LCN Article
Do You Radiate FAITH in God?

May / June 2006

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

Dear Brethren and Friends, One of the most important qualities Herbert W. Armstrong radiated was deep faith in the God of the Bible. I often say "God of the Bible" because so many people in this world have a terribly distorted concept of God. And many are taught only to have "faith in themselves." While a right balance of confidence in our own human ability is important, genuine faith in the Creator God of the universe is always essential.

If you have really proved to yourself that a personal, all-powerful God exists, and that He literally inspired the Bible, you must learn to build on that, for then you will increasingly "see" God's hand in a multitude of current events, in situations in your own life and in His guidance and blessing in leading His Church. All of the outstanding servants of God—certainly including Mr. Armstrong—had that kind of understanding and that kind of faith. As prophetic events speed up in our world today, we will more and more profoundly need this genuine faith in God. For although these end-time events will seem exciting to those of us who understand, they will also be sobering.

As Jesus Christ said, describing the events that will occur before His Second Coming: "And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven…. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:11, 28). Those who genuinely understand and have faith will have a sense of exhilaration as they see the end approaching, for they will know that all these seemingly horrifying events will eventually work for good (Romans 8:28).

But, when these final prophesied events start occurring with full force, even many of God's own people may become fearful, disoriented or even bitter— because some of us will experience at least part of the suffering of those days. Remember, ancient Israel experienced the first three of the ten plagues God poured out on Egypt (Exodus 7–8). After the third plague, God warned that if no repentance was forthcoming, He would send "swarms of flies" on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. However, God also promised: "And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land. I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be" (vv. 22–23).

Since Christ is "the same, yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), we can expect a similar pattern of events to occur in the near future. This may mean that some of us will have to suffer from the soon-coming fires, floods, storms, drought, earthquakes and even disease epidemics! Remember that Jesus told His followers: "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls" (Luke 21:16–19).

The "patience" Jesus said we should have in this time of trial and testing will come from our having real faith that God will—in the end—deliver us and bring us into His everlasting Kingdom. We will have this patience if we truly believe that God means what He says in the Bible!

Genuine FAITH

God tells us, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Brethren, we develop that necessary faith in God as we "diligently seek Him." If you and I are not regularly, zealously "seeking" God by truly studying the Bible and "feeding on Christ"—and by continuous prayer and drinking in of His inspired word—then we will not grow in the real faith that our Father in heaven expects us to have! Jesus said: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me" (John 6:56–57).

Nearly all of us, in our daily lives, are surrounded by the presence and often the interference of radios, telephones, televisions, computers, sirens wailing up and down the street, airplanes overhead—and many other distractions. Men like Abraham, Moses and David did not have to contend with any of these! Because of these distractions, it can be so easy to put off or avoid any long, uninterrupted Bible study, or deep thought and meditation about our relationship with God, or time spent in heartfelt prayer and fasting—which we must realize we need. Satan, through our human civilization, has indeed surrounded us with physical things and distractions to keep our relationship with God shallow and often sporadic!

So we must literally fight to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to become shallow, lukewarm or worldly! It is a continuous battle!

The Apostle Paul was inspired to use a military and sporting analogy in describing our Christian struggle. Near the very end of his life, he wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Each of us, like Paul, must really learn to trust that God will take care of us in every phase and facet of our lives. Before God gives us eternal life and glory, He wants to be absolutely sure that we trust in Him, in His ways and in His leading. We need to realize fully that He is in charge, overall, of the major events of the world, and of the major direction of His Church, in spite of human faults and problems. We must genuinely trust His leading, and have faith in God and in the Christ of the Bible to direct matters according to His will. We need to show God that we will follow His direction of our activities and our lives through all eternity. So, we must demonstrate to God—through a life of faith and overcoming—that we genuinely love Him and trust Him now! Otherwise, God knows that He might end up having more "Lucifers" around, who would turn against Him as did Lucifer, who became Satan.

Therefore, by immersing ourselves in fervent prayer and earnest Bible study—drinking in of God's mind, and of the way He thinks and acts—we must build a deep trust that God is there, and that He will always back up His Word and direct all things for good in the end. Through Paul, God described Abraham to illustrate this kind of faith. "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore 'it was accounted to him for righteousness'" (Romans 4:20–22).

Because of this genuine faith, Abraham became the "father" of the faithful (v. 16), and his deep love, trust and commitment to follow God was "accounted to him for righteousness."

Keys to Building Faith

Three major aspects of Christian living can help us greatly increase our faith. First, we should fervently pray for faith, for faith is a quality of the Holy Spirit. And God certainly indicates in many ways that we should fervently pray for the Holy Spirit! Paul wrote: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:1, 7–9). Here we can see that faith is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and is tied intimately— in the same verse—to the "gifts of healings by that same Spirit." This is something for which we all ought to pray earnestly and continuously.

