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Faith Obtained Through the Righteousness of God and Savior

(child thread of FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith series begun by RandyP )

kjv@2Peter:1:1 @ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Faith Obtained

I believe it vital to our discussion at this juncture to to get a firm grasp on the biblical concept of faith and how it is obtained. There are a great many incorrect beliefs regarding faith. There are a great many modes perceived of operating in each. If we are going to come to any conclusion as to how anything in this first chapter of 2Peter can be of help to us, we really must get to this immediate issue of faith.

The most popular notion of faith of course is that it comes from within, it is born in the heart, it is carried out by plausibility and self determination. In some circles it might be added that God is looking for this type of self summoned faith and once finding it blesses it with His additional reinforcement of it bringing it to full fruition. Within some of these circles it may even be added that Jesus of Nazareth was a capable facilitator drawing out of His believers this life force from within them; thus He was surrounded by healings and otherwise unexplainable wonders.

Peter on the other hand here is stating that his faith has been "obtained", our faith in "like" fashion to his and the other apostles: through the righteousness of God and Savior; this rather than being resident or manufactured (though perhaps dormant) as suggested by others. Obtained is a much different thing than resident, just as much as God's righteousness is from self determination and resolve. Let me give you an Old Testament example of how this works:

Recall that Abraham was said to have "believed God" and that "his faith was accounted to him as righteousness". Most people associate this to the time that Abraham went up the mount to the alter to sacrifice son Isaac (kjv@Genesis:22) thus wrapping faith and righteousness in the same doctrinal blanket as obedience/determination. The imputation was actually declared a decade or more before Isaac's birth (kjv@Genesis:15) right after Abraham and Sarah had made fools of themselves with Hagar bearing Abraham a son Ishmael. In other words Abraham and Sarah had tried to make it happen, but it was only the Lord Himself that was going to perform this promise.

As for Abraham's faith there would have been no earthly reason for him to believe and thereby soon have righteousness imputed to him had not the Lord made the initial promise to him. So it is the act of the Lord in promising this that in larger scale is righteous because then Abraham knew what to believe (faith comes by hearing). Then when the elderly couple had impatiently taken matters into their own hands it again was the Lord's larger righteous intervention straightening them back out on both the intention of the promise and the means. As a result of the Lord's righteousness in these preliminary matters Abraham then "obtained" the type of faith that would allow the Lord to impute a divinely appointed righteousness upon him. The later test on the mount with Isaac would be further proof that the now centenarian Abraham still believed in this in the righteously prescribed manner.

As this example applies to Peter, it can be said that Peter's faith is a result of several precise acts of righteousness performed by God (even long before Peter's birth) (even before our Lord's calling him from the boat to join Him as a disciple) (even after Peter's denial of Jesus at the servants fire) that gave cause for Peter to obtain the prescribed form of faith. And remember that this is the same causation of faith seeded by God's righteousness that we have been brought into to experience as well. Our faith like Peter's faith has been obtained through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in the righteousness of both certainly, but only because of the righteousness they've long performed making such righteousness and faith in it possible/known. Nothing else.

Such a faith obtained in this way is both "like" unto the apostles and "precious" beyond all human measure.

Contextual Anchors -

Note: There is an overwhelming amount of scripture needing to be provided here, so where appropriate key foundations have been broken off into digestible pieces. It will become more and more important to keep coming back to these foundations and explore each morsel's greater depth and individual context as they will become the fuel that ignites true spiritual productivity. These pieces then can be used as element specific study/meditation tools.

1. Given seemingly as by lot:

Quoted resource: strongs 'G2975'

G2975 @ λαγχάνω lagchanō lang-khan'-o A prolonged form of a primary verb which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot that is determine (by implication receive) especially by lot: - his lot be cast lots obtain.

kjv@Hebrews:12:2 @ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...

kjv@Romans:12:3 @ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

2. If given, then a faith more than the simple nebulous belief or hope:

Quoted resource: strongs 'G4102'

G4102 @ πίστις pistis pis'-tis From G3982; persuasion that is credence; moral conviction (of religious truth or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher) especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: - assurance belief believe faith fidelity.

(see: word study - PistisFaith or slidy:PistisFaith )

3. Is as a result of and is in God's/Savior's righteousness:

Quoted resource: strongs 'G1343'

G1343 @ δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification: - righteousness.

