Camping at the “Living by Faith” Campground

Share Two Edges of the Sword Post:

Last week we discussed how I just recently became aware that I had been camping in a campground which I was totally unaware even existed, in my “journey to the City with Foundations.” I realize now that this campground is nothing more than “experiencing living by faith!”

“Living (or walking) by faith,” or “living (or walking) in the Spirit” are synonymous terms Paul used that have become cliches in many of today’s churches. “I have faith that Jesus is my Savior, and I am alive, so therefore I live by faith” has become the thinking of many of us.

But this is intellectual faith (Gk,, eido), that is based on learned or observed head knowledge. On the other hand, the “living by faith” in this campground is experiential (Gk., ginosko or epiginosko) knowledge, that is based on experience.

So, how do I know if I am truly camping in the “Living by Faith Camp?” My experience, in living color, was that there is nothing I can do to get there—only realize when I am there! I discovered Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 12:9, right in the middle of my own experiences of it: “Most gladly therefore will I rather GLORY IN MY INFIRMITIES, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 

I remember actually feeling joy and power as I eagerly embraced being a wicked sinner, and then “walked in the light” about that sin with those I had sinned against and others as well. This means, as I realize now, that I was then already living in this campsite Paul calls “Living by FaithI” 

The verse quoted above tells us that we are now equipped to fulfill our commission to rule over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28), with “the power of Christ resting on me,” This rule is natural and inevitable when I “glory in my infirmities!”  Let me explain.

According to Thayer’s Greek dictionary, the word for “infirmity” in 2 Corinthians 12:9, is the word astheneia, which means, according to Thayer, an inability or a lack of strength, including strength to restrain sinful desires.

In other words, Paul is saying in this verse that he actually embraces and rejoices in the fact that he is a sinner, because he has been completely and finally forgiven at the cross. Paul is walking by experiential faith, not simply intellectual faith, in that fact. As a result, Jesus is actually living His life through Paul (Galatians 2:20), and extending His rule wherever Paul goes, as he “glories in his infirmities!”

However, the problem with living in this camp is that it attacks the very foundation of the powerful addiction with which we all, unknowingly, are stricken. At the Fall, we all partook of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Adam. 

When we did so, we forsook Adam’s and Eve’s original way to live—trusting explicitly everything God told them to do and then simply doing it. They were “living by faith;” what we have called NSU (natural, spontaneous and unconscious), simply trusting Daddy for everything.

But from that fateful day at the Tree when we fell in Adam, until today, we have independently decided for ourselves, whether a thing is good or evil, right or wrong. For example, all Christians ask God for His  guidance “to lead me as I decide,” but that does not keep us from making the final decision so we can still ”be like God, knowing good and evil” for ourselves (Genesis 3:5) . We are as eager “to be like God ” as Eve was. This is definitely not living NSU! Our unconscious adduction is alive and well!  

It doesn’t matter if we are a seminary professor with a ThD, or a poor, blind, uneducated washer-woman. WE ARE ALL subconsciously addicted to trying to “make good choices.” We want to be “right” and not wrong,” according to the standard by which we live, be it the law of God in the Bible, the “law of the gang” to which we belong, or the “politically correct” culture of the day. We unconsciously insist on “being like God!”

Therefore,  if we are living in this NSU campsite, we are  “living by faith.” This means we actually believe (ginosko) that Jesus, who is living His life out through us (Galatians 2:20), is changing our “want-tos” to unconsciously conform to God’s law in the Bible (Philippians 2:13). As He does so, the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit Himself keeps that law (NSU) “in us” (not “by us”), as we “walk according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4). Do we really believe what the Bible tells us?

The problem with us addicts is that when we do believe this with all our hearts today, we will fall off the wagon tomorrow! Always lurking in the shadows is the temptation to our fleshly, as yet unredeemed, “body of sin,” to  revert back to living by trying to obey God’s law to be right and good again.

God knew this, and provided the perfect solution, a place where we can walk in the light together, encouraging and ministering to one another: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5”16). Yes, God has provided us with a Christian Alcoholics Anonymous, the original model for AA—THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH!

Next week we will explore what happened when this model functioned historically and how that will happen again today.

Share Two Edges of the Sword Post:
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jerry Buccola says:

    Robert this morning in my prayer time I was camped out on “the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” Then I opened up your message here and you are speaking to the same reality! Thanks Robert 🙂 !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *