We’ve been learning about the principles of faith for about a year. Faith is a spiritual principle that works as well as physical principles like gravity. We have been taught about the law of gravity in school. If we drop something, it will fall to the floor. We know that because we have studied the law of gravity. We don’t doubt it. When we drop something, we don’t wonder whether it will fall to the floor or float. We just know and believe that it will fall. We believe that the law of gravity will work. The laws of God are similar. They have unfailing principles. Some Christians don’t understand that God has unchanging spiritual laws and principles. They think that God wavers. So they wonder – who knows what will happen? who knows what God will do? He may do this or He may do that, God only knows, I wonder if He will grant me my wish? But no! God has instituted spiritual laws. He does not override them. Laws and principles are meant to be learnt and understood. We already learnt two important principles faith – authority and confession from several instances from the Bible including the story of Roman centurion.
Last week, we saw that by our confession we frame and shape our life and future. We saw examples from the Old Testament of benediction, of how people learnt from God to speak blessings. Let’s look at one more example from the Old Testament.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. – Psalm 121: 7,8
Speak preservation. Don’t speak destruction, disease, poverty and failure. Speak that God will preserve you. Let me tell you something that happened. A pastor in the US in the 60s used to teach about faith. He was a mighty man of God. There was a 39-year-old minister in his church. All of a sudden, he fell sick. The whole church prayed for him. The pastor also prayed. During this time, God spoke to the pastor saying that He cannot change the laws that He had established even before the beginning of time. The pastor didn’t know what God was referring to. The young man’s health became worse and he died. A few days after the burial, he was with the family and they were talking about him. They remarked about how he used to say that he would not live to see 40. His parents and siblings all said that he used to say that often. God reminded the pastor about what He had said earlier – that He could not change the laws that He has established. The young man got exactly what he had believed and spoken about.
God will not change that laws that He has established. It is we who have to change the way we think and speak, in accordance with God’s laws.
We may not speak such drastic things like the young man above, but we say things like – “I have peaked out, I can never earn more with my educational qualification. I cannot go forward any further. This is the end. I will fall sick, because I’m getting old”. They set the ceiling by their thoughts and words. The law of faith says that it will be unto you according to your faith. People are where they are, because they have believed it and spoken it. What you hear and what you believe is important. That’s why the Bible speaks about the necessity to renew the mind constantly.
BENEDICTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Let’s learn from some examples of benediction from the New Testament.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit – Romans 15:13
Paul is speaking joy and peace and hope as a blessing in their life. This sounds exactly like God speaking light, order and fullness into darkness, emptiness and chaos. This blessing speaks joy, peace and hope into a world full of sadness, tragedy, evil and despair. When this blessing is spoken, joy, peace and hope will come into the lives of whom it is spoken.
Let’s look into the context of this verse. In those days, the Jews and the rest of the world called gentiles were two very distinct separate groups. The Jews would not even drink a glass of water from the gentiles. In Ephesians 2, Paul calls the distinction ‘a middle wall of separation’. The Jews thought that salvation was reserved only for them. Paul was referring to prophetic Old Testament Scriptures that included the gentiles in the plan of God. But now, the gentiles had become members of the church and sat alongside the Jews, treating one another as brothers and sister and even eating together. The church was a marvellous phenomenon in the New Testament times. Something that no political peace treaty could achieve was achieved in the church. Though the Bible was written when it was surrounded by a culture of oppression of females, slaves and other classes of people, the Bible itself does not teach such differences in people. The Bible treats everyone as equal. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28. Even 2000 years ago, Peter writes that men should honour women. In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.] – I Peter 3:7, The Amplified Bible. The Bible is strikingly different from the existing culture. The Bible is not a cultural book; it is the word of God representing God’s system. The writings may reflect the existing culture of those times, but the Bible does not promote those cultures.
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like- minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5,6
In such a background of differences, Paul speaks a blessing saying that they ought to be like-minded toward one another. He says that these differences must not be present. He speaks equality and unity to a divided crowd. When Paul spoke it, it happened. They forgot their differences and got together and treated on another with equality, love and brotherhood. What we speak comes to pass.
…to be continued…