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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 2


5. My Faith



The Name and the Faith are terms comprehensive of the whole subject. "There is One Faith," says Paul, "and one Hope of the Calling." The name is that part of the faith just expounded; but when "faith" is used in connexion with "name" it embraces the things associated with it by Paul in his definition of it in Heb. xi. 1. In this place, he says, "Faith is a hypostasis of things being hoped for, an elenchos of transactions not seen." Here faith, or belief, is said to be hypostasis and elenchos; that is, faith is reality and proof. The person who has it, embraces certain things promised as realities, and certain transactions as things proved. Hence, faith is the assured hope of things promised, the conviction of the truth of transactions not witnessed by the believer.

The English Version renders Paul's words, thus: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This, however, does not give us the full import of his definition. The word elpizomenwnrendered "of things hoped for," is the present participle passive, the sign of which is "being;" the word should therefore be translated "of things being hoped for." Faith is not the "hypostasis of things hoped for" once, and afterwards forgotten: nor "of things hoped for" by other people of old time, but never heard of by professors now: but they are things "by which ye are saved if ye keep in memory a certain word I preached unto you," says Paul; "unless ye have believed in vain;" that is, by forgetting it (1 Cor. xv. 1,2) -- it is the hypostasis of things hoped for, being kept in memory, by the believer; who, understanding the things promised, is fully persuaded of them, and lives in hope even against hope, or present appearances, that what God has promised to Abraham and David, he is able to, and will perform (Rom. iv. 21,18).

Another defect in the English Version is, that it does not fully translate the word pragmatwn. The word pragma signifies "a thing done, a fact, deed, work, or transaction," and is, therefore, a matter of history. In the phrase "of things being hoped for" there is no separate word in the original for "things;" but it is supplied, and correctly so, because elpizomenwn is of the neuter gender. But in the latter part of this definition Paul has inserted the word pragmatwn, that all the things of faith may be embraced in the definition -- "the things of the kingdom," which are "being hoped for;" and "the things of the Name," which have been transacted and expounded in the mystery revealed.

It is evident, then, that what is termed "historical faith," or the mere belief of history, and which some "theologians" say is the best sort of faith, is a defective faith; and therefore, not what the Spirit styles "My Faith." On the other hand, also, the mere belief of things hoped for, omitting faith in the pragmata, or transactions, is a defective faith. A faith perfect in kind and in degree must heartily embrace the things of hope, and the things transacted; in other words, "the things concerning the Kingdom of the Deity, and of the Name of the Anointed-Jesus."

This is what the Spirit styles "my faith," which the teachers in Pergamos "had not denied." The divines of "the synagogue of the Satan" in that city did however deny it. Their Nikolaitan speculations about "immortal souls" led them to deny it. Justin Martyr, who was fourteen years contemporary with the apostle John, though he did not embrace Christianity till about thirty years after his death, in his dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, says, "I am not such a wretch, Trypho, as to say one thing and mean another. I have before confessed to thee that I, and many others, are of their opinion (that of the prophets concerning the Millennial Reign), so that we hold it to be thoroughly proved that it will come to pass. But I have also signified unto thee on the other hand that many, even those of that race of christians who follow not godly and pure doctrine(those of the apocalyptic synagogue of the Satan) do not acknowledge it. For I have demonstrated to thee that these (Nikolaitans) are indeed called christians, but are atheists and impious heretics, because that in all things they teach what is blasphemous, ungodly, and unsound." These self-styled christians are the professors denounced in the letters to the seven ecclesias under the epithets of "those who say they are apostles, and are not, but are liars;" "blasphemers who say they are Jews, and are not, but the synagogue of the Satan;" "the Satan;" "those who hold the doctrine of Balaam;" "the Nikolaitans;" "that woman Jezebel, calling herself a prophetess, teaching and seducing the servants of God;" and "those who said they were rich, and increased with goods, and had need of nothing." These all called themselves christians, but, as Justin truly says, they were atheists, or without God, and impious heretics; blasphemous, ungodly, and unsound teachers. He goes on, therefore, to say concerning these "Fathers" of Modern Christendom, "If therefore, you fall in with certain who are called christians, who confess not this truth (of the thousand years' reign of Jesus and his brethren on earth over all nations) but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in that they say there is no resurrection of the dead, but that IMMEDIATELY WHEN THEY DIE, THEIR SOULS ARE RECEIVED UP INTO HEAVEN, -- avoid them, and esteem them not christians, etc." In affirming this, which is now called orthodoxy, because "the synagogue of the Satan" is now in the ascendancy under the current style, or title of "the Names and Denominations of Christendom" -- they denied the faith termed by the Spirit "My Faith." Justin protests that it is blaspheming the God of Abraham to say, that there is no resurrection of the flesh and that they do say this who say, that souls are received up into heaven immediately they die. I believe Justin's position is apostolic and scriptural; and that what was blasphemy, atheism, heresy, ungodly, and unsound, in the year 140, is the same in 1861. Justin, therefore, who is highly commended by the commentators, denounces them as not christians, and the sentiments of all christendom in our day as blasphemy. Where is the name, sect, or denomination, from the papacy to Mormonism included, but what teaches the dogma of immortal-soulism, and translation to heaven at death? Our contemporaries all deny the Spirit's Faith; if any are to be found that hold fast the Name and have not denied the faith, which the Spirit styles his, they are not of the names and denominations of "the religious world." They are outsiders, having no fellowship with "the Satan" in any of "the depths as they teach."

No, the Spirit's Faith is not the faith of Christendom. The "faith of the religious world taught by all orders of its clergy, is mere heathenism, interlarded with some scriptural phraseology uttered in a tone called "holy." The Spirit's faith teaches what is promised "to them that overcome" -- the resurrection of the mortal body; absolute dominion over the nations of the earth; Deification; a share in the throne of Omnipotence; and endless existence in glory. The dogma of an immortal soul in sinful flesh is not to be found in the Spirit's faith; it knows nothing about the translation of such a vain conceit to heaven, but to condemn it in its logical consequents. The dogma of the transfer of such a fiction to heaven at death is subversive of the resurrection of the flesh; and of the kingdom covenanted to Abraham and David; and promised to the saints with eternal life and glory. The Spirit's faith repudiates such trash; and threatens vengeance upon those who hold it.




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