Pastor Keith: Welcome to this episode of Doxology Matters, where we desire to help Christians think deeply about God’s Word as we praise Him. We’re so thankful that you have tuned in to this podcast. Today’s topic is living by faith and not by sight. Here we are in the COVID season, and this topic seems very well to be timely. It’s timely all the time, but especially now. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith and not by sight.” And today we have back with us Pastor Kevin Hass and Pastor Jeff Mingee. So glad to have you guys back. I just want to ask you – let’s kick it to Jeff – what is faith?
Jeff Mingee: Well, Keith, it’s an honor to be back. I’m thrilled. I always enjoy our time together. So to answer the question – what it faith? – I think a notable place to start is Hebrews chapter 11, where in verse 1, the author says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, for by faith, the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” So the quick summary there in Hebrews 11 verse 1 is faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And I think you see that word used in a powerful and variety of ways throughout the entire Scriptures.
Pastor Keith: So it is a longing, a thinking of something that is not seen – we see that in 2 Corinthians 5:7 – towards heaven.
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, absolutely. Where Paul uses the phrase and he repeats this phrase, “Good courage.” We will be people who are of good courage because we live not by sight but by faith. And I don’t think Paul is pitting the two against each other, to say that faith is blind and sight is faithless. That’s not what Paul is saying. Paul is saying we don’t live necessarily only by the things that are right in front of us. In one of his books, Andrew Peterson makes the point, in a fictional way, he says that a character had his eyes opened, and he saw that the world was pulsing, as though there was life running through the world’s veins, and there was more going on than just what met the eye. And I think that’s a visible reminder of faith.
Pastor Keith: So what do you think? There’s something to sight? How would you place sight in our walk with Christ?
Jeff Mingee: Absolutely. I think sight is a key part of our walk with Christ. Paul talks about, “I pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened, that we might have sight.” He speaks of physical sight elsewhere. But like Kevin mentioned before we started, you read through the Bible and you see this word, “Behold.” See. You get to the end of the Bible and you read the book of Revelation and it’s one sight after another. That is meant to stir on their faith in difficult times.
Pastor Keith: Do you think maybe the Christian community for years has just thought about it one sided? Just faith only and not sight?
Jeff Mingee: Sure. There’s probably a likelihood to that.
Kevin Hass: I think there’s an over simplification that is common to all of us, that is that Hebrews 11 serves as the sole definition of faith, and that’s a mistake. It’s not that it doesn’t have a true aspect of faith. It’s that it doesn’t have a complete picture of faith. In the same way, Paul’s not saying that we should all walk around with blindfolds on. That’s not the opposite of sight is absence of sight. It’s talking about sight as a metaphor for knowledge. When we think about what it means to have faith, what we’re saying is – and the Greek is super helpful here. The root word that we have translated in English three different ways – trust, belief, and faith – all are the same root word in Greek. Not trying to get all Greek scholarly on us.
Jeff Mingee: No, this is helpful.
Kevin Hass: But when we think about what it means to have faith, we’re talking about trust. When we say the word confidence, we’re saying, “With faith.” Con, meaning with, and fide is the Latin word for faith. So our language is embedded with these ideas in our common everyday life, but they’re always talking about trusting a form of knowledge. So when the Hebrew author is saying that there is assurance, he’s speaking to certainty. And when he’s speaking to things unseen, he’s saying they have not yet happened.
And so as we understand biblical hope – see again, all these things are interwoven: faith, hope, trust. When we say hope biblically, we’re not talking about wishing. When we talk about hope, we’re talking about belief in advance. There’s a predictive element of what the future will bring. So when we say, “What is Christian hope?” It’s the certainty of what is to come, the rule of Christ, the removal of sin, that the cross covers our sin. There’s all these future moments that we live in light of. So when Paul says that the Christian life is to be lived by faith, what he’s saying is, we trust that the world works the way the Bible says; that God is true to His word; and that’s why the Christian can live differently, because he has a different source of knowledge.
And so that’s where the contrast happens. When we see something, we think we understand it. It’s a way to speak to knowledge. When we have faith, we believe something about that. And so people try to pit faith against science, and if you read the guys from 100 years ago, they laugh at that idea. Because science is faith, faith that somebody keeps these principles in order. Sorry, it spread so quickly in my mind.
Jeff Mingee: Well, there’s a confidence there, a confidence that what is seen and I can touch and I can measure it, it must be true.
