Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Simple "Hearing of Faith"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We are grateful that skilled scientific observation enables medical doctors to understand how certain medicines work to bring healing in the body. Now, does the Bible help us understand how certain truths can bring healing from sin? It's not magic; truth in Christ itself saves.

For example, there is a little phrase in Paul's Letter to the Galatians that opens a door into a room filled with light: "the hearing of faith" (3:2, 5). These people were worldly, hard to reach, materialistic, probably given to sensuality; they were Gentiles. But Paul's ministry had captured their attention, and their conversion was phenomenal. They gladly suffered persecution for their faith; their heart gratitude to Paul was so great that he says they would gladly have plucked out their eyes to give to him if they could (4:14, 15).

What sort of truth-presentation accomplished this wonder? In 3:1 Paul lets us catch a glimpse of it: the Holy Spirit enabled him to tell the story of the cross so vividly that the people forgot who they were or where they were--they saw Christ "portrayed" so graphically that He was "among [them] as crucified."

It's their response that is captured in that little-known phrase: the simple "hearing of faith." Paul asks, Did you experience this by legalism ("works of the law"), or by simple listening with heart-appreciation? (This is important for us to understand because the light that will "lighten the earth with glory" will be the same spiritual phenomenon.)

That word "hearing" is the simple Greek word from which we derive our word "acoustic." When it is combined with the prefix hupo (which means "under") we have hupakoe, which is the Greek word for "obey" or "obedience." True obedience is not produced by any egocentric concern, whether fear of being lost or hope of reward!

And now we have the secret unraveled: this elusive "obedience" that we have spent decades, yes, more than a century, seeking, is produced by "listening" to the truth of what happened on the cross. But it must be portrayed graphically.

Preachers, if you find the people not listening, don't necessarily blame them. Humbly beg for some healthy "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (which of course is only "by faith").

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 19, 2003.
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