We live in a religious society and everywhere we go if we ask anyone “What is your Faith?” They would go on to say that they’re a Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Jew, Jehovah Witness, and Seven-Day-Adventist the list is endless. Some will say that they attended church when they were young and they were consistent until they got so tired that when they came into their teens they left church to live their lives as though church or their religion had nothing to do with their lives (goals, dreams and future).
It’s a sad thing that many were brought up this way—religious but not really knowing God personally and seeking Him to discover what is it that God wants to do in their lives individually to train them to a point of understanding their calling and purpose for their lives.
Religion vs. Relationship
I was religious as well in my early years. On my mother’s side of the family I had a mixture of Catholicism, Santeria (Witchcraft), a little Baptist and Pentecostal. On my father’s side of the family it was strictly Catholicism. I grew up mixed up as much as anyone else. I never read the Holy Bible. I never heard anyone preach or teach clearly a topic in the Bible. I was going on cliché’s and religious phrases that sounded spiritual but didn’t really have any impact or change in my life or offer any guidance.
I would go to church on special holidays like today Easter, but really never understood the purpose of Easter. All I knew was that I would get an outfit (new clothes) and be a good looking kid. We colored eggs and that’s about it in the ghetto. No egg hunt, no real power-pack church experience, no clear teaching to capture the purpose of God’s plan for my life, nothing but religious tradition.
Why am I sharing this? What is my point? Why is it that society-at-large tend to take a religious holiday to heart yet fail to see the true meaning of what we are celebrating? If you are a Jehovah Witness you maybe band from celebrating. If you are religious you probably bought a nice outfit and went to church to pay your respects to God (as if He was the God-Father Mobster that needed your accolades). My intent is not to embarrass or belittle anyone or their religious denomination upbringing. The Holy Spirit wants to educate us scripturally to see that there is a divine purpose for Easter. It’s called The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Faith in the Risen Christ
Paul taught the topic of FAITH in the Bible better than any Priest, Pastor, Faith-proclaimed teacher that I have ever encountered. I studied Paul’s teachings very carefully and I was blown away at the simplicity and clarity he used in sharing the topic of FAITH. Paul made a very clear yet powerful point by stating that the first step to believing is not in religion or a religious group (be it—Catholicism, Jehovah Witness, Seven-Day-Adventist, or Pentecostalism). Paul said;
1. And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your Faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded) (1 Corinthians 15:14 AMP).
The Apostle Paul was writing this letter to the Christians at the city of Corinth and the entire chapter 15 was dedicated to the topic of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the basis of it being a true event that took place that gives the believer hope that they too will be Resurrected this is our hope we have in Christ.
Now in the middle of the chapter twice Paul said in verse 14 and 17 that if Christ was not raised from the dead our Faith is in vain.
Our Faith in Him
This statement that Paul made speaks volumes. Allow me to outline the Power of that statement.
1. This tells us that Our FAITH is not in something like a religious organization or group. It has to be in a person Jesus Christ.
2. Easter is a pagan or secular holiday but it falls in the time in which Jesus Christ was raised from the dead 2000 years ago.
3. Passover though it was an Old Testament supernatural event it is a type and shadow (Symbolic meaning) of the New Testament because Jesus is the Passover Lamb of God that the Jews rejected. (This is a long teaching to bring out this truth—I’m summarizing everything).
4. Our FAITH begins when we believe that He was raised from the dead. Faith starts in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is what makes us a true believer.
The Stages and Phases of Biblical FAITH
Paul wrote clearly about the different levels, stages and phases of our FAITH we will grow through.
Natural Faith Level One
We all have natural faith—it is faith in the things we see, smell, hear, taste and touch. We need this level of faith to be able to pick up the bible and read it until the Information in it becomes Revelation, then it turns into Inspiration to moves us to desire to experience Application of the principles of the Word of God then after we learn what to do Biblically about it we will experience the Manifestation of the Promise of God in Our Lives.
Saving Faith Level Two
Paul explained to the Christians at the city of Rome how they’ve experienced Salvation or Saving Faith. Paul said, when we hear the Gospel preached and we are impacted by the truth we believe with our hearts (human spirits) and confess with our mouths that Jesus was raised from the dead then we are saved supernaturally as we experience being Born-again (Romans 10:9-11). This is a one-time exercise of our faith in Jesus Christ to be Born-again.
The Measure of Faith Level Three
Paul said after we are saved our Faith in God increases when we hear the Word of God over and over (Romans 10:17).
Paul goes on to teach that we can learn the will of God by reading the Word of God over and over to renew our minds with principles and promises of God (Romans 12:1-3). Paul describes that we have been dealt a MEASURE OF FAITH (Romans 12:3). Paul said we are then to apply and practice our MEASURE OF FAITH when we are called by God to operate in the calling He has on our lives—we are to Prophesy, Minister, Teach, Exhort, Give, Lead Diligently and show Mercy on this level in proportion to our MEARSURE OF FAITH (Romans 12:6-8).
The Gift of FAITH Level Four
This level of Faith is when the Holy Spirit manifests this Gift to use us to be a blessing to others by way of Ministering Miracles, Healings, Signs and Wonders (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). To understand more about how this Gift of Faith Works read the article “Evangelism with Spiritual Gifts”.
Is your Faith in vain because you don’t believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do you look at Easter as another holiday instead of a Powerful event that took place thru the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Are you a Jew and you believed in Passover in the Old Testament but not in the Passover Lamb in the New Testament? Are you religious and as long as you go to church on religious holidays to pay your respects you think you’ll get by and eventually go to heaven because you’re not that bad?
Paul said if we don’t believe then we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).
In order for us to be delivered from our sins is to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead to cleanse us from our sins (Romans 10:9-11). Then we can grow by reading the Bible and catch awesome revelation that will lead us and guide us to do His divine will on the earth and be successful in every area of our lives. The choice is ours--the scriptures are clear--the Faith is real—the power is available—the goal will be revealed if we desire it.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
Read more articles by Manuel Vargas or search for articles on the same topic or others.