Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Without Faith, Nothing Matters

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)
Ongoing examination of faithfulness. The Greek word for “faithful” is pistos, the exact same word for “faith.” We use the word “faithful” (adjective) because it is in the descriptive position, e.g., “He who is faithful.” Faithful literally means “full of faith.”

What I want you to notice first is that this is not primarily about trustworthiness. Trustworthiness, the ability to be trusted, is a good and important thing, even a necessary thing. But it is a secondary result of pistos, not the main thrust. Faithfulness is first of all about faith.

Let me put it this way. God is not looking first of all for men whom He can trust. God is looking first of all for men who can trust Him. If they are able to depend on Him, then they will be dependable themselves.

To understand the truth of this, study the lives of Abraham, Moses, David and Peter. They all messed up plenty of times. BUT, they all learned how to believe God, and that is what made all the difference for them.

You see, faith — pistos, the ability or act of believing God — is what pleases Him. The Bible says, “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” (Hebrews 11:6).

Without faith, there is absolutely no pleasing God. This is because, if something is not of faith, it is not of God. It does not come from God, therefore it cannot please Him. Paul went so far as to say, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

On the other hand, when we have faith and use it, which is what it is means to believe, God is greatly pleased. In fact, it excites Him, stirs His heart toward us, so much so that He rewards us greatly for seeking after Him in faith. Faith is believing God, and that honors Him.

Now, notice the passage above. The contrast is between the man who is faithful (full of faith) and the man who is unjust. The Greek word for “unjust” is adikos. It is made up of two parts, 1. a, the alpha privative, and 2. dik√©, which has to do with righteousness, or rightness. Taken together, the word signifies that righteousness is absent. That is, there is no justness in it.

Why is the unjust man deemed unjust? Because he has no faith. Therefore, it is impossible for that man to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Whatever is not of faith is sin, so all his deeds, lacking faith, are unjust — the rightness of God is not in them.

There is an inherent comparison being made in Jesus’ statement. It is the comparison between the man who is faithful in what is least and the man who is faithful in what is much. It turns out that they are both one and the same. It cannot be otherwise. For if a man is not full of faith—believing God and therefore pleasing to God — in the little matters, then how in the world can he be full of faith in more important matters. He lacks the most essential ingredient to dealing with all matters great and small. That essential ingredient is faith.

A person may be very nice, of very good character and full of good intentions. He may be thoroughly punctual and diligent in everything he does. But if he does not exercise faith in God, then he is not faithful in the biblical sense. In fact, in biblical terms, he is unrighteous. You see, doing right is not just a behavior, it is a matter of the heart, a heart full of faith.

Everything in life is all about God. Absolutely everything! Everything works because of Him. Everything finds its fulfillment in Him. This is because He is, and He is the rewarder of all who diligently seek Him by faith.