Faith That Comes By Hearing
by Leon O. Poole
Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Said another way, faith is the GROUNDS or CONFIDENCE of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Margin, King James Version).
We need always to replenish our hearts with faith. We can do this by deeply pondering on the Holy Scriptures, and by always remembering that God's Word is absolutely the Truth. We can utterly rely on it.
We should have a growing confidence in our heart because of what we know of God's Word. We can learn to utterly rely on what He has said, and we should. In this way we can become pre-disposed to faith and belief in Him.
Therefore, let us consider what faith is, how to get it, and how it works. Some people seem to think that one just "snatches faith out of the blue sky". But Biblical faith is not a matter of human whimsy. Romans 10:17 states that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. His Word is like an artesian well that ever pours faith into believing hearts. This is the wondrous result of ceaselessly hearing God's Word. Yet faith is not something that WE produce. It is what God's Word produces in us.
Hearing God's Word is vital because that is how we receive and increase the
extent of our faith. Our faith must become strong to overcome the trials and
temptations that come to us. 1 John 5:4 teaches that faith is the victory that
overcomes the world. That means that we can overcome everything in the world
which opposes God's will for us.
There are renowned facts in the Bible that are the basis for unwavering faith in God. For instance, Titus 1:2 tells us that God CANNOT lie. Literally, God CANNOT LIE! Also, Numbers 23:19 states that God is not a man that He should lie, neither the Son of man that He should repent. God never makes mistakes that would require Him to change His mind. What God has said about any subject is the unerring truth about that subject. Neither God the Father, nor Jesus the Son, nor the Holy Spirit can lie. They are all equally God in NATURE. NONE of them can lie!
Because of the facts of God's Word, we can pray to God and GET what we ask for. Jesus said: "Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matthew 7:7). Having a disposition of faith and believing means a readiness to believe God, in spite of all contradictions.
God has given His Word to inform us of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I.e., that which God and Christ accompIished at Calvary.In addition, let us realize that Jesus Christ CREATED an ETERNAL FACT when He spoke the words of Matthew 7:7. He also said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away: (Luke 21:33). He CANNOT LIE!
Therefore, when you ask a petition from God, fix your inner attitude by the
assurance of God's Word that you GET what you are requesting...NOW! "And
this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to
His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we
know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).
Praise God, His Word is His will.
Take confidence and courage by the foregoing Scriptures. Then take the next step. Put your heart, mind, and MOUTH into the past tense about your request. This means that your thoughts, attitude and statements about it affirm that God gives it to you NOW, even if it hasn't materialized yet. Praise God.
Hold a thankful attitude towards God because by faith you do receive it. Such an attitude should cause praise to God. I suggest the following confession: "Thank you, Lord, I believe that I receive my request. I rejoice in it, thank you". In this way we are mixing God's Word with faith in our heart. If we hold fast our confession, we shall have our request. Jesus Christ said so in Mark 11:24.
The Scripture tells us that God calls those things that be not as though they were. In another verse, it tells us to be followers of God as dear children (Romans 4:17; Ephesians 5:1). The point is clear. Since God does things that way, it is proper for His children to do it that way too!
Ponder the Scriptural facts during your daily routine. Don't back down from
your confession of faith. Faith originates in what God has said. Faith does not
come from what your senses tell you or from the conditions that you observe.
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God..."(Philippians 4:6).
The more that you stay in a conscious awareness of God's Presence, the easier it
is to exercise your faith. Remember that one aspect of faith is CONFIDENCE.
Don't let anything cause you to lose your confidence that God has granted your
request. Notice the attitude of Jesus Christ, in Hebrews 12:2: "Who for the
joy that was set before Him, endured the cross...".
Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, according to the Scripture. He has authored for us a faith against which satan has no recourse! Satan CANNOT keep you from getting your request from God if you hold fast to your confession of faith. Do not doubt in your heart that you get it. Constantly build up your faith. BELIEVE that you receive what you have asked for until it materializes. This DOES NOT suggest, for instance, that a sick person should quit taking prescribed medicine to PROVE to God that he believes. Rather, in every circumstance, he is assured by God's Word that by the stripes of Jesus Christ, he IS healed. A doctor can then affirm the healing. Biblical faith will work for you, if you exercise it according to the Scripture. "But you, beloved,building up yourselves on your most holy faith..." (Jude 20).
