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Mature faith

October 6, 2008

1 Samuel 14:6,

Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”

In the commentary, Looking on the Heart (and excellent commentary), Dale Ralph Davis writes about the mature faith of Jonathan exhibited here in 1 Samuel 14.

Saul, Jonathan’s father, is confronted with the Philistines. In his normal fashion, he waits for someone else to save him (as in chapter 17). Jonathan is the savior this time. He proposes to his armor bearer that they “go over” to one of the garrisons of the Philistines – “these uncircumcised”. Like David will do in a few chapters, Jonathan recognizes that these people should not be opposing the chosen people of Israel.

Jonathan has full confidence in the Lord’s power. The Lord can accomplish His will “by many or by few”. That is the principle that Jonathan knows about that Lord (along with many others). The Lord our God is sovereign over all things (Ephesians 1:11). Jonathan trusts the Lord’s sovereignty.

But trust in the Lord’s sovereignty is not what makes Jonathan’s faith mature. Jonathan first says “it may be”. Trust in the Lord’s freedom to act as He wants is what makes Jonathan’s faith mature. Jonathan knows the Lord. He know that God is good, loving, just, righteous and holy. He knows that God is always accomplishing whatever is most glorifying to Himself. And He knows that God does these things freely, apart from any obligation except those He wants to make. It may be that the Lord will work for Jonathan and his armor bearer to defeat the Philistines, but that might not be what God wants to do. It’s God’s decision and whatever He chooses will be perfect.

Do we live like that? Do we live to make ourselves available to the work of the Lord? Jonathan made himself and his armor bearer available. If the Lord wanted to use them, there they were. If not, Jonathan was willing to leave himself in the hands of His God. Do we make ourselves available like that? Are we willing to give up our lives just to make ourselves available to the Lord, even if He doesn’t use us?

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2 comments

  1. When you bring up circumcision, you risk leading people to believe that circumcision is ok.

    95% of the world’s Christians do not circumcise. Circumcision is NOT part of Christianity:

    Romans 2:29, Romans 3:30, Acts 15:10, I Corinthians 7:18, I Corinthians, 12: 18, Galatians 5:6, Galatians 5:2, Galatians 6:15, Philippians 3:2, Colossians 2:12, Matthew 9:12

    HIS body HIS decision


  2. I don’t believe I insinuated that circumcision is part of salvation. But perhaps a comment about circumcision is necessary: Circumcision in the Old Testament was an outward sign to symbolize God’s covenant people; in our New Testament times circumcision refers to the circumcision of the heart; so in both cases a type of circumcision distinguishes God’s people from those who are not His people (Romans 2:29, as you cite).

    But Ron, circumcision is ok. No parent should fear circumcising their child for health reasons. And no adult should fear it for that reason either, nor any other reason except salvation.

    1 Corinthians 7:17-20, which you partially cite, says to stay the way you were when you were converted. Verse 19 reads, “For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.” So we must not circumcise our children from a motivation of saving them by doing so. For faith in Christ is the only way of salvation (Romans 3:30, as you cite).

    And Galatians 5:1-6 (the whole context) tells us that we should not circumcise in order to fulfill some part of the law, otherwise we have to fulfill the whole law and Christ is nothing to us.

    The strength of your argument does not lie in the number of your biblical texts but in explaining the ones you do cite.



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