FAITH AS THE STUMBLING BLOCK
“Behold… the just shall live by his faith”, Hab.2:4 

We easily preach faith today. Seldom do we turn it possible to believe or make it available and attainable near a Living God.

Faith is a gift when it has to perform something for God (instead of God, in His name) and is a fruit when it is saving from any kind of sin. The words of Jesus come often into my mind when I recall the easy faith preaching we come across nowadays: “If you CAN believe…”, Mark 9:23. There are such people who just cannot believe and they still do state they believe and are forced into a kind of believing which is mere foolishness. Faith comes out naturally when life is settled from within, so much so that one even gets scared because of the daring attitude that suddenly begets us by getting us close enough to a Living God and a Living God close and related enough to us.

The words “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life”, John 3:36, may just mean that one has a Life within which is able to breed faith, so one believes and not that if one believes such will have Life. It is a Life, the very presence of God, which breed is able to faith of a genuine kind, either through love or even through the fear of God. It is so interesting to take notice, as well, that the people who preach that one has to believe to have life, are such as fight to have it clear that it is God who chooses us and that it is by grace we are saved and are able to believe. They do not live as they preach, it seems, for they usually force down a fake faith in a distant God. I have been said by pastors to preach "strange doctrines" because I claimed God should be real and be able to manifest Himself in a real manner. This verse may just mean one has to have Life within first to be fully able to believe, if faith is to be rendered an easy and attainable task and consequence brought about by a realtionship.

If one gets people to relate themselves to God God’s way, faith is easily attainable and becomes as natural as breathing (unless one is bound to old, unbelieving habits of stubbornness still, while having Life within). So, I believe solemnly that the only thing there is to be done and fully carried out at first, is nothing but to “Cry aloud, and to spare not, to lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto His people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins… cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people”, Is.58:1; 57:14. If and when people remove sins from their heart, if they confess sins as they are shown, one by one, even old and past ones, if sin is given up as they are able to confess them by name and in such detail as they can recall it or as the Spirit reveals them, sees them and is able to make people recall it (and not as they wish to do it or as they think best), a relationship with the Living God of  all truthfulness and faith will start to emerge from within, which none can hinder but sin, and faith will indeed become a fruit from a relationship, just as much as a child is fruit of a relationship between two. Faith has to be conceived and kindled by Life itself - when that Life is real.

But, since faith is so easily proclaimed and even sold at meetings, one may never come to link within the heart the genuine meaning and the secret of these words: “The righteous shall live by faith”. This does not say an unrighteous person will live by it as well because there is still a “flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” Gen 3:24, so men may not eat from it to live eternally while remaining in sin, God being their sport and mere hobby.

There is a wall which separates people from God. Every brick of it is a sin committed sometime somewhere. Someone, on this side of the wall, will never be able to relate himself with a Living God Who is on the other side of it. So, confessing sins by name, bringing them to the light unconditionally, taking bricks off one by one, taking back such things as we may have stolen, going back to people who have been hurt by us either through words, relationships or sex, will bring that wall down as easily as the trumpets brought Jericho’s wall to a eternal fall. Then God will flow to people and people will be enabled to flow easily towards God and faith is easily brought about - then it is. Only then is one commanded to fully believe in a LIVING God. It cannot be regarded as sin to believe God is not with you when He is not and as long as you don't doubt the fact that He is not with you. Sin is, not believing truth and never asserting truth when it has not become real. Hence the reason we come to read that faith is a mystery of some kind, a perceiving of facts and based uopn truthfulness. But, once that which separates us from a real God in a real manner, God’s hand is no more too short to save, Is.59:1,2 - and we are saved by faith. Anyone having this kind of faith will surely be saved in the near future from all sins, power and desire of sinning. One, doing well and being made a living being, will no more have the desire of sin at the door as Cain had it, Gen 4:7.

Faith which is real is always a stumbling block to such as need to live and stick by a false one – just as much as an unreal, and masked faith is to make living Christians stumble over it. I believe, also, that real faith is as much a saving power as it is able to be a cutting killer which God ordained to destroy sin once and for all. Sin is either destroyed or conquered by faith or faith is conquered and shipwrecked by sin. If it does not mean freedom from sin and victory over everything the world can and may come to offer, then it will be turned into a stumbling block to it which will dash it to full destruction and that eternally along with such as cling to sin while naming the name of Christ (in vain it seems, since Jesus, the Name, means Savior from sin). Either way, He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

We easily forget that the saving Jesus who came down from the cross because it could never hold Him there unless He wanted to stay there, that same Savior who saves to the uttermost from any power of sin and even from the mere remembrance of it, eternally it is, came to “take away the sin from the world”. Unless your life is clean and cleansed, then Jesus will always be turned into a curse to you and a cause to your sure fall and not to your rising at all. “Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many … and for a sign which is spoken against”, Luke 2:34. Jesus came to remove sin from the world. Beware never to hold it in your hand when He comes (or even before) for where sin goes, you will go too.

Since faith is so easily sold out instead of turned possible and real, one will never perceive what it means to “teach people to observe (to obey)”, for they need faith brought about from a real relationship with God to be enabled to obey and see what to obey as well as when and how. To tell people about the commandments is different from teaching them how to be able to obey them fully and carry them out since things need be done here on earth as they happen to be done and carried out in heaven itself, through the same power and leading and timing. The commandment is, then, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations … (20) teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you…”, Mat 28:19-20. To teach to observe is to say and do more then to teach  them about it. If and when one CAN believe, if Life is able to breed faith indeed, anything is turned possible to such, even a holy life “without which none shall see God”. Amen.

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José Mateus
zemateus@msn.com