Good Faith Desire

by Sam Stinson

"For, 'Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls" (Hebrews 10:37-39).

A certain store trains its worker on how to deal with customers. That worker is instructed by the company to have a "good faith" desire to do what is right and approved: "If a client comes into the office to have work done but they clearly have their hearts set on violating ethical behavior and refuse to back down, hand them back their documents and refuse to cooperate. This has nothing to do with the law per sei but our standing as a company. When the client says, 'I know what is right but I believe this other action is okay to do' it is our 'good faith' desire to do what is ethical and approved. It is our loyalty to our employer and our government that makes us unwilling to cooperate. We might lose a sale, but we retain our integrity."

The same principle is true with regard to spiritual truth. The Bible tells disciples to have a "good faith" desire to avoid what is sinful and to do what is approved in God's sight. The Hebrews writer speaks, quoting the prophet Habakkuk, that when the carnal, wicked man comes, the one who is righteous in God's sight will endure, living by faith (Hebrews 10:37-38). If, however, that person shrinks back and does not remain faithful when tested, that soul is destroyed (Hebrews 10:39). Faith justifies a disciple but faithlessness destroys that same disciple. If we act against what is taught in the Bible and say, "I know what the Bible teaches, but I believe this breach of faith is permissible" it is our "good faith" desire that is compromised, leading us to be destroyed. If we personally prohibit something that is clearly permitted in the Bible and we say, "I know what the Bible teaches, but I don't like that this is permissible so I will personally make a law against it" also then we are not acting in a "good faith" desire. Our loyalty to God allows us to control our desire and actions. This is why the righteous shall live by faith. If it is important in the conducting of this world's business, how much more important with regard to keeping God's word by faith? There, a violation may lead to termination and arrest. Here, in God's presence, we could be condemned to an eternity away from him. Let us take this to heart and keep burning the fire of a "good faith" desire in our Lord and be justified. Let us not be like those who backslide and are destroyed but like those who have faith and preserve their souls.

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