(see: word study - DikaiosuneRighteousness or slidy:DikaiosuneRighteousness )

Practical Aspects

So this God given/man obtained brand or mode of faith becomes all important. God has long worked to establish the type and boundary and substance of that faith which HE best intends to give us. As a result of the righteousness of HIS work that specific (to us foreign) form of faith is planted and received into the man (some would even say that God righteously prepares the heart of the man in order for him to receive that righteous faith). The Holy Spirit comes upon that man to bring the God made faith to full fruition. Not only is what goes into the man righteous, what comes from that core seed and process is righteous, plus God is righteous in doing all this in that exact manner.

On the front end of this is all the righteous work God had performed from Adam on to prepare and sow into Abraham. On our much distant receiving end of that plus the additional work of God moving forward to Christ we see the much further established much more populated field of the resulting/continuing work happening on us. Remember that Abraham was promised many many seeds eventually as numerous as the stars in the sky, touching to every tribe and nation. The righteousness of man does not produce this for God, it is not that Ishmael/bond women brand of faith; the righteousness of God produces this for the otherwise incapable man as exemplified in Isaac. The issue of Isaac being later brought to the alter then points us to Jesus and the final atonement that God's all encompassing righteousness was going to provide.

This righteous obtained brand of faith can then be thought of as a vine. As long as our hearts abide (operate/are found within/are feed by) this love for and faith in Christ Jesus, the righteousness of God and Savior remain upon us; thus the fruitfulness of the recognition and living acknowledgement of Jesus Christ is kept flowing.

Now at this point of our understanding is the point where many thinkers would split the process off. You see the thought would be that this God given/man obtained faith only has to do with the spiritual matters of eternal salvation and church worship and service, that man would still be left to operate in his day to day wants and necessities by his more human brand of self determination knowledge and resource. They may not actually consciously believe this, but in essence this can be the diagram of how they (we) are typically operating. I think that Peter had set himself forth to remind us this.

On the daily street level I have seen this split flow working in the lives of Christ believing drug addicts for example. The obtained faith as far as eternal salvation goes is securely understood and trusted in. There seems to be no problem believing top end for what he feels the Lord is most desiring for our eternal future. Towards the present struggle of his addiction however the obtained faith is segregated away to loftier more ethereal goals and the second faith, the faith of his own determination and resource are constantly employed to battle the battle warring in his flesh.

Yet the "like precious" form of faith (as best as we understand it at this early point) is described as God's divine power now giving us all things pertaining to life and godliness, exceedingly great and precious promises have been made in Christ putting us in a position of being able to partake of Christ's nature having escaped the larger scale corruption made up of such elusive corruptions as drug addiction, God's provision/promise/partaking so greatly influences us as to lead us into the diligent application of Christ serving faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, agape love; the compounding of these elements in relation to each other under His direct influence. All this so as to produce a fruit of which no other human mode of operation can emulate. This should be more than enough God given/man obtained effect upon the addict as to battle his addiction (or any other thing) triumphantly; by God's hand.

Note now that Peter claims that he who lacks this fruit is either short sighted or blind or has forgotten that his sins have been purged. This would make perfect sense given what we now have come to know about it. It is short sighted because he is employing a second form of faith to fight his battles not seeing that it is the same fight for the soul and it's daily walk as it is for eternal salvation; it requires the same armament. Else he is blind as to what he is doing in relation to what God is wanting to do and has provided to him in Christ. Else he has forgotten, I see this a lot where the tugs of addiction are being interpreted by him as if sin still has the control, he feels that Christ is waiting for him to self amputate the sin out of his heart before his Christ will willingly come to him. Essentially what this is however is the addict playing the role of Deliverer. Such is merely that human mode of faith.

There is one sure immediate way to to find and strengthen this obtained "like precious faith" for those of you that are interested, it is by stepping forward into the fuller recognition and acknowledgement of God and Savior's righteousness. Recall that David based his resulting action against Goliath upon the righteous character and righteous workings of Yahweh. The more that righteousness is revealed and accepted, the more faith in all that God righteously intends and has righteously provided for can influence your every situation.

Recall Jesus saying ""seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you"? Recall Solomon counseling us "to trust in the Lord with all one's heart, lean not on one's own understanding, to acknowledge the Lord in all one's ways, that the Lord Himself will then direct one's path"?

The prayerful study of and open seeking for God's righteousness is always the starting point for anything else to follow.

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