Is our faith being stolen or redirected today by the schemes of the devil? The “faith movement” puts forth a ‘faith’ that is supposed to produce power, prestige, and prosperity etc. On the other side of the coin, within Messianic circles, one is often led to dependence on so much head knowledge and a reliance on performance, that the ‘simple faith’ seems no longer necessary.
Hence, what or who are we to have faith in, and why?
In Philippians 3:9 Paul makes the following observation “…not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from Elohim by faith”… (emphasis added), and then again in Romans 3:21-22: “But now the righteousness of Elohim apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of Elohim, through faith in Yeshua the Messiah, to all and in all who believe” (emphasis added). Many will argue that faith has many applications, but let us start with this one ‘ingredient’ - “YHVH’s righteousness.”
As far as I understand, one of the purposes of “faith in Messiah Yeshua” is to bring us to, and transform us into the righteousness of Elohim. As mentioned in previous letters, righteousness is made visible as the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). This is the new nature that we received when we were immersed into Yeshua’s death, and raised with Him to newness of life. This spiritual reality is ours in the inner man, but now we must present the components of our soul, especially our mind, as instruments/tools/agents or even, literally, weapons of this righteousness. The knowledge of the fact that we have died and now have a new type of existence can only come by faith in the Son of Elohim, Who died for us and rose again on our behalf. Additionally, Yeshua’s death abolished sin once and for all, being the ultimate sacrifice and atonement. This fact enables us to consider ourselves also dead to sin but alive to Elohim in Messiah Yeshua, although we can only do so by and through faith (ref. Roman 6:8-11).
In the Torah and the Prophets YHVH demonstrated His righteousness and showed His faithfulness by fulfilling the requirements of the laws that govern redemption, thus proving that He is just and the justifier of everyone who has faith in Yeshua (ref.
3:26). Justification does not
mean much if we do not understand that it stems from the Father’s righteousness
and ends, or culminates, with that same righteousness in us through the indwelling presence of His Son. If we do not appropriate “righteousness” by
faith in what He accomplished by Yeshua’s death, we are neither justified nor
sanctified. This is why we must be
watchful, making sure that we are living in a “faith” that not only believes,
but that also knows that “Yeshua the Messiah is in us” (ref 2 Cor. 13:5), and
that He is the righteousness of Elohim. Having
received Messiah Yeshua is not sufficient; He must also be revealed in our
relationships with one another.
Peter delivers a dire warning to those who have come into this righteousness through faith, but have been led astray by the lust of the flesh, that is, by the cares and riches of this world, or by religious philosophies that teach righteousness through self effort: “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Savior Yeshua the Messiah, they are again entangled in them [the lusts] and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2:20-21). “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of Elohim, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). Anything that is not of faith is “sin,” thus we must come to “rest” in Elohim’s righteousness. The stories of our Hebrew ancestors are used as an example of failing to enter the “rest” because of unbelief, which is tantamount to disobedience (ref. Hebrews 4:11-12).
However, I do not want to end this letter with a ‘harsh’ exhortation, but with hope in a Father “who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Messiah” (Ephesians 2:4-7). At the same time we cannot neglect to “fight the good fight of faith, [and] lay hold on eternal life, to which we/you were also called” (1 Timothy 6:12); “for we/you are all sons of Elohim through faith in Messiah Yeshua” (Galatians 3:26).