The next file we encounter is labeled Writings Circulating Within The Jewish Community Have This To Say About Faith. It contains the following:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
This seems rather odd. Substance and evidence? These are not words which describe a feeling, an intellectual assent, or even spiritual conviction! Hmmmm. This seems to agree with our previous observation about the touch. Somehow the touch (something decidedly physical) played a role in the faith (something understood to be spiritual) which resulted in this miracle!
In scanning the interviews of friends and relatives of those involved, we find this well circulated writing by James, the younger brother of Rabbi Yeshua.
Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
“Faith apart from works is useless”? “Faith apart from works is dead”? “Faith was completed by his works”? Well, this certainly throws a whole toolbox of wrenches into what many have grown up believing! And it appears to be more evidence accumulating in favor of a possibility we did not expect! These words of James, place into question the oft-repeated, jealously guarded, and passionately defended teaching sometimes referred to as “grace and only grace”! Most in our era have been carefully taught that we do not need to do anything (and in fact MUST not do anything) to gain our salvation (nor can we). Both Mack and this investigator are from this school of thought. However, with evidence mounting, we are beginning to wonder if there could possibly have been a terrible misunderstanding or misinterpretation! I asked Mack to talk this through with me. I have confidence that if we are on the wrong trail, Minus will chime in as well.
After some not-so-brief discussion, we conclude that it remains true that our mystery lady could not have simply presented a list of works (of the law or otherwise) to the Rabbi and expected it to purchase her redemption and/or result in her healing. Yet, we must now confess that it appears to be equally true that neither could she have presented a Dorothy-esque faith to Him with an expectation that that would have resulted in redemption either. For “faith apart from works is dead.” We acknowledge that this is a subject about which many hold strong opinions. Regardless of our personal opinions and long-held beliefs, we must admit into evidence the words of James, brother of Rabbi Yeshua, (as well as the evidence in this cold case) as recorded in Holy Scripture, a source of unquestioned authority.
Dorothy-esque faith – that faith in which one closes his or her eyes tightly, clicks the heels of ruby red slippers, and recites with much fervor and conviction “I believe; therefore, I am saved,” “I believe; therefore, I am saved,” “I believe; therefore, I am saved.” Click. Click. Click. But IS faith simply perfect, unwavering conviction, or really REALLY believing? Is this the perfect faith He wants us to utilize? Is this the faith utilized by our mystery woman?
Considering the unchallenged statements from Scripture, we would now have to conclude that evidence reveals that this kind of Dorothy-esque faith does not fit the description provided in Hebrews 11:1. The Hebrews 11 faith, we can see, is both substance and evidence, with no mind over matter faith mentioned. Nor does it seem to fit with James’ insistence that faith was active along with works.
Perhaps we can attempt to fetter out a better understanding of this faith/works connection with use of another exercise.
Imagine that you are at home when your community’s storm warning sirens sound. You access the television weather and immediately see news footage of a tornado on the ground right down the road from your house, spinning rapidly in your direction. The skies are ominous and the wind ferocious. You are totally convinced (convicted) that you and your children are in imminent danger. What do you do? Well, if you ARE truly convinced, wouldn’t you/shouldn’t you gather your children and take shelter? If you do not immediately take shelter, one of two possibilities is true. 1) You REALLY were NOT convicted/convinced, with your inaction being the evidence of such, or 2) You had a death wish and a shameful disregard for the safety of your children! Again, your lack of action (works) is the proof of what is unseen (your true conviction/beliefs.)
Likewise, if you unwaveringly believe, due to things you have both seen and heard from your next door neighbor, that your neighbor is about to harm a child, wouldn’t you/shouldn’t you act? If you do not, is it evidence that you really do not believe? Otherwise, wouldn’t your inaction be proof that you yourself are an evil person, having known and not acted?
As we sat at our desks contemplating the implications of such a shift in our thinking, Mack was lost in thought with feet propped on desk. Aaargh! And then it began! Mack has this excruciatingly irritating habit which surfaces when he is concentrating on a case. He drinks a bottle of water and then proceeds to crush the empty bottle in his hand time and again, producing the terribly irritating sound of plastic cracking and crunching. To add to the irritation factor, he repeatedly bounces the bottle cap off of the bulletin board to the right of his desk. After years of trying to persuade him to curtail this habit, I have at last conceded that it is a lost cause. It seems to do something to help him connect his thoughts. And often, the result is a new idea or new approach. It is a sign (or is it a symptom), that he is trying to work something through his mind. That’s how it happened today. When I thought I could stand the crunching no more, he suddenly stopped, sat bolt upright, and stared at the bottle in his hand.
He jumped out of his chair, grabbed a marker, and began writing hurriedly on the dry erase board – H2O. “H2O,” he said. “It’s what James meant! The formula, H2O, indicates that water is comprised of 2 parts hydrogen and one-part oxygen. If the hydrogen atoms were to be removed from water, the result would not then simply be hydrogenless water. Indeed, there is no such thing. Without both atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, water would cease to exist at all! Altering the formula has destroyed the product! The same would be true if the oxygen atom were to be removed, or if another atom were to be introduced into the formula. Again, water would cease to exist. For it is the COMBINATION of 2 atoms of Hydrogen and 1 atom of Oxygen that, together results in water! Altering the formula in any way deprives us of the slightest possibility of a yield of this life sustaining element. The altering of chemical formulas, whether by removal of an atom designed to be present, or addition of one that is not, may also result in harmful, or even deadly consequences! It would appear that the altering of spiritual formulas would also lead to disaster!”
He replaced the cap on the marker and stepped back to look at me. It was a brilliant analogy, well worth the bottle crunching and cap tossing. It is a perfect picture of faith. Perhaps the spiritual formula for faith could be stated this way. BC2W . Two parts of belief/conviction (BC2) and one part of works (W) comprise FAITH. If belief/conviction is removed, faith has been destroyed. If works are vanquished from the formula, the result is the same; faith no longer exists. For it is the BLEND of belief/conviction AND works that, when combined, results in FAITH. BC2W = Faith. Consequently, grace combined with belief/conviction alone would not result in redemption. Grace combined with works only would not produce redemption either. Truly, the tainting of the formula in the grace and only grace alteration has produced a debilitating and potentially lethal solution. It may taste sweet, but then so does antifreeze!
Conversely, BC2W (belief/conviction and works – otherwise known as pure, unadulterated faith) will culminate in miraculous redemption and phenomenal miracles!
Report filed by CCF Investigators MJ and Mack April 23rd