Faith is in the spirit of the believer. It is the spirit
of Christ, and, therefore, is powerful. We have the spirit of Christ in
our spirit, making our spirit life through righteousness, Rom. 8:9, 10.
The spirit of Christ in us is faith, for He is dwelling in our hearts
through faith, Eph. 3:17. The life that we now live in flesh is in faith
that is of the Son of God, Gal. 2:20.
If faith were something that is generated by the power of the human, it
could have no power. But it is the gift of God, Eph. 2:9. It is called
an oblation, because God gives it to us to win our love.
The atomic bomb is the most powerful force known to mere man, but it is
for destruction. Faith is a greater power, and is for beneficent
purposes. It enables us to lay hold of the word of God and believe it,
even when it is contrary to reason. Reason says we were not baptized
into the death of Christ when He died; that we were not entombed with
Him; that we are not dead to sin; that the body of sin is not nullified,
that God will reckon sin to us so long as there is sin in us; that there
is condemnation for us who are in Christ; that we often walk in accord
with flesh; that we are in flesh, not in spirit.
The word of God says just the opposite, see Romans. Faith, coming out
through a mind that is properly open, believes that in God's reckoning,
we were with Christ on the cross; that we were in the tomb with him;
that we are dead to sin; that the body of sin is nullified; that God
will not, by any means, reckon sin to us; there is no condemnation; that
God sees the spirit and truly says we are walking in accord with spirit,
not flesh; and that we are not in flesh, but in spirit.
In the preceding paragraph I mentioned the mind, The human spirit is
active in though through the mind, I Cor. 2:11, even as the soul is
active in manifestation through the bodily sensations. Even in an
unbeliever the spirit is life, and in a believer, the spirit is life
through righteousness. It still retains its former life, and acquires an
additional life -- one that is able to respond to God. This is
necessarily true since the spirit of Christ is in it, and this is faith.
Just as steam moves a locomotive only to the extent that the throttle is
open, so does faith move us by means of our thoughts, to the extent that
the mind is open. There is no lack of faith in the saint, but, in many
cases, it is not powerful in fixing our attitude, because the throttle
is not open wide enough. The throttle is the mind.
With an unrenewed, (closed), mind, the saint is configured to this eon,
which is one of doubt. But with the mind in proper condition he is
transformed and is able to test the will of God, Rom. 12:1, 2. And faith
finds, as it expects to do, that God's will is just what His word says.
Faith is able to reckon that the believer is baptized into the death of
Christ; that he was entombed with him; he is dead to sin; the body of
sin in nullified; that God will not reckon sin to him; that nothing is
condemnation to him; that the spirit is something apart from the flesh,
and that this is what God sees, and that it is true that, in spirit, he
is walking in accord with spirit; and that the spirit which is what he
is looking at, is not in flesh. To reckon is to compute. Human reason
gives way to faith's certainty, and there is happiness of life, as there
ought to be.
Moreover, faith is able, to a certain extent, to harness the body, and,
of course, the soul, which is manifested through bodily sensations, and
use them in the service of God. The saint is told to present his body in
this service, and to regard it as holy and flawless, a sacrifice
well-pleasing to God. That the body is yet the body of sin, is
recognized, but when it is devoted to God by faith, it becomes, in that
case, holy, because it is thus set apart for God, for the time being.
The body is, in this sense, vivified for service while it is yet mortal,
because of the fact that the believer has, not merely the spirit of
Christ, but the spirit of God as well, Rom. 8:11. This is a figure, for
the body is not actually vivified. The body will then perform errands of
love and mercy, and whatever other acts are necessary for the outward
manifestation of service to God.
The worker is to even work at a secular occupation from the soul, and
regard it as service to the Lord, for he is to do it as to the Lord,
This means suffering and soulish (and bodily) discomfort. Thus the soul
is harnessed to the praise of God. This is because of the power of
The natural love that the soul has for competition in the business
world, is harnessed, and made to serve the gospel. Saints are told to
compete together in the belief of the gospel, with one spirit, one soul,
Phil. 1:27. Such competition is circumscribed and is to be within the
limits of the belief of the gospel, and must be together with other
saints, instead of against them. An illustration will serve here. In a
local ecclesia there is much laborious work to do, such as caring for
the premises, asking others to attend the meetins, going out of one's
way to be nice and friendly, etc. Each member of the congregation has
the privilege of trying to outdo all others, not in a spirit of rivalry,
but in an endeavor to do all possible for the meeting and for the
saints. And each moves all the others to be more energetic, rather than
be left behind in the service. This is wholesome competition, and both
spirit and soul are engaged in it.
This is even more wholesome when there are two ecclesias in the same
locality. There need not be any unfriendly rivalry between these two
assemblies, but each should be careful to not let the other outdo it in
point of their activities that will realy promote the good of the
meetings. Let each be "climbing" higher and higher in the
scale effort within the limits of the belief of the gospel. This ought
to stir each assembly and each pastor to let nothing be undone that is
conducive to the gospel. On course, competition that goes outside the
prescribed limits is unfair, and need not be taken notice of by the
other ecclesia. The body of Christ is created by our Lord. Local
ecclesias are for convenience. There need be no schism between two in
the same locality.
It seemed a tragedy when Paul and Barnabas divided. It was done through
a wrong spirit, especially on Paul's part. But faith believes that all
is of God, and that the division was wholesome, because it resulted in
two testimonies, and in many others being reached, than would been if
there had been no division.
I thank any saint who competes with me, for it stirs me to greater
Not always does faith hold the body in slavery, as Paul was doing when
he wrote I Cor. 9:27. The body is the body of sin, and, although it is
nullified, it does commit sin. Faith believes that, in such case,
"it is no longer I who am affecting it, but Sin which is making its
home in me", Rom. 7:20. In spirit, the saint is still walking in
accord with spirit. Therefore he is not unduly disturbed. He knows that
even this unruliness on the part of the body serves to make the saint
more humble, and that, thus, it, like all other things, is being worked
together for his good. Sometimes other saints harass him. But this, too,
is in the hand of God, and faith is satisfied to have it so. Faith
carries out the injunction, "Let nothing be worrying you, but in
everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests
be made known to God", and it finds that "the peace of God,
which is superior to every frame of mind, shall be garrisoning your
hearts and your apprehensions in Christ Jesus", Phil. 4:6,7.
Faith, when the "throttle" is open sufficiently, believes that
God will be filling every need, not in accord with our deservings, but
in accord with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Just as many other
things are true from God's standpoint, but becomes true to us, only by
faith, so does the storehouse of God open to us by faith. Faith that
comes out in small quantity, because of throttle, (the mind), is not
wide open, expects to receive from the Lord as if He were a poor miser.
But faith that is exercised in an open mind, believes that God loves his
saints, and that ample supply is available. This available supply is
appropriated by faith, for God says that, among other things, the world