Marks of Faith

Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.

Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” But not even then did their testimony agree.

And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing.

Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Mark 14:55–64, NKJV

Israel’s religious and political leaders wanted to rid themselves of Jesus, so they tried every means possible to convict Him of a crime. They paid an informant from among Jesus’ own followers, but he returned their money and declared the Lord innocent (Mark 14:43–46; Matthew 27:3–5). They orchestrated an armed mob to intimidate Jesus, but He kept His cool and restrained His followers (Matthew 26:51–54.). The leaders even presented witnesses to testify against Him, but the witnesses perjured themselves and contradicted each other (Mark 14:55, 56).

People tried to convict Jesus of a crime for which they lacked a shred of evidence. They failed because Jesus lived His life in plain sight. For every false accusation lodged against Him, there were countless examples of His love and moral perfection.

What signs of authentic faith do people see when they scrutinize our lives? Is it enough evidence to prove that our trust in God is real? The Bible suggests several outward marks of authentic faith:

As others study our lives for evidence that we are followers of Christ, how many of these marks do they see?

Drawn from the Apply the Word Study Bible.

What challenges and successes have you encountered as you seek to pursue faith that is transformative and authentic?
Join the conversation below!

 

Comments

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3 Comments

  • Evan Starr says:

    Since February 24th I’ve taken up a journal. I prayed before I started it and asked God to lead my path. Since that glorious day, the Lords led me through so many different devotionals through non traditional avenues. Through random scriptures, different books, and now an email on authentic signs of faith. God uses many different paths to talk to us and here is a perfect example of God saying – to change the world you must first change yourself. Thank you God! My heart weeps for your return.

  • Monica says:

    What Do You See When You Look At Me

    When you look at me what do, you see?
    Do you see the Christian that I claim to be?
    Do you see Christ-like character coming from my tree?
    Do you see that my walk and my talk totally agree?
    Do you see me treating others the way I want them to treat me
    When you look at me, can you tell that I am a follower of Jesus?
    Can you see when I go through my test and trials that He is the only one I trust?
    During the good and bad times of my life is in him that you hear me giving all the glory
    When I tell you about my life events is Jesus constantly mentioned throughout the story
    Can you tell that the things the world says are good are the same things that I hate?
    Can you feel the compassion and love I have in my heart when I ask that unbeliever to accept Christ before it is too late
    When you look at me can you tell that the relationship I have with Christ is not for pretend
    Can you see that He is my shepherd, I am His sheep, and that we are friends?
    Can you tell the love I have for Him is for real and will never end?
    When you look at me what you should see
    is me striving to live out God’s basic instructions before leaving this earth
    Which is found in the B-I-B-L-E?
    When you look at me what you should see
    is that I am a child of God in Christ lives within me

    ©2014 by Monica Y Brewer

  • Mark Besh says:

    Well, all this to say that I have ‘noticed’ that there might be an ‘association’ between the topics I have been discussing for the past few months.

    Two months ago I discussed “THE BEATITUDES” [https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-blessed-life-v203/ ], and just last month I talked about a ‘special portion’ the apostle Paul’s teaching to the Galatian church that is referred to as the “FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT” [https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-fruitful-life-v204/ ].

    Since these are two very ‘substantial’ teachings for living the Christian life, I wondered if there is any ‘connection’ between them. Since the apostle Paul is sometimes considered an “expositor” (trying to ‘clarify’ the teachings of Jesus), there just might be some ‘ASSOCIATION’ here.
     
    It so happens that there are nine “Beatitudes” (there are nine “Blessed’s”), and there are nine “Fruit Of The Spirit.” Is this a coincidence?

    Well, it seems to me that if a Christian is honestly trying to ‘achieve’ the character quality that Jesus is stating in the Beatitudes—that we desire to ‘acquire’—then there might be something more that we can expect to be blessed with than just what it mentioned in that particular Beatitude. (i.e. If one “mourns” then they will be “comforted”).
     
    As I mentioned in the previous ‘posts’, the “Beatitudes” have to do with the ‘qualities’ of one’s heart, whereas the “Fruit Of The Spirit” deals with the ‘actions’ one does when they are guided by the Holy Spirit. In a different context, Jesus mentions that “out of the heart of men (from ‘within’), proceeds thoughts” (‘actions’), so it would just depend on whether or not the apostle Paul was trying to clarify Jesus’ ‘hard’ teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

    In addition to this, I also wondered if there is a ‘reciprocal’ relationship between them (i.e. When one emphasizes the Beatitudes, does that affect the ‘fruit’ they produce, and when one increases their focus on one of the Fruit of the Spirit, does that affect their inner attitude of the Beatitude associated with that ‘fruit’?).
     
    Matching them up side-by-side (in the same order they appear in Scripture), here’s how they correspond to each other:

    THE BEATITUDES         FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
    POOR IN SPIRIT…………. Love

    MOURNING………………. Joy

    MEEKNESS……………….. Peace
    
RIGHTEOUSNESS……….. Patience

    MERCIFUL……………….. Kindness

    PURE IN HEART…………. Goodness

    PEACEMAKER……………. Faithfulness
    
PERSECUTED…………….. Gentleness

    INSULTED………………… Self-control

    When you look at the above ‘pairings’, you might be inclined to say, “I don’t see any correspondence. The first one starts with ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ and the associated Fruit of the Spirit is ‘love.’” Well, I have found, time and time again, that when there is a ‘difficulty’ about understanding precisely the meaning of what Jesus said, you can find somewhere in the teachings of the apostle Paul the matter clearly explained. So, he’s not going to just ‘reframe’ the Beatitudes, he’s going to ‘describe’ their intent.

    Also, since these two lists are ‘distinct’ from each other in the Bible, their emphasis will be different. Jesus is talking about the ‘inward’ thoughts in the Beatitudes, and Paul is explaining what the ‘consequences’ would be of those certain thoughts of the Fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, you would not expect the two lists to correspond exactly, since one is speaking about what you think (concerned with your inner attitude), whereas Paul is talking about what happens when these thoughts bear ‘fruit’ in action (when the thoughts become works of the ‘flesh’). In addition to that, elsewhere in the Bible, the concept of works of the ‘flesh’ (sinful nature) are mentioned to be the consequences of the thoughts of the ‘heart’ (Mark 7:21-23; Galatians 5:16-17; James 1:14; Romans 7:18; Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 13:13-14).

    All this being said, it seems to me that it is possible that Paul is actually trying to explain what Jesus said in the Beatitudes. Jesus does not emphasize the aspect of works of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit for one very simple reason: He knows if you have these thoughts—these thoughts which He described as “blessed”—then you will have the Fruit of the Spirit. You cannot do these things yourself—it is something the Spirit does ‘in’ you. You cannot ‘produce’ the fruit. By ‘definition’ they are ‘of’ the Spirit. So, having spoken the first part, the second part will follow—and Paul, as a commentator, has the task of explaining explicitly what actions would be a ‘consequence’ of these inner thoughts.
     
    Now, let me go beyond what our first impression might tells us, and ‘compare’ them to see whether or not my observation is valid.

    [ NOTE: Blog post discusses the associations of each ‘pairing’ ].

    Am I ‘stretching’ to get these ‘associations’? Well, that’s up to you to decide. But for me, it seems that there is some ‘interdependence’ between the “Beatitudes” and the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

    This may not be ‘Spirit-inspired’ (“thus saith the Lord”), but at the very least I’m hoping that this will help you remember these ‘QUINTESSENTIAL’ TEACHINGS of the Bible for the ‘BLESSED’ Christian life.

    The “Sermon on the Mount”—of which the “Beatitudes” is the ‘introduction’ to—has been said, by most, to be the “most important sermon” that Jesus ever ‘preached’, and that the “Fruit of the Spirit” are the most important ‘traits’ that a Christian can demonstrate in their lives.

    I mentioned that the Beatitudes have to do with the ‘attitudes’ of the heart of the Christian, whereas the Fruit of the Spirit deals with the work of the Holy Spirit in the person who has these ‘qualities’.

    If my hypothesis is correct, then for me, it raises another question. If the Beatitudes talk about our ‘inner’ attitudes and if the Fruit of the Spirit deals with what the Holy Spirit does ‘in’ us, does that mean that you have to ‘do’ one in order to ‘get’ the other? If so, then which comes ‘first’ in the life of the Christian? The “Beatitudes” or the “Fruit of the Spirit”?

    For me, I think I have found THE “causal association” in the Bible that will help me ‘focus’ on becoming more like Jesus—and I aim to become the kind of person that God will BLESS! I may not be ‘successful’ at doing all of these things all the time in my life, but at least I have a ‘standard’ to assess my progress to being like Jesus by.

    I call these the “Fruits Of The Spirit,” and you can download a nicely formatted ‘placard’ that has all of them on it by clicking on the following link:
    http://www.spiritedesign.com/Fruits_Of_The_Beatitudes-Mark_Besh.pdf

    Mark Besh
    LifesDeepThoughts.com
    [ Excerpts from the March 2016 post “Causal Associations” (v205) ].
    https://markbesh.wordpress.com/causal-associations-v205/

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