Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing no longer works in the office and does not receive this email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE LAW OF FAITH
would suppose that it would be completely unnecessary to ever ask the question,
“What is faith?” FAITH, according to
has several well-known synonyms, such as persuasion,
conviction, trust, believe, confidence, and assurance. It is apparent,
as we reverently examine these synonyms, that faith has to do with a mental attitude which RESPONDS TO
ANOTHER PERSON OR THING, and
“Faith is the mental attitude of confident response which is evoked in you by what another person reveals himself to be.”
very first thing that you will surely observe about this definition is that it
declares that your faith is not something that you decided to exercise. Rather
it is a response produced in you by someone other than yourself! True faith
By way of illustration, let us imagine that you meet someone for the first time. We will say that this person’s name is Bill. You carry on a conversation with Bill and discover that he is what you might call “your kind of person.” The more you get to know Bill the better you like him. As you become better acquainted with him you discover many things about him that others do not know, for the revelation of one’s true identity (in terms of the inner man with its secret aspirations and treasures) is shared only with those who are friends. Through the crucible of experience you find Bill to be absolutely truthful, honest, and upright. His standards of speech and conduct are entirely honorable. He proves himself to be solid and stable under pressure and in time of crisis. He always jumps in and helps when help is needed, he keeps all his promises, honors all his commitments, You are not at all shocked to discover, in the due process of time, that you have a great deal of confidence in this fellow! Your faith in him has a very logical basis in what you have discovered him to be as a person. His revelation of himself, in terms of his inner man or true character, generates this confidence in you. In other words…an attitude of confident response was evoked in you by what he revealed himself to be! That is the mystery.
GOD — THE ORIGINATOR OF FAITH
We have already stated that faith is produced by someone beyond oneself, therefore we need have no hesitation whatever in saying that faith in God is not something that you and I just “decide” to have. It is our Lord, Himself, who must produce faith in the apprehended ones. It is not something that originates with us as a result of our decision or determination to “have faith” in God. GOD is the source and originator of our faith! The unfailing testimony of scripture is that all faith originates in God and is imparted to men by God. There is no such thing as “our” faith apart from “God’s” faith. Our faith is simply the faith that God has given us — the faith that HE has evoked in us by the revelation of Himself unto us.
we read in Mark 11:21-22: “And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him,
Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered
away. And Jesus answering saith unto
them, Have faith in God.” That is how it reads in the King James
Bible but that is not how the Greek
Jesus said, “Have the faith of God,” He
was revealing to His footstep followers the great truth that GOD has faith.
We must point out that not only does God have faith, but truly GOD IS FAITH.
I’m sure the most opinionated theologian on earth would surely admit
that faith is listed in I Corinthians 12:9 and
The question follows — If you were dying of cancer, which kind of faith would you rather have — your faith in God, or God’s faith within you? And beyond that — which kind of faith do you suppose will bring the body of Christ to full maturity, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?
have previously mentioned that saving faith comes from God and is a gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and
that not of yourselves: it is the
GIFT OF GOD” (Eph. 2:8). Thank God that this saving faith does not originate
with us, for if it did we would never have been saved! We were indeed without God, without strength,
and without hope in the world. But when
the fullness of time came for each of us to be converted,
LOOKING UNTO JESUS
We said above that faith is the response evoked in you or me by the revealed character or nature of being of another person. Faith in God, then, is that attitude of heart in response to what GOD reveals Himself to be! The writer to the Hebrews adds this enlightening statement: “Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. LOOKING UNTO JESUS the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2). The Amplified Bible renders it thus: “Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, who is the Leader and Source of our faith…and is also its Finisher, bringing it to maturity and perfection.”
great key that the spirit of truth would unlock for us here is just this:
LOOKING UNTO JESUS! HE is the originator
and perfecter of our faith. Faith is not
merely something Jesus has or possesses — faith is His nature, His
state of being. And you will not receive
that faith which He is just by asking for
it. No, not by asking, but by
LOOKING! “looking” is from the Greek
word aphorao meaning “to consider attentively.” Ah, what a word that is! Attentively consider Jesus! Beyond
asking this denotes prolonged fellowship, intimate relationship, and vital
union. There are,
FAITH BY THE WORD
we are taught by the Holy Spirit we will surely discover that there is a
“process” by which faith is communicated.