Second, we should remember, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Remember, our faith should increase as we read about how God guided His servants in the past, heard their prayers, intervened for them and in the end worked out "all things for good." As we "feed" on these biblical examples (John 6:57), we will more deeply realize how God works, and will therefore learn to trust in Him—as all of His great servants in the past have done. Through the Bible, the Creator God becomes real and personal to us far beyond just seeing His power in creation. Without fervent Bible study, simply praying for faith is not enough! Thoughtfully, carefully and prayerfully "drinking in" of the Bible and of its examples of faith, helps us build a deep and abiding trust in our Creator beyond anything else we can do.

Although famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody was not called to the same level of understanding as many of us are today, I totally agree with a very thoughtful comment he made about faith: "I prayed for Faith, and thought that some day Faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But Faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, 'Now Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.' I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since."

The third key to developing a deeper faith is to exercise genuine faith in God. As each day, month and year of our life passes, we should learn to commit more of our life to God, really trusting Him to direct us in our family lives, our personal lives, our health, our work or vocation, our finances, our use of leisure time, and indeed in every aspect of our lives! As we learn to do this, we will genuinely see that in following God's ways we will be more fully blessed in our families, in our work, in our overall joy and peace of mind—and certainly in the closeness of our relationship to Him. Throughout more than 56 years in God's Church, I have definitely seen that people are blessed in every phase of their lives to the degree that they follow God's ways—and follow His approach to each aspect of their lives with faith that God's way works!

As we learn to exercise faith just as we would exercise our muscles, our genuine faith in God will grow and grow!

Make Building Radiant Faith a PRIORITY!

If you and I are to continue faithfully in God's Church—and if God is to use us to help complete His Work at the end of this age—we will need a great deal of genuine faith! For we will truly be tried, tested and persecuted. Remember Jesus' commission to His disciples— including us—when He told them what was ahead: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues…. Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:16–17, 21–22).

Dear brethren, some of us may literally be beaten— like the Apostle Paul and many others—or thrown into jail, harassed, vilified and "hated by all." We will need genuine trust in God to remain in a right attitude as we go through all of this! But, as Christ said: "He who endures to the end will be saved" (v. 22).

As I have indicated, we or our loved ones may at the time of the end have to suffer through the earlier plagues—such as drought, famine and disease epidemics. But we will finally be delivered when we are taken to a Place of Safety, before God's full wrath is poured out for the 31⁄2 years of the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord.

God warns us about a truly terrifying time coming in probably just a few years—the final heavenly "war" when Satan will be cast back down to earth for the last time and will turn on God's people in fury: "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:7–9).

Scripture then describes how Satan will begin to come after God's people: "For the accuser of our brethren who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (vv. 10–11). Here is clearly indicated a time when people are being harassed and perhaps even tortured to death by Satan's cohorts! And, continuing: "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time" (v. 12). This final horrifying period of Satan's wrath will occur immediately before the genuinely faithful people of God are taken to safety. "Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent" (vv. 13–14).

At that time, those who are actually "Philadelphian" in their relationship with God will be taken to a Place of Safety. As Jesus said: "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:10–11). If we have persevered— have been faithful and willing to hold fast to the "whole counsel of God" and be zealous in going through the "open door" to preach the Gospel to the world—which is a special sign of the Philadelphians (v. 8)—then we will be supernaturally taken away from the "hour of trial." That is Christ's promise!

However, those who are Laodicean and "lukewarm" (Revelation 3:14–16) will be spewed out of Christ's mouth for their own good because they have been unwilling to exercise genuine faith and fully trust God. These Christians may have to go through the terrible times of testing to follow. "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17). These people—although they are commandment-keepers—will obviously not have been fully faithful in following Christ and His ways, or in doing the Work as Revelation 3 indicates they should. So they will need the Great Tribulation to humble them, teach them and help them make a total commitment to exercise genuine faith in God's ways!

Those of us who understand—if we are truly filled with faith in God and His ways and are willing to take part in teaching the full Truth, to zealously do the Work, and to truly follow God's kind of government—will be taken to a Place of Safety. Until then, we must learn to "walk with God," continuously and genuinely, in every way, in how we direct and participate in the activities and the government of His Church, and in every aspect of doing His Work.

In all of this, we will need to maintain a deep relationship with God—an actual, ongoing communication and fellowship with Christ and the Father, and a profound and radiant faith that we have let Christ build within us over many years. May God help each of us realize how real this is—and how vital this is in our walk toward the Kingdom of God!

Image removed.