Pleasing God . . . is this your testimony?

Posted: May 24, 2013 in Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
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It is my intention to write in my next post what God has been showing me about the above verse, but first I felt it was necessary to address the preceding verses in order to lay a proper foundation. I pray the Lord allows me to not only see the task through, but to walk accordingly to the message and to lose myself in Him.   But in the meantime, remember that tomorrow is no time for doing what needs to be done today. Get the oil for your lamps today. I pray the following stirs your hearts so as to cause you to wake up, get up, and run the race that is set before you . . . since the finish line is so near in sight.

  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance [ground/foundation] of things hoped for, [faith is] the evidence [demonstration] of things not seen.

Oh what a grand statement to start off the chapter of faith, declaring faith as the very ground work and foundation for a relationship with God. But note that the verse does not end there, but rather continues to reveal that faith is not just a thing, but a lively thing that continues with demonstrable evidence that such a foundation is real. Surely this is not unlike the Lord Jesus’ analogy of Him being the vine and we the branches that abide in Him,  continuing to bring forth much fruit to perfection.

How can it be shown that a branch is truly in the vine if not by evidence of continual growth? There must be something demonstrating that the very life of the vine continues to flow into the branches that are affixed to it. Here we must start if we are to see the wisdom of God’s gift of faith to men and the amazing grace available when they humble themselves to receive His instructive word and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What other verse can be more fitting here than that promise given us in the Gospel according to John.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name.

It is truly as the song says, “How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed.”

  • Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report <martureo>.

This verse speaks of the greatest news to both sinner and saint, justification. What a glorious thing is this?  That even after your heart was pierced to the core by an undisputable revelation of countless crimes and transgressions recorded against you, and captured beneath a burden of accountability infinitely beyond your capacity to correct or to render any measurable degree of restitution, and yet… somehow a “good report” could possibly be uttered on your behalf? That even afterward being  thoroughly convicted of sin and forced to face the terror of inescapable judgment which forces your face downward to the ground with crushing condemnation,  completely silenced of any defense by overwhelming shame and despair . . . yet seemingly from nowhere comes a gracious offer lovingly presented to you whereby all your guilt and disgrace might not only be justified and forever settled, but actually replaced with joyous affirmations of approval and adoration from the very one against whom your crimes were committed. Words that instantly set to flight such a burden heart with ecstasy and eternal joy as you hear that you are not only forgiven, but frees you now to run to the place where you might also hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Justification is not just a one-time event that happens at the starting place for the sinner-made-saint when once they are forgiven. It is much more, because now they are furthermore quickened, empowered, enlightened and called into a continual life of intimate service to his God. Through justification begins the transformation process of the journey of faith towards its climax as one approaches their finish line in anticipation of fully realizing and apprehending that for which he was apprehended. The coming face to face with his Redeemer; now made pure not only in record of  guilt, but also in virtue of heart, pure even as He is pure, the crossing over the threshold into unbreakable unity and oneness with His Creator.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  2 But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; 4 so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit . . . 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

This thoroughness of this process becomes excitingly evident as we begin to look into the Greek word in this verse which was translated “a good report.”

<martureo> – to be a witness, i.e. testify (literally or figuratively):–charge, give (evidence), bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.

This particular Greek word is utilized by the author a total five times in this chapter with the first and fourth usage being translated “good report” as seen here again at the end of the chapter –

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.

The second time we see the word is in verse four speaking of how Abel serviced to God through his faith by offering Him an acceptable sacrifice “by which he obtained witness <martureo> that he was righteous.” The third usage in verse four speaks of God’s response to the sacrifice , “God testifying <martureo> of his [Abel’s] gifts.”  The fourth usage of the word is in verse five affirming again how “by faith Enoch . . .  had this testimony <martureo>, that he pleased God.”

