Vol. 17, No. 36 – September 9, 2018
In Eph 6:23 we have, “…with faith.”
A. We note that the noun for “faith,” PISITIS, is used in the book of Ephesians 8 times. Eight is the superabundant number, the beginning of a new era or order, regeneration, and resurrection, as our Lord was raised on the eighth day. Thus is speaks of the new creation, the new creature, the new spiritual species we are in Christ. And in that new creation, our mode of operation inside the Christian way of life is that of faith, as we have noted above.
It is found in Eph 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13; 6:16, 23. A survey of the utilization of the Noun PISTIS in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1.) Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”
In this passage, the first thing we learn about “faith” is that in seeing it in other believers, it encourages and motivates us to execute the Christian way of life even more so.
As we see here, knowing of the faith of the people in Asia Minor who had come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brought Paul great encouragement, joy, and motivation to offer up prayers of thanksgiving to God. This tells us that the knowledge of other people’s faith brings great joy, happiness, encouragement, and inspiration to other believers who are going forward in God’s plan for their lives. As Paul stated, “For this reason I too, … 16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.”
We take from this that we are to thank God for evidences of His grace in the lives of His people that is expressed by their faith towards God. This is also a public commendation and encouragement back to the people of God, as Paul prays to God giving thanks for their faith as he also lets the people know that he is thankful for them being in his life.
So, we take from this a good summary of what a Christian is: a Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus and has love toward the saints.
“On January 6, 1822, the wife of a poor German pastor had a son, never dreaming that he would one day achieve world renown and great wealth. When Heinrich Schliemann was seven years old, a picture of ancient Troy in flames captured his imagination. Contrary to what many people believed, Heinrich argued that Homer’s great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were based on historic facts and he set out to prove it. In 1873, he uncovered the ancient site of Troy, along with some fabulous treasure which he smuggled out of the country, much to the anger of the Turkish government. Schliemann became a famous, wealthy man because he dared to believe an ancient record and act on his faith.
We discovered that we were “born rich” when we trusted Christ. But this is not enough, for we must grow in our understanding of our riches if we are ever going to use them to the glory of God. Too many Christians have never “read the bank book” to find out the vast spiritual wealth that God has put to their account through Jesus Christ. They are like the late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own, so he sent his agent abroad to find them. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned! Had he read the catalog of his treasures, he would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble.
Paul desired the Ephesian Christians to understand what great wealth they had in Christ. Paul knew of their faith and love, and in this he rejoiced. The Christian life has two dimensions: faith toward God and love toward men, and you cannot separate the two. But Paul knew that faith and love were just the beginning.” (Bible Exposition Commentary).
2.) Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Clearly, this verse tells us that salvation is from the grace of God when we apply faith, that is, believe what the Bible tells us about the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. It tells us that faith is a non-meritorious action because salvation is a gift from God to those who believe. Even our faith in Jesus Christ is not good enough to earn our salvation; it must be gifted by God. Our faith is not a work or deed, but a mental attitude towards what God and Jesus have done on our behalf. When we believe in God’s and Jesus’ work on our behalf, the grace of God gives us salvation. “Through faith” we are saved, not “by faith” are we saved.
Nevertheless, faith is the subjective medium for the process of salvation, it is a necessary condition. Faith is the human response to what God says and does: belief, Eph 1:13. At the same time, it too is a gift from God, which refers to the whole process of salvation, not just the granting of faith to believe, cf. Acts 13:48; 18:27; Phil 1:29.
Eph 2:9, “Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” During the time of Jesus and Paul, faith became a system of works, as the Jews believed that by following the Law they were faithful to God and would be saved. They confused faith with human good works and the two became one. But as we know, that kind of faith nullified their salvation, because it was what they would do and earn, rather than being a gift of God.
Grace means salvation completely apart from any human merit or works on our part. Grace means that God does it all for Jesus’ sake! Our salvation is the gift of God. Salvation is a gift, not a reward. Therefore, even our faith is a grace gift from God for those who possess positive volition towards His Word.
As you know, we are not saved by faith plus works, but by grace through a faith that does work; post salvation. We have a living faith, a functioning faith! Now that we belong to God, God is working on us and in us so that He might work through us in faith.