Armed with the understanding that faith cannot be evoked apart from
revelation, it then stands to spiritual reason that there can be no operation
of God’s faith in us unless He who is invisible chooses to disclose Himself
unto us. We must point out that the
1. The Creative Word
2. The Spoken/Written Word
3. The Manifested Word
4. The Living Word
5. The Corporate Word
THE CREATIVE WORD
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (Jn. 1:1-3). The word here translated “word” is from the Greek word logos. “In the beginning was the logos…by HIM were all things made.” Let us see now that the Greek word logos means “a thought or concept and the expression or utterance of that thought or concept.” The Logos therefore was, in that long ago beginning, the utterance and expression (i.e. revelation) of the person, thought, mind, and will of God. It was by this Logos that God created all things. It is of great interest to notice how God created the material universe. “And God said, Let there be…and it was so.” What enlightening words are these, “And God said!” The moment we grasp the meaning of this statement, at that very moment we also understand that before God spoke He first thought, planned, and purposed. Only after He thought, planned, and purposed did God speak that which He thought, planned, and purposed. Can we not see that God’s speaking was an utterance, an expression, a manifestation of God’s deepest personality. This expression and manifestation of God’s being was His LOGOS which went forth in the power of His Spirit, creatively producing the very form and substance of that which before had only existed in the mind and purpose of God.
Listen more carefully as the writer to the Hebrews explains, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God” (Heb. 11:3). This creative word was the very first dimension of God’s revelation of Himself. That God actually has revealed Himself by means of His Creative Word (i.e. through the creation produced by that Word) is made plain in Romans 1:20 wherein we read, “For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made — His handiworks” (Amplified Bible). This verse teaches us the great truth that every natural thing God has created is a type, picture, and representation of great and eternal spiritual realities which are inherent within God Himself. This principle is constant in all of God’s physical and material creation. So you see, precious friend of mine, God did not make a sun just so this planet could have natural light, warmth, and life upon it, but God made a natural sun to portray to us the spiritual truth that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
significant is the magnificent figure of speech the Lord used when He used
water to symbolize incorruptible life in the spirit. Water is
God did not create water merely to confer and conserve physical life upon this
planet. He created water, and the body’s
need for that water, to convey to us the greater truth that HIS SPIRIT IS LIFE
and man cannot have true life apart from the Spirit of God. Even as water refreshes and invigorates the
natural man, so the Spirit of God refreshes and renews the inward man of the
spirit. It is interesting to note that
water enters the record of God’s own book on the first page and on the
last. In the very first chapter of
Genesis, Moses introduces us to this amazingly mysterious fact of the division
of the waters and the
theme is expressed by the Psalmist when he sings, “The heavens declare the
glory of God, and the firmament showeth His
handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night
unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their
voice is not heard. Their voice in
evidence is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the
world” (Ps. 19:1-4). Little wonder,
The first step, then, that God has taken to reveal Himself, and thus evoke FAITH in men, came in the form of the Creative Word. God has both revealed and proven His existence, power, nature, and purpose through the marvels of the physical universe. It came to me so powerfully one day that “intelligent design” is the most self-evident truth in the universe. And yet multitudes of the world’s so-called “smartest people,” scientists, educators, philosophers, etc., brazenly reveal their patent ignorance and stupidity by their stubborn denial of that one self-evident truth. Yet, men of faith, discerning the incomprehensible immensity, majesty, complexity, and order of the universe, come to believe in God — understanding the simple truth that it is impossible to have a well-ordered universe, operating by specific and exact laws, without a great Creator! You cannot have effect without CAUSE! You simply cannot have an intricately designed watch on your wrist without the existence of a master-craftsman. Of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: Faith in God comes by the Word of God. His Creative Word has produced the myriads of worlds and galaxies that span the unbounded and limitless heavens, and this creation evokes in men that first elementary degree of faith — the ability to believe that there really exists a great Creator — an almighty GOD who fashions all, sustains all, fills all, and rules over all!
The truth of this is stated so beautifully by Thomas Chisholm in the words of the second stanza of his well-beloved hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness:
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love!
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
I love the words of the little chorus I learned in
some meetings more than fifty years ago.
God is love — heaven and earth declare it!
