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Bible Alive: "Faith in John"
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Bible Alive: "Faith in John"

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What does John think about faith? How is faith “knowing Jesus Christ and his Father”? What kind of “knowledge” is he talking about? How does it relate to the Promised One, the Holy Spirit? Who......

What does John think about faith? How is faith “knowing Jesus Christ and his Father”? What kind of “knowledge” is he talking about? How does it relate to the Promised One, the Holy Spirit? Who initiates faith? How does faith relate to “eternal life” and when does that happen? What does John think about the words of Jesus? What is the opposite of faith for John? Unbelief?

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  • 1. Analysis of
    Faith in John
  • 2. The following presentation would be impossible without these resources
  • 3. Let us Pray
    O Righteous Father,
    We give you praise and thanks
    Help us to be Good Listeners of the Word
    that we may all be one;
    even as You, Father, are in the Son,
    and the Son in You,
    That we also may be in You, so that the world may believe that You have sent the Son. Help us to be One.
    Amen.
  • 4. Course Breakdown
    Bible Alive: The Prophets
    What is faith?
    Who and what are prophets?
    What is prophecy?
    What you need:
    Bring your Bible and a heart open to prayer.
  • 5. Summary of Old Testament Faith
    So what is Old Testament faith?
    It is aman, that is, solidity, firmness, support, security and is corporate, NEVER just an individualistic experience.
    It is covenantal and bestows identity.
    This faith trusts more than it intellectually assents to, and obeys.
    It is expressed through repentance, obedience and trust.
    And it moves from the fear of the Lord to reverence and love in wisdom in the environment of peace.
  • 6. Summary of Pauline Faith
    So what is faith according to Paul?
    Faith is about justice for Paul. Faith is the key that liberates us from sin and death. Thus for Paul faith is the principle of life for the righteous.
    Paul sees that with Baptism faith effects a new creation.
    The central object of such faith is Christ, but Christ in the preached word—for Paul faith comes through preaching.
    For Paul faith is incarnational, inexorably tied to obedience, and in fact is obedience.
    Faith is not only mental, but a reality consuming the whole believer.
    It is never a one-time event or confession; faith is dynamic and grows.
    Faith also must be nourished for Paul for it may become sick and die.
    The principle by which faith grows is love.
    For Paul faith is vision of Christ in all things. For Paul this vision can only come from the indwelling Spirit who empowers us to leave ignorance and darkness and enter into the light of Christ. Faith shows Paul that all things are oriented toward union with God.
  • 7. Summary of Synoptic Faith
    Faith according to the Synoptics
    • First, like the rest of the New Testament, the Synoptic Gospels do not deviate from the Old Testament’s perspective of faith. But in the development of understanding this faith as presented in the ancient Scriptures, the Synoptics stress that with the coming of Jesus faith is more important now than ever.
    • 8. The Jesus of Mark, Matthew and Luke demands faith—faith in the Synoptics is CRUCIAL.
    • 9. Now faith is directed not only to God but also to Jesus who is the one who definitively reveals God.
    • 10. In Jesus prayers, parables, and teachings on faith in the Synoptics, there is always presented a unique relationship between himself and God.
    • 11. So in summary, the Synoptics carry over faith in all its Old Testament meaning, emphasize its life-or-death importance, amazingly present it as being directed to the man Jesus of Nazareth as to God, and, in depicting faith, refers to the unique bond between the man Jesus and God.
  • Summary of faith in Acts
    Faith in Acts
    • Faith is the acceptance of the Gospel preached by the Apostles, and believers are those who accept this preached word and join the community of the faithful.
    • 12. Apostolic preaching is the object of faith.
    • 13. The heart of faith is belief in Christ as risen Lord.
    • 14. Faith is expressed in repentance, and sacramentally expressed through Baptism. In the act of faith, Baptism, one receives the assurance that one is forgiven and is renewed by the Holy Spirit being “poured out.”
    • 15. Faith is all about newness: it sunders links with the past, past religious ties, and especially sin.
