Living by Faith Part 5 of 5: Christian Growth

The force of this is found in the fact that the Christian life, which is the result of faith, is progressive. The Christian life is a continual growth. Peter says: "Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:17, 18. The only way to keep from falling from that which we have, is to grow. David says of the righteous man that "he shall be like a tree [13]   planted by the rivers of water." Ps. 1:3. This means continual growth.
We read of the path of the just, that it "shall be as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Prov. 4:18. But "the just shall live by faith;" therefore it must be that their faith increases. 
Again: Paul says to the Corinthians, "Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness." 2 Cor. 9:10. To the Thessalonians he wrote, "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men." 1 Thess. 3:12. And again he said, "But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more." 1 Thess. 4:10. But faith works by love (Gal. 5:6); that is, love is the outgrowth of true faith; therefore increasing love must be the result of increasing faith. 
To the Hebrews the apostle wrote: "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." Heb. 6:1. And in the epistle to the Philippians Paul said: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:12-14. Here is set forth a continual reaching out for some higher attainment. The calling of God in Christ Jesus is a calling to holy or righteous living, for  [14]   we read, "But like as He which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because as it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15, 16. Revised Version
This righteousness to which we are called, and for higher attainments in which we must constantly press, is obtained only by faith, as Paul expresses his desire to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, "but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Phil. 3:9. Therefore, since righteousness comes only by faith, and it must increase, it follows that faith must also increase. So it was not a vain prayer which the disciples uttered when they said, "Lord, increase our faith." Luke 17:5. 
That faith is susceptible of growth is plainly declared by the Scriptures. Paul had hope that when the faith of the Corinthian brethren was increased, he should be helped by them to preach the gospel in the regions beyond them. 2 Cor. 10:15, 16. To the Thessalonians he wrote that he prayed exceedingly night and day, that he might see them, and might perfect that which was lacking in their faith. 1 Thess. 3:10. And still later he wrote, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth." 2 Thess. 1:3. 
This last text contains the whole of the argument that we have made. Their faith grew, and as a consequence their charity abounded. Charity, or love, is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. 13:10; 1 John 5:3. It is the manifestation of the righteousness of God, and is a result of true faith, for faith works by love, and the only right-   [15]   eousness which will be accepted when the Lord comes is that which is by the faith of Christ, "the righteousness which is of God by faith." Such being the teaching of Scripture, there is no reason why we should not understand Rom. 1:17 just as it reads. The righteousness of God is revealed, or manifested, from faith to faith. 
One or two notable instances recorded in Scripture will illustrate this. The apostle records that "by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." Heb. 11:31. This case has been a cause of stumbling to some who have not given careful thought to it. It is well known that Rahab lied to the men sent by the king of Jericho to seize the spies (see Josh. 2:2-6), and they imagine that in saving her God placed a premium on lying, and that it is right sometimes to lie. Neither is true. Rahab was saved, not because of her lie, but because of her faith. She, in common with all the people of Jericho, had heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea and how He had led the Israelites; but she alone, of all the inhabitants of Jericho, believed that the hand of the Lord was in the matter, and that He had given the land of Canaan to the Israelites. She had simple faith, but was totally ignorant of God's law. In the code of the heathen morality, lying was accounted a virtue, and she knew nothing better. But her faith made it possible for her to be saved, and brought her into a place where she could learn righteousness. As a natural consequence her faith in God would increase when she learned more of Him. In her case we have a clear instance of the revelation of the righteousness of God from faith to faith.
The same thing is true of Cornelius. He feared God   [16]  with all his house, and gave much alms, and "prayed to God alway." As a consequence, an angel was sent to him, directing him to send for Peter, who should tell him what he ought to do. 
The sum of the whole thing is that it is faith that brings God near to us. If we first believe that He is, He will reveal Himself to us more fully. If we rejoice in that light and walk in it, our faith will be increased, and that will bring more light. As with Rahab, so with all. God does not grant us a blessing because we are righteous, but in order that we may become righteous. When our faith brings us to Christ, it is that we may learn of Him. To our faith, we add virtue and knowledge. But as faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, it follows that the more we really know — accept — of the Word of God, the greater will be our faith. And so, increasing daily in faith, the just go on from strength to strength, until the dawning of the perfect day ushers them into the immediate presence of God.
~~~~~~~~~

From the book:Living by Faith” The Bible Student’s Library, no. 75, Dec. 1, 1890, By E. J. Waggoner, Chapter: LIVING BY FAITH, in the Chapter: “Christian Growth”, p. 10-11.

Blog Edited by John Foll.

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April 29, 2020
Living by Faith Part 5 of 5: Christian Growth

By E. J. Waggoner List of Articles  The force of this is found in the fact that the Christian life, which is the result of faith, is progressive. The Christian life is a continual growth. Peter says: "Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. […]

April 29, 2020
A Lesson From the Grass Part 1 of 2

By E. J. Waggoner There could be no more sure way to undermine the Gospel, and rob it of its power, than the substitution of the teachings of "Science falsely so called" for the simple word of God. God has been relegated to the rear, and is regarded as afar off. So, although many did […]

January 17, 2020
A Lesson From the Grass Part 2 of 2

By E. J. Waggoner List of Articles  Listen to the first two sentences of it! Very powerful!  One more lesson of encouragement may be learned from the frailty of man, which shows that only in humility is true exaltation found. Since all things come from God, man can be at his highest state only when […]

January 17, 2020
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By John Foll, Written 11/4/2016   The time so long waited for by God’s people is almost here, the Second Coming of Christ. Soon it will be too late to give your heart completely to God, and prepare for the Second Coming. Do you not hear Him calling to your heart now? Have you put […]

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By John Foll, 10/29/2016 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we […]

January 10, 2020
Living by Faith Part 4 of 5: FROM FAITH TO FAITH

By E.J. Waggoner List of Articles But there is another expression in the text which stands at the beginning of this tract: "For therein [in the gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." This expression has been the subject of much learned discussion by theologians, and very few of them are […]

January 10, 2020
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By E. J. Waggoner. List of Articles Well, our Captain is the Lord of Hosts. He has met the chiefest foe of all and has vanquished him single handed. Those who follow Him invariably go forth conquering and to conquer. Oh, that those who profess to be His followers would put their trust in Him, […]

January 10, 2020
Living by Faith Part 2 of 5: A CAUSE OF FAILURE

By E. J. Waggoner. List of Articles  Listen We have heard many people tell how hard they found it to do right; their Christian life was most unsatisfactory to them, being marked only by failure, and they were tempted to give up in discouragement. No wonder they get discouraged; continual failure is enough to discourage […]

January 10, 2020
Living by Faith Part 1 of 5: LIVING BY FAITH

By E. J. Waggoner List of Articles  In Rom. 1:17 the apostle Paul makes the following statement, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith." This statement is the summing up of what the apostle has to say about the gospel […]

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