Day 215 - Only One Faith
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
For years I would read the passage in Ephesians and attempt to discern what was the “one faith” of the Christians. I think I had read the passage so many times with a religious pair of glasses that I was missing the context. The “one faith” referred to is not the one faith among the many faiths in the world, but a statement of fact that there is but one faith, and everything else is a religion. The basic difference between faith and religion is that religion’s success will somehow end at the feet of the worshipper, whereas the success of faith ends at the feet of God. Hence, religion is all about man, and faith is all about God. Religious people are not exercising faith in God; just listen to them talk to realize that life for them revolves around their behavior, knowledge, or attitudes. Whether it be the piety of the Buddhist, the meditation of the Hindu, the gyrations of the Voodoo priest, the Law keeper, the candle or incense lighter, the kingdom builder, the “cutting edge” preacher, or the doctrinally correct, there exists between them the fellowship of the religious. Among them, too, a great lie is perpetrated that the exercise of their religion somehow
either alters the very flesh of man or the plane of flesh on which all men live. Religious people have an appearance of godliness, as described by Paul to Timothy: “For men will be lovers of self . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” [II Timothy 3:2-5]. Interestingly, religious people will focus on certain aspects of religion that most cannot achieve in order to maintain their “position” in their manmade religion; they define what form the godliness will take, so oddly enough they succeed at their own definition! Honestly, I have no vested interest in stating the obvious, but all religious people are failures.
The adherents of humanism—which is one great competitor of faith—continue to take human beings’ less than 1% success at playing God and amplify it in their minds and communications until it looks more like 100%. Any of us could come up with a lengthy list of famous people who have been sainted beyond human recognition. Christians have done the same general distortion through stories and images of believers to the point that they would be unrecognizable to those who actually knew, lived, and worked with them. The saddest thing is that many, upon hearing of the exaggerated portrayal of a spectacular spiritual life, begin a lifelong journey to emulate the Christian, who in reality is non-existent. This imitating leads to the disastrous consequences of “acting religious” as they flesh out phony copies of the exalted. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]. Religious people, no matter what the religion, have fallen short of the glory of God. Amen!
There is one faith, and in that one faith God deals with man by putting success at His own feet. He gives an attainable faith, for God’s goal is to bring in as many as possible, while religion’s goal is to be as exclusive as possible. “But what does it say? ‘THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED’” [Romans 10:8-11]. Paul, seeing the difference between the efforts of man that lead to religion and the work of God that leads to the one faith, rightly says, “Where then is the boasting?” “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD’” [I Corinthians 1:30, 31]. Religious people are like shadows that do not exist in the manner in which they would like to portray themselves.
In this one faith, there will be times of discouragement, failure, doubt, bewilderment, rebellious children, loneliness, outbursts of anger, walking in the flesh, and more. There will also be times of unspeakable joy, fulfillment, satisfaction, encouragement, faith that is mountain moving, and unwavering focus. We are unique creatures, half spirit and half flesh. Just as we walk on two legs we must, for now, walk in two realities, that of the flesh and that of the spirit. Religious people seem to want