Acts 17:11 Archives

Faith vs. Presumption

An email excerpt written by Dean VanDruff attempting to differentiate between mere belief, presumption and faith.

Belief is a component of faith, but not necessarily faith. One can believe a lie, for example. Or, more to our point here, one can presumptuously apply the truth to oneself without God's sanction.

For a gripping example of this...

Deut 1:6,8 (NIV) The Lord our God said to us... "See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give."

And the Israelis liked this word. They all patted themselves on the back that God had spoken to them. What a thrill and compliment and honor.

The trouble is they did not enter into it.

Mat 11:17 (NIV) [Jesus] "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn."

Eze 33:31-33 (NAS) "They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. So when it comes to pass--as surely it will--then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst."

The problem was a lack of faith. They may have liked the music or the event of the religious experience, but they did not respond to it in the way intended.

Deut 1:25-26 (NIV) ..."It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us." But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God.

Then, later, (and this is the point) a few presumptuous, gung ho people finally came around to God's command--a day late (Heb 3:13) and a dollar short--and decided it was high time to "Take God at His word"! But either they were not aware of His "full council", or they were deliberately and presumptively taking only what fit their religious or macho human energies. (Heb 3:11)

In short, they decided to "Go up and take the land"... but God was not telling them to do this. Thus, it was not faith, but just another form of rebellion. God dealt with this with some severity. (Heb 4:1-3,10)

Remember, let us keep firmly in view that these presumptuous people are doing what God said to do. Only they are not doing it by "faith", as they are choosing one "word" of God over another, choosing to ignore the full council of the Lord. They are acting as if the Word of God were somehow detached from the timing of God, even detached and somehow separate from God Himself. It can be played with, sort of like a tinker-toy set--abstract and erudite and to be snatched at will like a bauble.

Let us jump into the Scripture. Remember, the Lord their God has commanded them to "go up", right?

Deut 1:41-45 (NIV) Then you replied, "We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us." So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the Lord said to me, "Tell them, 'Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.'" So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord's command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. You came back and wept before the Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you.

So, we can see that it is not enough to "have a scripture" that endorses what we want to do. Consider that Satan "has a scripture" in nearly every case he directly tempts in the Bible. Should we expect any different now?

If you think I am over-emphasising the urgency of believing God's word in His timing, then I suggest you consider the appeal made in Hebrews 3:7-4:14. For there is a clearly a window of faith. If God is speaking to us presently, let us access the moment of opportunity... lest it pass us by and leave judgment in its wake.

Heb 6:9 (NAS) But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

One more thought here: Faith can no more be "blind" than love can be hateful: the one precludes the other. To have faith we must know God's will. Our ears and eyes must be open to the Word of God or faith is not even an option.

Isa 55:6 (NAS) Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.

Abraham had a very good reason to believe. It was not "belief" that was self generated or appropriated. It was not "blind", it was based on God's sure word spoken to Him. The only sense in which Abraham's faith was "blind" is that he had to turn his eye from his carnal nature which recoiled against the outrageous promise of God--and we can learn from this. Faith often requires death to self--even if of laughing at the promise--not "action" as is popularly supposed. Faith may at times require us to do nothing, like Jesus on the cross.

Rev 14:12 (KJV) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Heb 4:10-11 (NAS) For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

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