Kevin Hass: Yeah, that I can observe it makes it more true than the things I can’t observe.
Jeff Mingee: Which is the scientific method – is meant to measure measurable things.
Kevin Hass: Yeah, but then you ask the science community – not to pit against science, but to say there is a false understanding that if we know how the big bang happened, we know how creation happened, we know all these things, and yet none of them were observed by any of us. So there’s a faith component to any sense of science just as there’s a scientific basis for what we talk about in faith. We’re talking about the witness of the first century Palestine. Right? So when we talk about these things, they quickly run and bleed into all these other ares. But when Paul is here in 2 Corinthians 5:7 saying, “For we walk by faith and not by sight,” he’s not against knowledge. He’s not against beholding. He’s not against the use of the your eyeballs or the touch of your hands. What he’s saying is we have a better source of understanding than our senses can provide. Not that our senses provide no insight or understanding, but rather that they’re incomplete.
Pastor Keith: My guess is that that’s going to really rock people’s world in a sense of, they probably have a – I don’t want to say thin, because that’s kind of demeaning, but that’s not the deep richness profound understanding that people have of walking by faith and not by sight. That’s super helpful.
Jeff Mingee: I think there’s a danger, at least in my own mind to think that walking by faith is just doing the best I can.
Kevin Hass: Right. Ooh, good, yes.
Jeff Mingee: And it’s not. There’s so much more. It’s walking with the Lord. It’s remembering, like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, that while I am at home in the body, I’m absent from the Lord. And my preference is to be with the Lord. And so there’s this tension, this unsettledness of faith. It’s not just, “Oh, I did the best I can.” No it’s a resolve that, like Kevin was saying, God is true to His Word. These things are true. There’s this confidence, which Paul, again, describes as good courage.
Pastor Keith: So respond to the cliché statement that has been around a long time, so heavenly minded that you’re not earthly good. What do you think about that?
Kevin Hass: I laugh at it. There’s no concept of Christianity embedded in that quip. Because the only earthy good that’s eternal, the only earthy good we can do that is eternally lasting is the stuff of God. Period.
Pastor Keith: Exactly right.
Kevin Hass: So what they’re trying to say is you’re not living in the scientific world, or usually what they mean is you’re not living in the physical world. And what all of us know, and I think COVID brings this to a head for us, is to say our physical livelihoods are interruptible. Our deep longing for something beyond familiar places, familiar routines is happening in the hearts of our people. There is this reality that there is – and probably our society would use the word mystical, a mystical relationship. We know it to be a spiritual relationship – that we as people are bodies and souls, and it is the soul crying out in COVID saying, “This is not enough.” Just living according to my bodily routines being interrupted brings out fear, brings out all these parts of who I am and what I’m thinking and what I need.
My teenage daughters cry just about every day. Now they’re pretty sensitive about this topic, because their souls long to be connected to the souls of the church. And in the absence of that, they can’t process who they are, what they’re called to do. So there is a living by faith that is stripped from us as believers and there’s an awakening happening in the hearts and minds of non-believers that are saying, “Wow, there’s more to life than this. There’s something in me that is crying out.”
Jeff Mingee: One of the things that Kevin draws out is that in these seasons of being unsettled and kind of taken in a different direction, we realize that we’re all living by faith, but some of us have been living by faith in the wrong object.
Kevin Hass: Boom.
Jeff Mingee: Right? Faith always has an object. It’s never –
Kevin Hass: Did you hear that? Jeff say that again.
Jeff Mingee: Faith always has an object and so it’s not just that I am a person of faith, it’s that my faith is in something or someone, as the Scriptures tell us. And so when I’m unsettled or when something leaves me wanting, I realize, “Oh, maybe I’ve put my faith in the wrong place.” So I think that’s an important element that Kevin is drawing out.
Pastor Keith: That’s a beautiful aspect of the COVID, of God’s grace to us, a silver lining if you will, of all that God is revealing to us about our own soul, what condition our soul is in, what we’re placing our faith in, what we have placed our faith in. Why do we struggle with fear? Why are we struggling with fear now when we weren’t earlier? Well, we’re not “in control” – air quotes. I’m thankful for that. I feel like I have grown spiritually so much through this COVID season. It’s been a personal revival for me. It’s been very different and challenging, but I’m so thankful for that. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re keeping score here, we started nearly 15 minutes ago and that was question one. [Laughter] Just a little humor for you podcast listeners. Thank you very much. I will not quit my day job.