3.) Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
One important aspect of our working faith is our prayer life as noted in this passage. Here, we understand that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have confident assurance and access to God the Father in our prayer life, 1 John 5:14-15.
1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
“Knowing,” in 1 John 5:15, is another way of saying faith. Faith is expressing positive volition towards an object or thing that you have deemed to be real or true. To “know” something means that you have learned about it and understood it to be real or true.
This is the application in 1 John 5:15. We, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, have learned about the prayer life that we can exercise in the spiritual life. We have learned that we can pray to God the Father, and that He answers our prayers. Therefore, we know about the prayer life. Now in exercising the prayer life, we understand and apply our prayer life by praying to God the Father. In that, we have learned that He hears our prayers, so we pray to the Father. We also have learned that He answers our prayers, so we wait patiently with confidence for Him to answer them. When we do this that is faith, PISTIS in action or PISTEOU.
If you are convinced in something so that you “know” it to be true or real and then use that information in some way that is faith. It means that you believe that thing to be so and you apply it to your life. In this case, the thing we are applying is that we can pray to God the Father and He hears our prayer, and that He answers our prayers. Therefore, we know / believe that God hears our prayers and answers them, which means we have faith. If you know / believe that God answers your prayers, that is faith. Therefore, our prayer life is a great example of our faith rest life in God.
Yet, if we are not bold, confident, and assured that God hears and answers our prayers, even though we have learned to the contrary, we are lacking in faith. Yet, if we are bold, confident, and assured that God hears and answers our prayers, we excel in faith as we should. As Heb 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
The emphasis on Jesus Christ in this passage tells us that in our prayer life we can enter the Father’s presence with “boldness and confidence,” because we are covered with the righteousness of Christ. That gives us access to the Father. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we have done so because we realize He is the only One who met the requirements of God laid down in the OT Law. When God looks at those people who live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He sees the righteousness of Christ in them, which equals His righteousness that qualifies for relationship with Him, and therefore provides us the opportunity in grace to offer prayers to Him. Therefore, we are able to offer prayers to God the Father, because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross.
This is also part of the mystery; that believers can experience a nearness to God that far exceeds that of the OT saints. Christians can boldly approach God because of Christ, vs. 18. This is not an “arrogance of access,” but a “freedom to access” that we are confident in, Heb 4:14-16. We know that God hears us. He is for us. He is with us. That confidence is faith.
4.) Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
Just as faith has played its part in believers’ appropriation of salvation, Eph 2:5, 8, and access to God, Eph 3:12, so also it is “through faith” that Christ’s dwelling in the heart becomes a reality for us. This is not the permanent indwelling of Jesus Christ in your body that occurs at the moment of your conversion, John 14:20; Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24. This is the result of Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ as He indwells the heart or right lobe of your soul. This is the result of having a close and intimate relationship with the Lord, which is based on faith and trust in Him and His Word. When you have faith in God and His Word, Jesus Christ enters into a more intimate relationship with you and is at home in your heart. When His Word is resident within your soul and applied, Jesus Christ is comfortable with those surroundings and feels quite at home in your heart.
An example of this is Abraham vs. Lot. “God was going to bless Abraham with a son, so the Lord Himself came down and visited Abraham’s tent, and He brought two angels with Him. They came to the tent, they talked with Abraham, and they even ate a meal with him. They felt very much at home, because Abraham was a man of faith and obedience. But the three guests had another task. They had to investigate the sins of Sodom because God planned to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, a believer, was living in Sodom, and God wanted to warn him to get out before the judgment could fall. But the Lord Himself did not go to Sodom. He sent the two angels, Gen 18-19. The Lord did not feel at home in Lot’s house the way He felt at home in Abraham’s tent.” (Bible Exposition Commentary).
This is possible because faith involves a relationship of trust and mutual resemblance and thinking between two parties. It means that you have the “mind of Christ,” 1 Cor 2:16, the Word of God / Bible Doctrine, resident within your soul ready to be applied to your life, which is applied. It means that you are walking with Christ daily in a close intimate relationship with Him. It means that the character of Christ and the pattern of Christ’s life are increasingly dominate in your life and shape your whole orientation to life. It means you think and act like Christ having acquire the “Christ-like” nature.
