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#4 Generic Faith

We embark today on a journey that I doubt many of you have traveled. That road is often quite foggy, but one upon which I will shed some light that will assist your understanding of Godís message to us and our salvation. We can all agree that faith is vital to the Christian life, as "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).That road is faith.

What I want to focus on today is "generic faith." That is, the mechanism of faith -- its parts and the whole. When you understand "generic faith," then understanding saving faith and the other uses of faith in the Bible become clearer.

Every action that you take uses every part of generic faith!  Raise your arm. Get up and stretch. Drive your car somewhere. Call someone on the phone. Invest in the stock market. Hit a baseball. Set your alarm clock for tomorrow AM. All these are acts of faith. That is, you act based upon some prior knowledge expecting some particular result.

Let us look at a couple of examples. Every parent has had his or her child jump to them from a step or ledge. At first the child is hesitant. Then, with coaxing and holding his hands through the motions, he eventually jumps. He has learned faith in you. He ACTS (jumps), based upon knowledge (the coaxing and motions of jumping), and he expects a result (for you to catch him). The football announcer, John Madden, will not fly on airplanes. The knowledge is there. He knows that more than 50,000 flights around the world take off and land safely (the result). But, he does not act, that is, he does not fly. By definition, faith is an action taken.

Now, reality or uncertainty enters the picture. You start to raise your arm, and you canít (stroke or paralysis). You start to get up from your chair and you canít (stroke or paralysis). You start to drive you care somewhere, and it wonít crank. You invest in the stock market on very good advice and lose your shirt. You set your alarm clock for 6 AM, the power, goes off during the night, you oversleep, and you are late to work.

This uncertainty or reality is the essence of generic faith. Every result that we expect to happen does not always happen. Faith is acting with expectation.

That is all that I want you to see today. Any action is a step of faith. It is a part of everything that we do. What has happened over time is that faith has become automatic. We do not think about it until what we expect does not occur.

For an exercise, try applying the parts of generic faith to the faith of the Bible or, visit my website for Chapter One on Faith. Or, figure this out from James 2: "the devils believe and tremble" and "faith without works is dead."


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