Kevin Hass: You better not.
Pastor Keith: Yeah. All right, so my next question is – and I love this questions, because I can’t wait to hear you guys answer it. Who is at the origin of Christian faith and what is He like?
Kevin Hass: Sorry, say the question again.
Pastor Keith: Yeah. Who is at the origin of faith and what is He like?
Kevin Hass: It’s the God who created all things out of nothing and who sustains all life at His good pleasure. The origin of faith is not found in our ability to trust what we can’t see. The origin of faith is given. I mean, the New Testament couldn’t be clearer that faith is given. Repentance is granted to His people by the movement of the Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ – the righteous life, the atoning death, the victorious resurrection – to the particular believer. So it’s that living union we have with Christ that makes us alive in a way that we weren’t alive before – Ephesians 2. Paul’s inventing words in Ephesians 2:5 and 6 and 7 to talk about being raised together with Christ, being seated together with Christ, that there is this action that is initiated by God and given to God’s people that produces all that is necessary for us to be in relationship with Him. So when we think about that authorship of faith, it is the authorship of eternal life. That’s what we’re talking about.
Jeff Mingee: So I think, if what Kevin says is true, and it is and I agree, then it’s important for me to remember that I am not at the center or the origin of my faith. It didn’t come from me. It wasn’t produced by me. Now, I believe, right, but it is a gift.
Pastor Keith: You think that’s an Arminian position?
Jeff Mingee: I think that’s part of it, but I think, like Kevin said, as you look at the Scriptures, it’s very clear faith is a gift.
Pastor Keith: Oh, 100 percent clear.
Jeff Mingee: It’s received. It’s not just self-generated. We don’t just work it up in ourselves. We don’t argue ourselves into it. It is a gift. Jesus said to Matthew, “Who do you say that” – or Jesus said to Peter, “Who do you say that I am? Blessed are you, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” And so I think that’s an encouragement, because it means when I find weak faith in myself, I’m reminded, “Oh, but it was never contingent on me anyway.”
Kevin Hass: And that’s the center point that Paul’s driving to, is that your faith was given to you and the Christian life – and any time you see the word walk or walking in Paul’s letters, he’s talking about living the Christian life. That’s his shorthand.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, it is.
Kevin Hass: His shorthand for living the Christian life is walking these things out. So Ephesians 2, “For you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which the Lord prepared ahead of time that you should walk them out.” If you go to Ephesians 5, it opens with this idea of walking out your faith. That’s the controlling aspect. So in 2 Corinthians 5, when we’re talking about living by faith, he’s talking about faith as the move of God, trusting God. You don’t have to trust what your senses are telling you. You don’t have to trust the wisdom of the age or the philosophers.
How many times is Paul battling? Right? Go to Acts 17 and you’ll see Paul battling with the intellectual elite on Mars Hill, trying to say to them, in these wonderfully strategic ways, “You guys are worshiping things that are lesser. Let me share with you the knowledge that I have of who God is. It’s been revealed.” And some believe. And then he goes to Corinth, the opposite of the intellectual elite. Right? It’s a sailor port. It’s the red-light district in Amsterdam of his day. And he plants a church there, and it thrives.
Pastor Keith: Why do you think that people, they wouldn’t articulate it so initially, but some theologians and some Christians – we’re all theologians if we’re Christians, either good ones or weak ones – resist the, “We were once dead in our trespasses and sins.” Essentially God made us alive in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift of grace, Ephesians 2. Why do some folks push back on that? And like, “No, I came to that realization on my own. I came to faith on my own.” How can somebody see – how can they come to that conclusion, when the Bible doesn’t give any indication that that’s the case?
Jeff Mingee: Well, I think we have a natural tendency to overestimate how good we are and to underestimate how big God is. And so it doesn’t matter the topic, but we’re applying it to faith. But we always do this. So when it comes to the topic of faith, we’re naturally born into this thought process of, “I’m pretty good. In fact, I’m better than pretty good.” And so we apply that to faith, and we say, “Well, then it must have come from some of my goodness.” And as a result, we’re not going to share our glory with God, so, “God can’t be that good,” is what we say.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, it’s a man-centered view of soteriology.
