Your Impact on the World

2 Corinthians 2 contains a cultural reference which is used as a metaphor to describe your impact on the world. The letters of the apostle Paul were written to a mixed audience in the 1st century. There were Judeans, Hellenized Judeans and a great variety of Gentiles. This audience lived in various sections of the Roman Empire. Needless to say, their culture is almost completely alien to us. Thus, some of the cultural references, Hebrew, Greek or Roman, can be a bit foggy to the reader in the 21st century!
 
So it is with II Corinthians 2:14 – 17. These three verses refer to a practice which was known in the Roman culture. Both the Hebrews and Gentiles would understand the cultural reference. 
 
2:14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing – 2:16 to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 2:17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God. (NET Bible)
 
A Roman general who had a tremendous victory over the enemy could be granted a "triumph" by the Roman Senate to celebrate the victory. A great procession (parade) was organized. Participating in the procession was the military leader,  his soldiers, and their prisoners. Incense was burned along the parade route which produced a sweep aroma. To the Romans, the winners, this incense was a sweet smelling aroma of victory. To the enemy prisoners, this oder was the bitter smell of death, as they were led to be executed.
 

In 2 Corinthians, God is the focus of the triumphal procession, via Christ in us. By way of the disciples of Jesus Christ, living as His agents acting upon His will, the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is manifested in every place. To those who are being saved, it is a sweet aroma of victory. To those who reject God and His son Jesus Christ, we are the rotten stink of death and decay. 

 
Yes, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have an impact on those around you. Some will befriend you, but many will absolutely hate you for no apparent reason. The cause is spiritual, not psychological or social. The manifestation of the sweet aroma of Christ does not originate from your strength or abilities, but from the power of God resident in your gift of holy spirit, the new you! Thought by thought, moment by moment, day by day, you participate in the celebration of the victory of Jesus Christ who has overcome the world!
 
Loving people according to the will of God in the manner that He desires will not bring you popularity. You may be kind to all, but rejected by many. Don't give in to sadness, but be very thankful that God works in you. Be thankful for the close friends that you do have and keep moving.

 

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
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(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

Christian Antisemitism

apostle-paul-in-prison-editDoes your Christian religious institution officially sanction and approve antisemitism? Unless it has published documentation of an official policy against antisemitism, then the answer to this question is "yes". With few exceptions, Christian religious institutions are Roman in nature with a tradition and official policy of antisemitism.
 
Most all corporate Christian religious institutions retain the Roman influence in their theology, beliefs, policies and rituals. The influence of the Roman empire existed in the first 4 centuries of the Common Era. This predated the start of the Greek Orthodox religious institutions which retain such influences as well.
 
Antisemitism in the Roman empire predated the day of Pentecost in Acts. For a time, the disciples of Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile, were viewed as a sect of the Jewish religion. This view was one which could bring much trouble to the Gentile believers. If these Gentiles were viewed as Jewish converts, they would be subject to the antisemitic policies and practices of the Roman empire.  They could be forced to pay grievous taxes or even lose their lives. These practices provided the practical incentives for the Gentile believers to distance themselves from their Jewish origins.
 
As recorded in Acts 20:29 – 35, even before the death of the apostle Paul, divisions among the believers occurred. Paul warned the elders at Ephesus about the divisions. Gentile elders and others of ability within the Christian assemblies began to pervert the gospel and the teachings of the apostles for their own personal gain. They began to draw away disciples to follow them instead of remaining disciples of Jesus Christ. The perverted doctrines and divisions resulted in the establishment of bishops as religious rulers. Religious power was concentrated in the Gentile bishops, due to the fact that the Gentiles outnumbered the Jewish believers.
 
Once the Gentile assemblies of the disciples of Jesus Christ were incorporated into the Roman Empire as an official religious institution, the antisemitism of the empire became the official policy of the Roman Church.
 
In order to promote, establish and enforce the practice of antisemitism, it was necessary to develop doctrines which were in agreement with antisemitism. This practice eliminated the influence of the Jewish believers and helped to consolidate the power of the Roman Gentile bishops. In the Roman church these doctrines established the tradition of institutional hatred, persecution and even murder of the Jews, including the Jewish believers.
 
One such class of doctrines have been produced by "replacement theology". Briefly, this theology attempts to use the Bible (written by Hebrews, Jews) to prove that the Gentile Roman church has replaced both the nation and religion of the Jews. Of course the apostle Paul and his writings are critical to this theology. Given the history of the early Roman church, and its' institutional requirement of antisemitism, it is easy to understand that Truth is not a priority when developing "replacement theology" or related doctrines. 
 
Antisemitism was not eliminated during the reformation, but was embraced and established in the Protestant religious institutions. The Protestant institutions did not  reject their Roman background or theology. The theology, doctrines and tradition of antisemitism is common throughout the corporate Roman religious institutions to this day.
 
It can be stated with great confidence that the apostle Paul, a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" (Philippians 3:5), was not a self hating antisemite! The writings of the apostle Paul cannot be correctly used to justify any form of antisemitism, any related theology or practice. Truthfully, the Bible cannot be used to justify antisemitism; it was written by "holy men of God" who were Jews!
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Biblical Enigmas

Bible Study Enigmas

The Bible was originally written by and for people of the ancient middle east. Its' language and cultural background are alien to those with a modern western cultural background. It is rare for Biblical scholars to recognize these cultural differences when producing their theological works. For the most part, Biblical scholarship, theology and Christian religious practice is confined to a Greek/Roman philosophical box. This condition has existed since the 2nd century CE.
 
There exists an unused option for interpreting scripture which does recognize the ancient cultural background of the Bible. This technique uses Biblical Cultural Anthropology. So, what is this and how do you apply it to your Biblical studies? There are now some resources available which will help answer this question and many other questions. 
 
My friend, John Brown has written and published 3 booklets entitled "Bible Study Enigmas", volumes 1 – 3. These books are "intended to benefit the average pew sitter". They are written simply, without a lot of jargon and theological language.
(An Enigma is "a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling or difficult to understand.)
 
In these 3 volumes, cultural anthropology is applied to general biblical topics, the New Testament and to general biblical topics.
 
Volume 1 handles the following topics:
 
Who is "us" in Genesis?
What is the Afterlife?
What is Biblical Inspiration?
What is the True Israel?
What is a God-Man Messiah?
 
Volume 2 topics:
 
Hebrew Language Idioms
First Century Culture
Rabbi Yeshua
Pentecost Festival
Pharisee Saul
 
Volume 3 topics:
 
Hebrew Circles in History
Original Story Episodes
Biblical Giants
Sky-Gods and Demons
End Time Conditions
 
Here is the link to John Brown's Author page on Amazon.
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

Sons of Abraham – Isaac and Ishmael

The conflicts in the middle east and elsewhere in the world defy logic, reason and solution. This is an age old conflict which is spiritual in nature. Inappropriate, out of control rage seems to embroil most of the world. It is difficult to discern the causes of the conflict and ones role in that conflict. The angry trouble originates with the original two ancestors of the main protagonists, Isaac and Ishmael.

The origin of these two individuals are recorded in Genesis. The narrative here mainly reveals and emphasizes the causes of events. Initiation and causation would be lost if a simple sequential, historical narrative were recorded.

Genesis 21:8 – 13 (Net Bible)
8 The child (Isaac) grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah noticed the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”
11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset about the boy or your slave wife. Do all that Sarah is telling you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”

The first battle between the Hebrews and Ishmaelites is recorded in verse 9. Ishmael, a young man, was molesting young boy (not a baby). The mother, Sarah, noticed. She was inspired by God to take action; after all, she knew the promises that God had made to Abraham. Sarah was a top spiritual woman in her time! Additionally, God backed up the words which she spoke, confirming them to Abraham. Sarah declared the will of God "…the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son (of the promise) Isaac!" The Ishmaelites will not inherit the promise of Abraham. They are banished, separated from the promise, its blessing, and those that inherit.