The verses stating “by faith,” reveals faith to be touching, or active and could accurately be called a lively faith. It is this type of faith that God requires and serves as a principal instrument for mankind’s justification. Not that man’s faith alone justifies him; never let it so be said. It is the object of hope to which his faith looks that saves and justifies, the Lord God alone. But it is our faith which serves as a conduit between God and man through which His grace flows.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

But have you ever asked just what is “the gift” mentioned here? Is “the gift” by which we are saved “by grace,” or is “the gift” by which we are saved “through faith?” One might as well have better success trying to solve the chicken and egg riddle concerning which came first. But the answer is easy; all are a gift of God that need to recognized and exercised.  For it is God that has sought out the lost and sent His word unto us and all He wants is us to respond with honest, humble and obedient belief in Him.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith does not originate with man; it comes as an offer to them via the Word from God.  Faith is truly a gift from God, and by it is given to every hearer a measure of faith sufficient to open them up to the saving grace of God. Within that measure of faith lays the key to receiving the fullness of God’s grace if they would simply humble themselves before God and acknowledge His right as God and Creator to call them back unto Himself.

When God sends His word to us, regardless how severe the reproof, it is always seasoned with divine grace so as to give liberation to us from our sins through our humility to recommit ourselves back unto God. It is God who grants repentance unto men if they will but “receive a love for the truth that they might be save.” Then God’s grace continues to work within us to instill in us with both the will and the empowerment to do His good pleasure. Above all, it empowers men with the capability to love Him and His truth, but only because He first loved us.

God looks for the conduit of faith through which He can pour out His grace unto men. But, not all choose to listen to what they hear. Will we receive the message with brokenness or become stiff-necked? Will we heed God’s call to humble ourselves and confess our sins? Do we believe Him when He says He will forgive and empower us to follow Him? If so, then to such who believe is freely given an ability to commit themselves unto Him. It is that very expressed and active commitment to God that becomes as it were a seed from which love grows and matures through which faith increases in its works. Take any verse in Holy Scripture where love is mentioned and exchange it with “commit” or “commitment” and no damage will be done to the intent, for love is not merely an emotion, it is commitment with emotional benefits.

Consider the exhortations of Jesus to love our enemies and feed the hungry, clothed the naked, visit the sick and those in prison and to pray for those who despitefully use or harshly curse at us and even persecute us. What are we being called to do? Certainly it isn’t a call to generate from within ourselves a bunch of warm fuzzy feelings towards our enemies; rather it is a call of God to be committed to their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. “By grace” such commitment with time proves to be the cultivating of the holy seed of God’s word which springs forth in us a godly love, like unto God’s own. By grace through faith we are transformed and become partakers of the divine nature, now loving our enemies even as God loved us when we were dead in our trespasses and sins.

Grace, grace, amazing grace, it’s all grace. But it is grace through faith by which we are saved. Those who receive from God this power to commit (or “receive a love for the truth”) begin a walk with God that will take them from glory to glory and will soon discover He is absolutely more than worthy of all glory, honor and power . . . and love.

Through commitment/faith, this love for the truth overwhelms us and grace through faith, which works by love, enables us to joyfully obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, thus we are change both inside and out. What was dead is now quicken by the Spirit via the word of God and we are born again, and that measure of faith which was given that men might hear and receive grace more becomes an ever-increasing conduit through which grace flows. I love Young’s literal translation of Peter’s open words in his second epistle.

2 Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  2 Grace to you, and peace be multiplied in the acknowledgement of God and of Jesus our Lord!  3 As all things to us His divine power (the things pertaining unto life and piety) hath given, through the acknowledgement of him who did call us through glory and worthiness, 4 through which to us the most great and precious promises have been given, that through these ye may become partakers of a divine nature, having escaped from the corruption in the world in desires.

Grace is multiplied, not just added, through our acknowledging God’s will faithfulness to His revealed will. If you only have just a basic understanding mathematics, then stop and meditate upon the ramifications of that…

Addition             versus                Multiplication

2+2=4                                           2 x 2=4

4+4=8                                            4 x 4=16

8+8=16                                          16 x 16 =256

16+16=32                                     256 x 256=65536

32+32=64                                     65,536 x 65,536= 4,294,967,296

The saving grace that reconciles us to God by the death of our Savior becomes indwelling grace that fully converts us via the life of the Spirit of Christ in us, the hope of glory.  This amazing transforming and saving grace is not merely being added to the believer, it is multiplied through the acknowledging God through active faith. It circumvents of our weakness for His power within us to furnish us the divine wherewithal to do and be the all He has called us to . . . holy as He is holy.

