Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand three levels of faith.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Three Levels of Faith
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verses 1
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we will share with you some thoughts and insights concerning three levels of faith. We shall explore the characteristics of these levels of faith. Each of these levels of faith is associated with certain well defined qualities, attitudes, and conduct. We shall also show the necessity of faith in pleasing God. It has been said that without faith, it is impossible to please God. We shall explore the reason why this is so, and we shall introduce the so-called president’’s test, that measure of God knowingness. We will not give any additional information about this test at this time, but will postpone the details of this test to a later junction in the broadcast.
But before beginning the discussion on faith levels, it might prove helpful to give a definition of what we mean by faith, more accurately spiritual faith. By narrowing the definition of faith, we hope to avoid entangling it with material values (though we shall use material analogies to help us grasp its meaning). But before giving the definition, let us use a material analogy to help us get a feel for the necessity of faith. If you go to a foreign country, say, Japan, and don’’t know the language, you will have great difficulty in communicating with the people there. But if you had a translator, you would be able to understand the language and function there quite adequately. In time, with the aide of the translator, you would learn the language and the culture and would eventually feel right at home.
If you want to study the structure of microscopic life, you will need a microscope in order to visualize these structures, since the power of the natural eye is unable to penetrate to those levels of resolutions. With the natural eye, what appeared to be non-existent, can now be discovered even though the presence of these microbes have made their presence known to us through various processes such a causing disease or making wine and rolls.
If we want to travel from one continent to another such as from North America to Europe, we must have some means of traversing the ocean that separates them. Without some means of transport, there is no way that we can traverse the ocean. No matter how good a swimmer we may be, we are not going to be able to swim that ocean in our present physical status. But with the aide of a ship or an aircraft, we can negotiate the distance safely and rather quickly.
The necessity of faith makes itself known to us because the object of this faith, the heavenly Father, creates processes within us that makes us aware that He exists. Internally there are the urges of spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst; externally, we perceive the objective work of His creativity. But by ourselves we have no way of communicating with this marvelous being. So we come to the first question: Why is it impossible to please God without faith? The simple answer is that we can’’t know him without faith, and without knowing him, it is impossible to know what he requires of us. And this naturally leads us to the next question: Why can’’t we know him without faith?
First, we don’’t have the spiritual maturity to know him. We are like infants just born who do not know their parents; and nor do we have the experience with him that would allow us to know him. So if we are to have a reciprocal relationship with him, then some mechanism must exist that will allow us to interact with him, to communicate with him, and to in fact know him. And this mechanism is faith. And now we are ready for a definition of spiritual faith. Spiritual faith is that quality of spiritual translator, that quality of spiritual microscope, and spiritual transporter that allows us to seek, find, and know the heavenly Father. Now having giving an intuitive definition of faith, we now move on to list and define the levels of faith.
The primary level of faith is the original faith endowment given by the heavenly Father. This level of faith might be designated as the desire to believe, or the will to believe. We find that the operator uses this quality of faith inconsistently. It is like the person who looks through a microscope, but does not quite believe what he sees. Or he is like the person who does not quite believe what the translator of the foreign language is telling him or is like the person who refuses to stay on the aircraft or the ship to traverse the mighty ocean. He does not trust the mechanism of faith. He is plagued with doubt. Thus his knowledge of and his two-way communication with the Father does not progress far. And since he does not consistently use his faith, he does not display knowledge of the Father.
The next level of faith is the secondary level. Here, the tendency to doubt is gradually coming under control. The faith operator, though he has his doubts, does not allow him to distrust what he sees in the spiritual microscope; nor does he distrust the instructions that the spiritual translator gives. He remains on the spiritual ship or spiritual aircraft as he moves forward despite the unfamiliarity of the scenery. At this level, the operator makes earnest progress in gaining knowledge of the Father’’s character and communicating with him. As they are revealed to him, he is learning to appreciate the values and meanings of truth, beauty, and goodness. This level of faith might be designated as the desire that believes or the will that believes. This faith grasper is well on the way to achieving the third or supreme level of faith and the sun of spirit fruits shines brightly in his soul. Some refer to this level of faith as being born again. And all recognize his forward march of faith towards supreme levels. He is becoming more Christlike daily.
The final faith level is the supreme level. The tendency to doubt has evaporated. So experienced has the operator become with the quality of faith that what he sees under the spiritual microscope or hears from the spiritual translator he takes it for granted and enjoys his ride on the spiritual ship or spiritual aircraft. He looks forward to using this faith and has become so skilled in his use that his knowledge of the Father has become supreme. This level of faith might be designated as the spiritual desire that is actualized or the will that is actualized. Here, maturity is obtained, and the operator of the faith has merged himself to the giver of the faith. He has become one with the Father through His Son, Jesus, and supremely loves the Father with all his heart, mind, and soul, and truly loves his neighbor as himself. When viewed, people clearly discern that he is a disciple of Jesus. Jesus says, if you love one another, than shall all men know that you are my disciples. The operator has vanquished doubt and no longer displays that attitude of "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." He has in spirit complied with the Father’’s command to be perfect even as He is perfect, and like Enoch and Elijah only awaits the translation flash.
And now for the president’’s test. Abraham Lincoln was a great president. He saved the union of our great nation. Unfortunately he was assassinated and his presidency was cut short. Many books have been written about him, and we all admire his great leadership ability and his far-reaching political insight. And many of us who have read about his presidency wished that we could have been there to see it all, and so we come to the question: Is if better to read about President Lincoln, or, if we had the chance, would it be better to know him personally, to actually experience him, not only knowing his great qualities but also knowing his shortcomings as well?
Is it better to know the heavenly Father through reading about him through various books, or is it better to know him personally, to eliminate the biases, the misrepresentations and distortions that are the result of second-hand information? The operator of the first level of faith will say that she doesn’’t know because she hasn’’t found out yet. The operator of the second level will say I think it is better because, I am in the process of finding out. But the operator of the third level of faith will say it is absolutely better because I have found out that it is better to know him personally, rather than to read about him. And the operator of the third level of faith will also say emphatically that I am a personal representative of Him through his Son, Jesus. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father!
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of three levels of faith. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.