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The Spirit of Faith

The Spirit of Faith

Words of Faith 9-25-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 4

   [13] It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, [14] because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. [15] All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

 

       What enabled Paul to endure in the face of this suffering? Paul identified with the Psalmist who referred to "the anguish of the grave". With that same spirit of faith Paul had absolute confidence that God would deliver him "from death". With the psalmist he could declare "I believed".  

       Paul had faith in the resurrection of the dead. This was the heart cry of Paul. As he wrote to the Philippian believers-- “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" (3:10-11).

       Resurrection was not a theological construct or a theoretical topic. This was the heart of Paul and the spirit of faith within him.

       The second part of Paul's quotation, "Therefore I have spoken", is from the psalmist's words about his own suffering: "Therefore I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.'" Paul did not quote these last words from Psalm 116:10 but he probably expected his readers to understand that he had in mind his own disclosure of suffering throughout this letter.

       Paul could speak of his suffering and death because he was confident that God would deliver him. This confidence was founded on the resurrection of Christ, the Firstfruit and Guarantee of resurrection for all who place their faith for salvation in Him.

       All this suffering that Paul experienced was for the benefit of Christians like the Corinthians. And yet Paul had said he suffered "for Jesus' sake". This illustrates how Paul identified the church with Christ. Paul's ministry to the church, Christ's body, was also a ministry to Christ-- "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).

       The grace of God-- His unmerited goodness and kindness-- was extended to more and more people through the gospel Paul preached. Those who heard and responded in belief received salvation and gave thanks to God. As more came to the Savior, it caused thanksgiving to overflow or increase. This was the selfless nature of Paul's ministry. Everything Paul suffered was for the benefit of others and to the glory of God not for himself.  

         In the midst of difficulty and suffering, the Lord calls us to that same spirit of faith whereby we believe and speak. We can approach each day with the knowledge that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us in His presence. This is the Gospel of grace that is reaching more and more people causing thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

 

       Father God, thank You for the confidence that I find in knowing Christ and the power of Resurrection. As I share in the fellowship of his sufferings, make me like Him in life that I may be like Him in death and raised with Him in Your presence. Give me the spirit of faith that I may boldly believe and speak the Good News. In Jesus' Name.