Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

The song “He Is With You” as sung by Mandisa, interprets the 139th Psalm and speaks a word of Thanksgiving unto my heart: “He is with you in the ICU when the doctors don’t know what to do, and it scares you to the core, He is with you. …When nothing else is left, and you take your final breath— He is with you!”

“… delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles— to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17-18). .

To try to bring this text to a close even though this verse alone yet requires these additional amplifications: 1. “turn from darkness to ‘phos/light”. (“I AM the ‘phos’ of the world”; “let your ‘phos’ so shine…”); 2. “from the power of Satan to God” (waaaaay to much ‘satanology’ in the preaching and teaching context of the Christian Church. Only one name under the heavens for salvation, CALL on the name JESUS); and 3) “receive forgiveness of sins”. I’ll settle here with “those who are sanctified by faith in me”; remembering this to be the 3rd of Act’s recording S(P)aul’s call.

First used of ‘sanctuaries’, the ‘agios’ word groups spoke of the sense of ‘reverence’; ‘the object of awe’; ‘the most beautiful and sacred without public access’. ‘Sanctus’ is spoken of in the essence of most every god known in ancient cultures. It is a ‘state’ and never an ‘action’. For Israel, it becomes a conscious transference to the possession of God to whom the dedicated person, place or thing now belongs. In this divine state of holiness, cleanliness, sanctification— life must be lived! An ‘abiding’. This life is only possible as a personal being taken up into the existence of God. This ‘place’ among those who are “sanctified by faith” is translated by some as ‘inheritance’ (NJB New Jerusalem Bible; NAB New American Bible). Perhaps the revelation of the songwriter that penned: “Living, He loved me; Dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified; Freeing me forever…”

It must be borne in mind that this ‘inheritance’, this ‘living place’ of holiness IS NOT an action! The action is ‘pistis/faith’— faith must remain active AT ALL TIMES! Somebody say, “The Dynamics of Faith!” —Living, Loving, Dying, Saving, Buried, Carrying, Rising, Justifying, Freeing…

No small thing that we reach this concept of ‘holy by faith’; ‘sanctified by faith’ as the final occurrence of ‘pistis/faith’ in Acts. It’s what Acts is ALL about— receiving the power of The Holy Spirit!

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