Myth 6. God has faith in us.
This is an idea that emergent pastor Rob Bell teaches in one of his popular sermons and videos. His argument is that Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Jesus then left them and returned to heaven leaving the Great Commission in the hands of the disciples.
Is this true? Did Jesus leave them? What did Jesus say to them as he ascended up to heaven?
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)
Did Jesus tell them to go and evangelize the world or did He tell them to do something else first?
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:46-49)
They had to wait in Jerusalem! Why? Because God had faith in them? No – it was because they could not do anything until they had the power of the Holy Spirit.
This teaching, that God has faith in us, became a plague among many of the youth in my old church in Australia (so much so that it prompted me, as an elder, to make a biblical response which can be viewed at the bottom of this post). I mention this myth today because I have learnt that our flesh and pride love to eat at the table of humanism. And to teach that God has faith in us – that He believes in us – is a humanistic idea that is totally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is also worth taking a look at how the bible defines faith. It’s found in Hebrews 11:1 – read carefully:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
So, based on Hebrews 11:1 faith requires that there are things we cannot see? Is there anything God cannot see? No, He is omnipresent:
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10)
The other thing Hebrews 11:1 requires for faith is that we must hope for things. We don’t hope for things we already know. If God knows all things then He cannot hope for anything. There are so many verses that teach God’s omniscience, I’ll give just one example:
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-4)
When people like Rob Bell teach that God has faith in man they are actually denying God’s attributes and committing idolatry. He is actually elevating man and humanizing God. It is an attack on the Gospel which clearly teaches faith ALONE in Christ ALONE.
Truth 6. Faith is not a part of God’s character and nature – it is contrary to His omniscience and omnipresence. God is the object of faith as the reformation solas teach.
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