The Land of Sanctified Faith
This is a follow-up study on 'So what's the deal on first fruits?' and the study, 'First fruits is not a cure all.' I hope to round outsome real faith issues that concern a believer's heart-walk with the Lord.
This is Bible Study DU017 - The Land of Sanctified Faith.
Believers are not always aware that there are stages in our Christian experiences. One stage can be called the 'wilderness' stage. All believers pass through this stage. How long you remain there is a matter of the heart.
Then we have what I will call the 'Canaan-life' stage. This stage can also be called 'the land of sanctified faith.' (Faith made holy through Christ.)
How long we remain in the wilderness stage depends almost entirely on our heart relationship with the Lord.
Because the emotional believer can misunderstand this area of study, I felt to provide a good introduction for a beginning place. I found it this morning in something Billy Graham said in his sydicated column.
Doctor Graham was responding to the following: "...I just can't get over my fear that [God] will punish me if I do anything wrong. I'd like to think that God loves me but I can't."
Here is the response received -
"Have you ever asked yourself what it would take to convince you that your emotions are lying to you, and that God really does love you?
"I say this because we need to realize that our emotions don't always tell us the truth. God gave us our emotions, and life would be very dull without them - but sometimes they get confused and make us believe things that aren't really true. There may be all sorts of reasons for this, including the way we were raised or our childhood experiences - but whatever the reason, our emotions aren't always dependable guides."
Doctor Graham later adds, "How do I know God loves us? I know it for one reason: because God sent his only Son into the world to die for our sins."
While Billy Graham said a bit more, what I wanted you to see from the start is how our emotions can make a mess in our lives. Stop and think about those religions that place a continual stress on the emotional work-ups of the people.
Well, let's come back to the issue of stages. The apostle said that the experiences that Israel went through in her journey out of Egypt, were written for our benefit, that is, to teach us certain truths about our walk with the Lord. (Why not take a moment to read 1 Corinthians 10:1-14?)
What are the primary stages of our Christian walk that can be identified with Israel's sojourne? One stage was their simple faith in the applied blood. Another stage was coming through the waters. The Red Sea was where they were baptized into the authority of Moses. Water baptism is a covenant rite, where we openly identify with Jesus as our own Lord and Savior.
This pretty much leaves us with the two general stages, passing through the wilderness, and entering into the land of promise. Canaan does not represent heaven in the stages of our Christian experience. It represents the life that God is calling us to in His Son. The wilderness stage is only designed to prepare us for the Canaan life.
What was the first thing that happened when Israel crossed the Red Sea? They had a joy celebration. They danced. They shouted. They were overjoyed.
What happened next was the beginning of their training in learning to trust in the Lord. So we have the story of the 'bitter waters.' Israel did not learn that lesson at all. In fact according to Paul, most of them never learned the wilderness lessons at all. They simply became embittered people.
But this isn't all. Israel wanted to keep dancing and partying. You know the story of the golden calf. But that wasn't all. Israel kept wanting God to give them signs and wonders. They kept looking back at Egypt. They didn't seem much concerned over any 'Canaan-land living.' Didn't much believe in that myth anyway?
This is what Paul said about that generation: "Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness." (1Co 10:5 nasb.)
This is what Doctor Graham was relating to. Israel was an emotional 'sign- seeking' people. Jesus had the Christ-rejecting Israel in mind, when he said, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah." (Luke 11:29 nasb. The sign of Jonah points to the complete work of the cross.)
I hope you are catching the picture. Of the two kinds of believers you have the wilderness-believer, and you have the Canaan-believer.
Paul never treats the fleshly-emotional believer as a lost person. Far from it. He simply shows how these kinds of believers tend to remain in a very immature state in their walk with the Lord. You have to treat them like babies.
With the emotional believer, everything wraps around their emotions. A by- product of that includes their minds. They are so immature in their thinking, that they are unable to grasp the spiritual realities of a true walk of faith.
In writing the Corinthians, the apostle said, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as infants in Christ." (1Co 3:1 nasb.)
The apostle was not talking about unredeemed people. He was addressing fleshly believers. All you have to do is read the final chapters of 2 Corinthians, and you'll see a clear picture of what a fleshly believer is. He is easily caught up in false doctrine, and in some cases, even spiritism.
But let's leave that be for now. One question remains, 'Do you really want to enter into the Canaan-land life?'
Sure you do. We all do. And I can tell you by my own years of walking with the Lord, Canaan-land life is a definitive experience.
Where do we begin? It all begins with an invitation. God offered Israel an invitation. They refused. The reason they refused is because of their own hearts. You see the only way we can enter the Canaan-llfe experience is if our hearts have been sanctified to the Lord. Which means He has become Lord of all in our lives, and not just Lord of the bits and pieces that we give Him.
And this brings me to an under girding statement concerning our sowing and reaping in God's kingdom. However, keep in mind that the land of sanctified faith does not limit itself to what we sow. It is a whole-life walk.
Here is the Scripture. Listen carefully:
"Sow with a view to righteousness. Reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12 nasb.)
I would like very much to break this into parts but I don't wish to belabor the study. However, breaking up fallow ground speaks of our heart condition. Fallow ground is ground that once had crops in it, but it lay dormant over time and the weeds have taken over.
The only way to break up fallow ground is to hit it with a turning plow. The sod has to be broken up so that new planting rows can be established.
What does this have to do with the invitation? It has everything to do with it. It is only when our hearts have been made tender before the Lord, and only He knows when that time has come, that it says, "He comes to rain righteousness on you."
Raining righteousness means you are entering the land of God's promises and of God's provision. It is the land where you are no longer even thinking about signs and wonders.
Would you like to see a description of this land? Here it is:
"...when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied...
"... then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Deu. 6:10-12 nasb.)
Do you know what happened the day the new generation of Israel entered into the land of promise? It says, "The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year." (Joshua 5:12 nasb.)
They were now past the seeking signs and wonders stage of their life. Never again would they look for the pillar of fire at night or a cloud by day. No more sign seeking.
Everything I have shared is necessary to this study. The Lord told Israel to never forget who brought her out of Egypt and to keep His ways always. This is the only way a believer can continue in the Canaan-land life.
I received my definitive call to miracle land, Friday, January 17, 1975. Yes, it is written in my 'Pastoral Memoirs.' One day I'll find a place to tell the story. But to receive an invitation to enter Canaan-life is a moment not to be forgotten in the history of every believer.
Was it easy? No. I had never lived in that world before. It was all about exploration and learning. I had to learn some hard lessons. But we have lived in Canaan-life to this very day. It is not something I can explain. It only happens when the Lord knows that we are ready to enter. How does He know? He knows all hearts. And He knows when our hearts have been sanctified to Him.
There are so many of my learning-experiences I wish I could share with you. Afraid I'll labor this study too much.
Perhaps there is one instance I can point to. It comes back to sacrificial giving. Betty and I have learned through the many years, that when our finances get tight, it is often because our sowing has gotten meager.
And the way to break this deadlock is to make a sacrifice that costs us something. Lot's of folks don't know about this. They simply give out of their extra. I'm not talking about extra. I'm talking about giving where the giving hurts.
I call this the David kind of giving. When David wanted to secure the threshing floor from Araunah in order to build an altar to the Lord, the man Araunah wanted to give David the property. Listen to David:
"No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24 nasb.)
Think about that statement. What kind of giving are we doing that costs us nothing?
Here is my story - Betty was in Oklahoma. We were in the process of building facilities for Christian Challenge. Finances came to a stand still. While meditating on this, the Lord placed on my heart to make a sacrifice.
Once it became clear in my heart, this is what I decided. We would sell our car and give the money to the building fund. But something else came up that would require an even deeper sacrifice. I heard in my heart, 'Sell your weddings rings and give the money to Christian Challenge.'
Now, I'm not stupid. I shared this with Betty after her return from Oklahoma. We prayed and got on the same page.
Yes, we did both deeds. What was the result? Two things happened. The floodgates of finances opened up. And, secondly, some person whom I don´t know to this day, bought our wedding rings and had them given back to us. (The giver gave in secret. This is the way of the Lord.)
As I complete this study, I must say this. Please don't try to mimic me or do any sort of giving that would be on emotions or otherwise. Always search this through with the Lord. He alone is to determine our giving and our blessings.
My simple point is that each believer has to learn about Canaan-life for himself.
Hope this helps a bit.
Why not ask the Lord to teach you about the land of sanctified faith?
And remember, Jesus really does love you.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on January 10, 2007. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added January 15, 2007
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