Bible Teacher, Lexington Baptist College
All Scripture references are taken from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.
This document is used with the permission of Philip R. Kazee.
From the day that God opened the gates of Eden He has been calling men to a life of faith. Grace is, and ever has been, God's way of saving all men who come to Him. Law, and the covenant with Israel, were God's instruments by which He made His people conscious of sin and drove them to the Saviour.
The Bible teaches, in summary, three great truths: first, God alone is holy; second, man is sinful, depraved, and lost; and third, Jesus is the only Saviour.
The whole Book of books is a revelation of these three great truths, and the Hero of the entire Book is Jesus. Man can but fall at His feet and adore Him. Any preaching or teaching that does not at last bring us to that position is contrary to the entire revelation of God to us.
There are only two philosophies of salvation in the world: salvation by works, and salvation by grace. It matters not in what variety of forms they come, nor under what names or heads they are expressed, they are ever the same; and the one is wholly contrary to the other.
God creates man in His image, and man creates God in his image. It depends on who is doing the creating as to what kind of being we have in either case. Man, left to himself, will always have a god; and that god will always be like himself. Because man is confused, he will make for himself many gods, but they will all be like himself. The conflict of the world is between the One God who arises
from out yonder beyond man's realm of knowledge, and the many gods which he has created out of his own heart.
Man's gods originate from the inspiration of Satan, another deity, who holds sway over the mind of man. God's proposal is to attract man from his many gods to the One God. This requires a display of miracle on the part of God - a display of power and wisdom unknown to man. That is the purpose of miracle. Therefore, the God of miracle is our only hope.
As the ages have moved along we find it has been easy for those, who have come to know the true God, to lose sight of Him while walking in this world, and to become occupied for periods of time by the gods of this world. These periods we have known as periods of backsliding on the part of God's people.
This is commonly known among us as "worldliness." It may be termed accurately as "the works of the flesh." It may take two general forms: (1) It may be open rebellion and sinful practice as recognized by all. (2) It may be a conscientious act of reliance upon the flesh to accomplish God's ends. The latter is much more subtle than the former, and is the place where Satan most often deceives the followers of Christ.
Believers who turn to the world in open sin against God are, most often, babes in Christ who are victims of weakness in the flesh, and who lack the help which more mature believers should be constantly giving. But those who are most likely to be deceived, and those whom Satan seeks most to deceive, are those zealous and conscientious souls who earrnestly want to serve God. Here is where the battle is pitched, and here you will find Satan trying to occupy the land.
To supplant God in His own territory, to divert energies and devotion of God's people to a useless end, and, without their knowing it, to make them believe they are working in the Spirit when they are actually working in the energies of the flesh, these are the methods of Satan. He would counterfeit God and steal our devotion.
His whole purpose is to reshape God in our minds, and by this subtle method make of Him a God who must be served rather than a God who can serve us. He proposes to get us to show our devotion to God by devising many things for us to do for Him, all of which may be good, rather than to let us submit ourselves to that God in order that He may do great things for us. The result is that we are to parade before the world a tabulated, blackboard analysis of how much we love Him, rather than acknowledge our terrible need and see Him perform His miracles of love for us in transforming us into His likeness. In the former we get the glory of a human accomplishment, and the world is not impressed because it is mere competition with what the world has to offer; in the latter God gets the glory of an exclusively divine accomplishment, and the world is impressed because they have seen "the Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in" their eyes.
In this book we want to return to that God who does things for us, and who, by His matchless deeds for us, makes sinners dissatisfied with the gods they have, and thus impels them to turn to Him.
In so doing we will find that this God does His work in a manner wholly contrary to the manner of the flesh; so that God's ways will look foolish to the wisdom of the flesh; and, in so doing, His work will appear to be miraculous, and thus destroy the self-sufficiency which has so often supplanted the power of God in our lives.
Our device for teaching these great truths is the pilgrimage of God's chosen people, the Israelites, from Egypt to Canaan. A brief sketch of the design will be sufficient, but it will be necessary before we enter upon the message of this book. After having shown how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has done marvelous things for His people in every age, we shall endeavor to show how the faith principle works in our personal lives, and how the believer may enter into the "VICTORY THAT OVERCOMES THE WORLD, EVEN OUR FAITH." ===============
[Buell H. Kazee, Faith is the Victory, 1951. - jrd]
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