Doctrine of Christ
Faith Towards God
This second principle of the doctrine of Christ embodies much more than believing and becoming a baptized follower of Jesus Christ. That act of faith is but the first feeble step of a long journey. As a newborn baby, the believer should "desire the sincere milk of the word" that he may "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18) By receiving with meekness the engrafted word, the worshiper increases in knowledge and understanding which automatically increases faith. (Rom. 9:19)
Paul discussed this principle in his epistle to the beloved of God who were in Rome. He said, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." And again, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." (Rom. 10:17; Rom. 1:16,17) It is in direct relation to this that we must view his next statement: "The just shall live by faith."
Paul is not talking here of being born again by faith, but rather, remaining justified by walking in light as God opens it to our understanding. Conversely, if we donít walk in the light as He opens our understanding to it, we will fall out of favor with God, and spiritual darkness will overtake us. The Father in heaven reveals His truth to the believers, in part, from time to time. The disciples are then held responsible to progress in that faith by accepting that new light and walking in it. The words of Jesus, in John 8:31,32, emphasize the point well. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Paul got his understanding of this doctrine from the law and the prophets. He said, "This I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." (Acts 24:14) Again he said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine." (2 Tim. 3:16) Peter also understood, for he admonished us to "be established in the present truth." (2 Pet. 1:12) Perhaps Peter was alluding to Prov. 4:18. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Truth never ceases to be truth, but from time to time, God reveals truth which was previously hidden. Hence the term "the present truth." One good example of this is the fact that The Father was not known by His name Jehovah until the days of Moses. (Exod. 6:2,3)
Jesus asked the question, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) The scriptures show clearly that there will be some "believers" who are living at the time of the coming of Jesus. (See 1 Cor. 15:51,52; Matt. 24:45-47) So the real intent of His question is, "Will there be any who believe, with Paul, in all things which are written in the law and the prophets? Will there be anyone with the kind of faith which Peter demonstrated in Acts 1:20-23, to stand up and declare the immediate relevancy of some Old Testament prophecy, and assert that we must fulfill that prophecy now?" (Col. 1:25)
Jesus said in Rev. 1:3, "Blessed (are) they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." In this case the word "keep" means "to do," rather than to preserve. Therefore, there must be a group of people who "hear" (understand), and fulfill the prophecies in the Bible which concern our moment in prophetic history, including those in the book of Revelation.
The beloved John said, "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from The Father." (2 John 4) And to John the Baptist, Jesus said, "For thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." (Matt. 3:15)
We see, therefore, that the just shall live by faith, as the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection."