ESV - 2 Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
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Man has free will. A certain rich man celebrated his birthday and posted an open everyone in the village. One wise kid said yes and joined the party, while another foolish kid chose to remain at the gate and stay away from the party. I tell you, there is suffering in the foolish kid's heart when he hears the fun and laughter from the party he chose to stay away from. The same way, Heaven is made available for us by Jesus. It is an open invitation. We have a choice to join or stay away. He will not bring us in kicking and screaming.
In Heb. 12:1-2 Jesus is referred as the author and finisher of our faith because salvation by faith came through him. He also showed us what it means to live by faith. It was faith that made it possible for him to do the will of God even when it meant shame, pain, Surfering to the point of death, because he saw the invincible.....the joy that was set before him. Faith is connecting with what we cannot see. If we must do the will of God, no matter the cost, even to the point of death, then we must 'see' the hope of our calling.
Heb 12:2 tells us that Jesus Himself is the "pioneer and perfecter of faith". 'Perfecter' of faith, in the context of Heb 12:1-13, is how our faith is refined through trials and discipline. Because it is Jesus who refines our faith, we then can endure anything for the Joy set before us. Paul lists many things we can do as we focus on our Hope in Christ; throw off what hinders, run, consider Him, resist sin, endure hardship as discipline, strengthen our feeble arms, make level paths, etc. Jesus is also the 'pioneer' of our faith; this is the greek 'archégos' - it means 'the first in a long procession'; the founder of a movement or a file-leader. Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:28-30), and through Him we receive the promise of the Spirit (Gal 3:13-14). Faith is the firm persuasion that Jesus is who He claims, that He has the authority to forgive sins, that He did die on the cross, etc. Without Jesus, there would not be saving Faith! Faith is the assurance of what we hope for; Jesus gave us this joy when He rose from the grave, becoming the firstborn among many brethren. "In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters" Heb 2:10-12 Heb 5:7-10 focuses back on the aspect of Jesus enduring great suffering in order to become the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Here the word is not archégos, but rather 'aitios'. This term means cause or source. "Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect (finished), he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him". Salvation has its source in Christ (Rom 10:13-17), but someone cannot have faith if they never hear the Word about Christ. They must hear, and they must call upon the Lord, and then they will be saved. Again, hearing and obeying! Jesus being 'the pioneer and finisher of our faith' means that everything needed for faith is given to us in Christ, and that with our eyes fixed on Christ, that faith is continually refined/finished. Just as Jesus, though 'perfect', was still finished by the Father as He practiced obedience; so we, though counted 'perfect' for the sake of Christ, are still refined and finished by God as we stand firm in our faith and practice obedience through trials. Heb 11; the 'faith' chapter, takes us on a journey examining faith throughout scripture. Of great importance is the last sentence: "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect". Heb 11:39-40 This perfection is a process, such as going through a refiners fire. For someone perfect like Jesus, each trial just proves His purity. For us, continual refinement as we walk by the spirit puts to death the deeds of the flesh. Gal 5:13-26, II Pet 1:3-11, Rom 1. Let us then continually reflect upon Jesus as the founder of our faith, continually walk by the Spirit in relationship with Jesus Christ, and continually continually look forward to the Hope we have in Christ as we go through the trials of life. This concept of Jesus as founder and finisher is not just abstract theology, but full of practical comfort when we face seemingly impossible trials. (Phil 2:1-18, Eph 6:10-20, etc). "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be perfect and complete, not lacking anything". James 1:2-4
I agree that we have the free will to choose anything we WANT, but the operative term is "ANYTHING WE WANT". Unless someone is forced or tricked, I'm sure we can all agree that no one chooses anything they DON'T want, anything that is not beneficial to them. Why would anyone think something is not beneficial to them? I would say it's because either they don't know what it is, they don't understand it...or after having understood it they decide they don't want it. So why would anyone not want eternal life in Paradise? Wouldn't that be beneficial to everyone? As to choosing to believe in Christ, I believe you have to be "able" to understand the Gospel message before you decide you will believe it. No one chooses anything they don't understand. And in order to believe in something we first need to understand it. 1 Cor 2:8 thru 14 tells us that if God does not impart his Spirit to a person they will not know God and the wonderful things he has freely given us.(v:12) Paul tells us that if those that crucified Jesus had understood his message, they would not have crucified him! 1Cr 2:8 NLT - But the rulers of this world HAVE NOT UNDERSTOOD it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 1Cr 2:14 NIV-The person WITHOUT the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and CANNOT UNDERSTAND them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person without the Spirit of God does not know God nor can he/she SEE him... Jhn 14:17 NIV-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither SEES him nor KNOWS him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. The only way anyone can believe and be saved is by the Lord opening our eyes, hearts and minds thus enabling us to understand the Gospel. Psa 119:18 NIV-Open my EYES that I may see wonderful things in your law. Act 16:14 NIV-One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her HEART to respond to Paul's message. Luk 24:31 NLT-Suddenly, their EYES were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luk 24:45 NIV-Then he opened their MINDS so they could understand the Scriptures. Paul says he was sent. Act 26:18 NIV - to OPEN THEIR EYES and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' Jesus himself said, Jhn 9:39 NLT-Then Jesus told him, "I entered this world to render judgment--to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind." So you have to have the Spirit breathed in you in order to understand and thus believe... Jhn 20:22 NLT-Then he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 1Cr 2:10 NLT-But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. No matter how much we want to believe we start the process, when we whittle it down we see it's God that draws and enables us to come to him... Jhn 6:44 NLT - For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. Jhn 6:65 NIV-He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them." I believe people still cling to the notion that they have a deciding factor in their faith simply because of their pride! Psa 10:4 NIV - In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God Pro 11:2 NIV - When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom Isa 2:11 NIV - The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day All Glory and Praise to the one that deserves it, my Heavenly Father! None for me
In Hebrews 12:2 Jesus is also referred to as; the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. That we should look to Him if we are to start and maintain the Faith, to the very end. The Faith is Christianity. It only has its origin in Jesus (CHRIST) and the process to and the crucifixion. It is called so after the title of CHRIST. Meaning those who choose to accept and follow in His footsteps are given the term Christians (Acts 11:26). They seek to be like Him, to take on His character with the fact and belief that He was/is perfect and therefore to be followed to the dot. Who else should have been if it is not for Christ? Could another person’s sacrifice be as perfect? Was Jesus simply appointed? Does He live up to the Title; Author and Finisher of our Faith? What is special about the sacrifice that Jesus offered which is not in other sacrifices? Why is it said to be perfectly acceptable a sacrifice? For the Bible to say; we should look to Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our Faith means only Jesus was assigned to make us acceptable to the Father. Equally so, we can only remain proclaiming to be Christians if we do not cease to look to Him. The energy, the love, the commitment, the passion and the faith to begin to be Christians and to seek to remain so, to the very end, is solely derived from Jesus and all that is about Him. When we cease to look to Him, we surely lose in all that makes us Christians. Why? For Jesus to assume the title of Author and Perfecter of our Faith He had had to undergo a drilling and approval journey by the Father and the Host of heaven, and of men. In (Mat 4:1-11) Jesus was tempted by the devil and overcame him, and in (Mat 27), He died a shameful death on the cross. He did not retaliate in anyway; neither did He seek any revenge. He kept Himself to the mission. He excellently passed all the drills. We therefore do not just wishfully follow after Him; He surely gives us reason to do so. In the same spirit, as followers of Jesus, we should expect to be tested of the same, if we are to be approved as so. But if we cease to look to Him, we surely lose in all strength. For much as we are Christians, there is a process to be refined (Matthew 16:24-26). Yet because we are looking to Christ who overcame, we stand assured to overcome (John 16:33). There is only one established foundation, and that is the only one set by Jesus (1Cor 3:11). And if that is so, who else should the Church look to for guidance and perfection? That no body else could have ever been as perfect, and that no one could have ever offered his life for others, presents us with no option but Christ (John 11:50-52). On that then, only Jesus ought to have died, and only Him ought to have been accepted. For no one else could have ever opened the seals, only the slain lamb could have. Only the man called Jesus could (Rev 5:1-5). No one then who looks to Jesus as the Author and Perfecter of their faith can go wrong. For you may seem to have the space to choose either way, but stand informed that victory is only assured in Christ. Neither does Jesus simply wish to be taken in that perspective; for He indeed paid the entire price. We choose to follow and keep with Jesus for sound reasons. For we all come from elsewhere. No one else knows what Heaven is except Christ. On that then, what Jesus tells us of what the Father loves us to do is exactly what it is (John 8:23). But He also died, and He therefore knows what it is beneath (Matthew 27:32-56). Yet He rose from the dead (Mark 16), (Luke 24). Jesus is alive. Isn't even just prudent to keep looking to such a person? Jesus is the cornerstone of all those who love to not only be called Christians, but those who love to meet the Father (Matthew 21:42), (Acts 4:11). Without Jesus, any house surely collapses. Any true Christian can only love to and can only build an everlasting house by keeping to Jesus. He is surely the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. The only man to ever live without any sin.
Let's use a simple analogy (simple is good for me considering I am simple minded). My wife and I have two dogs, a Beagle and Jack Russel who enjoy the free run of a 1/4 acre fenced in area including a three stall enclosure my wife calls her "puppy palace". These dogs can run, play, chase squirrels, dig, fight and sleep where they wish, it is entirely up to them. There is one catch; all of their activities are confined to the fenced area. Only if we open the door do the dogs realize there is another world outside the confines of their "little world". I can accurately and honestly state that these dogs have "free will" (within their confinement). The unsaved, the lost individual also has free will yet this will is confined to a world of sin and spiritual blindness. Only upon the Holy Spirit opening the door of his spiritual understanding does he realize his condition. Upon being "quickened" and having obtained this knowledge, Christ and the salvation he provides is the obvious and only choice. (Ephesians 1:8). Speaking of the Holy Spirit's advent Christ stated in John 16:8 "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" The word reprove basically means to convict so we see that the Spirit is the one who is doing the convicting, not our humanity. I can go with the "free will" concept up to a point yet it is not totally free but limited. Paul stated of the Jews in Romans 10:2-3 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." The Jews described in the verse above were definitely operating according to their "free will", yet were totally ignorant to spiritual things. There go we all but for the grace of God.
In my view the story of the flood is quite helpful. For 120 years God through His servant Noah warned people about the coming flood. He ordered Noah to build a large vessel to accomodate ALL those who would believe the message. I am sure Noah was a very powerful preacher, very persuasive (he managed to get skilled artisans to build the ark). His sermons must have been earth shaking. But alas despite 120 years of persuasion, none of them were willing to come aboard. Noah did everything for them but there was one thing Noah could not do for them, force them onto the ark. That is the object lesson about our free will choice. Jesus said in My Father's house are many rooms. This means God has made provision for everybody, but He cannot force us to enter. We have a choice to be saved or not. Salvation is very simple, Yes or No! In Noah's Ark there were many empty rooms, while the people perished out there. I am sure when they were drowning they said to themselves we rejected Noah's invitation, we have no one to blame but our selves! So it will be at the end of time. No one will blame God for being lost, they will admit that God's judgment is just and fair. In conclusion, we have a big part to play in our salvation. Accept Jesus as our saviour and then surrender oursleves to His will. Unfortunately human nature refuses to accept anything for free. We still think we must make ourselves acceptable to God first before we come Him. Yet He wants us as we are. It does not matter how big your sins are they will be forgiven. You will be treated as if you never sinned in your life. To stay that way you need to surrender yourself and live in Him evry second of your life.
Here is a good definition of what it means to author: someone who originates or causes or initiates something. God is the author of our faith, so this means that faith begins with Him; He causes or initiates faith within us. He also perfects it over time. Concerning free will: we do have free will in the sense that we can choose from what toilet boil to drink, but without the work of the Holy Spirit (initiating faith), man is incapable of choosing God. Romans 8:6-8 For the mind of the flesh is death: but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. It is stated abundantly clear here; with our fleshly minds, we are not subject to God's laws and we cannot be. We cannot please Him. So, if the Holy Spirit does not perform a great work in our flesh, we will never choose God.
To understand this verse, let us examine the original Greek translation from the verse, get the other English rendering of the words in question, parallel that with other writings of Paul for context and then get through the historic effectivity of what has happened on our "way to salvation"(Jn. 14:6). Heb. 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author (archegos) and finisher (teleiotes) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." The English translation "author" connotes "originator" and may not be accurate. It appears that the essence of "archegos" may actually be the "beginner" and not with connotation as an "author". "Author" comes from Greek word "archegos" which also means chief leader; one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer. While the Son started it, a well-established truth is that it was the Father who planned all and the Son that executes the plan. This truth is proven by : "But when the fulness of the time was come, God (Father) sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."(Galatians 4:4-6). The Father did not just do the "sending" but also established the "time" when the Son will be sent or incarnate through " a woman"(Mary). Even all creation, while actually done by the Logos/Creator God/YHVH (just saying the "word") was also because of and planned by the Father (I Cor. 8:6; Jn.1:3; Col. 1:16). Moreover, Peter and Jude confirmed that it was the Father who orchestrated salvation in the covenant. Election, and foreknowledge (I Pet. 1:2), and Sanctification (Jude 1) refer to the initial act of God whereby He chose those whom He loved and set them apart to salvation before the foundation of the world. God(the Father) foreknew people,"For whom He did foreknow…" (Rom. 8:29). God’s choice of a people before the world began was based on His own initiative to establish a covenant relationship with those whom He loved: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…" Those whom He loved and chose, He also set apart for Himself, that is, He sanctified them (Jude 1). Similarly, the Father "sanctified" the Son (i.e. set Him apart in the covenant of grace) and sent Him into the world (Jn. 10:36, He also sanctified His people (again, He set them apart in the covenant as His own special people) and "sent redemption" to them: "He sent redemption to His people: He hath commanded His covenant for ever: holy and reverend is His name " (Ps. 111:9). It was precisely this group of people, i.e., those set apart in the covenant, who were redeemed by Jesus Christ: "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). The Galatians passage presents God the Father as the great Choreographer of salvation, dispatching (sending) the Son (v.4) and the Spirit (v.6) at the precise and appropriate time, in order to bring us into his family as His adopted sons. The Father who initiated the covenant also orchestrates and deploys the covenant requirements for salvation (Eph. 1:5). As to "...finisher (teleiotes) of our faith", consider the following: While it was Jesus who started/began, as in "And I am sure of this, that he who began (enarchomai) a good work in you..." He will also "bring it to completion (epiteleo) at the day of Jesus Christ."(Philippians 1:6) enarchomai: to begin,commence epiteleo:to fulfill further; to complete,to bring to an end, to make perfect. Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:28-30), and through Him we receive the promise of the Spirit (Gal 3:13-14). "Finisher" is from "teleiotes":a perfector; completer, consummater, one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith. " For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me." (Heb. 2:10-13) "And being made perfect, he became the author (aitios) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"(Heb. 5:9) aitios: that which is the cause of anything resides, causative, causing. In Summary, the Father planned everything and the Son concurred willingly with the strategic plan and executed his Father's will. This occurred even before creation of "invisible and visible things". The promise of the Father to Jesus (because of the "faith of Jesus") has come true, viz., 1. Jesus' death would be imputed as mankind's death to reconcile mankind to the Father. 2. That Jesus would be resurrected by the Father so the Holy Spirit would be sent. 3. That the Holy Spirit will imbue us (as it did Jesus at river Jordan) to seal us and sanctify us, so all of us will be "one" with the Father(yet many) through his Son,...us being the "body of Christ". 4. That as the "flesh is weak" it needs the Holy Spirit "written in the fleshly tables of our heart" for all of us to follow the Law of Love which summarized the Ten Commandments."written in tables of stones". Those who have faith and works will reign.