Kevin Hass: And don’t be surprised. Of course that’s going to be where we start, because it’s where we start with everything. We’re the center. We’re the power. And that’s part of what the Christian life roots out of you is pride. But also there is – and this is where I think we can be heavy handed when we should be soft gloved. There is a genuine experience of the converted. So if you’re a teenager, if you’re 20, if you’re 50, 80, and you convert to Christianity, because God does this thing in you, your experience of that is deeply personal, and so your experience is, “I prayed.”
Pastor Keith: You attribute it to yourself.
Kevin Hass: “I grabbed hold of Christ. I wanted in that moment this thing that I’d never wanted before. So I remember choosing it.” And that’s where we as pastors say, “Well, actually, there’s this great glorious news, that you chose this because God first regenerated.” So the Calvinistic-Arminian debate is done over which came first, regeneration or faith. And so we should not be – we should be heavy handed with teachers who are teaching false things. We should be soft gloved with our people who understand, “I experience this as me doing something.” And then undercut that with, “Well, actually there’s this greater news.”
Jeff Mingee: I think it’s helpful to read – if you want to get familiar with this, read Paul’s description of his own salvation in 1 Timothy 1:12-17, and just the God-centeredness of the language that he uses.
Pastor Keith: It comes back to people’s understanding of the Word. I mean, if you read God’s Word, even when you have an experience later in life, come back to the Word, it tells you exactly. The five points of Calvinism, that’s another whole podcast, but the limited atonement one, I have some questions about that. But the other four points seem super clear to me.
Jeff Mingee: I think it’s helpful to ask the question who is the hero of my faith, and it’s never me. It’s never me.
Kevin Hass: Machen does a masterful work of this in his book What is Faith? And I highly recommend it. It’s a little academic in its tone and nature, but it’s super pastoral. And the thing that he draws out is, if you obtain something by faith, it’s another way of saying, you request someone else to get it for you. No one can say, “I got this for myself,” if it’s by faith. It’s the way of talking about someone else being at the trusted center of it. So when we walk by faith, we live the Christian life by faith, part of what we’re saying then is not, “I did this.”
Pastor Keith: Yeah, exactly right.
Kevin Hass: It’s the confession, “I didn’t do this and I needed Him to do it.”
Pastor Keith: It requires humility.
Kevin Hass: It does. At the very center, it’s anti-pride.
Pastor Keith: Exactly right.
Jeff Mingee: “When I was dead in my transgressions.”
Kevin Hass: Which is another way of saying I was Lazarus in the tomb.
Jeff Mingee: Right. Beautiful picture.
Kevin Hass: Rotting. I’m like, what do you expect from a corpse –
Pastor Keith: A hundred percent right.
Kevin Hass: – as a response. Nothing but decay is in his abilities. And then God commands something that He then has to give power to, and that’s origin is not found in the corpse. It’s origin is found in the call.
Pastor Keith: Amen.
Kevin Hass: And Jesus gives faith, and that’s why Lazarus can walk out of the grave. And Paul says that’s what our spiritual life looks like.
Jeff Mingee: Which is a much better picture than the ones we often use to describe people coming to faith. It is not somebody throwing you a life raft while you’re treading water in the ocean. You’re on the bottom of the ocean. It’s a totally different picture.
Kevin Hass: I’ve heard people say that non-Christians are dying. And I’m like, “No, they’re dead.” And it can be a discouragement to people who begin sharing their faith. Because they’re like, “Why isn’t anybody grabbing hold of the life preserver? Why isn’t anybody wanting the parachute? They’re fully capable of grabbing the parachute.” And it’s like, “No, no, no. Don’t confuse opportunity with capacity.” That’s a mistake, to think that everybody who’s presented the gospel has a capacity to just chose differently. And God has to first do that thing in them. That’s why Calvin called it Spirit-worked faith. The Holy Spirit had worked in the hearts of his people to bring about faith.
Pastor Keith: Which then fosters such a heart of gratitude that a holy God would save a sinner like me. It radically changes how you view everything in Christian worship. So after regeneration – we’ve really touched on a lot of this. Anything else you’d want to say about – some folks might think after regeneration, we don’t have to worry ourselves with faith, because we’ve trusted in God and that’s kind of done. We can go live our life. But what does faith mean for a 48-year-old that’s maybe working for the county, faithful church-attender Christian? What does faith mean to that person?
Jeff Mingee: You’re right, we’ve covered – at least laid the ground work for the fact that saving faith is a gift. Right? Faith is a gift and it saves. Now we’re asking the question, then what? And it sustains. We walk by faith, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5. And so he’s not changing the conversation, but he’s clarifying the next steps. “So now here what it’s like to walk in light of that. And knowing that one day all of the promises will be seen and touched and felt and grabbed,” so I think faith matters to that 48-year-old or that 22-year-old or wherever that person may be.