    • 16. Faith is a personal relationship, and thus subjective; but faith is also embodied in the objective content shared by the community of the faithful.
    • 17. Finally, faith not only speaks about the fulfillment of the past in Christ, but to the mystery of Christ coming in the future and his presence now.
  • Now… Faith in John
    Faith in Johannine Theology:
    John 17:3—And this is eternal life, that they knowtheethe only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
    It seems that for John, faith is similar to what Paul thinks about it.
    But what does John place greater stress on concerning faith?
    To believe in Christ is to KNOW Him.
  • 18. KNOWING
    For Johannine theology, one believes in Christ by knowing Christ.
    More than Paul, Johannine theology emphasizes faith as knowledge.
  • 19. Object of Faith
    Is the object of faith more explicit in John than elsewhere in the New Testament?
    Jn 16:30—…“Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”
    Jn 6:68-69—Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
    Yes.
  • 20. Who is the Object of Faith?
    Who is the object of faith?
    The object of faith is Jesus—the one who came from God and who is the Holy One of God.
  • 21. Jesus & God
    What does Jesus share with God?
    Jn5:19-27—Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. or the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
    “Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.”
  • 22. Oneness
    What does Jesus share with God?
    Jn 12:44—And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.”
    Jn 12:49—For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.
    Jn 14:1—“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.”
  • 23. Oneness
    What does Jesus share with God?
    Jn 14:6-11— Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.”
    Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.”
    Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
  • 24. Oneness
    What does Jesus share with God?
    Jn 16:26-30—“In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
    His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”
    1 Jn 2:23—No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
    Jesus is one with the Father. To have faith in Jesus is to have faith in the Father.
  • 25. Beyond Self
    Can this knowledge called faith be generated independently of others, on one’s own?
    Jn 14:15-23—“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
    Jn 15:15—No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
    Jn 15:26—But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me…
    Jn 16:13—When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
  • 26. By the Spirit
    Can the knowledge of God be assimilated independently, or by human power, according to John?
    Not at all.
    What is the only way this can be?
    Without the interior “attraction” of God’s presence in the Spirit (Grace), faith is impossible.
    Through the Presence of the Holy Spirit we are given and instructed in this knowledge of Christ.
  • 27. Filial Knowledge Shared
    What is the only way by which we share in Christ’s own filial knowledge of God?
    Jn 6:44-46—No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
    Jn 6:57—As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
    Only by the power and indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • 28. Eternal Life NOW!
    What, according to Johannine theology, does the believer already possess?
    Jn 3:16-17—For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
    Jn 3:36—He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
    Jn 5:24—Amen, amen, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
    1 Jn 3:1—See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
    1 Jn 3:15—Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    1 Jn 5:12-13—He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
    We already possess eternal life.
  • 29. Eternal Life Is…
    What is ‘eternal life’ according to this theology?
    Jn 17:3—And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
    Eternal life is knowing Christ.
  • 30. Vision of God
    What does this “knowing Christ” ultimately lead to?
    Jn 17:24—Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.
    Jn 17:26—I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
    1 Jn 3:1-2—See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
    “Knowing Christ” ultimately brings us to the vision of God.
    So eternal life is about knowing the unknowable God.
  • 31. The WORDS of Jesus
    What is perhaps unique about Johannine theology concerning faith among New Testament theologies?
    Jn 2:22—When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
    Jn 5:47—But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?
    Jn 8:45—But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
    Jn 17:20—I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word…
    Here faith is placed in the words of Jesus as in the Apostolic kerygma.
    For Johannine theology, faith is unconditional trust in the efficacy of the words of Jesus.
  • 32. Witnesses
    Note how important for the Johannine theology on faith is the role of the witness.
    God God’s Selfas witness:
    1 Jn 5:7-12—And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.
  • 33. Witnesses
    Note how important for the Johannine theology on faith is the role of the witness:
    John the Baptist as witness:
    Jn 1:29-35—The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
    And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
  • 34. Witnesses
    Note how important for the Johannine theology on faith is the role of the witness
    Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Christian saints as witnesses:
    Jn 14:12-14—“Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it…”
  • 35. Witnesses
    What does faith involve, according to John?