This is the precursor to knowing and having the tesseract motivational virtue AGAPE Love of God in your life, vs. 18-19. Remember, faith comes before love and peace. Therefore, when you have faith, Christ is at home in your heart, and you will be able to have MVA love as you should.
Therefore, Paul is praying for a deeper experience between Christ and His people through faith or what is believed, i.e., Bible doctrine in your soul. Paul yearns for Christ to settle down and feel at home in your heart, which is not a surface superficial relationship, but an ever-deepening fellowship, cf. Gal 2:20; 4:19; Phil 1:20.
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
5.) Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
This passage, along with vs. 4 and 6, is part of a creed of “faith;” what the early church and us today are to believe and uphold as Christians. It was part of “being diligent to preserve the unity of God the Holy Spirit in love, in the bond of peace”, vs. 2-3. In the unity of the Holy Spirit, there is only “one faith,” that is, one way of salvation, as the phrase is between “one Lord” and “one baptism,” which are the bookends to your past salvation, i.e., the moment of your conversion, cf. Mark 16:16; Col 2:12.
Mark 16:16, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
Col 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
As such, through faith in Jesus Christ, (as noted above), and only through faith in Jesus Christ, is anyone saved, John 14:6; cf. Acts 4:12; John 10:9; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:20.
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’.”
Therefore, we recognize and understand that all roads do not lead to heaven, but only faith in Jesus Christ paves the way for the gift of God to come and grant salvation. In this passage, we are charged with upholding this truth; being diligent to hold on to it, defend it, and proclaim it.
6.) Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
The unity mandate of the previous verse continues. Here, it is Paul’s and God’s desire that all believers come together in the “unity of the faith and knowledge,” and that we collectively grow spiritually by means of the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18. This threefold picture of unity, (faith and knowledge, maturity, and stature of Christ), is the picture of spiritual adulthood found in Christ Jesus put in terms of expressing completion or perfection, which He is.
The “unity of the faith,” is a unity of belief in Christ Himself, and this belief is intrinsically related to our knowledge of Him. Therefore, faith in and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ binds believers together. It binds the Church together. It is a unity generated and conditioned by our faith in and our true knowledge of the Son of God, in whom we too are the sons of the Eternal Father. The goal for us is to be like Jesus experientially. To be like Jesus, we have to know Him and His Word, and believe.
The context here is the giving of the communication gifts to the Church by God, vs. 11-2, so that the entire body of Jesus Christ can learn His Word and grow spiritually, and not be baby believers who are easily deceived or dissuaded by false doctrines and the things of this world, (i.e., Satan’s cosmic system), vs. 14. Steadfast faith in God and His Word, will lead us to spiritual adulthood individually and collectively, which is the type of body Jesus deserves to have; “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Even though there will be diversities and varying degrees of faith between us, and even within us moment by moment, the goal and desire of Paul and our Lord is that we have a fixed and continuous faith that grasps the whole of Jesus Christ and always holds on to Him.
7.) Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Recently we noted this passage. The last of the pieces of spiritual armor, which are virtues or attitudes to be practiced by the believer, was the “Shield of Faith.” The great shield you have been given by God, the great protection you have inside of Satan’s world, is “faith,” i.e., believing, trusting, and relying upon God and His Word.
The “Shield of Faith” speaks of the protection we have as part of the “Full Armor of God,” to stop the attacks of Satan and his cosmic system, (flaming arrows), from penetrating our souls, causing us to sin. The “faith” noted here is not saving faith, but rather living faith; a continual trust in the promises and power of God. In this context, it is the confident trust in and receptiveness to Christ and His power that protects you when you claim it as an objective Divinely given reality. Faith takes hold of God’s resources in the midst of the onslaughts of evil, and produces the firm resolve which douses anything the enemy throws at you. Faith is a defensive weapon which protects us from Satan’s attacks.
