GraceTidings with Dr Doug Mamvura
Apostle Paul encourages Timothy to fight “the good fight of faith”.
The only fight the believer is called upon to fight is the fight of faith. Sometimes I hear some believers say they are going to fight the devil. Why would you want to fight a defeated foe?
Jesus was our substitute when He defeated Satan, death, hell and the grave in His redemptive work.
If there is fight to faith, then there must be enemies to faith. We would like to look at some of these hindrances to faith.
Lack of faith comes from lack of knowledge of God’s Word (Romans 10:17). The real reason for lack of faith is lack of knowledge of God’s Word, for “faith comes
by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I remember someone saying to me “Yes that is exactly my problem. I don’t know much about the Word, but I need faith”.
But you can’t get faith any other way except through the Word.
Another one who is a “prayer warrior” said: I am praying that God will give me faith.” Well I told him that he was wasting his time and even if he was to go on a 40-day fast, the situation would not change. The only solution is the intake of God’s Word through studying the Bible or listening to the teaching or preaching of God’s Word.
You can receive revelation knowledge through reading and meditating upon the Word and through hearing the Word being preached.
A lack of knowledge will hinder us and hold us bondage because we can’t act upon God’s Word beyond actual knowledge of God’s Word. The level of faith you have will be determined by the amount of God’s Word you have.
There are some of believers who do not fully understand the meaning of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17). If a man is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away behold all things have become new”.
A lack of understanding of what is meant by a “new creation” can hinder the believer’s faith life. Many believers don’t know that they are new creatures. They think all God did was just to forgive them of their sins.
However, it wouldn’t help the sinner at all if all they received was forgiveness of sins. He would still go to hell, for he would still be a child of the devil.
The sinner has to be born again. He has to become a new creature in Christ Jesus. He has to receive a new nature, God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4). This means that believers are not just forgiven sinners. They are not poor staggering, useless, barely getting along church members just waiting to go to heaven “where there is no more sorrow or pain”. No. That is not who we are.
Believers are new creatures, created by God in Christ, with the very life and nature of God in their spirits (2 Corinthians 5:17). They are children of God, sons of the Most High, and heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
Many people don’t know they have eternal life. They think of themselves only as being saved from sin. Apostle John says in his first epistle, “These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may have eternal life (1 John 5:13). When you know what you have and who you are in Christ, it makes all the difference in the world.
The other hindrance to faith is lack of understanding of our place in Christ and of Christ’s place in our lives. One of the best ways to have this full understanding, is to go through the New Testament, particularly the epistles which were written to us. Write down all the phrases that tell you who you are in
Christ and what you have in Christ because what we write down, we seem to remember better. You will find expressions in these epistles such as “in Christ”, “in whom”, and “in Him”. Expressions such as these occur about 134 times in the New Testament.
If you go through the New Testament and confess, “This is who I am. This is what I have”, you will find that life will be different for you. It is very important that we learn to meditate and confess on these truths about who we are in Christ and of Christ’s place in us. This is how you will begin to walk in the light of what you have possessed as a believer since being born again.
It is very sad to see most of us believers after having been Christians for so long and yet are not really walking in the light of our inheritance in Christ.
This is why I want to share this true Gospel. I face and continue to encounter resistance from certain portions of believers, especially those focused on performance and law.
I pray that as you read this article, you aren’t one of them and if you are, I hope one day you will come to know the truth which will set you free. I used to be like that myself and I have left though I haven’t arrived.
The third hindrance to faith, is a lack of understanding of what righteousness is, and what it gives to the believer. A lack of understanding of righteousness holds more people in bondage than anything else.
Righteousness is the cornerstone of victorious living for a believer because you now have the boldness to approach the throne of Grace without feeling any condemnation or guilt.
How sad it is to see some believers living defeated lives because they feel condemned. Others feel guilty and yet “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to the Spirit”.
You are the righteousness of God and your righteousness is not like filthy rags as some believers want to put it thinking that they are being humble. When you say that, you are degrading Christ because your righteousness is Christ’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). You should know that as Christ is, so are you in this world (1 John 4:17).
You may fall even seven times but you will still rise up again (Proverbs 24:16).
James 5:16, states that “the effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much”.
When you know that you are a righteous person you can approach the throne of grace boldly without any feeling of condemnation and guilt because you know you have the right standing with God because of Christ.
The Bible says Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and yet prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain for three years and six months. For people in the Old Testament like Elijah, God imputed righteousness (Psalm 32:1 -2) to them whose sins had been covered by the “blood of bulls and goats” and yet their lives has so much impact.
What more of you and I who have been cleansed by the blood of the Righteous One without any spot or wrinkle, Jesus Christ, who wiped away, not cover all our sins.
Jesus said among all men born of a woman no one was ever greater than John the Baptist and yet the least in the kingdom is greater than he (Matthew 11:11).
Why? Because all the Old Testament people were not born again. When you acquaint yourself with this truth, you become unstoppable. Christ now lives in you unlike those who lived under the Old Covenant.
We can come into His Presence because we belong there. When we were born again, our sins were remitted because our past life stopped existing. God said that He would not remember our transgressions (Isaiah. 43:25).
Since God doesn’t remember them, why should we? Someone may say he has sinned since he was born again and that he is so weak in areas, but I have good news for him. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When a believer sins, he feels guilty, and he has a sense of unrighteousness.
He feels embarrassed and spiritually inferior to come into God’s presence. But God does two things for the believer who may have sinned. First, when the believer confesses his sins, the Lord forgives him.
Second, the Bible says that God also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. However, this doesn’t mean that one should go around committing sin because God will forgive you. Grace is not licence to sin.
The grace of God has appeared to all men teaching us to say no to ungodliness (Titus 2:11).
The reason we should act properly in our dealings is because God’s grace has come to everyone and given every person a revelation of right and wrong.
Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura