Cultivating Faith (Part 3)

Cultivating Faith:  A Man of Self-Denial

The story of Abraham and Lot is a story of two roads which diverge.  It is a story filled with choices.  While the eternal destination of both men is the same, the ways in which they lived on this earth become a stark contrast.

As we enter Genesis 13, both men led their families side-by-side with unity of purpose.  As long as the interests of both men aligned, they maintained unity.  But a point came when their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together (Genesis 13.6).  The result was strife leading to separation.  The separation became necessary in order to promote stability and peace.  The diverging directions of both men teach us some very important principles.

It is possible to trace the choices of both Abraham and Lot under two main headings.  Both men represent diverging philosophies of could be termed as separation and infiltration.  Abraham separates from the world (Sodom and Gomorrah); Lot infiltrates the world – slouching toward Gomorrah to borrow Judge Robert H. Bork’s title from his 1996 book.  First, Abraham represents the choice of separation…

Choosing to separate leads to the path toward God (Genesis 13.1-9).

“Please separate from me …they separated from each other …the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him” (13.8, 11, 14).

The path to God leads away from strife and toward peace.

“If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will take the left” (13.9).

Abraham knew well the wisdom of his descendant Solomon who wrote, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts” (Proverbs 17.14).  Once water is released, the breach widens as the water erodes it away.  It moves so rapidly that there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Therefore, stop contention before it starts.  Once it begins, you’ll never know when or how it will stop.

Abraham desired peace with Lot.  That governed the choice he made.  So we have his words, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren” (Genesis 13.8).  Abraham was a peacemaker not a peacekeeper.  The path to God leads away from strife and toward peace.  Our endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace necessarily separates us from the world to God.  If our family and friends choose the path to Gomorrah, they will be walking a different path.  But make no mistake:  They have left the narrow way for the broad road.

The path to God leads away from self-assertion and toward self-denial.

It should be clear that Abraham is the elder and Lot the younger.  Abraham the uncle and Lot the nephew.  Abraham was called out of Ur, and Lot came along for the ride and the blessings.  Wouldn’t you think that as soon as Abraham gave Lot the choice of the left or right that Lot would have deferred to his uncle out of respect?  Shouldn’t he submit to Abraham and not the other way around?  Abraham could have asserted his rights, but he practiced self-denial.

People in the world lord their authority over others.  This is the way it is and the way it will be with unbelieving people.  But as Jesus said, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20.26-28).

The path to God leads away from self-assertion toward self-denial.  How can there be strife if one party denies self and assumes the role of a perpetual servant?  How can the self-assertive and the self-denying walk the same path?

The path to God leads away from greed and toward generosity.  

Abraham should possess at least as much as Lot if not more than Lot.  But Abraham was a sieve.  He simply allowed wealth to flow in and out.  Abraham gave; Lot took.  Abraham knew that the plain of the Jordan was fertile, lush land.  He simply deferred to Lot.

Faith reasons that God will take care of us and fight for us.  So if a man demands my cloak, I’ll give it to him along with my tunic also.  If he demands I walk with him one mile, I’ll walk the one and then another mile as well.  If it is within our power to meet a need, we should meet that need.

But greed leads to spiritual deadness.  The heart set on things below is more concerned with the comforts of this life.  Pure and undefiled religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1.27).  It is truly more blessed to give than to receive.

A choice to cultivate a life of faith means a choice to separate, which leads us along the path toward God.  Lot chose differently and serves as a warning to us…

Choosing to infiltrate leads to the path toward Gomorrah (Genesis 13.10-18).

The path to Gomorrah leads away from the eternal and toward the temporal.

“Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan …Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan …Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom …They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom” (13.10-12; 14.12).

We can’t be sure when Lot placed his faith in the God of Abraham.  We know that when Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, he is a righteous man.  Perhaps his conversion is a result of the problems caused by this divergent path that he took toward Gomorrah.  But believer or not, he took the path away from the eternal and toward the temporal.

We don’t know for certain, but it does seem that Lot has no problem with separating from Abraham.  Such separation would expose him to the temptations of Gomorrah.  He would be able to infiltrate that world, and gratify his desires.  Perhaps greed and ambition were two of the top desires for him.

Lot saw comfort in the well-watered plains of the Jordan.  The text tells us that the fertile land resembled the Garden of Eden itself.  Worldliness includes a fixation on the temporal and comfort that we desire right now in this temporal life.  Covetousness and a desire to fulfill temporal desires govern the heart of a person slouching toward Gomorrah.  We will learn that Lot gets a position as a judge and leader in Sodom.  His temporal desire far outpaced eternal interests.  The path to Gomorrah leads away from the eternal and toward the temporal.

The path to Gomorrah leads away from the spiritual and toward the physical.

  • The days of Lot are characterized as days when “they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built” (Luke 17.28).
  • “On the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17.29).
  • “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17.32).
  • ‘The LORD turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, and made them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and “delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2.6-8).

Lot certainly came to understand what the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were like.  Their sin was out in the open for all to see.  The Bible is right:  “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15.33).  Lot left Abraham and moved toward Gomorrah with little or no regret that we can determine from the text.

We lose so much when we sacrifice spiritual benefit for physical comfort.  We endanger our churches, families, and ourselves when we make this exchange.  We fail to feed on the Word of God and grab at the crust of bread we find in the world.  That crust of bread is a counterfeit form of life.  We need to be brought to repentance when living for this world.  God is merciful enough to do it.

Guard against a love for this world.  You must separate from it not infiltrate it if you are to cultivate a life of faith.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2.15-15).

Lot’s love for the world led to choices that nullified his testimony within it.  Lot only had the world for a little while.  In the end it was all taken away from him.  If you live for the present arrangement of things, then your life will be empty.

Cultivate a life of faith through a compassionate, self-denying spirit.  Look to the Holy Spirit.  Be grateful to God because He has enabled you to sacrifice your own interests for the interests of others.

  • Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12.10).
  • Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2.4-5).

Follow the faith of Abraham.  Walk the path to God instead of slouching toward the destruction of Gomorrah!

Come Tonight!

We continue our series in Abraham’s life by considering Genesis 16 this evening at 6 pm at Heritage Baptist Church (5200 Heidorn Ranch Road, Antioch, CA 94531).  Tonight, we learn to cultivate faith once we have compromised the Lord’s convictions.  Here’s where we’ve been:

A Man Set Apart (Genesis 12.1-4) – We learned from Abraham’s call that cultivating faith means that we are set apart from the world, to God, and for a faith that works.

A Man of Perspective (Genesis 12.5-20) – Cultivating faith begins with a proper perspective of God and on godliness. Godliness requires faith, obedience, self-denial, foresight, and effort. These requirements cannot be met in the power of the flesh, but only in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.

A Man of Self-Denial (Genesis 13.1-18) – We must choose to deny ourselves and cultivate faith. Abraham made the right choice and Lot the wrong choice. Choosing the path of separation leads you to God; choosing the path of infiltration leads you to Gomorrah.

A Man of Courage (Genesis 14.1-24) – Cultivating faith takes courage to see beyond today. We will serve the King of Sodom or the King of Salem. It doesn’t take courage at all to serve the former.

A Man of Perseverance (Genesis 15.1-21) – It takes perserverance and patience to cultivate faith. We are not always faithfulful, but God certainly is. Cultivate faith by imitating those who through faith and perseverance inherited God’s promises.

Cultivating Faith (Part 2)

Cultivating Faith:  A Man of Perspective

The most wonderful result of cultivating a life of faith is that people will glimpse the character of God in one who genuinely believes His Word.  God blessed Abraham, but in him blessed all the families of the earth (Genesis 12.1-3).  There are two perspectives which become very important in the cultivation of our faith.  First, we must have a proper perspective of God.  Second, we must have a proper perspective on godliness.

Our Perspective of God

Acts 7 contains the account of the Christian church’s first martyr named Stephen.  Stephen’s address leading to his murder begins with these words:  “Brethren and fathers, listen:  The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham” (Acts 7.2).  What then is the glory of God but an understanding of His character?

The Power of God

We learn much from God’s character when we consider that He called Abraham, an idolater, to become the source of blessing to all the families of the earth.  How do we make sense of that?  I believe God does that which will bring Him the most glory.  Abraham’s conversion and calling is a demonstration of His omnipotence.  God delights in taking broken vessels and communicating His grace and power through them.