Kevin Hass: Or that 12-year-old.
Jeff Mingee: Or that 12-year-old, yeah. Okay, I’ve come to faith, and now what is the invitation God has given to me? But to walk by faith with every step.
Pastor Keith: And we can do that with confidence that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
Kevin Hass: Confidence – con fide – with faith. And so that’s where Hebrews 11 not just that start of a understanding in the beginning, but you see this roll call of faith happening and all these people are doing all these things. Faith is active. And so if saving faith is true faith, then it’s also a persevering faith. And so for the 48-year-old or the 88-year-old, faith, when it’s real, perseveres. And what’s persevering is your trust in God. Not a god or some god or the mystical personal universe. You’re talking about Christ. You’re talking about not just the rich theology of our faith, but the Person who shows us those things. God is self-revealing, and in that sense, that’s where our faith is tied to, the God who has made Himself known.
And so the two pitfalls to avoid in this walking out of faith is recklessness on the one hand and inaction on the other. I’ve got a history working with college students, and so I think a lot about young people transitioning into adulthood. That’s one of my primary focuses in ministry and in life, young couples getting married, starting families, that kind of thing. And I see people paralyzed in inaction, because they think, “I want to walk by faith, but I don’t know what that looks like. So until I know what that looks like, I’m not going to do anything. I’m not going to make any decisions until I hear the voice of God,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Jeff Mingee: Which is itself an act of faith.
Kevin Hass: Totally.
Pastor Keith: What’s the first thing you tell them?
Kevin Hass: The first thing I say is, “God does not want you inactive.” Faith is active. It’s an active apprehension of the mind. It’s an active trust and delight of the heart, and it’s an active movement in your life. Your life should be different in function and in attitude because you are in Christ. And that union with Christ changes everything. That’s why you can see bold action among believers. Right? Hebrews 11 is full of people who are doing wild things. We hear about God being pleased with Abel’s offering. We hear God being pleased to move Abraham from the hometown that he grew up in to a new place that He would show him. And it’s by faith that Abraham did that. And so you go on and on and on through this roll call of faith, and what you’re seeing is activity, not inaction, not monastery living. And so I think the inaction is a danger that lots of young Christians fall into. The other one I hear is – oh, go ahead.
Pastor Keith: You mentioned the monastery. How would the monks there in the monastery, how would their life look different?
Kevin Hass: So part of it would be who they are, what they’re called to, and where they’re called to serve. And so there are monks who, in the history of Christendom have served well the surrounding community, been a missionary station. Right? You can go to Central or South America and see missionary monasteries, which in our culture seems like a contradiction in terms. But I think most of the time, we picture a bunch of people who are locked away holding silent vows, not speaking to anybody, not doing anything, but consuming themselves in their faith, rather than seeing that faith propel them to action, which I think is the dominant view of the New Testament.
Jeff Mingee: Faith is not an escapism.
Kevin Hass: Exactly. Thank you. You’re so good at saying it better, faster, clearer.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, you can really – concision. You’re really good at that as well. So do you think the monks, like the Benedictine monks, do you think they – how would I say this? – maybe haven’t fleshed out, they’re not doers of the Word?
Kevin Hass: Well, with one caveat. I think there are monasteries and groupings of monks who shame us in prayer. Their prayerfulness so overshadows everything else that there’s a wholly counterbalance for the people of God. But I think in general, that’s not what we aspire to. I think maybe that there are some people who are uniquely called to that, perhaps, but I don’t see that in the New Testament. I see that in the practical functioning of the church centuries later.
Pastor Keith: You know, I studied abroad in college, and we went to – I was in London for three weeks, and we visited all these cathedrals and some monasteries, and I’ve always been intrigued by that monastic life. And a part of me has longed for aspects of that, like how my soul would be – I would be so much closer to God in that deep feasting and stepping away from the world and just really draw near to God. Waking up at 4:00 and praying, a lot of that stuff, I’m like, “Oh, that’d be so wonderful.” But I’ve always had this tension in my mind, like, “Well, they’re ‘locked away'” – so to speak, air quotes – “and they’re not in the world, so how are they fleshing out the faith, the God that they’re pursuing?” There’s always been like a disconnect to me with that.
