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Romans 1.24

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Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

This verse is remarkable in what it says, so I have included several translations to give you a real opportunity to meditate on it:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], (AMP)

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (NIV)

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. (NLT)

This word “gave them up”, translated as abandoned in the NLT, is the Greek word paradidomi. It is the same word used for Judas when he betrayed Christ (Matthew 10.4). However, it is not always used in the context of betrayal or abandoning.

It can be used to committing a trust to someone – for example in Matthew 25.20, it is used about giving money to someone to look after. In Acts 15.26 it is used to describe people committing and risking their lives for Christ. In 1 Cor. 13.3 it is used for giving up your life as a martyr.

It is even used for revelation knowledge. Paul in 1 Cor. 11.23 talking about communion says that what the Lord has delivered to me, I deliver to you. It is the same word. In Jude 3, Jude tells us that faith has been delivered to us.

So what is the context of this word which as we shall see as we read through Romans 1 is used three times in the next 5 verses. It is vital we understand what this word means to understand this verse and indeed this entire passage.

The word, looking at several classical Greek dictionaries, means to give up or let go of what you have been entrusted to look after. It can therefore mean betrayal, or it can mean a sacrifice. Now, has God betrayed us like Judas to Jesus or is God making a supreme sacrifice of love by giving us up?

I am sure it does not take a theologian to know that the nature of God is love (1 John 4.9) and that God, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6.8), could NEVER betray His creation.

So God is actually making a sacrifice here. He is doing the most loving thing that can be done.

Remember the context of this verse. In the previous two verses we find that we are talking about people who have stepped away from a living relationship with God and turned to idolatry.

As soon as someone turns to idolatry, God hands them over. He passes them on to someone else. He should be looking after every human on the planet, but when they willfully reject Him and turn to a false god, He passes them on. He gives them up.

And what does God give them up to? Uncleanness.

This is the start of the downward spiral of EVERY nation, EVERY community, EVERY individual, EVERY Christian that rejects God and creates a false god.

The first step is uncleanness.

Now, God gives you up out of love and sacrifice. God could come and visit you in ALL HIS GLORY and MAJESTY. You would fall at His feet and beg for His mercy and love. But God is not a bully who shows off His strength every chance He has. If you want to leave, He will NOT lock you in and imprison you. God never misuses the fact He is God. He always operates in love. God makes the most powerful sacrifice of all: He gives up His happiness in walking with you and sacrifices it so you can have free will and decide to ignore God and create a false god.

But, as soon as you are outside of God’s hand, uncleanness grabs hold of you. Uncleanness is the Greek word akatharsia and means impure motives. Have you noticed as soon as you try and do things apart from God’s will, God’s plan and God’s leading your motives go all over the place? You start to question yourself, you start to do things out of arrogance, to prove a point. You lose the security of knowing God is your source and your joy and your place of acceptance, so you start pushing about making people accept you, forcing people to like you, criticising people who succeed.

But then uncleanness develops and leads to dishonouring your body. Now yes this includes sexual immorality such as fornication, masterbation and homosexuality. And one of the things that happens as soon as you create false gods is sexual immorality. You lose the perspective that sex is for marriage, and marriage is for life.

Every false religion on the earth leads to sexual immorality. Whether it is a Muslim blowing himself up for 72 virgins, or a practiser of Wicca involved in a skyclad (naked) ritual, every false religion will lead to sexual immorality. This is a Scripture principle and cannot be denied.

If you are living an unclean life, you can try and fight it but you will fail. You will fail again and again. You might weep and repent each time, but you will not succeed in living clean. Because your problem is not uncleanness – uncleaness is the fruit.

Remember this truth: your problem is NEVER the fruit, it is ALWAYS the seed. If you don’t like the fruit, change seed.

Your problem is stepping away from God. Failing to glorify God, failing to thank Him for the things He has done for you, failing to control your imagination, and failing to fill yourself with the Word.

If you watch TV with adultery and “scenes of a sexual nature” you are filling yourself with the wrong seed, you are committing idolatry and you will end up in uncleanness. Fighting that harvest after sowing the wrong seed is nearly impossible.

You need to change your seed! Spend your time thanking God, glorifying God, and imagining your life of victory and meditating in the Word. Then change will be effortless. And fun!

If God has let you go and you are aware that uncleanness has grabbed you realize this: God let you go because YOU wanted to be let go. Want to be back with God and He will set you free, pour His love in your heart, rejoice over you with singing and enable you to live pure and clean in this world.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Does God Have Faith? (Joe McIntyre)

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Does God Have Faith?

Joe McIntyre

One controversial aspect of the modern Faith movement is the idea that we can exercise the “God-kind of faith.” This phrase is taken from Mark 11:22 in which Jesus says, “have faith in God.” Many scholars tell us that it literally means, “have the faith of God.” Many Faith Teachers have said that we are to have, therefore, the “God-kind of faith.” This would be the kind of faith that Jesus exercised when He commanded the fig tree to wither up from the roots and it did. (See Mk. 11:12-14; 20-23).

In the parallel passage in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea’ it will be done”(Mt. 21:21). In the context, Jesus is discussing the cursing of the fig tree and the disciple’s ability to duplicate Jesus’ behavior. He assures them that they can even command a mountain to be removed and cast into the sea. He describes this ability as “faith in God” or “the faith of God’ depending on which reading of the original Greek we deem correct.

