Why do things never seem to change? Why is it that we are witnessing and experiencing a lawless, destructive system of darkness? Certainly, knowing and understanding God’s ordained remedies outlined within Scripture gives us an indispensable road map to help create a transformation and reverse the present course of this darkness. Many families have already begun to take action, altering their course and separating from this ungodly system as best as they can. But the encroachment of destruction continues unabated and portends to engulf us all. What’s wrong? What’s missing? May I suggest the answer begins with faith.
Examples of Faith
It seems simple enough, but let me explain. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the assurance and conviction of the unseen. Faith is a gift from God that gives us the ability to perceive the unseen. Hebrews 11, as many of you are aware, is a list of notable men and women who believed in God’s promises and obeyed. Abraham, for example, endured in righteous faith before God with the promise of a future “city which has foundations whose architect and builder is God” (v. 10). All the unconditional covenant promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not yet visible, but were believed on “regarding things to come” (v. 20). For them, the unseen and not yet visible were apprehended as a future reality by faith despite their contrary, visible circumstances. Their faith saw through the veil of this earthly existence to a greater reality. These Old Testament saints “did not receive what was promised” (v. 39) because, for them, they understood it was to be fulfilled for them and their descendants at a later time in history.
The author of Hebrews then, in the same context, contrasts those heroic Old Testament saints with the first advent of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant era of the first century: “God had provided something better for us…” (v. 40). Indeed, it was the example of the Christ and His death and resurrection that He became “the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2) for the Christians of the first century.
The gospel accounts reveal how Jesus our Lord demonstrated time and time again many varied authenticating signs and wonders of the good news of the Kingdom. I believe He was operating fully in the reality of the Kingdom of God by the power of the Spirit. He cast our demons, healed the sick and infirmed, fed multitudes with a few loaves and calmed storms. Nothing was impossible for Him.
Such was the faith that the original disciples witnessed and they learned to operate in as well. There were times they struggled to believe. Do you recall when Jesus bid Peter to walk on water that he did – until He took His eyes off of his Master and looked around him. His faith turned to fear because of what he saw and his physical reality overcame the reality of Kingdom power. “But seeing the wind, he became frightened…” and Jesus responded to save him and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-31). Peter, and all the rest of the disciples, were learning and growing in a faith that saw beyond the circumstances of life.
The Christian Israelite believers of the first century were learning about faith, too. Again, Hebrews plainly told them about the reality of the Kingdom as the foundation of their faith:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” – Hebrews 12:22-24
And they were receiving “ a Kingdom which cannot be shaken…” (v. 28). The Christian believers and the perfected unseen Kingdom of God were in the process of meeting together – back in the first century! Hebrews 12:22-24 describes the present greater reality which began after the resurrection! These faithful saints were given a picture of the greater reality that was theirs to access. All around them were all the saints who had died before and the church assembly and angels and, of course, King Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.
As Jesus already returned in AD 70, that Kingdom is established and ready to be manifested – now. Even if you believe differently, and think He is yet to come in the future, is it possible for you to see what the Hebrew Christians were taught in the first century? Can we have Kingdom faith that sees into and operates in the power and presence of the rule and reign of God now? Even the first century Christians “tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5). Would you agree that we can, at least, also experience something of “the powers” of the Kingdom?
Faith in Action
Can the seemingly impossible circumstances we are witnessing today in our nations be changed and transformed? Yes, I do believe that. But let’s start on a small scale and begin to learn how we can see beyond our personal situations, for example, into making the Kingdom of God reality. What comes to your mind right now? What is the most negative, adverse circumstance you are facing? A relationship issue? Money? A personal problem you can’t seem to overcome?
And what may be blocking the Living God from transforming whatever you are dealing with? Do you need to repent of sin? Ask forgiveness? Obey a command of God? What?
Ask God to reveal it to you and start training yourself to live with a sanctified imagination of seeing what the Kingdom reality is and can be for you. That is this faith and a gift of seeing.
Lawrence Blanchard, ND, MDiv