Kevin Hass: Yeah, I think the disconnect is the conviction of the Holy Spirit in you, if I’m pastoral. Look, I’m not trying to pick a fight with anybody’s beloved sister, aunt, grandmother. I’m not trying to ruin anybody’s personal life.
Pastor Keith: I mean, do we see monks now, like at monasteries?
Jeff Mingee: Oh, yes.
Kevin Hass: We see them, but I can’t point to one in the New Testament. Now maybe I just haven’t paid attention to it. It might be there. But I see Jesus’s very clear teaching to the Apostles that, “I have called you out of the world so that I can send you back into the world.” And He’s praying John 17, “Send them the way you sent me.” And it’s like – that’s what I see. And so I’m not trying to pick a fight towards anybody’s beloved friend or whatever, but when we think about the dominant view of Scripture, the dominant view of Scripture is very clear, that faith is active. And so inaction is a failure in that sense.
But also, the most popular way that we talk about faith within Christianity in the Western world is recklessness. I’m not going to prepare, not going to study. I’m just going to do it by faith, which is absolutely antithetical to everything the Bible is teaching about faith. Right? I mean, I know pastors who I’ve met – they’re not like good friends of mine or whatever – but I’ve known people who are like, “I have prepared a message –”
Pastor Keith: Hope he’s not looking at us, Jeff.
Jeff Mingee: Yeah.
Kevin Hass: I have my eyes closed. “I have prepared a message, but I’m going to throw it to the wind and I’m going to step in the Bible, and I’m just going to teach my people today. And I’m going to act on faith.” And I’m like, “Wouldn’t real faith trust that the Spirit is leading you on Tuesday the same way He’s leading you on Thursday, the same way He’s leading you on Saturday, to step into that moment?” It’s not that I’d never be willing to do that, but the kind of faith it takes to be reckless, I just don’t see that in the Scripture. And so not to pick too hard on my charismatic brethren, but there is a sense that there’s this opposite interaction between those who think and those who live by faith. And I’m like, that’s a false dilemma. It’s a false binary. You don’t have just two choices, one is science and thinking and the other is faith and floating through the world without thinking.
Pastor Keith: Well, and God’s Word is so tied to that. I mean, we have to study to know the revealed riches of Jesus Christ, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So we need to study the Word so our faith can be strengthened, and without that preparation or without that focused time on God’s Word, our faith starts to be in a special moment in a service with a cool synth pad that we feel the warm feeling in our bodies.
Kevin Hass: Which is just sensationalism. It’s experientialism. Yeah, so what does it mean to live by faith. It’s a big question. But part of what it means is to trust the Lord and act. But not act recklessly, act biblically, act in accordance with what He has said, and act in accordance believing the things He said true.
Pastor Keith: So you got a presupposition that’s running right here that I really want to nail down on, for folks to do that this week. Thinking about Jane Doe listening to this podcast this week and thinking, “Okay, I want to do that. How do I do that?” To me the assumed root that you’re talking about is we need to know God’s Word first and we need to keep coming back to God’s Word to know, “What does it say? How can I trust God? I need to know Him. In this area of my life, I need to follow that.” So can you speak to God’s Word in the daily life of somebody walking by faith?
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, I turn back to 2 Corinthians 5, and I just ask some pastoral diagnostic questions, 2 Corinthians chapter 5, beginning at verse 6. Am I aware that while I’m at home in the body, I’m away from the Lord? Am I aware of that tension, that I’m not there yet? Am I aware, verse 8, that I would rather be at home with the Lord, right, and absent from the body? Am I making it my aim to please Him, verse 9? Is that a constant goal that’s always before me? And then verse 10, am I aware that one day I will stand before the judgement seat of Christ? Is that weighing in on how I spend my life? Okay, well, then let me be of good courage and walk by faith. I think walking by faith is not worrying myself over the definition of walking by faith. I can get so lost in the intellectual pursuit that, like Kevin said, I become inactive. Well, no, let me do those things that I know. Let the clearer Scriptures guide me and let me take the next steps.
Pastor Keith: Those questions were really helpful. I’d love to write down those diagnostic questions and post them on our sight as we post this podcast. Those are really helpful.
Kevin Hass: He put out a Tweet or a Facebook post or something.
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, Facebook last night.
Kevin Hass: Where he’s got it line by line [crosstalk].
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, just walking through that.
Kevin Hass: So encouraging. So we can give you that.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, Jeff Mingee. You can find him on social media. Yeah, check that post out.
