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. (Hebrews 4:2)
Mixing The Word With Faith
This nation of Israel has been given to the world as a divine example of the struggle between God and man. They were chosen as the apple of God’s eye but they always were challenged to be the faithful people the Lord desired. Their story is not unlike the way all men learn to come to God and serve Him in faithfulness. As the Hebrew writer exhorts the early Jewish Christians to remain in the body of Christ he reflects upon the history of Israel and their failures to remain faithful to the will of God. One of the key factors in their struggle was not that they did not have the words of salvation preached to them but they failed to take that message and apply it to their own life. Faith is necessary to please God. Salvation can only from the knowledge of the word of God. Faith and the word are not separate but two parts that are necessary for the completeness of man to find his worth before God. The Lord has always given man His word through commandments, testimonies, precepts, judgments and law. Whether orally transmitted or placed upon parchments of paper, the word of God has always been given to man to follow. The giving of His word is how the Lord shows His grace to man. What the Jews failed to do with the word was to mix or add faith and follow the commands of the Lord trusting in His promises that had been given to them.
Through the power and might of God Israel was freed from Egyptian bondage. The Lord showed His majesty in His deliverance of the people and continued to manifest His glory through the miracles and providence given to them in their journeys. When the nation came to the land of promise twelve men were sent to spy the land and bring back a report. The report ten men gave showed their lack of faith in the promises of God. Joshua and Caleb believed the power of God could overwhelm the land and urged the people not to rebel. What happened that caused the people to fear the giants of the land? All of the previous months of God’s word showing them His power, affirming His promises and letting them know there was nothing to fear is not mixed with a faith to trust God to conquer the land. They knew the word of the Lord and what He had promised them but because they did not have faith in God they were doomed to wander four decades in the wilderness. The word of God will have little effect if faith is not added.
The gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached for two thousand years. Many have embraced its teachings and obeyed the commands to be part of the body of Christ. Yet for many their lives are empty, meaningless and without purpose. They have the word of God, they hear it Sunday after Sunday, own numerous Bibles and their lives are with little joy in Christ. The problem lies in the fact that if the word is not mixed with faith all the preaching in the world will profit them little. Sermons that are preached on Sunday that do not move hearts on Monday will be useless. Reading the Bible through each year without applying the message of the word to daily life is without purpose. The word of God will lose its power if the heart of faith does not do something with what the Lord has spoken in the ear. Falling short of the promises of God will bring us to the same place the nation of Israel found itself as it came to the promised land the first time. Faith must be mixed with the word and the word must be mixed with faith in order for the challenges of life to be conquered. Students of scripture must make the word come alive in their life to receive the blessing of the power of the word. Application is the key to growth. Believe the power of God and His promises but make it real in life.