Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
Have you ever felt you were lacking in faith, or found it hard to believe in the Lord at times? In previous posts, we discussed what faith is and where it comes from, and how we can be strengthened in our faith.
Today, we’ll focus on Hebrews 12:2 and accompanying notes in the New Testament Recovery Version that show us Jesus is the source of faith, and how to apply this fact in our Christian life.
Jesus, the Author of faith
Hebrews 12:2 says,
“Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.”
This verse tells us clearly Jesus is the Author of our faith. Note 3 on Author begins by explaining the meaning of the word in Greek:
“Or, Originator, Inaugurator, Leader, Pioneer, Forerunner. The same Greek word as in 2:10. All the overcoming saints in the Old Testament are only witnesses of faith, whereas Jesus is the Author of faith. He is the Originator, the Inaugurator, the source, and the cause of faith.”
Jesus, the Author of faith, is the unique source of faith.
What about us? Note 3 continues:
“In our natural man we have no believing ability. We do not have faith by ourselves. The faith by which we are saved is the precious faith that we have received from the Lord (2 Pet. 1:1).”
We don’t have the ability to believe; we can’t muster up faith by ourselves. Second Peter 1:1—the verse referenced above—also makes it clear we’re not the source of faith. It reads:
“Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have been allotted faith equally precious as ours.”
Here, we see faith is something allotted to the believers, which means we don’t naturally have it. God gives it to us as a share, or a portion. The faith we’re allotted is equally as precious as that given to the apostle Peter and to all the believers.
Looking away unto Jesus
Now, let’s focus on the first four words of Hebrews 12:2: “Looking away unto Jesus.”
Concerning faith, we’re first exhorted to look away. What are we supposed to look away from?
Today, we lead incredibly busy lives. Responsibilities related to family, jobs, school, and so on demand our attention. We’re constantly receiving texts, emails, and calls. On top of that, many other things distract us, even alerts on our phone about the latest news event halfway around the world. It’s easy to be occupied by everything happening around us, both in our personal situation and in the world at large. Maybe that’s all we see before us. Filled with anxieties, cares, and things we have to do, we certainly can end up feeling we lack faith.
No wonder the Word of God exhorts us to look away! The more attention we focus on the things around us, whether they’re good or bad, the more we can feel our faith draining away. So we need to look away and turn our thoughts from all our cares.
However we’re not just exhorted to look away, but also to look unto Jesus. How can we do this? Where do we even look?
Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus sat down on the right hand of the throne of God, but the Bible also tells us when we believed in Him, the Lord came to live in us. He’s dwelling now in our human spirit. So to look unto Jesus practically is to turn to Him in our spirit. We can look away from all the distracting, faith-draining things and look unto Jesus, the Author of our faith, by setting our mind on Him in our spirit.
Note 2 on Jesus, the One we look away unto, is truly precious:
“He [Jesus] is like an immense magnet drawing all His seekers to Him. It is by being attracted by His charming beauty that we look away from all other things than Him. Without such a charming object, how could we look away from so many distracting things on this earth?”
The beauty of the wonderful Jesus is what attracts us. He is so lovely! Our dear Lord Jesus is a magnet, and by His attracting us, we can look away from everything unto Him.
The result of looking away unto Jesus
By looking away unto Jesus, something wonderful happens in us. Let’s return to Note 3. It goes on to say:
“When we look unto Jesus, He as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) transfuses us with Himself, with His believing element. Then, spontaneously, a kind of believing arises in our being, and we have the faith to believe in Him. This faith is not of ourselves but of Him who imparts Himself as the believing element into us that He may believe for us. Hence, He Himself is our faith. We live by Him as our faith; i.e., we live by His faith (Gal. 2:20), not by our own.”
The spontaneous result of looking away unto Him is that we’re transfused with Jesus Himself as our faith. We don’t even have to ask for it; faith arises in us as we behold Him. The Lord Jesus, who was imparted into us, is the One who believes for us; He’s our living faith. The apostle Paul testified to this in Galatians 2:20:
“I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Paul lived in faith, but that faith wasn’t his own; it was the faith of the Son of God who lived in him.
Let’s now consider some practical ways for us to look away unto Jesus.
1. By turning our heart—2 Corinthians 3:16 says, “But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Then verse 3:18 says, “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord.” When we exercise to turn our hearts to the Lord and deal with anything separating us, we can behold His glory.
2. By calling on His name—Calling on the name of the Lord is the easiest way to look away from everything else unto Him. We can cry out, “Lord Jesus! Oh, Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus, I need You!” The more we do this, the more we sense all other things fading away as He becomes nearer and dearer to us.
3. By praying—We can bring every matter to God in prayer. We can open to Him concerning all our problems and difficult decisions we face. We can pray, “Lord Jesus, I don’t know what to do. But Lord, I just look away right now unto You. I want to gaze at Your beauty. Lord, You are the most lovely One.” Instead of being absorbed with our problems, we can absorb Jesus as the source of our faith.
4. By reading His Word—We can also behold the Lord Jesus in His Word. For example, reading the Gospels impresses us with the details of the wonderful life He lived on the earth. We read about His death and resurrection, and what He did to save us. In the Scriptures, we behold Him and are spontaneously filled with love and appreciation for Him. We can also use the words of the Bible to pray, allowing Him to infuse us with Himself.
5. By spending regular time in His presence—A major reason why we feel lacking in faith may be because we haven’t spent much quality time with the Lord lately. Instead, our time may have been spent beholding many other things—our devices, our circumstances, our problems. But we need to devote regular time to looking away unto Jesus. The best time to do this is in the morning. Instead of waking up and immediately checking our phones, we can first look away to the wonderful Person living in us. Spending time absorbing Him and being transfused with Him before we do anything else strengthens our faith.
Hebrews 12:2 and the notes in the Recovery Version help us realize we needn’t be discouraged or feel as if we’re a failure when we’re lacking faith. We shouldn’t think others are more able to have faith, while we aren’t. The Word of God tells us Jesus is the Author of faith. We simply need to get to the source of faith by looking away from everything else and beholding the Lord in our spirit. This is how He transfuses us with Himself to be our believing ability and the faith we live by.
How wonderful it is that Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, dwells in us! He’s so near; at any moment we can turn to Him. Let’s practice daily looking away unto Jesus and being infused with Him as our faith.
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