Kevin Hass: For sure. I think one of the things we can do is look to our brothers in China, our brothers and sisters in China, right now, who are in one of the most severe seasons of persecution in modern time. And we can say, “How are they prepared for this? How are they living this out?” But one of the reactions to that – there’s a Chinese pastor that I love, whose name I can’t remember fully, but I’ll give it to you if you want, who spent three years preparing his people for a coming persecution, because he knew that the church was about to get hammerlocked in China. And if you read his prayers, if you listen to the translations of some of his sermons, the overwhelming theme is, “Not my will, but yours be done.” It’s Jesus’ cry in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
Pastor Keith: Yeah, John 17.
Kevin Hass: Not My will, but Yours be done. So what does it look like for us? I think sometimes we get lost in this grandiosity of a single action. “Oh, I want to sell everything and go across the world and I’m going to do this grandiose thing.” And then you get there and you’re like, “I don’t know how to do this ministry. Nobody’s prepared me. I don’t speak the language.” And it’s not that God has never used that. I think there are times where God has called people to that in the history of the church, and we read their biographies. And it’s good to read their biographies. But the norm of Christian living is ordinary, everyday choices.
But one of the dangers in saying living by faith is tied to the Word of God – of course that’s true – but sometimes what young people hear, or less mature people hear is, “Until I have a seminary level understanding of the Bible, none of it applies to me.” And we are not saying that. We’re desperately saying the opposite of that. We’re saying do the ordinary work of reading the Bible every day, seven minutes, fifteen minute, twenty minutes, half an hour. And you have that time. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that you have that time. But also your need to get in touch with not the Bible but the God of the Bible, the God who speaks the Bible to you. Do you find yourself afraid? Draw near to Scripture in order to hear God’s voice. Do you find yourself overwhelmed? Great. Drink deeply from the cup of faith found in Scripture. Take ourselves –
Pastor Keith: That’s how we know the God of the Bible.
Kevin Hass: How else? And that is an act of faith. To discipline yourself, to read and study and pray and think, and do all the things your pastors have been telling for all these years, to take them seriously will bear fruit in due season. And not all the time, and we’re such a microwave world.
Jeff Mingee: I would venture to guess that the majority of great acts of faith, are small acts that we’ll never hear about done by unknown people that we’ll never hear of. Nonetheless, it is an act of faith. The act of faith that is overlooked by the entire world is seen by God, is delighted in by God. So I think that’s important to remember.
Kevin Hass: There’s a moment of faith that I love in Mark 9. And we’ll probably do a whole podcast on this maybe at some point. There’s a father, who is unnamed, dealing with a son possessed by a demon, also unnamed in Mark 9. And the question is, what does faith look like in that situation? And so here’s my little teaser. Maybe another time we’ll get into it. But acts of faith are ordinary, exactly as Jeff is saying, done by unknown people. How many unknown people are in the Bible, heralded? Right? Hemorrhaging woman, do you know her name? I don’t know her name. I know her act of faithfulness. I know her trusting that Jesus was the healer that no other healer had ever been able to do what He did in the touch of His cloak. These are incredible moments of faith, but they’re not the everyday ordinary ones that Paul’s talking.
Pastor Keith: We tend to look at people that are out there doing celebrity-type Christian stuff as, “Oh, they really got the faith, because they’re working,” and it’s the everyday life. A couple final questions, lightening round, because we’re coming to the end of this wonderful episode. It’s super helpful. Name two books that you might recommend for somebody to read on maybe the origin of saving faith, maybe from the Reformed tradition.
Jeff Mingee: I think I would go – What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert. Little black book on the content of our faith. And then Conversion, which is another little book in the 9Marks series – I think it’s by Michael Lawrence – but is on the act of saving faith.
Pastor Keith: Crossway – you can find those books at Crossway or go to 9Marks Ministry, Mark Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist.
Kevin Hass: I think I’ve plugged this book every single time I’ve done this podcast. I feel a little sheepish. But Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. The first half is focused on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity and the work that He has accomplished for us.
Pastor Keith: Is that obtainable by a laity?
Kevin Hass: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I’m not sure a 12-year-old could dive into it, but you might have to have a dictionary next to you occasionally. But I definitely think it’s approachable, and I do it all the time with college kids. And then the second half of it is –
Jeff Mingee: It’s on my desk right now, Redemption Accomplished and Applied.