God is love — He wants the world to share it!
He made the rivers and the rolling seas,
He made the birds and the honey bees;
He did it all for you and me…for God is love!
God is love, I can feel Him in the air,
I can feel His tender care, I can feel Him everywhere
From the lowest ocean to the highest heaven above…
All creation tells me God is love!
THE SPOKEN/WRITTEN WORD
We can be exceedingly thankful that much more of the true person and nature of the invisible God has been given to men than that which may be deduced and known from an examination of the cosmos about us.
the Creative Word brought forth the physical creation, the invisible God
began to speak to men early in the history of the human family. In Genesis 3:8-9 the record states, “And they
heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and
with Moses and the formation of the children of
says of the prophets, “For the prophets came not in old time by the will of
man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (I
Pet. 1:21). The prophet’s most
our day there are many people, even some who profess to walk in sonship and the
is one great basic principle of truth that all who would be sons of God in this significant hour must consider
with all diligence and prayerfulness — and we need to learn it well. Our Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, is
the PATTERN SON! Oh, yes! He is the original, the archetype, the
prototype, the exemplar, the model, the standard, the blueprint, the measure,
the mold of what the life of sonship is!
We can dream a thousand dreams and imagine within ourselves what sonship
to God means, but in Jesus we see the
FIRSTBORN SON — yea, the firstborn among many brethren. As the firstborn Jesus is our
example. If you would know how a son of
God conducts himself in the
That Jesus studied the scriptures is obvious, for being raised a Jewish boy who faithfully attended the synagogue, He would have spent many hours in biblical instruction. Not only did He study the scriptures, but He taught from the scriptures. The synagogue was full of people that blessed day when Jesus stood and took the scroll of Isaiah from the hand of the ruler of the synagogue, and when He had opened the scroll, He found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:18-19). Then He rolled up the scroll, and He gave it back again to the ruler of the synagogue, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened upon Him with rapt attention, and He began to speak to them. “Today,” He proclaimed, “while you are present and hearing this scripture is here and now fulfilled!”
Consider with me an actor preparing for his role in an upcoming drama. He pours over his lines. Striding back and forth in his room, he commits to memory the lines he has been assigned for the play. It is a major part; he will be the dominant actor. The action will swirl around him. He needs to get the lines memorized, know the director’s instructions about where to move each scene, and get a “feel” for how each scene is to be played. He spends hours and hours to get this drama to fit the director’s expectation. When the curtain is raised on the drama, he will be judged on how closely he stays with the script. The play will become unintelligible if he doesn’t follow the script! In like manner Jesus walked out every step of His ordained pathway. When at last He came to the “end game” of His journey as a man among men, on the night of His last supper with His disciples He said to them, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him” (Mk. 14:21). It was written of Him! One can reverently say that His life was scripted for Him. All the major events of His life, ministry, and redemptive accomplishment were foretold and scripted in the scriptures. Yes, it was written in the scriptures, but it was also written within Him, in the inner scroll of His life. This script, this inward knowledge, this inner revelation, together with that which was written in the scriptures, was the power that guided Him through every step of His manifested sonship on earth. Oh, the wonder of it!
To the scribes and Pharisees, to some He healed and ministered to, to His disciples, to the multitudes that followed Him by the seaside and through the burning sands of the desert places, to one and all Jesus quoted scripture, taught scripture, and questioned men about the meaning of scriptures. As the first overcoming son of God, He employed the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Oh, yes, my friend, Jesus used the scriptures as His weapon in dealing with His adversary, the devil! It is always wrong for people to think that Jesus was able to overcome the adversary just by virtue of the power of His sonship. The truth is very different. He, like us, skillfully used weapons in His spiritual warfare. And one of those weapons was the scriptures!
the firstborn son of God encountered Satan in the high realms of the spirit He countered him with these significant words:
“IT IS WRITTEN!” Isaiah admonished, “To
the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is
because THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM” (Isa. 8:20).
Anyone who does not believe that the scriptures
have been given to make us
should we try the spirits?
gentleman sent me an article a number of years ago in which he taught that
Jesus was the reincarnation of Confucius, Buddha, and a number of other great
teachers and philosophers — founders of the world’s great religions. His idea was that God has been progressively
revealing His Truth through the ages to various nations of people, and that the
same “enlightened One” reincarnated at specific intervals in history to be the
Revealer of that Truth. In his view
Jesus was the ultimate and final reincarnation, at last bringing to
men the highest Truth and Revelation of God.
It was a beautiful and highly intellectual treatise. But that teaching comes, of course, from
so-called “Metaphysical Christianity” which in various of its aspects is
related to, and one spirit with, the
occult. If you find that difficult
to believe you have only to investigate one of the largest and most prominent
will surely ask why Jesus called all the religious leaders that came before Him
“thieves and robbers.” Did he mean they
were scoundrels, evil doers, unscrupulous con men, wicked liars and deceivers? Not at all!
Some of them were actually good men, holy men, who taught great principles
of living, righteous precepts, and commendable commandments. So why are they “thieves and robbers”? The answer is to be found in the words of
Jesus: “I am the Door. Anyone who enters
in through me will be saved — will LIVE, will HAVE LIFE.” That is the difference! All others taught great moral principles and
righteous precepts of daily living, but they did not have life, true life,
spiritual life, incorruptible life, divine life to offer men. They gave men philosophy, not life. They encumbered men with rituals,
commandments, ceremonies, and a thousand other things, but could not give them
the one thing they needed to truly be saved — LIFE! Because they withheld life they were failing
the people who heard and followed them, depriving them of life. They were thus “thieves and robbers.” All who came to them were cheated out of the
one thing that could save them — the living, quickening, transforming power of
have been asked the question, “If we are to try all revelation by the Written
Word, by what did the prophets who wrote that word try
their revelation? Weren’t they
speaking by the Spirit without anything
by which to judge their word? And if
they spoke purely by the Spirit apart from anything previously revealed, should
we not now do the same?” The answer to
the questions is an emphatic and unequivocal NO! In the days of the prophets Isaiah cried out,
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it
is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). To the LAW!
The law preceded the
prophets. In fact, the law preceded
Moses! The very first thing God
gave to man was HIS LAW. Away back in the book of Genesis God said of
Abraham, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws…”
(Gen. 26:5). The scriptures bear out the
fact that these commandments, statutes, and laws of God began with
And so we find that every word of every prophet was tried by that LAW! In every case where God denounced the false prophets it was because they prophesied a word which contradicted the law, the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord, thus corrupting the ways of God among the people. Understand this and you will know a great and eternal truth — God has never left the ministration of His Spirit through human vessels without checks and balances. What a mighty God!
It should be interesting to note here that the Old Testament scriptures are divided into three parts: the law, the prophets, and the writings. Jesus recognized this tripartite division in the New Testament. “These are my words which I spoke to you…that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand THE SCRIPTURES” (Lk. 24:44-45). Jesus called these three divisions of the Old Testament “the scriptures.” In addition, He implied the standard order still used in the Hebrew editions of the Bible. “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk. 24:27).
it is not our purpose in this writing to try to prove the inspiration of the
New Testament writings, we do want to note in passing that they are classified
by Peter as SCRIPTURE. “…even as our
must now be made clear to our hearts why
God from the beginning has given the Written Word. The Written Word is the recorded revelation
of God’s plan, of God’s purpose, and of God’s will for mankind. The ways of the Lord are revealed
therein. The destiny of nations is
contained therein. God’s great and
eternal purpose in His body is declared in that Word. Salvation, redemption, restoration, and
transformation are its themes. The
centrality, supremacy, and universal triumph of our Lord Jesus the Christ are
the heart of its message — His victorious life, His precious atoning blood, His
eternal Lordship, His triumphant Rule.
The Written Word points to the unending expansion of the
revelation of fullness which God is now, in our day, bringing forth by the
Spirit through His called and separated elect is contained in seed form in that Written Word. God has not left us without a witness to all
these glorious things. Those who walk in
the Spirit of the Lord understand the great truth that we must believe and
embrace all that God has revealed, all
that He does now reveal, and He
testifies over and over again that He shall
yet reveal many wonderful and glorious things concerning His kingdom and
glory. That which God now reveals, and
shall in the future reveal, is but the amplification, expansion, and extension
of all He has revealed. Any present-day revelation of the Spirit may
enlarge and extend beyond that which is written — but it shall
J. PRESTON EBY
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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