Faith will enable you “to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” The flaming missiles represent every type of assault devised by the evil one, not just temptation to impure or unloving conduct, but also false teaching, persecution, doubt, and despair. Faith is the power which enables you to resist and triumph over such attacks. When you use the Shield of Faith, you are not deterred, deceived, or deluded by the world. You will continue to walk in Christ, not allowing the outside pressures of life to become inward stress upon the soul leading to sin, human good, or evil.
If we do not by faith quench these flaming missiles, (Satan’s attacks), they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. We never know when Satan will shoot a missile at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith. Just as the soldier could not afford to be without this protective shield at any time, the follower of Christ cannot for one moment afford to be without faith.
Therefore, faith conquers Satan’s attacks to wrath, lust, despair, vengeance, etc., 1 Peter 5:9. Faith overcomes sin and evil in the world, 1 John 5:4, and will likewise overcome Satan, the ruler of this world, 1 John 5:18.
1 Peter 5:9, “But resist him (Satan), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
8.) Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this final usage of PISTIS in the book of Ephesians, we understand that “faith” is the means by which the entire Christian way of life is executed. We saw that without faith there is no true peace in our lives with God, with man, or within ourselves. Likewise, without faith there is no true motivational virtue AGAPE Love in our lives for God, other people, or ourselves. Yet, with faith in God and His Word, we have peace and love, and many other aspects of the Christian way of life, in our lives towards God, others, and ourselves. Therefore, “faith” produces inner contentment and active love. These flow “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul and God desire all members of the Church to enjoy the peace and love of God that only comes when there is faith in the life of the believer. It is that inner tranquility that is not disturbed by external circumstances and the expression of God’s motivational virtue back to Him and others in your life. Faith provides those things. For faith, which is the direct reliance on the faithful Promiser, will at the same time guard and protect your inner being from the sinful temptations of the world, while safeguarding your sense of love, guiding it along His sure line, in all its emotion and exercise, keeping it pure and warm, fed with ceaseless blessings.
As Paul concludes the book, he reminds us of the unity of faith, which is the bond of peace and love that is the only real bond that binds people together; the personal bond of confidence manifesting itself in peace and love. And, as we have seen, it is no mere doctrine that is presented for a man’s faith, but it is the person about whom the doctrine speaks. We can only know the person on whom we must trust by the revelation of the truths concerning Him. As such, faith is your personal continuous outgoing of confidence, which is the action of both your will and intellect, to the person revealed in the great doctrines of the Gospel and Word of God.
Therefore, in order to take the next step in your advance in the spiritual life, you need to turn credence into faith, that is, belief in a doctrine into trust. It is the step from the doctrine to the person. When you grasp Christ, the living Christ, and not merely the doctrine, then you have faith.
Paul and God’s desire for the Church is that their faith should be continuous and increasing all throughout our lives. Just as the breath you took yesterday can do nothing for your circulatory system today, and when you turn off the light switch, the light goes out, no matter how long you have been living a life of faith, that past life will not in the smallest way help you in the present moment unless your faith is continuous and increasing. A broken faith is a broken peace; a broken faith is a broken love. As long, and only as long, as you are trusting in the Person of Jesus Christ by the conscious exercise of a faith realized at the present moment, are you in the reception of blessing from the Father at the moment.
In addition, our faith is to be progressing. If there is no growth, there is not much spiritual life to live. If my faith has no growth, how do I know that it has got any life? Yet, if there is progression of faith in your life, there is much advance and experience in the spiritual life; there is great peace and great love.
Therefore, this continuous and progressive faith, (the personal outgoing of your intellect and will to the personal Savior revealed in the Scriptures as the sacrifice for your sins and the life of your spirit), ought to be the foundation of all strength, blessedness, and goodness in your Christ-like character. If you have it, you have the seed of all possible excellence and growth. Having faith, we have the opening of our heart to the reception of the Divine influences of grace and righteousness that God pours down on us.
In this verse, we see that peace, love, and faith are all from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are the originators and providers of faith in our lives. And without them, there is no faith.
In summary, faith is simply the exercise of confidence in another, and in this case the “other” is God. It is trust in Him and His Word. It is essentially a personal trust resting upon Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of everything. And remember that this faith ought to be continuous and progressive in your life.
