“Without faithfulness it is impossible to please Him, for the one coming to God must trust that He is, and to those seeking Him diligently He becomes a rewarder” (Hebrews 11:6).
Inherent in the creation of mankind is a pressing need that can only be satisfied by the presence of God; that is an intrinsic part of who we are and how we are made. But there is a great void in the lives of many Christians today because they have an absentee landlord so to speak; they talk of God in the way that they talk of the “dearly departed”, not as One being present. As life on earth is sustained by the sun, so the spiritual life of man can only be sustained by the presence of God. But because of the resistance of our sinful fallen nature to God’s demand for unconditional surrender and the death of self, we try and sustain faith without His presence. That, of course, is impossible and so the faith that God has given us speedily devolves into religious faith, in which the Holy Scriptures of God are deconstructed by men, so as to be more amenable and accommodating to the fleshly nature.
It is for that reason that faith requires the continual exercise of moral determination. If we look at what the scriptures teach us about the great saints, we find that their lives were characterised by words such as “determination”, “resolve”, “purpose”. Indeed, it is written in the prophecies of the “author of our faith” that “He set His face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7) and the gospels reveal how He resolutely bound Himself to the Father’s purpose and intention; “The Son of man proceeds as determined” He said (Luke 22:22).
So too, we read that Jacob vowed that the Lord would be His God (Genesis 28:20-21); Paul urged Timothy to follow his “purpose” (2 Timothy 3:10); Barnabas exhorted the believers in Antioch to cleave unto the Lord with “purpose of heart” Acts 11:23); David “purposed” in his heart that his mouth should not transgress (Psalm 17:3); Daniel “purposed in his heart” not to defile himself with the things of the world (Daniel 1:8) and so on.
But modern western Christianity teaches that conversion is a destination; that everything follows automatically from the once done act of believing and that there is nothing else for the believer to do but sit back and wait for the bus to heaven to come along and pick us up. This is religious nonsense of a high order; what the Bible teaches is that conversion is the beginning of a journey and continuous moral determination is required if we are to live in His presence; it is not a once done thing; it is an ongoing exercise of the spirit by those who seek to enter into that holy place where He can only be found.