The heroes of faith are not winners of a race, taking the three possible medals. They are not like popular Grammy winners having the acclaim of their peers They lived in faith and died clinging to the promises they had embraced whether they had received what was promised or not. They struggled and rejoiced in adversity and in comforts. Faith was their victory.
Not many us are like Sarah and Abraham, having a child against all odds. Not many us are like David and Gideon, conquering kingdoms with meager resources. Not many us are like the cave-dwelling faithful of ancient times, harrassed and pursued with murderous intent, choosing to die rather than deny their relationship with God. None of us has resisted the pressure of testing, choosing to die so that life can be distributed to others.
How does our garden grow?
The new and false notion of grace does not allow believers to suffer, or be in need of assistance, or have the very benefits that declare the difference between Christ and others. The new and false notion of grace has people flipping the pages of their imagination between saved and lost, between condemnation and justification, and between life and death. This is the torment that attends the unrepentant and hard hardhearted. Christ is just not enough for them. They have to invent circumcision and holy food and drink, allegiances to dead moons, and erect barriers that Christ has thrown down.
Are you saved? Are you dead? Are you a child of God?
I know whole groups of believers who would like us to believe that answers to these questions cannot be a simple yes or no. These are the people who would kill a man raised from the dead because of malice.
There are seeds that do not germinate, people who do not believe the gospel, and the two situations define the dead and those still in the dark kingdom.
The living do not return to the grave of condemnation. They stay with the Saviour God.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.