Note what God says to Abraham regarding Ishmael – "…But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation…" The nation of the Ishmaelites continues in the world today.

Jesus gives fresh insight into the significance of membership in the family of Abraham. For those who think their salvation is secured through their descent from Abraham (e.g. the Ishmaelites and unbelieving Hebrews), Jesus prophetically declares:

Matthew 3:8, 9
8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, 9 and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

By Revelation from God, Paul declares God's confirmation of these things to the new sons of the promise who are grafted into the family tree through Christ Jesus:

Romans 9:6b – 8
6b For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, 7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” 8 This means it is not the children of the flesh (Ishmaelites and unbelieving Hebrews) who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise (Isaac, the believing Hebrews and those born again) are counted as descendants.

Furthermore:

Galatians 3:13, 14
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

We can KNOW (not doubt or question) we have received the blessing of Abraham and are counted among the children of promise. Our standing before God is confirmed every time we manifest that gift of holy spirit which is in every single person who is "born from above" or "born again".

The Ishmaelites are always so angry at us, no matter what we do. The spiritual cause for this is apparent as we have read. By revelation, the apostle Paul mentions the persecution as well:

Galatians 4:28 – 31
28 But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is now. 30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” of the free woman. 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

If Jesus Christ is your savior and your director, then you are a child of promise like Isaac. Because of this, you continue to be persecuted by the one born by natural descent (Ishmaelites). Rest assured that they will not share in your inheritance!

2 Corinthians 4:15 – 18
15 For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

The Bible verses are from the NET Bible, http://bible.org/netbible/index.htm

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE
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Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe

“Christian” Religion and Culture

Having lived in a missionary family, I can provide first hand testimony to the typical actions of the missionaries from America in the 20th century. There are books written of missionaries from other countries and denominations which give similar testimonies. One such book is "The Small Woman" by Alan Burgess, ISBN 1-56849-184-0.
 
The typical work of an American missionary is to westernize the culture of the people they are sent to. This culture change is not done in addition to preaching the gospel, the western culture is held forth as the gospel. This issue was often the topic of conversation at the dinner table. The western (American) culture is viewed as how one is to live the gospel. It is sad that this belief has resulted in the rejection of the gospel in so many countries. Christianity is held in great disrepute in the world because of the attempt to denigrate and change the culture of people in other countries.
 
American Christian religious organizations typically view their culture and country as a Christian culture and country. This religious culture, its norms and ethical values are viewed as the manner in which one is to live if one is a Christian. The government is viewed as originally established as a Christian government, founded on Christian principles. There is the belief that it exists to promote and protect the Christian religious organizations and culture. This is one reason why the religious public is so obsessed with politics and the protection of religious behavior in the public spaces of this country. Many religious Christians fear that if the government does not behave according to their religious cultural norms and ethics, that their God will punish the country.
 
Christianity, as established and delivered to us in the 1st century, began as a strictly Hebrew sect. It rapidly spread to the Gentiles of that day. It is noteworthy that the beliefs of this new sect were incorporated into the Gentile culture, which did not change significantly. In both the Hebrew culture and the Gentile culture, this sect was virtually invisible. It did not establish any type of institution, leadership hierarchy, or any other trappings typical of religion. This is the genius of the mature body of Christ that was established in the first century.
 
As is typical of most Christian religions, the Bible is used to legitimize their organizations, policies, procedures and beliefs. However, the vast majority of these beliefs cannot be justified by the Bible. So it is with the Christian religious culture.
 
As it is well documented in Acts 15, there was a push by some Hebrews to force the Gentile believers to become observant Jews. There was an insistence that these Gentiles change their culture. This issue was dealt with, once and for all, by all the Hebrew believers assembled in Jerusalem. The decision was made that the Gentiles would not be required to change their culture. A change in culture would not be Godly or scriptural. A letter was written to the Gentiles to comfort and strengthen them in this regard.
 
