass will reach its destination. The same holds true for faith. If there are works resulting from faith, then the believer is assured that the distance will be covered, and the prize received. If there are no works, then faith is dead, and the gift of faith was never accepted.
You see, there is a law of physics and the law of God. God made both laws, and in his wisdom, they work the same!
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