God's Word, the Bible, is the WRITTEN FORM of faith, because it is what He has said. It is actually called the word of faith in Romans 10:8. When we take His Word into our heart, it becomes the FIRST evidence and it becomes the FIRST substance of what we hope for. Believing the facts that are revealed in God's promises, causes their unseen substances to become demonstrated to us. They become OURS! Such "faith activity" will work for you. Just remember to ask according to God's Word, the Bible.
Each of us must learn to use our faith for ourself. No one but you can have
faith for you. And we CANNOT do the believing that others must do for
themselves. The Scripture teaches that every man shall bear his own burden. Yet,
often we can HELP others to use their faith by sharing God's Word with them.
Jesus taught in Matthew 18:19 that agreement with other believers is also an
advantage that brings results.
Romans 12:3 shows that God has given to every believer a measure of faith. Hebrews 4:1-2 shows that we are to mix God's Word with that faith in our heart. Then we shall obtain the results which He has promised. "For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).
At first, for some new believers, Biblical faith seems to be very mysterious. The reason is usually because new believers are unacquainted with God's Word. They understand very little about the Divine scheme of salvation. They are uninformed and/or misinformed.
People can be truly born again without knowing how to obtain other promises from God. I was that way too. But we do not get saved because we know all about the mysteries and details of Biblical faith. It is by God's grace, through faith, that we get saved. Then we must exercise the faith that God has given us, to receive what He has freely promised in the Bible.
Most believers feel a need for more faith. New believers often pray for faith. The Apostles did, and so did I. They said to Jesus on one occasion: "Lord, increase our faith." Asking Jesus or God for faith is not how faith is gotten. That didn't work for the Apostles, and it didn't work for me. Jesus replied to them that if they had faith, they could move a mountain! They had asked Him for it, and He replied: "...if you HAD faith...". That didn't seem to be a very satisfying answer. Why didn't He just give them more faith? The Bible tells us why. Romans 10:17 states that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If we want more faith, we must HEAR what God's Word says about a subject of interest. Then faith concerning it will come to us.
As an example, "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can now understand how we can get the faith that we need for other provisions from God also. Through hearing His Word, God gives us faith for salvation and for every other promise of God.
We can never deserve for God to save us, and apart from His Word, we know not how to move Him to answer us. But He will save us and He will answer us if we believe His Word when we pray. Thank God, we do not have to earn salvation, it is the gift of God, given to us by His grace.
Faith for obtaining any of God's promises is always given to us through hearing His Word. It comes to us, as I illustrate, "on the wings of God's Word." Faith is the substance, and the grounds of confidence which we gain by hearing God's Word. But it is not merely human, natural confidence. It is SUPERNATURAL confidence.
After receiving such confidence, we must carefully guard it against erosion from any source or condition. We must constantly replenish it by continuing to hear God's Word. We can do that by any method of "hearing". For example, by meditating on what we have previously learned, or by reading it, or by hearing someone else read or quote it. There are also times when the Lord will speak His Word directly to our heart. Such hearing of the Word of God means a concentrated focus of attention upon it. Not a temporary DISTRACTION of our attention from THINGS to the Scripture and then back to THINGS.
If we are overly occupied with things, we may become inadept at "hearing" God's Word. Therefore, we must enforce attention to it, in spite of things. Upon hearing the Divine information, faith comes into our heart. How do we know that it is come? God's Holy Spirit, working with His Word, causes us to know. We KNOW when we have it, praise God. By faith He gives us assurance, helping us to "see" the evidence of things that are not seen by natural senses. Thank the Lord. In that sense, the more that we "stare" at God's Word, the source of faith, the more strongly that source affects us. By using unwavering faith, Jesus said that we can move trees and mountains! More common concerns are easier to move.