Acts 15:23 – 29 (NET Bible)
15:23 From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 

Note the language and what it does not say. It does not use the word "obligation" or "salvation". It does not threaten them with hellfire or anything of the sort.

Paul follows through with this decision in his work, declaring by revelation that in Christ there is no race, gender or social status. These things have no spiritual significance! This does not mean that we ignore our Hebrew roots. In Romans Paul is careful to teach that the "root" (the Hebrews) support the "branches" (the Gentiles). We must be cognizant of our Hebrew roots if we are to begin to understand our new relationship with God and each other.
 
The American Christian religious culture is NOT and has NEVER been a Christian culture. The Christian religious beliefs and organizations have more in common with the ancient Greek and Roman pagans than they do with the believers of the first century!
 
We never had a Christian government. Our government has no obligation to protect or promote religious expression in public. It was never formed for that purpose. Just as it would be inappropriate for our government to enforce sharia law, it is inappropriate for it to enforce the laws and obligations of any other religion; that includes any current "Christian" religion.
 
As it has always done, religion continues to be one of the vicious, negative influences in the world, stirring up trouble where there is none. 
 
Christianity was never meant to be a religion; in truth it is a faith without religion. This faith is to set people free from fear so that they can live as never before; they can love as never before. 
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Our Hebrew Roots, Part 2

Part 1 explained that

"Understanding the cultural context of the Bible can restore the deep understanding of the spiritual truths that are contained in the scriptures.

 
Although accurate, this statement does not quite capture the enormity of what needs to be expressed. While working on a related idea, I came across another quote to share, which is a more effective expression. It is from an essay by John Brown. The essay is "Hebrew Roots of Christianity: Problems and Solutions". It can be accessed Here.
 
"However, and this is huge!, the mindset of the Hebrews was still retained in the Universal Christian Faith. Jesus' followers were still Hebrews … thought like Hebrews and talked like Hebrews, wrote like Hebrews. This mindset is not be contained in the daily ritualized habits of the Jews nor celebrating Jewish holidays nor using Hebrew words in Christian services. The Hebrew mindset is actually universal. The Hebrew mindset is the pattern and description of spiritual reality. This pattern can be adopted and restated in any language, in any culture. That does not mean that the Hebrew mindset is totally compatible with pagan cultures either, it is not, but the Hebrew mindset was the foundation of Christianity at Pentecost and has been ever since. This fact is the foundation for studying the Hebrew Roots of Christianity."
 
The emphasis in the quote above is mine. In the essay, it says: "Hebrew Mindset is a term used to include both the Hebrew worldview and belief structure". Note that understanding our Hebrew roots and the Hebrew mindset does not include or require the adoption of the Jewish culture (modern or ancient)!
 
Because of our Western cultural background it can be quite difficult to accurately understand spiritual matters. For example, what is "holy spirit"? In his essay "Ambassador Authority and Power", John states:
 
"The second principle which must be learned, is that holy spirit is not The God or even A God from a Hebrew perspective, the overall context of all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, spirit from God is an expression meaning the presence and power of God, His breath, (by which God's Words were spoken) not YAHWEH Himself. Holy spirit is no more God Himself than is an angel God Himself. But angels delivered His messages, they spoke for God as His Agents – often using the first person as though they were the Creator. With spirit UPON the prophets, they also spoke for God as Agents delivering divine messages. With spirit IN the believer, they also speak for God as Agents of the Most High. God's spirit is the key to representing and speaking for God."

 

How simple is that? Holy spirit is the presence and power of God in the believer. With this simplicity, the Greek and Roman theologians and philosophers are no longer needed!

