The Faith of Jesus

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

The apostle prays that he would be found in Christ, “not having mine own righteousness,” he says, “which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” We need righteousness; and it must be found only through one path—the faith, not in Christ, but of Christ. The language of the Bible in reference to the faith that we are to have is repeated time and time again. If you were to do a search in the Bible for “the faith of Christ”, or “the faith of Jesus”, you would find that it comes up several times. Of course, the text that is most relevant to us who are living in these last days is the following:

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

To have the faith of Jesus we want to have a look at Jesus and explore this faith in action by beholding Jesus, that we may understand.

That Holy Thing

We know that Jesus was as a human being sinless; He was without sin. He walked on earth as a man; He was made in all points like us. Why was He sinless? We are told through the angel’s words to Mary that Jesus was born at birth from a source different to the one we were born from.

Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. … 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

When Mary said to the angel – how is that possible? I haven’t a husband. The angel said to her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the Holy Spirit will infuse a holy thing into you. Many people read this and say, “See? Jesus was a holy thing from birth; He has an unfair advantage.” Jesus spoke about this to Nicodemus.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus was born of the Spirit, therefore people think, well, He was so holy. There was really nothing there that would give me a comfort that I am advantaged by Him in some way because we are born of the flesh. The apostle says:

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

As we keep on studying God’s word, we discover that yes, He was indeed born of the Spirit, but He was born of Mary as well. The Catholic Church actually teaches the Immaculate Conception—that Mary had to be pure and holy before Jesus could be born of her so that she would not impart to Him any weaknesses of sinful flesh. But Christ was very much born of the flesh as well as

Born of the Spirit

As we therefore realise the flesh that He was born of, we see this further enlarged in the following scripture:

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Jesus was born of the Spirit; but He also received our flesh.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

The Spirit of God dwelt in Jesus, and although He was born of Mary in the flesh, yet the differentiation between the mind of the flesh and the physical flesh is clearly portrayed here. We don’t have to be in the flesh but we can be in the Spirit by permitting the Spirit of God to dwell in us. Jesus was that Person who dwelt in this human nature not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Christ had life and peace. But when we are born only from the flesh, we are not of that peace – the flesh is disrupting.

Jesus Had No Advantage

Many people think that Jesus had an advantage but we want to learn from Him that He had no advantage over us when we become born again. The people who Jesus came to needed to accept Him, they needed to have faith in Him so that then God could do something with them.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

It is incumbent upon us if we will believe in Jesus to let Him create within us a new birth to be born not the way we were born naturally (the experience of which we all know very well), but that we would take Jesus and receive Him. Then God will give us birth from above, like Jesus. Then Jesus does not have an advantage over us.

The transformation must take place is to be in our mind not in our flesh. Jesus was born of the same flesh that we were born of. We were born of human parents and so was Jesus born of the human parent Mary. This transformation is that we must be born of God according to the Spirit.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

A new birth, a transformation, has to take place; where? In our mind. Not in our flesh; our flesh is always the same. But our mind must dwell, not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. There we have the direct message of God’s word—we are called upon to be transformed in the Spirit, the mind to understand something very important. Namely that those who receive Jesus will be born not from the flesh but from God, not of the will of man, but of God.

A New Mind from God

Our natural human being cannot receive and understand God. It must be given us of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:

Never forget that. I am carnal; my natural carnal nature can’t comprehend it;

1 Corinthians 2:14 …for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

This is the important thing for us to understand—the mind has to be born of the Spirit; a new mind has to be given us. The Bible is very resplendent with those kinds of expressions.

Christ then has no unfair advantage over the believer. But I want to take you through an experience of Jesus as He was born at His birth, at His development to see how that faith that was in the mind of Jesus and that was born of the Spirit. We are to be born of is to function so that we may have the righteousness of Christ by the faith of Jesus.

Journeying into the Faith of Jesus

We will now go in our imagination through the experience of Jesus from babyhood onwards. As we behold Him with the help of the Holy Spirit as He grows and develops from babyhood to adulthood, we may be able to find where we fit in once we have been born of the Spirit. Where do I fit in in the growth and development of Jesus from baby to grown-up?

When you see a tiny little baby born, it is helpless, isn’t it? It is totally dependent on the mother. Jesus was born like that. Just imagine. Jesus, the Majesty of the universe, is a little helpless baby in Mary’s arms, unaware of His heavenly kingship, completely ignorant of it, unconscious. Do you remember when you were a little baby? Neither does Jesus; He doesn’t remember anything. He was a little baby. He was unconscious of His position. This is how we start, and that is how He started in His experience—an unconscious, helpless, dependent baby. If you receive and accept this and let that come into your being and be positioned into your human body, through the Spirit, you receive a new mind. But that mind that you receive when you receive Jesus and you are born from above (from God, and not from the will of man), is a birth in your mind of a little, unconscious baby. You are an adult now, or a young person; you see everything the way you are familiar with, but that little ingredient of God’s mind that is born by the Spirit inside of you, is like a little unconscious baby. Now you have the ingredient of Christ in you, the hope of glory, in the mind.

It is natural for a baby to be totally dependent. It has total dependence and faith in its mother. It can’t govern itself; the mother has to look after it. And that is the way a person starts when he is born of God. It is a little baby in the brain; it doesn’t know; it is dependent upon God, upon the mother—the church. And you have at that stage a particular faith inside of you that is untaught; it is just there, a dependency; it has never been used before. All you remember in your personal experience is what you have used in your brain before; but this is a new brain, a new mind, the mind of Christ; and it is a baby mind—it hasn’t been used yet. You rely upon God like a baby who can’t think for itself.

Experiencing the Motherly Care of God

Here is a beautiful parallel to a child being born to a mother:

Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of [my] hands; thy walls [are] continually before me.

God is here comparing Himself with a mother. As we receive Christ and we become children of God, as little babies in the mind, there is the beginning of a life which God makes Himself responsible for. As a mother caring for a child He is saying this.

In us, when we are first receiving Christ, there is an unused faith, a faith which hasn’t been used before, a baby faith. And as we try to observe how we will grow from that beginning, we observe the baby Jesus. You see a little baby slowly exercising a faith unconsciously, and then being slowly transformed into becoming active in its mind. It is dependent upon the mother, and it knows when the mother’s breast comes close; it goes for the breast because it is hungry. It only knows that from experience, and by something that is there in the faith, which says, I am hungry and this is where it comes from. This is the milk of the word that we are to come for as little babies. And baby Jesus was just like that.

Growing Consciousness

Then, as He grew from the mother’s milk, as He developed, He began to become conscious of His surroundings. He begins to sense energy coming through the body as He develops; He sits up; and He continues to trust His mother more consciously. He begins to recognise faces; and his mother’s face is the one He recognises first. You have seen little babies, haven’t you? The baby is there in the mother’s arms, and it looks up and starts smiling. Jesus was like that. The faith inside of us begins to become conscious that, The Father in heaven is above me; and I can begin to realise that, Oh, this is my God, I love Him; and I smile. But it is all that we have in the beginning.

Very gradually our faith becomes active—the faith of the mind that has been planted in us. Our faith becomes active to God, the mother, and we will understand God as a baby growing understands its mother:

Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;

As the mind of Jesus inside of me, that little baby mind, develops and becomes aware, it realises the mothering care of God, and the heart begins to go out consciously in total dependence.

Crawling, then Walking

As that conscious faith begins to develop more and more, you realise that everybody around you is walking. The baby realises that “Mom and Dad are walking, but I can’t; I’m sitting here.” So the child watches, and it slowly develops the ability in its mind to crawl around and mobilise itself first of all. Some babies do it like a little spider; others get up on their hands and knees and crawl along. So the mind begins to develop the ability to motivate itself. Jesus was like that.