Kevin Hass: So that second half focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about saving faith. And so if you’re going to narrow your discussion into that thought, that’s where I would go theologically, to be grounded in what the New Testament says about it.
Pastor Keith: That’s fantastic. Listeners, if you get those resources, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you’re reading, what you’re thinking as you hear this helpful podcast. I want to ask you, do you have a favorite song that maybe – or a hymn, anything Colossians 3:16, psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, that has been an encouragement to you in your walk with Christ? Doesn’t necessarily have to be a song with faith in the title.
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, a couple come to mind just real quick. Anything by Andrew Peterson helps stir my faith, helps me see the world in a more God-oriented way. He Leadeth Me, the old hymn.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, “O blessed thought” –
Jeff Mingee: Yeah, just a helpful thought. I had the privilege of going and training church planters in Hawaii one season, and I walked up the stairs into the kind of attic room where we were training them, and they were singing that hymn. So just since then, that hymn has stuck to me in a powerful way. The other one that jumps out is there’s a song called By Faith by the Gettys, which is just a strong picture of Hebrews 11 and the life of faith.
Pastor Keith: You know, that is an excellent song by the Gettys, By Faith, and it doesn’t get as much airtime play, not only in their – just in general. I come across – I have that song in Planning Center, like, “I need to use that song more,” and then I think, “Well, I’m the guy that can make that happen.”
Jeff Mingee: I know a guy.
Pastor Keith: I know a guy. That’s a really great song, By Faith, Keith and Kristyn Getty.
Kevin Hass: I think the two that I would focus on, Isaac Watts has a hymn called Thy Mercy, My God, “Is the theme of my song.”
Pastor Keith: Did Indelible Grace do that? [singing] “My mercy, my God is the theme of my song.”
Jeff Mingee: Caedmon’s Call years ago.
Kevin Hass: For real. And that’s how I was introduced to it was through Caedmon’s Call and Indelible Grace and that Kevin Twit partnership. The other one is I think cheesy to some, but my wife and I live on this song, and it’s Give Me Jesus. “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.” And it just walks through different seasons of life, and every time I find myself in those seasons, that’s the cry of my heart is, “Have mercy on me and give me Jesus.” What does it mean for me to walk by faith today? It’s, “Have mercy on me, oh Lord, and give me You.” What do I long for more than Him? It’s an idol. The thing that I need most is Him, is His life infecting and overflowing in me. That’s what I long for. And so those two songs and the interplay between them are very foundational in my devotion.
Pastor Keith: Amen to that.
Jeff Mingee: What’s the Rich Mullins song, Bound to Come Some Trouble?
Kevin Hass: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jeff Mingee: He talks about faith in trouble, yeah.
Kevin Hass: Yeah, and that trouble is not our enemy. Not trusting Christ is our enemy.
Pastor Keith: That Give Me Jesus, I’ve been thinking about using that on a Doxology Session. If you want to listen to a really beautiful arrangement of that, it is Fernando Ortega’s Give Me Jesus. Man, that is so good. He has a humility about his singing and sharing his musical gift that is super-duper encouraging.
Kevin Hass: Small shout out to my wife. That’s her favorite offertory. When offertory comes up every few years, she will sing that song. And she has never once made it through the whole performance without tears, that’s how central it is to us.
Pastor Keith: We need to do that on Doxology Session. I want to make sure and ask this question by one of our Haitian missionaries. Pastor Picot, if you’re listening, and I think you are as you have told me. He wrote in on social media, “Does reason” – his English. “Should reason be neglected in the life of a Christian?” In other words, do we need sight working by faith or not? I think we’ve talked about that aspect. Anything last that you would say about that?
Jeff Mingee: We did, yeah. Like Kevin mentioned earlier, no, faith is not blind, and it’s not putting a blindfold on and wandering through life. It’s not recklessness. So reason very much plays a part. I think the biblical word we might use is wisdom. Wisdom – read the book of Proverbs – works faith out.
Pastor Keith: Yeah, amen. Well thank you, brothers, for being on this episode. Always, always edifying and really, really grateful for that. Thank you listeners for joining this episode on Doxology Matters where we talked about living by faith and not by sight. Please subscribe to our podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcast. Join the conversation. Check us out on the web, bbcyorktown.org/doxologymatters, or if you’re on Facebook, Worship Arts Ministry 757 or Bethel Baptist Church, you can find these resources and much more. Thanks for listening.