    Faith involves accepting the witness.
    Is the role of this figure emphasized in John’s writings?
    Yes.
    What is significant about these witnesses?
    Signs accompany them.
  • 36. Signs & Faith
    How does faith arise according to Johannine theology?
    Jn 1:14—And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
    Jn 4:50-54— Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
    The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
  • 37. Signs & Faith
    How does faith arise according to Johannine theology?
    Jn 8:30—As he spoke thus, many believed in him.
    Jn 10:42—And many believed in him there.
    Jn 11:45-47— Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him; but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.
    Jn 12:9-11—When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
  • 38. Signs EVOKE Faith
    For Johannine theology, signs are given to evoke faith. This is different than the miracles of the Synoptic Gospels, which are performed by Jesus IN RESPONSE TO faith.
    Jn 17:6-8—“I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.
  • 39. Faith & Life
    What does faith bring us, according to Johannine theology?
    Jn 3:36— He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
  • 40. Unfaith & Judgment
    What does unfaith bring us, according to John?
    Jn 3:18-20—He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
    Condemnation is brought by unfaith.
  • 41. Tragic Unfaith
    What is the greatest tragedy according to John?
    Jn 1:10-11—He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
    Jn 16:9—…because they do not believe in me…
    The greatest tragedy according to this theology is unfaith.
  • 42. The Work of Faith
    Like Pauline theology, what is the work of faith for John?
    1 Jn 3:23—And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
    As with Paul, love of neighbor is insisted on by Johannine theology.
  • 43. Summary
    Let’s summarize faith in John. Gather all these themes.
    For John faith is knowing Jesus Christ and his Father.
    Indeed, faith in Jesus means faith in his Father.
    This intimate knowledge comes about through the power of the Promised Holy Spirit. The Spirit initiates faith, not us.
    Those who believe in Christ by the power of the Spirit know him, and this knowledge is eternal life NOW.
    For John faith is unconditional trust in the efficacy of the words of Jesus.
    Faith brings life and unbelief is the greatest sin.
    Faith works; it is alive when we love our neighbor.
  • 44. Addendum: Other New Testament Theologies on Faith
    Let’s explore faith in from still other New Testament perspectives:
    Hebrews
    James
    The Pastoral Epistles
    Jude
    Revelation
  • 45. Hebrews on Faith
    The Epistle to the Hebrews does not give us a systematic definition of faith; it does express its reality to a community undergoing persecution.
    Heb 11:1—Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
    Faith here means to hold fast to the objective reality believed in AND to be convinced of its unseen reality.
    Faith in Hebrews “sees what is,” that is, what we hope for yet is unseen.
    The initiator and consummation of faith is Jesus.
    Heb 12:2—…looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
    One must not only believe in God, but one must also believe God creates the righteous and rewards them.
    Heb 11:6—And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
  • 46. James on Faith
    There is no denying it: the Letter of James considers faith in language quite differently than Paul’s.
    It could be that James wished to clarify views held by Paul concerning freedom from the Law.
    It could also be that James desired to correct Paul.
  • 47. James on Faith
    According to the Letter of James, one is not exempt from all of obligations of Torah.
    For James, faith without works is dead.
    But what are the “works” James proposes?
    Jas 2:15-17—If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
    Jas 2:25-26—And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
    Jas 2:8-11—If you really fulfill the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.
    The works proposed by James are social justice and mercy to those in need, helping those in jeopardy, and the love of neighbor (including the prohibition against adultery and murder), not what Paul meant by “works of the law.”
  • 48. Elsewhere
    First and Second Timothy, Titus, Jude, and the Book of Revelation demonstrate that as the Church developed gradually, the understanding of faith developed.
    Christians are given faith as a mystery:
    1 Tim 3:9—…they must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
    Faith must be preserved:
    2 Tim 4:7—I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
    Rev 14:12—Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.