Part 3 - The Fall and the Restoration
Restoration in Christ: Faith in Christ
The foundation of Christ leads to a rest in Him, for the believer finds that God Himself accomplished the work of salvation. This rest does not stand alone, but depends upon faith in the one who did the work. Faith enables one to enter the rest. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this: "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest," ' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Heb. 4:1-3) (emphasis added). Rest depends upon faith, and faith leads to rest.
Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Although Jesus came to be a "Lamb that was slain" and took away the sins of the world, this alone does not bring salvation and everlasting life. Jesus completed the work of redemption, but one must exercise faith in Christ to be saved. Faith is not just a one-time event to obtain salvation; it is something that must be continuing and enduring. Faith is one of the four essentials in having a right relationship with God. Jesus said, "I am ... the truth, ... No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). As the Truth, Jesus is the object and basis of faith.
Believing in the name of the Son of God
The Apostle John wrote, "He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:10-13).
The writer to the Hebrews again speaks of faith: "But without faith it is impossible to please (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). This verse shows faith as that which believes that God will reward, or give something in return for, those who seek Him. The action of the believer is to believe and seek God. The action of God is to return that which is needed by the believer. The one seeking God must "believe that He is." This reflects the name of God, "I AM THAT I AM." He is the Self-Existing One, not dependent on anyone or anything else. In His fullness, He is able to become to those who seek Him that which is needed. As such, He is the reward. God said to Abraham, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward" (Gen. 15:1).
The reward of God is reflected in His revealed compound names. One can rest in Christ when one seeks and believes Jesus for who He has said He is. He is "the Lord Our Salvation." This is literally what the name of Jesus means. He is "the Lord Who Sanctifies." He is "the Lord Our Righteousness." He is "the Lord Our Peace." He is "the Lord Will Provide." He is and becomes these and all other things to those who look to Him. To have faith in Christ is to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This essential element of a right relationship with God is reflected in the third of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Deut. 5:11). Because of the oneness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, to have faith in Christ is to have faith in Yahweh.
God will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. The Apostle Peter said of the name of Jesus, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). A saving faith that results in the forgiveness of sins and the removal of guilt comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. The names of God reflect the redemptive work of Christ.
Submitting to God's understanding
The fall of man happened in part because mankind rebelled against having faith in, and trusting in, God. Man relied upon his own mind and understanding. In the restoration that is available in Jesus Christ, God answers this rebellion with the cross and the requirement of faith. When Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me," it included the denying of that part of one's self, the mind. This means the elevation of God's understanding above one's own with a resulting exercise of faith and trust in God.
The denying of one's self does not mean that one must deny reason, education, and understanding, but rather that one's understanding must be in subjection to God whose understanding far exceeds that of His finite creation. If one's conclusion to a situation leads to an understanding that is different than that which God has revealed, then God requires that one submit to His judgment in the matter by faith. Restoration from the Fall requires that the rebellion of man's mind and understanding be answered to by faith and trust in God.
A reasonable basis for faith
The requirement of faith includes that in the completed work of Christ,
and also that which concerns an on-going walk with God. Salvation comes not
from just believing the facts of Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection,
but from also believing that one's sins have been forgiven by that death,
and that one has new life in Christ through His resurrection. After
regeneration, God's principle is that "the just shall live by faith." God
does not reveal the individual future of the believer. He promises however
never to leave him, and to be a shepherd to him. This requires a cleaving to
God and trust in Him, and this is what is pleasing to Him. God has given a
reasonable basis for faith - His promises and the proven record
of His faithfulness and love. This is reflected in His name.