If you are a Christian then you have most likely heard the question in the Title before.
Whose report will you believe?
It is taken from the story in Numbers 13 of the twelve spies Moses sent into Canaan to spy out the land.
Ten of the twelve spies came back saying that, ‘there are giants in the land and we were as Grasshoppers in our own sight and in their sight…we are not able to take the land!’ But two spies disagreed saying, ‘we are well able to take the land for God is with us!’
So the saying—Whose report will you believe?
Who we believe is crucial to so many things.
The twelve spies were hand picked by Moses..they may have been the same leaders whom Moses had picked in response to his father in law- Jethro’s advice.
Exo 18:21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Yet only two of these chosen men gave a good report on that very crucial day when the nation was about to enter the Promised land. Only two!! The majority of these able men, such as feared God and hated covetousness gave a bad report, bringing fear into the hearts of the people.
These 10 able men were leaders in the church of God at the time, and had the ear of the people of God. We know the end of the story…Israel did not enter the land that day. An evil heart of unbelief caused them to depart from the Lord. That whole generation perished in the wilderness – except Joshua and Caleb- the two “good report” spies.
It is easy to sit back now and say,
“I would definetely have believed the two faith filled spies. I would have gone into the land!”
Oh yes, so easy to say it now.
But here’s the thing I am driving at – Whose report shall we believe today?
The majority will tell you one thing…..the minority another. The majority will have good men and women in it…able people, chosen people…even anointed people…believe them! The minority will also have good anointed people. Why would you risk believing them, they are only a few compared to the multitude of teachers?
There is a majority view in the Church of Jesus Christ on many things. Let’s look at one of those views which present a choice to us.
Am I made holy by faith in Christ… or by obedience to God?
Many preachers in our day and for the last 2000 years have preached that we must obey God in order to inherit the Kingdom…whether that means going to heaven when we die, or a literal earthly kingdom. By “Obey” they mean that we must not sin. We must do certain things in obedience to God to be found worthy.
Depending on the group you are in, obedience can mean many things, like- your choice of clothing, music, hair length, dress length, make-up. Obedience can mean not going to the beach, not going to movies, not owning expensive things, not eating pork or other unclean foods. Obedience can mean tithing, supporting missions, reading the Bible through in a year, praying before the meeting, fasting regularly. Obedience can mean doing whatever you hear the ‘still small voice’ say. Yes, obedience can mean all sorts of things!!
These good men will preach that you must be born again through faith in Jesus Christ. But after that, unless you measure up to God’s standard of holiness you will, (some teach) not be raptured or you will go to Hell. They put the responsibility upon you and me to obey commands, whether theirs’ or Scriptures’ in order to be Holy. They preach be holy or else! Obey or else!
But what was the obedience Joshua and Caleb were encouraging the people to have?
The Obedience of FAITH!
Num 14:6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
Num 14:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
Num 14:8 If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’
Num 14:9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
Now the all the people wanted to stone the messengers of faith. Why?
They believed the bad report from the majority of the spies…which told the “truth” of the situation, not this fairy tale Joshua and Caleb were saying!
“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” Nu 13:31
Good point! They are stronger, look at them! We are weak, look at us!
Num 13:32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
Num 13:33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
They gave a bad report of the land—the opposite of what God had been saying to them over and over – that it is a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey.(Ex 3:8;3:17;13:5;33:3;Lev 20:24) A good land that gives to you blessings—not a land that devours and takes from you! This is the mind of unbelief, this is how it twists everything good into something bad. God’s response was—
Num 14:11 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?
Num 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Coming back to the question- whose report will you believe in regard to being made holy ?—
Are you one of the multitude who are striving to be good enough to inherit?Or are you a believer like Joshua and Caleb who the Bible says had a different spirit in them?
Num 14:24 but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
God promised to Caleb that He would bring him into the promised land Himself.
Why? What did Caleb do to earn this!?
HE BELIEVED!! HE DECLARED HIS BELIEF!!
