However, when the Son of Man comes

                                  However, when the Son of Man comes,

                                        will he find faith on the earth?

                                                                             Luke 18:8b

     Our Lord did not intend this to be a rhetorical question!  He is serious in His desire that faith will be manifested when He returns.  It is in our faith that He finds His pleasure.  “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  Faith is not only the beginning of the Christian life, but it is necessary for each step of our path as we are reminded in Romans 1:17.  “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:  ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”  There are many aspects of our lives in which we have opportunities to exercise faith.  For the sake of our current discussion, however, it will be limited in its application to two considerations.  First, our Lord wants us to have faith in what He has done for us, and then, faith in what He desires to do through us. 

     There is no verse which can possibly contain all He has done for us.  II Corinthians 5:21 states some of His accomplishment with these words.  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Scriptures elsewhere state that He came to manifest the Father, to destroy the works of the devil, and to prepare us for our eternal home.  I Corinthians 1:30 states that God has made Him unto us as our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  In Him we have pardon, purity and power,  We are born by His Spirit into His life which is communicated to us every second of every day.  We are now members of the race of the last Adam.  We are given “birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you.”  (I Peter 1:4-5)  He governs each day of our lives and prepares us to reign with Him as a part of His glorified body throughout endless ages to come!  The response of faith to the above must surely be that of His disciple Thomas, who declared to Him in John 20:28.  “My Lord and my God!”    

     And what is this faith like?  G. Campbell Morgan has these comments to say about faith.  “Faith is not merely intellectual apprehension and conviction of truth.  Faith is the assent of the will, and the yielding of the life, to the claim of the truth of which the mind is convinced.  Belief in its profoundest sense is not conviction merely but conduct proceeding out of conviction, and harmonizing with the conviction.”  The Westminster Pulpit, Baker Book House, Volume Five, 1954, Page 141.  The conviction of these truths should lead us, by faith, into the conduct described in Luke 9:23.  “Then he said to them all;  ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”  This, then, represents a response of faith to what He has done for us that will bring Him pleasure on His return.   

      A person’s last words to us are important to them and to us.  They are well chosen and summarize what is uppermost in the mind of those who will soon depart.  This was  certainly true in the case of our Lord.  His last words to us characterize His purpose for His people until the day of His return.  Our faith is demonstrated by our response to what He says in Matthew 28:18-20.   “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  As we go about our daily lives, our faith in Him is manifested by developing relationships which will lead to opportunities to look at the scriptures with others.  The power and the presence of our Lord is assured to us as we trust Him to reveal Himself in increasing fullness to those for whom we pray and in whom we invest our lives.  He will lead them from their initial steps as a newborn Christian to an active disciple and follower of Christ and prepare them to invest their lives in others as well.  Whenever we open the scriptures to others, we do so in faith, depending upon His presence and His power to to accomplish His will in their lives. 

     This is the faith for which our Lord is seeking in regard to His purpose for us.  G. Campbell Morgan, again speaking on faith, describes it in this manner.  “What then is this pilgrimage, what is this warfare?  What is the consuming passion of the man of faith?  I answer that inquiry superlatively, that I may state it briefly.  He has gone to prepare a place for us beyond; our business is to prepare this place for Him.  The city which Abraham went to seek was not a city postponed beyond this world; but the city of God established on the earth; the city of God, the symbol of the whole wide world subdued to Kingdom of God.  Toward that the men of faith have ever moved.  Toward that the men of faith are moving still today.  The supreme passion of faith is not the selfish desire to win heaven, but the self-emptying desire and devotion to win the earth for God.”  The Westminster Pulpit, Baker Book House, 1954, Volume Five, pages 143-4.            Does our faith in His purpose reflect the above?  Will He find pleasure in our faith in His purpose when He returns?  

     There are many enemies in our world to the life of faith.  We are told, for example, that “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”  (Mark 4:19)  I Peter 1:6 states that “now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  The following verse (I Peter 1:7) tells us the reason for these trials.  “These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Our Lord will rejoice in our faith on His return!  It is my prayer that your faith would grow and increase so that, when you stand before Him, you will receive praise, glory and honor from the hand of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

In Christ, Richard Spann

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