God does not care nearly so much that our lives should be joyful as that they should be righteous and full of faith. He allows us to go through many sorrows, losses, and disappointments in order that the life of the natural man may be broken and the spiritual life of faith may be strong. When we correctly understand the relative value of the outward and inward things, we will be thankful for the storms that drive us nearer to Him, for the darkness that turns to light, and for all the discipline, painful though it may be, with which God answers our prayer, “Lord, increase my faith!”
Summary of the Noun PISTOS in Ephesians:
In our new creation and mode of operation inside the Christian way of life being that of faith, we have seen that applying faith means:
- Seeing faith in others brings encouragement, joy, and thanksgiving to the soul.
- We are saved by the grace gift of God through faith alone in Christ alone.
- Faith in Christ gives us boldness and confident access to the Father in our prayer life.
- Christ is at home in the heart of the one who is walking in faith (i.e., Bible Doctrine in the Soul).
- We have “one faith,” only one way of salvation; through Jesus Christ, (i.e., positional unity in the Body of Christ).
- We are to attain a unity of faith and knowledge with the brethren, (i.e., experiential unity in the body of Christ).
- We are protected by the Shield of Faith, (i.e., the guardianship that is faith).
- God’s desire is for us to have peace and love for God, others, and ourselves, through faith.
B. The Verb PISTEUO, πιστεύω is used only twice in the book of Ephesians, Eph 1:13, 19, and is translated “believe or believed.” This is the actionable “faith” in our lives. A survey of the utilization of the Verb PISTEUO in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1.) Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Here, we see the actionable item of “having faith,” that leads to your eternal security. When we “have faith” in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are saved for all of eternity, (we have eternal security, John 10:28-30), by the grace gift of God, Eph 2:8-9, signified by the sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit. In this, we first heard the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then believed what it said, (i.e., thought it to be true.) That is faith!
This is the prescription for salvation, Rom 10:17; Gal 3:2. In these verses, “hearing or listening,” AKOUO, means learning through the ear gate. It means gaining knowledge after hearing it while being taught or spoken, with the result of determining it to be true and effective.
Rom 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Galatians 3:2, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Cf. vs. 5.
2.) Eph 1:19, “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”
This passage tells us that the full power of God comes into our lives after we have faith for salvation. It tells us of all that God can do and does do for the unbeliever to overcome their sin at the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our faith in God has and will unleash the “working of the strength of His might” in our lives.
To explain just how much power is available to believers, Paul used four different Greek words in this verse.
- Power, DUNAMIS means, “inherent ability, capability, potential.”
- Working comes from the Greek word from which we get energy, ENERGEIA, and denotes, “operative power.”
- Strength, KRATOS refers to “manifested strength.”
- Might, ISCHUS is “power as an endowment or the possession of power.”
When we have faith in God and His Word, the surpassing greatness of His power is toward us, working in our lives.
C. The Adjective PISTOS, πιστός is also only used twice in Ephesians Eph 1:1; 6:21, and is translated, “faithful, trustworthy, reliable, credible, trusting, or believing.” It is a descriptor or title of the one who shows continuous and progressive faith towards God in their life. A survey of the utilization of the Adjective PISTOS in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1.) Eph 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus”
This is addressed to the group of positive believers in the churches of Asia Minor. They demonstrated their faith in God and His Word in many different ways. Therefore, Paul was able to classify them as “faithful,” believers.
2.) Eph 6:21, “But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.”
This is an address to an individual in the early church. We recently noted this verse and the application of the classification Paul gave to Tychicus as a “faithful minister in the Lord.” Tychicus demonstrated time and time again his faith in Jesus, as he served the early church and Paul in many capacities, as we have noted. He was a servant in administrating to Paul and the Churches, he was an ambassador for Paul and Jesus Christ, He was a Pastor-Teacher, etc.
In all these, both the churches and Tychicus showed themselves faithful, trustworthy, reliable, credible as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, individually and collectively we have a call to be continuously and progressively “faithful,” to God in our work and service unto Him.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-092 – 18-094
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!