Windows On The Word - Newsletter of Tim Greenwood Ministries

Date: November 30th 2007

WINDOWS ON THE WORD - Newsletter of Tim Greenwood Ministries
Diminishing The Darkness By Lifting Up the Marvelous Light Of Jesus Christ


Window On The Word -- by Tim Greenwood - December 2007
The Enemy of Faith
Mental assent can be one of the greatest enemies of a life of faith.

In Mat. 19:20, a young man said to Jesus, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”  He was claiming to have real Bible faith, but the truth was that he had mental assent, instead of real faith. The way that he reacted to Jesus’ reply proves it. But how can we avoid falling into the same trap?

What Is mental assent?  Mental assent is a subtle form of self-deception, just one step removed from hypocrisy.

In Luke 12:1 Jesus said to his disciples, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy is characterized as choosing not to practice what we preach. We don't need anyone to explain hypocrisy or how crippling and common it is.

Mental assent is just as crippling and even more common but hidden from our awareness.

So, what is the difference between mental assent and hypocrisy?

Hypocrisy is knowing what we ought to do but choosing not to. It's obvious both to yourself and those around you. Mental assent is more personal and less public. Indeed, waking up to its presence usually comes as a shock.

You see; with mental assent you believe something in your head, you agree, approve and confirm it is right, proper and godly. It carries your unwavering endorsement. You may not talk about it, but it bears your seal of approval.

The problem is that you don't even realize that you are not fulfilling it. You think it, but don't actually do it.

Why? It is because with mental assent you believe it in your head but not in your heart.

If you truly believe something in your heart, you speak it aloud and put it into practice. You only believe God's Word as far as you obey and act on it.

Can you see how it is actually ignorant hypocrisy, and just as toxic to a life of faith.

As Christians, we need to change from mental assent to real Bible faith. Real Bible faith is of the heart, not the head: it includes your spirit, rather than just your mind.

Rom. 10:9-10 says, “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Put simply, when you believe in your heart you will do a thing. Believing is a verb; faith is an action. Faith without action is dead, and useless (James 2: 14-18). Merely agreeing and assenting to something does not produce action. Heart faith always results in action.

Only by acting do you prove what you believe. You see why it is easy to approve of something in your mind, as though you were a participant, but not do it yourself? It is self-deceiving to claim to believe without corresponding action. That's mental assent and it can only end in failure.

How about answered prayer? Mental assent keeps asking for the same things in prayer. Heart faith asks once and knows God has answered according to His promise and then begins praising and thanking Him even before the manifestation.

Healing can be blocked by mental assent. Christians claim and proclaim the healing promises; but fail to act on them. Mental assent: they stay sick or infirmed. What a difference when we change from mental assent to real Bible faith.

Another kind of mental assent is a “group mentality” kind of faith.  I used to be part of denomination where “we” believed this and “we” believed that without ever even considering what I believed as an individual.  My faith was the belief that surely the whole group couldn’t be deceived into believing wrong doctrines!  What a shock to believe that your feet are on solid rock, only to suddenly have that rock roll right out from under your feet!
 
Real Bible faith is not mental assent. John Wesley warned in his time that there was a dangerous substitute for faith that he called "mental assent." He was caught in this dangerous trap and only escaped after failing as a missionary in America (his words.) Faith is of the heart and not merely the head. Simply agreeing that God exists and that his Word (the Bible) is true is not real Bible faith. James states that even demons have mental assent.

James 2:19 says, “Do you believe that there is one God? That’s pretty good but even the devils believe that, and tremble”

It’s time for all Christians to make the change from mental assent to real Bible faith!  Rom. 10:17 says that (real Bible) faith comes by hearing, and hearing (and hearing and hearing) the Word of God.  We need to learn what the Bible says, we need to individually believe what it says to us personally in our heart, we need to say what God is saying in the Bible and then step out and act upon the Living Word of the Living God with the kind of faith that truly pleases God!  





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WINDOWS ON THE WORD - Newsletter of Tim Greenwood Ministries
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Co-Editors
Tim Greenwood
Marcia Greenwood

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Windows On The Word
Newsletter of Tim Greenwood Ministries

Windows on the Word provides a broad and interesting mix of in-depth articles. Vibrant, relevant and always interesting, treading the cutting edge of Christian publications. This solid as a rock newsletter has information written with intelligence, heart, insight and creativity. There are poignant and timely messages from Tim & Marcia Greenwood and current news of the ministry.

Windows on the Word remains essential reading for Spirit filled, faith walking Christians everywhere. A newsletter whose pages you will look forward to devouring month after month.

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