In a respected commentary on Mark’s gospel, Joseph Addison Alexander mentions that in Jesus’ teaching the disciples about faith, He found it necessary to address their failures. “For such deficiency of faith, i.e., of confidence in the divine power to effect such changes, or at least in the divine grant to themselves of a derivative authority to do the same. Have (more emphatic than in English, and denoting rather to retain or hold fast) faith in God, literally, of God, a Greek idiom, in which the genitive denotes the object, and which has sometimes been retained in the translation as it is here in the margin of the English Bible.” (The Gospel According to Mark, Thornapple Commentaries, Joseph Addison Alexander, p. 310).

Many who have been critical of this idea of ‘having the faith of God’ rightly point out that God is the object of our faith and the primary meaning of the Greek word for faith is trust in something or someone. “So,” they reason, “faith isn’t something God has, it’s something we have in God.”

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon gives as its first meaning for pistis (the Greek word for faith) “conviction of the truth of anything, belief; In the N. T. of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust… when it relates to God, pistis is the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ.”

Thayer’s definition expresses what most people mean when they say that faith is something that we have toward God, not something that God has or exercises. Most Christians would be in agreement that this is the primary meaning of the concept of faith and the Greek word pistis.

But is this the only valid usage of the word in the New Testament? Does pistis ever have another meaning in the Scripture which is related but not identical? Let’s investigate a little further.

In the exercise of faith that Jesus was teaching about in Mark 11, it was not only faith toward God that He was advocating. Based on a living faith in God, Jesus was saying to his disciples that they needed to also exercise faith in the word of command. They were to speak to an obstacle (a fig tree or a mountain) and command something to happen to that obstacle. Jesus said “if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘be removed and be cast into the sea’, it will be done.”(Mt. 21:21).

In the parallel passage in Mark it says, “whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes [pisteuo– verb form of pistis] that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

The exercise of faith in this passage is not only faith toward God, but the word faith is used in a secondary sense, faith in the words that are commanded. “if you believe those things you say, you will have whatever you say.”

Jesus again expresses this same idea in Luke’s gospel. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea’ and it would obey you”(Lk.17:6). Jesus is talking about releasing faith, not in God as the object of our faith, but in the words that we speak. Certainly this presupposes that we have faith in God and are moving in obedience to the Holy Spirit. It is our faith in God that emboldens us to exercise this faith in our words.

My point is that the word faith, though primarily used in Scripture to describe our trust toward God, is also used to describe the confidence we have in the words we speak in what is known as the “command” of faith. This is the primary way, although not the only way, that Jesus ministered to the sick and oppressed. “Arise and walk,” “Daughter, I say unto you, ‘arise,’ “etc.

Scholars refer to this usage of the word pistis or faith as the “word of power.” For example, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol. 1, p.600) in its article on pistis says, “The picture of faith moving mountains (Mk. 11:23) and uprooting the fig tree (Lk. 17:6) confirm the word of power that is able to transform the created order. The instructions to the disciples in Mk. 11:24 f. show the connection in the teaching between the promise that rests upon the word of power and supplication. The supplication is the prerequisite of the word of power.”

In other words, faith toward God in prayer (supplication) precedes the release of the command of faith (the word of power). But both of these concepts (supplication and the word of power) are described by the one word: faith. (pistis in Greek).

So, does God have faith? Well, we might ask does God speak words which He expects to change things? Did God create the universe by speaking words that He expected to “transform the created order”? Is it a valid usage of the word “faith” to describe the power released in words, whether human or divine, sent for to change or transform the created order? I believe it is. Is it appropriate to call this having “the God-kind of faith”? I think so.

In fact, on of the most respected Greek scholars coined this phrase to describe what Jesus was talking about in Mark 11:22. Hank Hanegraaff refers to this man, A.T. Robertson, as “almost universally accepted as the final word on Greek grammar.” (Christianity In Crisis, p. 90).

So what does A.T. Robertson say about the phrase ‘have faith in God’ in Mk. 11:22? Robertson says, “in Mark 11:22… we rightly translate ‘have faith in God, though the genitive [the Greek case] does not mean ‘in’, but only the God kind of faith.” (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, p. 500). This most universally accepted Greek scholar tells us that the “God kind of faith” is the true meaning of Mark 11:22!

God speaks things into existence. When He declares something, He believes it will come to pass.

Psalms 33:9

9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

We are created in His image and likeness. As we submit to Him and seek to do His will, He authorizes us to speak on His behalf and with His authority.

We can have the God kind of faith.

A Point About Faith and Confession

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I want to make a point about faith and confession. I believe in confession. I believe in the power of what we say. I often speak out loud the Scripture, knowing that it builds faith in my heart and words have power.

However, simple faith does not need to continually remind itself. If I am swinging and playing with my daughter, then she doesn’t need to continually confess “I believe I receive my Father will not drop me”. She knows me – her relationship with me leads to her trust and her confidence.

In my early days of walking by faith, and bear in mind I came from a religious background that had some poor theology and a whole bunch of doubt and unbelief, I had to confess three times a day healing Scriptures when my son was ill. I had to pace the floor speaking the Word saying “I believe I receive my son’s healing. I believe by His stripes my son is healed.”

Now, 12 years later on, I don’t do that any more. I still speak the Word, but I, and my family, walk in health due to faith in the Lord which is based not on ritual, but on relationship.

Faith grows. Confession is a fine place to start, and we should never reach the place where we are making negative confessions, but faith grows into faith based on relationship due to continual experience of the Lord through His Word.

If I ever am stepping out and I lack peace about something, I will always check out my confession. But I want to be in the place where I trust the Lord because I know Him.

Paul said “I know in whom I have believed”.

Blessings,
Ben

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