An example by analogy may clarify this. A man calls his wife from work and says, "Honey, Iím going to be late coming home fro work tonight. I have to work until midnight at the office, so donít prepare supper for me." Now sheís a good wife and heís a good husband and they have a good marriage. He has proven himself to be very trustworthy and she has the greatest confidence in him. She does not doubt for a moment that what he says is true. She doe snot think he is going to be running around with his secretary at the local bar or motel. She believes in what he says because she believes in him. She believes in the revealed statement because she believes in the revealer. To the extent that she believes in him, to that extent she believed in what he says.
The parallel is obvious. To the extent that we believe in Jesus (and there are many degrees of that), we believe and adhere to what He tells us. You really canít have one without the other. If you see how closely they are related, then you have a measuring stick by which to determine how deep our own faith is. You are thereby able to apply what Paul says in Romans 12:3 "Judge yourself by the amount of faith God has given you." We can take a spiritual inventory, as we did with the gift of faith; we can judge ourselves on how much of the virtue of faith we have (cf II Corinthians 13:5).
A faith inventory will enable us to calibrate our spiritual maturity. If we end up disappointed by this investigation, let it spur us to move higher. Donít become discouraged. You may find you are a mess. Ask the Lord to bless the mess you are, but do not allow it to immobilize you. Allow it instead to refine you in your faith.
In John 5:39, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees, "You search the scriptures" - the Word of God, the content of secondary faith -"because you believe they will give you eternal life, but those very scriptures point to Me" - the content of primary faith. There are over a thousand prophecies in the Old testament that point to Christ as the Messiah. The Word of God gives you eternal life only because the Incarnate Word gives you eternal life (I Thessalonians 2:13). The scribes and Pharisees emphasized secondary faith while de-emphasizing primary faith. They had found the doctrine target, but not the person target, of their faith.
Next Week: Loving the Revealer part two