Then the child is encouraged to get up on its feet. And as the child gets up onto its feet, it has to be held up a little bit; and then it begins to wobble. But after while it can start to take a step without being supported. This is when the parents are all excited. But the child relies on the mother, and that is faith. “You’re going to uphold me; I’m not going to fall while you hold me up.” But now, as the mind becomes developed, it begins to think, “Well, I’m going to try to do this without Mom holding me.” So you see the baby taking some steps. And the next minute, down it goes. Did Jesus go through that? Indeed He did. He didn’t just get up and walked; he learned to walk.

When a baby wants to walk and it falls down, have you ever heard it crying? It gets frustrating, doesn’t it? It tries again, and down it goes again. What would Jesus’ mind have done? Wouldn’t it have become frustrated? No; that little faith might have been tempted to become irritated; but no; it was a spiritual mind. And the spiritual mind, as it flops down, it gets up again. It flops down, and gets up again, until it learns the skill to keep the balance. We are learning to walk. Where are we in our spiritual experience? Some people are in the early stages; others are further on; others have already become grown human beings in Christ. But what I am sharing with you now is the process of the faith of Jesus that we must be intelligent in reference to.

Revealing Virtue

Jesus learned to not become frustrated and start crying because He couldn’t walk straight away. So now the faith of Jesus is revealing virtue, which is being exercised in Him, as it says:

2 Peter 1:5 …add to your faith virtue;

No temper, no temper tantrums, no falls that create a temper inside of me. No; I will fall and try again. This is the spiritual experience—namely, that when we fall because of our old habits, we will not become irritated. No; we will let the mind of Jesus help us to keep on going. Don’t give up, you will walk one day.

When we walk with the mind of Jesus, there will be a temptation to become frustrated. Frustrations come to us, don’t they? But what are we to do? Add to your faith virtue. Learn from Jesus; follow His faith.

A Personal Revelation

As Jesus grows and begins to understand more than just the skill of walking, more than just the dependence on a mother for providing him food and all else, there comes a point when an understanding awakens in the mind of the child, namely that, Mother is my teacher; she can teach me something. And so the baby listens carefully. “Oh, mother is teaching me something; she’s trying to help me here.” The baby mind is learning that it needs to obey the instructions of its mother, and of its father. This is the development of the mind of Christ, like in us. We begin to realise that God is trying to say something to me, and I am thinking, “What are you saying? Oh, I have to do what You say. That’s interesting.” So Jesus learned to listen to Mother Mary. She teaches Him the Bible. And as His intellect develops and expands, He even learns to read, and He discovers something by what is being told to Him. Mary told Him, You were born, not from your daddy, but from Heaven. “Really?” He wakes up. “Oh, so God is my Father; and you are My mother.” The mind of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, is that He believes His mother. He has a faith that believes what Mother is saying. It is the mind of Christ. And He becomes conscious that He is the Son of God.

Can you remember when it is that Jesus showed He was conscious that He was the Son of God? When He was twelve. Don’t you know that I must be about My Father’s business? He said to Mary and Joseph. So by the age of 10-12, His faith had exercised itself to the point of knowing who He was. How did He know? Because of what He was taught; and He believed what He was taught. That is the faith of Jesus.

Adding to Virtue Knowledge

You and I, as the mind of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, is installed into us, and we develop like Jesus did, we become gradually conscious that, I am actually a son of God. And having exercised faith and virtue, what do you then add to virtue? Knowledge. This is how it progresses. And this knowledge is that “I am a child of God; I have been born of God.” Now my mind begins to really adjust itself if it is the mind of Christ. It is the baby that has grown to teenage years. The following statement expresses exactly this; this is what Jesus had to learn, that He was the Son of God; and we have to learn it too, as our spiritual mind develops:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

You see, the faith of Jesus that is born by the Spirit, is the faith that accepts that fact that I am a son of God. And I don’t know yet a lot of things, but I know I am a son of God, and I have to learn, so that one day I will be just like Him. This is faith of Christ. There is no outward proof; I can’t prove that I’m exactly like Jesus; but I have been told I am to be like Jesus, and I am learning.