This goes along with Ephesians 2-10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. We have to remember that it is His work in us. Not our work. Jesus said, without me you can do nothing. We start out as babies in the Christian life. It is His work in us to grow us up. If we try to grow our selves, it is not His work in us. We need to die to anything about ourselves to save our selves, and put all of our trust in Him. Then He will do the work in us. He is the finisher or completer of our salvation. Some things we just have to learn over and over. We were complete in Him when we first believed. He gave us His perfect righteousness so that we are now alive unto God. The only righteousness we will ever have is what He gave us when we first believed. We cannot be righteous in ourselves. If we abide in Him by faith, He will live out His life through us. We can rest in His work and not trust in our own. We can quit working and start resting in Him. We cannot make our selves righteous. All of our own good works that we do in the flesh count for nothing. It is only what He does in us and through us. Then we can give Him the Glory instead of giving us the glory. Jesus is the answer, we are the problem, If we think we are something, we are nothing. Only God is holy. He supplys all our needs from His riches in Glory. Do we lack patience? He will supply it. Do we lack direction? He will supply it. Do we lack love for others? He will supply it. Do we have pride? He will supply us with humility.
Great question: If a deciding factor in saving faith lies in the person believing then it is his faith that is the cause of his faith. The deciding element in faith is like the seeing element in vision or listening element in hearing. Looking doesn't create the sight, listening doesn't create hearing. A person knows he has faith when he finds himself believing. The question is why do I have faith when so many others do not? Before a person is born again he cannot SEE the kingdom of God Jn.3:3 The passage that declares Jesus to be the author and finisher of our faith opens with the admonition that we need to look to Him. Spiritual senses are the result of being born again, but they need to be used in order to benefit those who have received them. Believing things about ultimate reality, making decisions according to what you know to be true as revealed in Gods word, loving an unseen Christ who saves you from your sin, these are the activities and therefore the evidence of saving faith that is the gift of God. 1 Peter 1:8-9 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith —the salvation of your souls. The person who claims to possess the faith to believe while still in his naturally spiritually dead state has no need of another faith that must be authored by Jesus. Why does a person need something he already possesses? Jesus speaks to a people in this condition. Rev.3:17-20 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing ’— and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. The evidence of saving faith is accurate spiritual perception. Matt. 5:3-4 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Carnal security in a decision made by a natural man is evidence of satanic delusion. 2 Cor. 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. One of the most effective strategies of Satan is to persuade unbelievers that they have faith. Is your reliance upon a faith you have always had. This could be the faith of demons. James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! Peter lays out for us what has become important to those who have obtained "like precious faith" 2 Peter 1:1-4......... To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. May God help us all to make our calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Verses will be quoted and afterward my comments with original words and other English translations: A. Heb 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." COMMENT: Being the author (archegos/chief leader, predecessor) and finisher (teleiotes/consummated, perfecter, set before us the highest example of faith)... means that he started or originated this faith, and he consummated it. As important as our individual faiths in God are, it's the faith (of) Jesus, the only faith that counts and makes any difference. Notice the following verses: Romans 3:22 "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith (of) Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe". Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith (of) Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Notice, "even we have believed in" JC). Galatians 3:22 "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith (of) Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Notice, because of faith of JC that the promise was given). Philippians 3:9 "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith (of) Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" B. Phil..1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform/ (epiteleo,complete) it until the day of Jesus Christ". COMMENT: Paul was expressing his v-20 "... earnest expectation.." God's work in this period of time will be completed by the time (until) Jesus returns. In this period of time, prior to Jesus' second coming, God is working in us, having started this work through the Spirit given to us. This work will be completed for the "firstfruits" or "first harvest", but not for all, in this period of time. At the second coming, there will be "work" that continues for a Millenium, for the "latter fruits or "second harvest". The assumption that God, being most powerful, will be the sole deciding factor in our faith, smacks down and takes away our free will. No one will be coerced into submission. The Father does not want "robots". Such an enormous and magnificent "gift" will not be forced onto us. Proof of the matter comes with what happened to the "first begotten Son of God", Jesus. At the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42), he was not forced to "drink the cup", even when he himself acknowledged that as far as he was concerned, he would "Let this cup pass". But, the action he took was his free will, and humbly asked God the Father, "Let it be your will and not mine". As Jesus (not just the Father) was also a deciding factor, similarly our role cannot be negated; but voluntarily we say, "Let it be God's will". That is why, as Jesus has faith in the Father, we also have to have faith, even when the only faith that counts is the faith (of) Jesus, that faith being the original, the start and the complete one. Remember, "from faith-to-faith".
Heb 12:2 tells us that Jesus Himself is the "pioneer and perfecter of faith". In Heb 12:1-13 we see that 'perfecter' of faith in this context is how our faith is refined through trials and discipline, and as such we can endure anything for the Joy set before us. Note there is great emphasis on what we should do (throw off what hinders, let us run, consider Him, resist sin, endure hardship as discipline, strengthen your feeble arms, make level paths, etc). But back to the word 'pioneer'; this word is the greek 'archégos' - it means 'the first in a long procession'. This word use shows that Jesus is the originator or founder of a movement. It is not exactly like the English word 'author', but it can mean source. Our faith indeed has Jesus as its source, for Faith is the firm persuasion that Jesus is who He claims, that He has the authority to forgive sins, that He did die on the cross, etc. Without Jesus, there would not be saving Faith. Heb 2:1-17 explains this process more fully. "In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters" Heb 2:10-12 Heb 5:7-10 focuses back on the aspect of Jesus enduring great suffering in order to become the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Here the word is not archégos, but rather 'aitios'. This term means cause or source, and is more similar to the term author. Note the clarifying phrase; Jesus became the cause/source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. 'upakouousin' is a term of action; those who listen or attend to God; those who obey or stand under what is heard. We see this in Rom 10:13-17 as well. We see that faith has its source in Christ, and that someone cannot have faith if they never hear the Word about Christ. They must hear, and they must call upon the Lord, and then they will be saved. Again, hearing and obeying! So we see that there is nothing in the concept of Jesus being the pioneer and finisher of our faith that states that God makes men believe or makes men obey. Rather, everything needed for faith is given to us in Christ. Faith is the assurance of what we hope for; Jesus gave us this joy when He rose from the grave, becoming the firstborn among many brethren. Heb 11, the 'faith' chapter, takes us on a journey examining faith throughout scripture. Of great importance is the last sentence: "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect". Heb 11:39-40 Remember above, where it stated that Jesus was the finisher of our faith? This term finish/perfect is the same. It is a finishing or perfecting by going through a process, such as a refiner's fire. Keeping this in mind, we can look at what it means that God will complete the good work in us. In Phil 1, Paul is in prison and reflecting on the steadfast nature of the Philippians. The Philippians had fellow-shipped with Paul in the gospel from the first day [that he preached to them or that they believed, presumably]. Paul states his confidence that God will carry on finishing the good work He began in them until the day of Christ Jesus. Paul also speaks of this, albeit in rebuke and not praise, to the Galatians. "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?", "Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?" He asks them (Gal 3:1-5). He then asks why they are trying to be finished by works of the flesh, vs. By the Spirit. Gal 5:13-25, So yes, we must believe in Christ, whom God sent (John 6:28-29), and continue to abide (John 15).
God created man with a free-will --- that is the right to make decisions for ourselves. Of course that is what gets us in trouble & it started in the garden of Eden. God knew men would sin & need a Savior, so He sent Jesus to take our punishment & pay our sin-debt (past, present & future) for us. Jesus was the only acceptable substitute for us because He had no sin of his own. He has paid the full price for us in advance & now the decision is ours! Will we accept Jesus as our Savior or will we CHOOSE to pay our own death-penalty and spend eternity in hell?
Let me/allow me to bring into this discussion a 'tidbit of understanding or central truth about God's 'all knowing' capacity that many seem to not have mentioned as of yet. God is God, which means He is ALL KNOWING of every 'free will' step or decision each and every human makes who has or will be 'created before the foundation of world'. God knows who/whom will "respond to the calling of His Holy Spirit." He gives us freewill to choose Jesus Christ and His free gift or to choose NOT to receive His free gift". Central to any of our understanding on this subject is to 'grasp' the concept and His Truth that "God doesn't want anyone to perish." God chooses those who choose Him! To understand this with our exceedingly limited brain in comparison to the mind of God is beyond our capacity, capabilities or scope of brain function to comprehend. "God's ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts." We cannot really even begin to fully understand the magnitude of a most Holy, Divine and all-encompassing Creator GOD, the Father; GOD the Son; and, GOD the Holy Spirit. The way I "grasp" this subject is to understand that Jesus knows whom will choose Him, and so He has chosen the elect. Yes, this is a difficult subject/concept to understand and Yes, we(His children) have been/are foreordained by our Heavenly Father, GOD! --Andy--
This is the crux of God's complete dealings with man. God created us. He could have created us to be everything He desired. He however found a grave problem with this plan and with man (and the angels before man); the plan negated the idea of free will and choice for the created being. So to overcome this plan God (Jesus) devise a most excellent plan that would eventually allow the created beings to take an active part in His creative work. His work started in Genesis through Adam and Eve and filters right down to us their descendents today. The fall was eminent and God knew this would happen when man was given the right to free will and choice. Even though God created Adam perfect His right to decided for himself was given to him by God and God allowed him to use it freely without His divine interference. It just so happens that Adam made a wrong decision but instead of destroying Adam He put his powerful and effective redemptive plan in motion allow man to freely choose. If man chose for himself to want God then this clearly gave good our permission to finish His former creative work and actualize us to what He originally intended for us to be. On the other hand He has not hindered us from choosing against him that is our right also. He has put us in the unique situation of see the best and the worst so that we can make the best "informed" decision. The downside of not choosing Him is He has shown us in every way the downside of the bad and that in the end He is going to do away with it. Sin is something He cannot and will not abide with as it was not a part of His original creation. But we had to see it in order to make the best choice. He has put in place many barriers to protect us from the strictures of sin while we go through the decision making process. Once the time has come to it's fullness God will again take up His creative work by taking sin and all who practice it and eradicating it from all He has created. We will be actualized so that we will never sin again and He will finish us off to what He originally intended for us to be. He has done this before with the holy angels. God authored/created them and then after a long period perfected them. That too is the glorious hope we have coming (based upon how we "choose") for Jesus - the author and perfecter of our "faith".
I struggle with this question daily. On one hand God placed the tree of good and evil in the Garden of Eden & told them not to eat from it. They chose to eat from it anyway. Was God the author of their lack of faith and disobedience? I believe in an all-powerfu, l omniscient God. He knew us before the foundation of the world, so why do we pray? Why does he tell us to pray? What would praying accomplish in our faith? What would intercessory prayers accomplish?
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