Man does not operate in the same way.  We always look for the best and the brightest.  I am sad to say that the best and the brightest among us often do not need God.  Their abilities and resources hinder them from relying upon the power and glory of God for effective ministry.  God does indeed save those who realize they cannot save themselves.  Paul cautioned Timothy about being ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or even of Paul and his imprisonment for the Lord.  Suffering for the Gospel is a part of our call to ministry; it must be according to the power of God, “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works (self-power), but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (2 Timothy 1.8-9).

Not one believer should puff themselves up against the another believer.  God has made us to differ from one another.  Everything we have we received from Him.  Since we have received it, why would we boast as though we have not received it from Him?  (See 1 Corinthians 4.6-7.)  What was true of the formerly idolatrous Abraham is certainly true of you and me:  “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15.10).  The question remains, “Will God’s grace toward us be in vain?”  Anything worth doing in our lives must be empowered by Almighty God.

The Promise of God

While Abraham exemplifies a life-long cultivation of faith, it all began with the faithfulness of God.  God keeps His promises.  Yet Abraham would not own any of the promised land until he purchased his wife’s burial plot.  He would be an old man before Isaac, the child of promise, was born.  Yet God kept His promises.  The child was given.  Abraham’s descendants inherited the Land and will have it to the full one day.  Indeed, all the nations of the earth are blessed and will be blessed through him.

We can be very thankful for the promise of God.  “All the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes’, and in Him ‘Amen’, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1.20).  The greatest promise God has made to us is the eternal security we have in Christ.  Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10.29).  All of God’s children “are kept by the power of God through faith” (1 Peter 1.5).

Our perspective of God is sharply focused by a look at His power and faithfulness to keep the promises He makes.  If we are to cultivate a life of faith as Abraham did, we must keep an eye focused upon the power and promises of God.  But we also need a whole new perspective on godliness.

Our Perspective on Godliness

While Abraham move toward Canaan in Genesis 12, the LORD appeared to him and encouraged him.  He built altars to the LORD in both Shechem and Bethel.  He called upon the LORD as well.  Our perspective on godliness must include the ideas of dedication to God and communication with God.  I find it interesting and very ironic that Abraham epitomizes the cultivation of a life of faith, but he went down to Egypt when a famine came upon the Land.  It doesn’t seem to me that the LORD directs him there.  We don’t find it in the text.  Also, God’s Word makes it clear that Abraham felt the need to lie to protect himself even at his wife’s expense (see Genesis 12.12-13).  God faithfulness and power preserves Abraham and Sarah in the end, but we wouldn’t really turn to the end of this chapter for a perspective on godliness, would we?

Perhaps our perspective on a godly life is clarified over time.  The weakness of Abraham is becoming a strength as he is led by God.  But God will allow Abraham to strike out on his own and fail.  He will permit the same when it come to our own lives.  Still, Genesis 12:5 is evidence of Abraham’s faith.  He departed from Haran and went into the Land.  Clarity when it comes to godliness will require that we first and foremost follow the leading of the Holy Spirit by truly relying upon Him.  As we rely upon God’s power and promises, we will fulfill five very important requirements.

Godliness Requires Faith

Faith is not complicated from our perspective.  It is an unwavering stand upon the foundational power and promises of God.  Abraham went without knowing where he was going.  He simply believed what God revealed to Him.  It’s not that he never stumbled or failed in life; he did.  We simply must walk in the steps of Abraham’s faith (Romans 4.12).

After all, to be godly one must belong to God.  To belong to God one must believe.  “Abraham believed God …and therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us.  It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.3, 22-25).  God has always and will always require faith from the godly.

Godliness Requires Obedience

Obedience comes after faith; although, admittedly they often appear to be contemporaneous.  When God called Abraham, Abram obeyed God right away.  No hemming and hawing.  He went.  If we are to be godly, we must obey right away.  Obey right away isn’t just for our children.  We have the same litany of excuses as they when it comes to delayed or failed obedience.  Consider the words of our Lord Jesus who said…

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”  But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9.58-62).

It is inexcusable for the godly to disobey or delay when it comes to the clear directives of our Heavenly Father.

Godliness Requires Self-Denial

It’s not only hard but impossible to get this right without relying upon the leading of God the Holy Spirit.  When you leave everything familiar to you (people and comfort), it can be disorienting and depressing.  Abraham certainly struggled.  This is when we must know the Person in whom we have placed our faith.  We know whom we have believed!

