How do we access the promises of God?
“For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (He.11: 6). Here faith connects with the divine Essence. It is his godhead or Name. Without faith no one can please him let alone see His face. The well-known story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord God makes this point very clear. Before we go into that we need focus on this verse from the epistle to the Ephesians.
There is only one Faith. “…One Lord, one faith…(Eph.4:6)”
Having cheated Esau of his birth right an encounter with him was going to be difficult. Jacob sent his messengers beforehand, obviously to soften him up. Being left alone uncertain of the outcome he could only fall back on the promise of God. He reminds of it in his prayer, “And thou saidst, “I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea…” A spark of faith lay in His promise. Or rather the Word of God instilled in him a glimmer of hope. He had to make it a blaze. Occasion for it to happen there had to be an encounter with God face to face. That night he wrestled with ‘a man’ till the breaking of the day. He insisted him to let him go but Jacob did not and he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me (Ge.32: 26).”God was evidently pleased with his persistence. We read that God blessed him there.
God had promised Abraham to bless all nations in him. Even so Jacob his nature being devious had to get the better of his elder brother. When time had come for Isaac to leave the earth Jacob won the blessing from Isaac by a ruse. But it brought him great distress. It took him to the Haran episode. The grand vision of angels of God descending and descending was God’s acceptance of Jacob, -he was Abraham’s seed in his own right, and it added to his latent faith. In the vision God stood above the ladder and he blessed him.
Jacob’s response to the vision established him on the right footing with God. He vowed to pay a tithe of all that God would give him. Consequently Bethel the House of God was a memorial to God and it was to acknowledging faith of God. Now at Peniel his own faith bore results. God gave him a new name. He was no more Jacob, the sly one but Israel the one who had power with Him. Faith is one such quality that has consequences. Faith is causative attribute of God. What does that mean? In his faith God recognized His own holy faith. Whosoever he was in the past, faith was the passkey by which he had access, as the Holy Spirit observes, it was ‘face to face with God’.
Also significant is that Jacob called that place Peniel, meaning the Face of God. Without faith none shall see His Power or receive his blessings. Alternate reading of the Face of God is his Name. The godhead or Name radiates his goodness and faith is one such. No one can create faith by his own will but exercise what one has (Jn.4:38). Faith is where you leave aside your own will and instead trust in God. (In this context we can appreciate why God destroyed Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons (Lev.10:1-2). Their will made their faith to none effect.) Faith shall always have obedience as a consequence.
Jesus Christ has set an example. “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father (Jn.6:46-KJV)” In the fullness of times God revealed himself through his Son to the world. Thus faith is manifest since Jesus Christ has set an example.
We access to promises of through his Son. Faith in the Son is the passkey. Just as he perfected the will of his Father our obedience is the turn of the key in coming face to face with God. (To be continued)