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Faith, flesh and the Cross

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. – Hebrews 11:6

Hebrews 11_6

I was told that this is the only verse that I need to remember. No matter what my condition is, have faith. The situations may look bleak, but have faith in God. That is the only way to please God. Even if you have faltered, have faith in God – that would be pleasing to God and soon, He will deliver you from your failures. Even in sin, have faith in God. HE may hate your sin, but because you have faith in Him, He will be pleased with you and He will forgive your sins.

Initially such a preaching was very soothing for me. For, I had trouble controlling the lusts of my flesh. Whether it was pride, gluttony, lust of the flesh, arrogance,… okay, it looks like it is going to take a while to end this list, so I am just stopping here… I hope you get the picture. So, this concept of having faith in God, no matter how I live my life, was very pleasing.

Yes, I had sinned, but I have faith in God, so He is pleased with me. That was the argument. Now, looking back at this argument, it sounds so stupid that I had believed in this concept for so long. Oh, please don’t misunderstand me. I still believe that without faith, it is impossible to please God. I may lead the most upright life that a man can live, but if I lead that life without faith in the True and Living God, then I won’t be pleasing Him.

However, the Lord did not lead my life as such. There were moments, despite my faith in Him, I realized that the Lord was not pleased with me. Though my faith was very strong, instead of seeing His smiling face, I saw only the displeased frown of my Father in heaven. It made no sense to me. Yes, yes, I am that naive, trust me. Then the Spirit of the Lord moved me to read this verse.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:8

Romans 8_8

Oops… so, I must have faith, but that faith must manifest in the way I live my life in the flesh. Okay, somewhere I missed it in the translation. So, how did I miss this verse for so long? Two mistakes. One, when I read my Bible, I had already filled my mind that, as long as I have faith, I will be pleasing to God. So, when I read that if I am living by flesh, I cannot please God, it never occurred to me, that it is meant for me. Second, I attended a church where the pastor talked for nearly an year about living a life that is pleasing to God. But he would never mention such verses. And for that one year, he never even mentioned the word “faith” in his sermons. It has been always, “Do you honour the Day of God? Do you give your tithes and offering? Do you honour the servants of God? Unless you do these things, God will not be pleased with you.” Now, I get all those three right, so… you see.

But at the end, all these were excuses and excuses. For I was the loser in all these things. Now, I have faith that is pleasing to God, but by the same faith, I also slay the deeds of my flesh. I belong to Christ and hence by faith, I have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). Oh, may the Spirit of God lead me in all truth. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Galatians 5_24