Romans 5:8 But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Grace come through faith, and as it says in Hebrews 11:2, “By it the elders obtained a good report.” And just who is it that brings this good report? It is He who will confess us before the Father when we confess Him before men. The Judge of all heaven and earth “testifying” that it was through a lively demonstration of their faith that the elders “obtained a good report.” Unquestionably, if the Judge testifies on one’s behalf, it is because they are being declared justified. Who then can now bring forth an accusation to their condemnation?

Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Isaiah 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

  • Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

This verse speaks of revelation and enlightenment. However, we must not allow the present tense of this verse to escape us; for it does not say “we understood.” Plus the reference is made to “worlds” and not “a world” or a mere meager part thereof. It means to show that along with expanse of creation, that by our faith it is also given to continually grow in both an understanding of the mysteries of God and in unfeign love for Him as well. Sadly though, too many professing Christians have allowed themselves to become stagnant and lazy and have virtually stopped in their spiritual growth and now only love God for what He can or might do for them. Verse six reveals however that the true godly objective of faith is to “come to God” and “to please Him.”

But now, either through sinful slothfulness or one’s wanting to remain a friend of the world becoming entangled by its seductive cares and pleasures, they have become shamefully content with their shallow understanding of the things of God. Their faith is an empty profession that is lightly speckled with colorful fancies of deceitful emotions claiming love and gratitude for God that are hourly exposed to be vain by their focus being continually on the world . . . and not His kingdom or righteousness. They have literally forsaken the lively part of faith that authenticates it, though they would never dare admit it to themselves or others. They willfully put off reading their Bible lest they see what manner of persons they are.

Let’s look at the “lively part” of faith –

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

1Thessolonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.

Faith without love is a dead work, for such faith fails miserably in performing the great commandment of God, to love Him with all one’s heart and others as one’s self. Such is why it takes faith and love to bring to the servant of God that valuable piece of holy armor, their breastplate of righteousness.  Faith alone will not do, for this piece of armor is a compound piece fabricated of both faith and love.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Without a lively faith and godly love continuing in the church as it was meant to it is no wonder that sharp reproof is delivered in chapter 5, “we have many things to say and hard to be uttered, seeing you are so dull of hearing. For the time when you should  be teachers, you still need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and have remained as those who have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” What a sad thing to be said of a Christian, that they “have remained” and not “come to God” so as to “please Him,” but instead are content to only offer an unacceptable sacrifice as did Cain.

  • Hebrews 11:4  By faith Abel offered [served] unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness <martureo> that he was righteous, God testifying  <martureo> of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.

This verse speaks to more than just righteousness. For here God’s acceptance of Abel’s gifts witnesses to more than Abel just doing the “right” thing, it testifies of a quickening transformation of holiness that took place in him. This is evident because despite the fact “he being dead” in the flesh, Abel’s labor of love “yet speaks” because God Himself testifies on his behalf. That alone confirms that God’s dealings with the two brothers, though intended towards the same end, had radically different outcomes.

Hebrews 12:10 For they [earthly fathers] verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Cain’s killing of Abel revealed he had rejected God’s discipline and chose to continue being a slave to sin. But Abel could not have “offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” except it was one of faith and love, willful slavery onto God acknowledging His will that produced “fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to him whom you obey; whether it is of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness.

Romans 6:22 But now, being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Consider again the incredibleness of the statement, “God testifying of his [Abel’s] gifts.” I am compelled to ask in fear, “Do I have such a testimony from God of my labor?” Do you? Still, I ask you to consider, is not this to be the testimony of all those who so escape death and have for an inheritance “the end everlasting life?”

Think now of Abel’s father and mother, Adam and Eve, where is any favorable testimony by God regarding them? Nothing, there is not one good word regarding them after their fall, for they knew the will of God and willingly chose to defy it. This is not to say that God’s promise of a “seed” to avenge their fall had failed to work to their salvation, but there is no testifying of God to their faith, only their sin. Dear reader let not this be your fate.

  • Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony <martureo>, that he pleased God.

Of those whom God testifies, it is clear He does so because they by faith choose to live in, through and for Him and to love Him with all their hearts. Surely God did not take Enoch simply because he had such great faith; it was his faith that allowed him to be translated over into God’s realm. It was his love that pleased God because in all things Enoch had become faithful, wholly given to God and walking with God into a perfect accord.

Is there a greater example of grace working in a man transforming him from sinner to saint, mortal to immortal, and ultimately through this man’s faith God literally translating him from earth to heaven? Are we to believe that God had more respect for Enoch than any other man? God forbid, for the Apostle Paul would both quickly and without wavering correct any such thought by once again by laying out how all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

No, it was with Enoch even as it is now, grace working through faith. Like us, he was a mere man who through his humble acknowledgement of God’s will in all areas of life had “come to God” and “pleased Him.” Enoch simply enjoyed God’s amazing grace being multiplied unto him until he was fully consumed and saturated with a love for God. But this was a work of grace wrought of God, for He loved Enoch and through Enoch’s faith there was enjoyed a mutual exchange of love which carried him to such a degree of faith that witnessed to the fact that the once sinner Enoch had been thoroughly transformed by grace before his translation, and therefore the Consuming Fire of Holiness would not touch even a hair on him. Believer, do you know God does so love you too?

This man walked with God and as he was transformed God shared His secrets with him, things unlawful for us to know or to be written down even by Moses himself. Yet, if it was “by faith  Enoch was translated,” it was because God shared with him a secret too high to be told to us, but a secret nonetheless that was received by faith and worked to the translation of Enoch unto God. Does this not bring a sense of shame to you to see in contrast how we all have limited our Redeemer? God, who being no respecter of persons, gave immeasurable grace through Enoch’s faith so as to enable him to (as it says in the next verse) “come to God” in such a manner?

Oh, how my own heart does now convict me of my besetting sins and little faith. It is me, not God that fails here. He does not limit me, I have limited Him. His abounding grace is sufficient for any and all things, if we will only allow God to multiply it unto us by acknowledging Him in all our ways. Do you think there is a limit of love God has set for you and another for Enoch? If so then you have not the proper faith to read and ingest the next verse to the glory of God. For if without faith it is impossible to please God, then with faith it is possible to please God . . . and to please Him boundlessly . . . for such is His grace. He does not merely ask you to “come” towards Him, but to so fully come to Him that Jesus prayer is realized completely and literally in your life.

John 17:20 And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word,  21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  22 And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one,  23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.  24 Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me, that they may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me, for You have loved Me before the foundation of the world.  25 O righteous Father, indeed the world has not known You; but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.  26 And I made known to them Your name, and will make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Are you really “in” Christ? Are you in walking and living the way you know you should be? Is He truly giving to you of His glory and are you drinking it in? Are you so walking with Him that you can boldly say you both know Him and are known of Him and have become one in every sense of your life’s purpose and being? Me neither. But it is not dependent upon me and my strength, knowledge and wisdom, but His. The promises are given to us if we will but receive them by faith so that His grace might flow into us.

No, I haven’t obtained all this, but by the grace of God I don’t have to settle with who, what and where I am. The Spirit says “come.” The very nature of faith says “Run! Fight! Keep the faith! Charge forward! Conquer the land!” Therefore I press forward claiming this to be a promise given to me by my Savior. Not because of any elevated sense of self-worth, I without Christ am but an empty shell, mere chaff good for nothing. My worth is found only in Him and all these things are obtainable because He prayed it to be so in my life . . . and yours.

Therefore by faith let us press forward like we’ve never have before, casting all our cares on Him because He cared for us and died for us.  Please stop now and prayerfully consider again what and why the Lord Jesus prayed this for you, “Father . . . I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one . . . so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Remember, all the scriptures here in Hebrews’ chapter of faith are God-breathed, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the children of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work . . . so come to God, He is a rewarder ALL of those who diligently seek Him.

  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Comments
  1. tsth says:

    For me, this is THE most beautiful posting here so far! So awesome and true. It is also so crucial to understand that Faith and The Word are intricately connected. We cannot have Faith without being in His Word. Faith comes by………………….Romans 10:17 Thank you for this post brother, brings such joy to my soul.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Brother Bill It is always good for me to hear and be reminded of the Lords goodness

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