Thus, with this understanding of holy spirit and Christian service, Acts 17:24, 25 becomes clearer:
 
ESV: Acts 17:25, 25 
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 
 

The Living God has given to us everything we need in order to serve him, including the gift of holy spirit. This has been made available to us, not because we are so good, or through our own efforts, but through the accomplishments of his son Jesus Christ.

 
Yes, we can grow in our understanding of spiritual reality. Studying to understand our Hebrew Roots is relevant and profitable to us and our service to God. It is well worth the effort! 
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Understand Our Hebrew Roots?

As a child, did you ever understand the song "Ring Around the Rosie"?

Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.

You can read about the background of this song here:

Clearly the original meaning of this song is lost in the mists of time. Although all the words are in English and we understand each word, the original meaning of each line escapes us. If we were living in England or Europe at the time this song originated, we would be better equipped to understand it.

People with a common culture can communicate concepts, ideas, shades of meaning, and such without explicitly defining every single idea or concept referred to. Someone who knows English but is not knowledgeable of our technology saturated culture would have difficulty with the following question:

"Do you know how to use hashtags?"

This sentence refers to communications between people, social media, use of a computer or smart phone, typing on a keyboard and other concepts. All these ideas and concepts are contained in this question without ever being mentioned or defined.

So it is with the Bible. The men and women God spoke his words to were generally of the Middle-Eastern Hebrew culture, speaking the Hebrew language.

Through the centuries, the translators of the Bible have not had training in the Hebrew culture, so they have been greatly handicapped in their labors. Additionally, the King James Version of the Bible was written in a very old version of English. No wonder there can be much difficulty in understanding the Bible.

Understanding the cultural context of the Bible can restore the deep understanding of the spiritual truths that are contained in the scriptures.

Notice that there is no need to participate in our technology laden culture in order to understand the example question posed above. Similarly, there is no need to change our culture or engage in an old form of religion in order to gain an understanding of the scriptures. There is no need to convert to Judaism in order to "get right with God" or to practice the truth of His Word.

Here is a quote from John Brown, (posted on his "Straight Bible" blog which can be found here)

If the Hebrew world view had not been lost, so many things modern Christians take for granted would be completely different! The ancient Hebrews, including the first apostles and early believers comprehended many topics of the faith very differently from modern Christians. For example, the ancient Hebrews described the power and presence of God as "wind, breath or light breeze." This was translated as "spirit" in both Latin and English versions. To a gentile "spirit" became an object which was later defined as a thing, a person, a personality even deity. But for a Hebrew, this term is only a description of what they cannot see, never a thing, person or object. "Spirit" was a explanation for observed phenomena. If a miracle occurred or some one prophesied, it was called "spirit" upon a person as a way to explain it.

ESV: Job Chapter 32 [8] But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.

Just this switch to a Hebrew comprehension of spirit would totally change the face of Christianity! Adopting a Hebrew comprehension of spiritual reality would completely change modern Christian doctrine. It would change the the comprehension of what is salvation and how do you know when someone is converted. It would refocus the efforts and practice of Christians, channeling their activities into different directions. Comprehending how the first apostles understood spiritual reality would completely redefine the faith from a "social gospel" into an apostolic gospel of power and a dynamic presence of God in the congregations.

End of quote

Do you know about the Hebrew concept of "agency"? Not knowing this concept has caused all kinds of doctrinal error and confusion. In the Hebrew culture, the first born son was authorized and empowered with the same power and authority of his father. He had the authority to act in place of his father, when his father was not present. To the Hebrew mind, if you were to deal with a mans first born son, it was the same as if you were to actually deal with the father. In legal terms, the father is the "principle" and the first born son is his "agent". This is the reason that Jesus could accurately say "…he who has seen me has seen my father…"; not because Jesus was God, but because of the concept of agency!

There are more details. If the father and his first born son are not physically present, then any of his other sons become agents in that situation. Note that the entire purpose of the agent is to act on behalf of the principle in accord with the will of the principle. In other words, the agent is not acting on his own self interest, but in the interest of his father or the principle.