What I am describing here is exactly what Sister White writes, namely that the goods traits will be increasing while the evil traits will be decreasing. This is the experience of God’s people; this is the experience of the birth of the faith of Christ which produces the good traits and which develop by learning, by faith, the faith of Jesus; so that His righteousness will develop within me while the evil traits will be diminishing as I am walking and learning by faith. So you believe what is written; that is the faith of Jesus. If it says that I am the son of God, and I have received Jesus, well, therefore I am the son of God. And now I will continue to grow from childhood, and youth, into the adult Jesus.

The Child Grew, and Waxed Strong

Let us see what is to be expected in the development of this faith of Jesus, by looking at His particular experience described here:

Wonderful in its significance is the brief record of His early life: “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” In the sunlight of His Father’s countenance… {DA 68.2}

His face looked to the Father through His mother, and in the face, like a baby beginning to smile, it came about, He saw light—the sunlight of His Father’s countenance. His heart was warmed; He loved His Father in heaven. And in this light

…Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. {DA 68.2}

Other human beings weren’t quite as advanced. Why? Because He learned quickly what others took longer to learn, especially if they haven’t been born again.

Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry. The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood. {DA 68.2}

This is what we have seen in our description. He followed the process of growth and development in keeping with the laws of childhood; so that by the time He was twelve, He could say, I must be about My Father’s business.

As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition. His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy. {DA 68.3} 

This is what developed. And this is what is to develop in us as we realise who we are, when we receive Jesus. We then read of His further

Character Development

At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God’s word. {DA 86.1}

The development of Jesus was that He was forming a character. And this is what is to take place inside of us—with the mind of Jesus the character begins to form, a different character to the one we have had.

“It is written” was His reason for every act that varied from the family customs. But the influence of the rabbis made His life a bitter one. Even in His youth He had to learn the hard lesson of silence and patient endurance. {DA 86.1}

The hard lesson of patient endurance He had to learn. Do you and I? With the mind of Jesus I am learning this. But I am receiving this into an experienced body, and this is a tug of war. But I will learn through the faith of Jesus.

From the time when the parents of Jesus found Him in the temple [at the age of 12], His course of action was a mystery to them. He would not enter into controversy, yet His example was a constant lesson. {DA 89.6}

So His faith would not enter into controversy. Isn’t that interesting? We are learning that principle—not to enter into controversy, and yet to give an example as a constant lesson.

He seemed as one who was set apart. His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and with God. Whenever it was His privilege, He turned aside from the scene of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil. {DA 89.6}

Are you learning your lesson of the faith of Jesus?

The life of Christ was marked with respect and love for His mother. Mary believed in her heart that the holy child born of her was the long-promised Messiah, yet she dared not express her faith. {DA 90.1}

Jesus had to suffer in the family to follow God’s way contrary to the customs of the world. And it is beautiful when we are born into a Christian family, as you, children, are born. And if you can learn this lesson from Jesus early and receive Jesus as your personal Saviour, you have an easier road than those who have had to travel up through a broken home, a violent home, through all those ugly experiences that the people suffer today.

We see, then, in the faith of Jesus His humble life. He continued thus for up to thirty years. He was the Son of God, but what did He submit to? He did not enter into the ministry for thirty years. He worked as a carpenter. In other words, we also should be content, with a spiritual mind, to fulfil the humble roles of life. Be content with that; this is the mind of Jesus; this is the faith of Jesus. He was just a worker, faithfully, contentedly doing that work as a good carpenter. He had the power to do miracles; but did He? Not yet. Faith was not yet permitted to function that way. So it is with us. We may have the power to do miracles, because the faith of Jesus is in us; but we are not ready yet. Just work patiently. That is the faith of Jesus in action.

Conquering Satan

Then as you look at Jesus, you imagine the forces of evil against Him. You see Him in the wilderness, and even before that. Satan was against Him from the time of His birth. And as Jesus had to meet this, so do we. From the time of our spiritual birth we will meet Satan all the way; he will try to crush out of us anything that is godly. The divine power to resist Satan, to overcome him, is available to the person who has that mind of Christ. What is the spiritual mind, the mind of Christ, to do?