Against all the obvious visible impossibilities he saw in that land–he was enabled by the Spirit who was with him to believe, to declare his belief- God is with us- we are well able to take the land! It is a good land! We are victorious! God is with us. Their protection has departed!
God saw Caleb and Joshua’s faith in His word and presence and that WAS ENOUGH!
God Himself will cause us to inherit. God Himself will bring us through.
What are we to do to obey?
Believe that you are made worthy
Believe that you are as He is
Believe that Christ sacrifice for sin was enough
Believe that you are acceptable to God.
Believe and declare the New man that you are in Christ.
That whole generation were disinherited, except for two of them- the believers.
The majority thought that it was up to them to be strong enough to enter the land.
But Faith says–Christ in me is the hope of glory…not me in me , but CHRIST IN ME.
The majority think it is up to us to behave ourselves keeping a lid on sin, trying not to sin so that we will be good enough to inherit….
But we see in this story that those who look at themselves and their own abilities miss out!
But those who look at themselves knowing that Another stronger One is with them, and that “if He delights in us He will give us the land”--they inherit it.
“Fear not little flock, for it is the FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM” Lu 12:32
Father DOES DELIGHT IN US!
In the Kingdom we do not earn—we receive.
This is true when we are born again—as well as being made holy- or sanctification.
We are justified freely by His grace.
We receive Grace Himself as our Salvation and as our Holiness.
We are made Holy ONLY by Grace(JESUS) working through faith.
In fact everything that Jesus has inherited from the Father is ours ONLY BY FAITH.
And we know that faith is expressed first by our words.
I believe therefore I speak.
So if you have fallen under that old stinking thinking of unbelief lately…it is time to speak in faith again.
Speak again those things that are pleasing to Father.
Today I hear His voice and I believe. I therefore speak what I believe against all outward appearances and all failings on my part. I refuse to look with my eyes at my inability to please God, instead I boldly declare that Jesus Christ and I are ONE SPIRIT. I choose to put on the Lord Jesus Christ in all that He is upon myself. I am clothed with Jesus.
I put on love for love is who Christ is. I put on tender mercies for that is Christ as well. I put on righteousness as a garment. I put on holiness for Christ is holy in me.
I am complete in Him. I am rich in Him, I have all things and abound in Him. I put on kindness and gentleness and joy and peace. These things are mine and abound for I am in Him and He is in me. I regard Jesus, I do not regard sin, for my sin has been dealt with by my Saviour.
I died with Christ and furthermore I am risen with Him- a new man- a new creature.
I inherit all things for Christ is my inheritance and he has been given all things by the Father.
I put on communion with God, the communion that God has within Himself I share in.
I put on fellowship with Jesus, for that is why He has come to live His life in me.
I welcome people, I receive people as Christ for He receives me
These things I speak by the faith of Jesus who is with me.
This infuriates the enemy and shuts up the voice of doubt the more you do it.
Those who preach a bad report cause us to look at ourselves and our failures and sins.
They think that by looking at self we will repent enough to gain forgiveness and help from God in order to become better in those weak areas.
This is the wisdom of man! And it is folly!
God calls it rejecting Me. “how long will they reject Me?!”
Num 14:11 “How long will this people keep on spurning me and refusing to trust me,
despite all the miracles that I’ve done among them?” the LORD asked Moses.
This is what Paul said as well-
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Just like Israel, who refused to believe and enter into Christ by believing His word…today we have many preaching the same unbelief which causes God’s people to fear and to stumble in the darkness.
We wait for the hope of righteousness by faith! Gal 5:5 Not by trying hard to be holy…but by faith that Christ is our holiness now and always.
Does that mean we can go and sin and simply say, I am holy because Christ is in me?
As Paul wrote in Romans 6 Certainly not!
We are learning that being in Christ means that we died and no longer live , but that Christ lives in us…and the life we now live in the flesh, we live by the faith of Jesus.
That is this faith I am writing about- it is expressed by our mouths in accordance with His word.
Christ is enough.
[This post came after weeks and weeks of unbelief! It was a faithful brother whose intercession poured forth through his writing gift that brought me back to faith–read it here]