THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 23 of 30
FAITH TRANSCENDS EXPERIENCE
Experience is wonderful when it comes from faith in God. It is good when David slays Goliath, Elijah slays the prophets of Baal, and Elisha raises a boy from the dead. By faith remarkable things were experienced by believers of old, who "conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection" (Heb 11:33-35, NASB).
Faith, however, is not confined to the arena of experience. It can function triumphantly when there are no favorable experiences. Do you doubt the truth of this? Hear the Word of the Lord. "Others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect" (Heb 11:36-40, NASB).
And what of these noble souls who did not participate in the miraculous--who left this world, according to appearance, as though they were defeated? They gained God's approval through their faith, even though they lived before the day of salvation we now enjoy! That is why it is affirmed, "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect." Today, they stand amidst the great cloud of witnesses that surround us, attesting to the superiority of faith (Heb 12:1). "Run," they cry! "Run!" "Do not give up the race because you are not experiencing present deliverance! You can refuse deliverance, and still go to be with the Lord. You can be an outcast, with nothing apparently working in your favor, and still receive the crown of life!" Experience is not the fundamental thing. So far as your attainment, faith is the principle thing! As Jesus said, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6:29).
We do not desire a life of hardship for anyone. We fervently desire that the faithful may "prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 2). But, if this does not happen, it does not mean you are not "more than a conqueror!" The truth of the matter is that most of us must carry difficult burdens--burdens we had rather not experience. But this is no handicap to faith, and thus is no real impairment to you! By faith, you can "boast about" your "weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in" you" (2 Cor 12:9, NASB). Faith cries out to languishing experience, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10, NASB).
If, dear child of God, you have been cast down because of your experience, come up higher! Faith is superior, and it will make you superior, to experience. Suffice it to say, a religion that unduly elevates experience is a most dangerous one. Such an approach obscures faith, personal faith that is so sorely needed to overcome the world.
PRAYER POINT: Father, I thank You for faith that can reach higher than experience, probe deeper than experience, and yield more grand results than what I undergo in the body. Receive my praise in Jesus' name.
-- Tomorrow: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FAITH --