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Be like Jesus; submit to God. And then,

James 4:7 …Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

The spiritual mind that develops, that hasn’t yet done miracles, can conquer Satan by faith—the faith of Jesus.

Supernatural Intervention

Then you see Him coming to the point of baptism. Jesus was baptised at the age of thirty. And for the first time in His life there was a voice that came from Heaven and said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. That was the first time He heard that voice. Before that time, it was all by faith. So we might be many years in the experience of a Christian, but we have never seen or heard a miraculous intervention. I know this experience very well. This was my experience, until one day the Lord showed me a miraculous intervention in my life. It took me years to discover that. This is because the faith of Jesus was like that. We are following in His footsteps. So this was the first time He heard the assurance that He was the Son of God. And we may also have to wait before we can ever receive supernatural affirmations to our sonship, affirmations that we are actually cared for by God.

Life of Faith

Then as we study the ministry of Jesus, after His baptism, we know that He went into the wilderness. And when we really come to the confirmation that we are the sons of God and we have it firmly embedded in us that, “I am a child of God, I know it now; before this, it was just by faith, but now I know it because I have the evidence;” up comes Satan with greater power—the wilderness temptation.

And as we grow in our experience with Jesus, the teaching, the miracles, the sufferings, and the death are all the life of the faith of Jesus in us. Interestingly, in all that Jesus did, His ministry, all the victories that He had, right through to the point of His death, what did Jesus do all the way along? What was the faith of Jesus? This is the faith of Jesus; all the way through His life this was His action of faith, and this is what we learn from Him:

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

These are very important words. The faith of Jesus is one that waits to be told what God wants Him to do; and then He does what God shows Him. He does not do anything of Himself.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

This is the faith of Jesus. “I don’t do what I want to do; I wait till I am told.” This is the faith of Jesus, the mind of Jesus. And we are to have Christ’s righteousness by His faith. This is what Jesus Himself said in the following scripture. I can of Mine own self do nothing, He says to us, and neither can you if you are in Me.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

This is the mind of Christ; this is the faith of Jesus.

Dying and Rising Again

Then Jesus the Man comes to His death in the story of Gethsemane and the cross. He comes to His death and finally comes to an experience that is beyond Him, just like the one we will all have to meet—a time of Jacob’s trouble, a time to conquer even our sinful flesh. Jesus came to that, and He cried out, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? The faith of Jesus was being severely tested. So we must die if we have the mind of Christ. And if I have this mind, by faith, the faith of Jesus, I will know that, whether I die or live, I will be resurrected, as Jesus was, according to the well-known passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We don’t have to mourn for the dead, those who have fallen asleep in the Lord; they are in Christ Jesus, they will rise again. And the person who goes to death will know this. Jesus had to overcome; He had to overcome even death. And as He overcame, He received a reward. What was His reward? He as a man overcame as a man, and He received a reward. And if we will have the faith of Jesus, what is our reward?

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

What was the reward of Jesus? He was able to be lifted to the throne of the Father, as a man. What can we be? He says, If you overcome by the faith that I exercised, I will grant you to sit with Me in My throne. This is the reward.

Let This Mind Be in You

Therefore the faith of Jesus means that I will have the mind of Christ. And here is the call to us: Receive Jesus, and you will be born from on high; you will have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you,

Let it be. Believe it.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Here is the reward. Let this mind be in you. Conquer as the apostle Paul did and expressed it. He let everything go for Jesus; he was born of God. And he did this that he might “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Having now gone through the exercise of meditation on this, God grant us to identify our position in this and hasten our growth to the point that we may overcome as Jesus overcame. Our only chance to be like Jesus is to let His mind be in us. Let the faith of Jesus, the mind of Jesus, function and control.


(Illustration by Good News Productions, International, used under CC BY)

Posted on 18/01/2019, in Divine Service Sermons, The Faith of Jesus and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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