We must not only be willing but active in putting to death our members upon the earth.  Cut off the right hand, pluck out the right eye, and crucify the flesh and its affections.  It’s not easy, but God didn’t call us to easy.  He call us to self-denial.  If you lose your life, you most certainly gain it.

Godliness Requires Foresight 

Abraham certainly planned for the trip from Haran to the Promised Land.  It would be absurd to think otherwise.  He even calculated how he would handle things with Sarah once leaders saw how beautiful she was.  Abraham must support his family and provide for those close to him.  But wisdom does dwell together with prudence, which is the practical skill of being discerning.  If we do not provide for our families, are we not worse than unbelievers?

Godliness Requires Effort

Abraham stalled in Haran until Terah died.  When the LORD renewed His call for Abraham to go further into the Promised Land, he went.  He didn’t give up on God.  We, too, must press on.  Diligence is an essential part of a godly life.  But I hasten to add that effort is effortless when we are led by the Holy Spirit and supplied with the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Galatians 2.20).

Hopefully, we see that the link between a proper perspective of God and a proper perspective on godliness when it comes to the cultivation of a life of faith.  Those who follow Abraham’s example will find themselves to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of Lord, because they know that their labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15.58).

Cultivating Faith Series (Part 1)

Cultivating Faith:  A Man Set Apart 

Abraham lived roughly 2000 years before the time of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He lived in a world that spiraled down out of control plummeting into the depths of idolatry.  Abraham’s father Terah dwelt on the eastern side of the Euphrates River.  He raised his family in an atmosphere of idolatry.  They all served other gods (cf. Joshua 24.2).  And yet, God set Abraham apart from the wickedness of idolatry to Himself and for His glory.  God chose to preserve truth and the revelation of Himself in the earthly family of one man named Abraham.  So God called Abraham, and he had to choose to leave his country and all his familiar surroundings to occupy a land that God would show him in the future.

Now the LORD had said to Abram:

Get out of your country,

From your family

And from your father’s house,

To a land that I will show you. 

(Genesis 12.1)

Set Apart from the World

God has not called me to leave the idolatrous state of California for some earthly location that He will determine at a later date.  He hasn’t called me to leave my family or all that is familiar here in this great place.  But He has set me apart from earthly things in Christ.

  • He demands that I set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3.2).
  • “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5.19).
  • Even so, God commands me not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2.15).
  • “Do not be conformed to this world,” Paul writes in Romans 12.2.
  • “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4.4).
  • We must “come out from among” the idolaters in the world “and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6.17).
  • “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6.14).
  • We must confess with those who have cultivated a life of faith before us that we too are strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11.13).

We are very comfortable in the world in which we live.  I’d say a bit too comfortable.  We should be grateful for the freedoms and comforts that we have.  We must use these as tools to reach the lost with the Gospel.  But if our world collapses and we suffer, we shall be able to strengthen and encourage one another to continue in the faith.  Is it not true that we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14.22)?

As with Abraham, we must hold onto the things of this world loosely.  The good things of life cannot keep us.  The evil will not divert us.  We desire a better, that is, a heavenly country just as Abraham did.  God has prepared a city for us (Hebrews 11.16).

“Forget your own people …your father’s house; so the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him” (Psalm 45.10-11).  It is in this sense that we are set apart from the world.  While some of us must be more involved with the day-to-day activity of this world, we are not of it.  Prepositions are important.  We must separate ourselves from this world or be prepared to suffer the misery coming upon it.  This is the first step in the cultivation of faith.  But separation is not all negative.  We are set apart from the world in order to be…

Set Apart to God 

Abraham’s call to leave his family and country seems pretty drastic until you consider verses 2-3 of Genesis 12.  The LORD also revealed to Abraham the following:

I will make you a great nation;

I will bless you

And make your name great;

And you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

And I will curse him who curses you;

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

(Genesis 12.2-3)

Notice the five-fold repetition of the word blessing in these two verses.  The focus of Abraham’s call away from everything and everyone he knows is the fact that God had something much better in mind for him.  Abraham would be blessed and also be a source of blessing for all the families of the earth.

At the end of Abraham’s life, when he is well-advanced in age, the Bible says that “the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things” (Genesis 24.1).  Abraham’s servant reveals that the LORD had blessed his master greatly, he had become great (Genesis 24.35).  So, Abraham had been blessed with abundance in the temporal life he lived.