If Jesus Christ were still physically present upon the earth, no other person could be an agent of the father of Jesus Christ. Since he is not physically here, all those who are "born from above" are authorized and empowered as agents of our heavenly father, God.

Now we can make some sense out of a seemingly impossible verse. I have wondered how this verse can possibly work in our lives. Now the understanding of this concept of agency has allowed me to understand this verse.

ESV: Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

Revised English Bible: Ephesians 5:1 In a word, as God's dear children, you must be like him.

George M. Lamsa's Translation: Ephesians 5:1 Be therefore Godlike, as beloved children.

How can this be possible, to imitate or be like the creator of the heavens and the earth? This answer is "by being his agent!" In order to be an agent for the creator, you must have a relationship with him and be familiar with his will. All those born from above have the authority and the empowerment to walk as agents of the living God, brining His will to pass on this earth.

Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe

Faith or Believing?

How many times have you heard it said "…you have to have faith…"? Have you been taught to think that "faith" is a mental gymnastic which stubbornly adheres to a certain doctrine in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
The definition of these words are important, if Hebrews 11:6a is true:

…And without faith it is impossible to please him (God)…

How worthless is it to bend your mind around a doctrine and to force yourself or to talk yourself into defining it as truth without question? This type of mental exercise is guaranteed NOT to result in the operation of the power of God in your life!
This includes the doctrines of "positive believing". "Positive believing" will NOT result in the energizing of any Godly spiritual power in your life!

If you read further in Hebrews 11, you will see that the faith discussed there resulted in the energizing of Godly spiritual power. Hebrews 11:8 – 12 reveals what Abraham did through faith.
Romans 4:3 says of these same events that

"…Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness."

Genesis chapter 12 gives more details regarding Abraham (Abram). Briefly, God communicated with Abram; he told Abram what to do, and Abram obeyed. In this record are the simplest of instructions on how one walks by the spirit.

First of all, Abram had to have holy spirit in order for God to communicate with him. This holy spirit was from God and it could be upon humans, conditionally. This communication is also called "revelation" and is made up of what Paul records as "word of knowledge" and "word of wisdom".

When Abram obeyed the instructions he received from God via revelation, something marvelous happened. He began operating spiritual believing, or faith. This happened because he had holy spirit upon him. This spiritual believing, faith, is why Abram could move with such power in his life. Later, this spiritual believing resulted in the miracles which led to the birth of his son Issac.

So, what does this ancient history have to do with you, me and the other Christians today? Galatians 3 reveals the answer.
Most of the translations I have read do a very poor job with Galatians 3:7 – 9; George M. Lamsa's translation from the Aramaic is very clear:

You must know therefore that those who trust in faith are the children of Abraham.
Because God knew in advance that the Gentiles would be declared righteous through faith, he first preached to Abraham, as it is said in the Holy Scripture, In you shall all the Gentiles be blessed.
So then, is is the believers who are blessed through Abraham the faithful.

Logically then, it makes sense that those who walk by the spirit, manifesting spiritual believing, show that they are the children of Abraham. They show that they are blessed through Abraham.

Abraham came from a different part of the world, a different culture and a different time. God was communicating with him in the language Abraham spoke, using words and concepts a man from that time and culture could understand. If we are going to understand the deep roots of our faith that go all the way back to Abraham, we will need to learn about the ancient Hebrew culture. You can start at http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/  and http://straightbible.org/

Walking by the spirit is not difficult. Abram was flesh and blood like any other human. He did not go to church, he did not study the Bible – that book did not exist at the time! He did not fellowship with other "believers", or sing hymns or share 10% of his cash with a local corporate religious organization. Even so, he became the father of all those who manifest spiritual believing or faith. See how simple it is to walk by the spirit, to walk with your heavenly father?

Put away the mental gymnastics, the powerless religious doctrines, and start listening to the voice of God. Then you too can start enjoying walking with some power in your life.

Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com

(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe