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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

 “… 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).  This final occurrence of ‘Jesus faith’ in Acts.

Death has gone down in a way that causes most Faith Driven Lives to take serious pause.  Lelia Smith McBath, whose services I am bringing a word of life on tomorrow in Los Angeles; Rev. Dr. Kathy Olgetree Goodwin, whose services I attended this past Saturday in Louisville, KY.  Dr. Walter McKelvy, a former President of Gammon Theological Seminary and now, TSU’s University Physician, Dr. Ivan Davis at whose passing I now take… Pause. The 139th Psalm as sung by Mandisa whose two CD’s in their entirety speak to 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!”

Amplification of this verse requires in depth thought on this:  1. “turn from darkness to ‘phos/light”.  (“I AM the ‘phos’ of the world”; “let your ‘phos’ so shine…”; “You are the ‘phos’ of the world”; “that they which enter in may see the ‘phos’”; “what I tell you in the dark, speak in the ‘phos’”; “and the life was the ‘phos’”; “to bear witness to the ‘phos’”; “but shall have the ‘phos’ of life”; stumbles, because there is no ‘phos’ in him”; “the ‘phos’ which is in thee is not darkness”; as long as I AM in the world, I AM ‘phos’”);

2. “from the power of Satan to God” (waaaaay to much ‘satanology’ in the preaching and teaching of the Christian Church.  Stands to reason why so much HELL, yeah I said it… So much HELL IN THE CHURCH!  Only one name under the heavens for salvation, CALL on the name JESUS); and

3. “receive forgiveness of sins”.  I’ll settle for “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, Dying, Buried, Rising, 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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