But it was the spiritual and eternal benefits that Abraham possessed at the end of his life which were far greater.  His faith in the revelation of God was accounted for righteousness.  He was justified before God.  All of these material and eternal blessings were communicated to his family as well.  People were encouraged and built up because of Abraham’s “follow-ship”.  Follow-ship is imperative when it comes to leadership.  Because Abraham obeyed God’s call to come out of Ur to Canaan, he was able to be a blessing to so many, even to all the families of the earth.  Every person will be blessed or cursed according to whether or not he or she accepts or rejects the promised Seed of Abraham, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Leave the world behind!  Sever all ties that bind you to it.  If you do this for Christ’s sake, you will have lost your life as far as this world is concerned.  You are dead with Christ, but you are alive to God.  You might not have the abundance of Abraham when it comes to material and temporal wealth, but you will have gained your soul and incomprehensible, daily benefits.

Christians are sensitive to sin and even the moments that we live detached from God wear us down.  We mourn over these times, and yet in spite of the mourning, we are and shall be truly blessed.  We have forgiveness of sins and acceptance with God in the Beloved One.  We are blessed with the one who cultivated a life of faith so long ago.

But not only are we blessed in Christ; we are a source of blessing to all around us.  As parents, employers, friends, and associates, we relate to other people.  We graciously promote the true joy of life in Christ with all connected to us.

Within the church and within our country, we exemplify the life of light.  Our own follow-ship becomes leadership of a godly sort.  Our prayer on the behalf of others, will it not prevail if we are godly, fervent, and righteous?  What if we simply lead one person to Christ, will that not be more than all this world could offer them or us?  Won’t that one person be eternally grateful to us for God mercifully allowing us to communicate the glorious Gospel of reconciliation?  When you think about it, all truly is vanity when compared to the eternal blessings of a life truly abiding in Christ.

Set Apart for Faith that Works

Abraham obeyed God. “Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him” (Genesis 12.4).  He didn’t hesitate.  Lot, his nephew, went with him.  But one wonders about the opinion of many others in his family.  How many thought Abraham was crazy to leave Ur and later Haran?  Imagine people asking him, “Well, where are you going?”  How does he answer?  “I don’t know where I’m going.  I just need to leave.”  When he finally leaves, how many feared for him?  But Abraham didn’t worry about the comforts of home, family, and friends.  He desired the blessing of God above all.  He believed God.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  (Hebrews 11.8-10)

Abraham is surely the prototype for us when it comes to the cultivation of faith and obedience.  If we leave this world behind for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s, we gain so much more than we could ever hope for.  Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15.18-19).

I cannot see Heaven, but I have entered my Promised Land nonetheless.  I move through life enjoying the quality of eternal life while waiting for the appearance of my Eternal King and His eternal city.  This is why we “consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8.18).  Our obedience is fueled by our dependence upon the eternal life Christ gives.  We walk by faith and not by sight.

Some of us are way too comfortable in this world.

Jesus said that if we are, then perhaps we’ve come to Him but we don’t hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and our own life also.  If that be the case, we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14.26).

How do we hate these people, when we are commanded not even to hate our enemies?  The answer is that Jesus is using figurative language.  He means that any connection or affection that we have in this world which is more important than faith in Him is the forsaking of Him.

Our love for Christ must so overshadow our earthly ties that we act as if hate those closest to us in comparison.  We sacrifice all without hesitation for the cause of Christ.  Forsake all and follow Him!  This leads to your own personal blessing and makes you a source of blessing for others.

Some of us are determined to live for the world to come.

Just remember that Abraham’s father and brother went as far as Haran, but no further.  God renews the call while Abraham is in Haran with them, but Terah dies there.  Nahor, his brother, wasn’t willing to journey any further with Abraham.  Abraham took only Sarah and his nephew Lot.  While we don’t know about the specific reasons or even the spiritual state of Abraham’s family in Haran, they didn’t go with Abraham to the Promised Land.

A promise remains of entering God’s rest, let us fear lest any of us seem to have come short of it.

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Peter 2:20–21).

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

We are not of those who draw back.  We are determined to follow in faith, to cultivate faith.  We are set apart from the world to God for faith that works!