It is the "nature" of faith to "move" us to ACT. If we act (i.e., BELIEVE) with our heart, we shall have what God has promised. Praise the Lord. Thus, we can become established in the habit of using our faith.
We can increase our faith by getting more information from God. Occasional Bible reading is not enough to gain the irresistable faith that we are considering. No, as Proverbs 4:20 states: "...let not them (God's Words) depart from thine eyes...". Learn to "look" at things the way that God says they are. ALWAYS!
This author is well aware of emphatic repetition in what I am writing. The reason is because in the "heat" of trials, we are prone to forget these vital facts. But they are necessary in order to get the results that we desire. Therefore, we need to have them firmly fixed in our heart and mind. Sometimes people stumble in the exercise of their faith. Then they wonder why God did not seem to answer them. The next step is to assume that it wasn't His will to grant the request.
Note again the supreme fact of Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
The Holy Spirit, using God's Word, makes us aware of the eternal redemptive facts that are in Christ. Mercifully, those facts ARE NOT SUBJECT to any alteration by God or man or devil. Though people and demons may attempt to distort or discredit them, they CANNOT BE CHANGED! Jesus Christ said that the Word of God CANNOT BE BROKEN and that His Words shall not pass away. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. NO ONE but God CAN change the facts of God's Word, and He WILL NOT!
"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His Own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION for us" (Hebrews 9:12). Also: "In hope of eternal life which God, that CANNOT LIE, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).
The New Testament is based upon the ETERNAL redemption which is in Christ Jesus. That redemption CANNOT be changed. Even so, if we do not believe and receive God's provisions in it by faith, we cannot obtain them.
For instance, when a sinner receives Jesus Christ in salvation, he does it strictly by God's grace, through faith. This comes about by the sinner hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and responding to it. But if he does not respond to it with the needed action, (i.e.,believing it) faith is not mixed with the Word and the provided gift of God cannot be obtained. If satan has his way, he will steal the Word from the sinner's heart so that he won't later think about it and respond to it. Mark 4:4,15.
Note: some things can cause us to fail when we approach God to obtain His promises. "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). So we see that we must RESPOND to what we hear of God's Word. Mixing is done by LETTING His Word PERSUADE us, and then by DOING what it requires. Such mixing, or doing, is easier understood when we use Biblical terminology and call it "BELIEVING".
In order for us to get the benefits that faith in God offers, we MUST believe His Word. We should treasure it. And we must reverence it and have a willing attitude to DO it. That is what is referred to in this book as being "disposed to faith and believing". Such a disposition is pleasing to God, and will bring His blessings in this world, and in the world to come.
One blessing of such a disposition is that it helps us to determine to be DOERS of the Word. For that purpose, it is worthwhile to frequently repeat in our thought life that: "I delight to do thy will, O God" (Psalms 40:8). In the face of personal failure, we need to boldly make that statement often. The reason is that hearing that word in our mind, tends to build it into us. It helps us to overcome our tendencies to fail.
Often, people who hear the gospel need to be told what to do in response to it. They need to be given the opportunity to do it, thus permitting the faith that has come to them to complete its results in them. This is the reason for giving invitations for people to receive the promises of God, when they hear them. Hearts that are humbled by the grace of God in the Gospel, will not resent urging by ministers to respond to the claims of the Gospel. If the heart is hardened by unbelief, resentment may arise when it is urged to respond. Acts 14:10 tells of a man who heard the Apostle Paul preach. The Bible says that he had faith to be healed (as a result of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ). Yet NOTHING happened until he was told to do something. I.e., to act on his faith. Then a MIRACLE happened!
According to Romans 12:3, EVERY believer has at least a measure of faith. A believer is one who has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and has consequently been born again. But not every believer acts on his faith in all things as he should. Often believers do not understand what to do or how to act on their faith. The reason for writing this book is to help relieve that problem. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. So the more of God's Word that we hear, the more faith we can have. And with more faith, we can come to believe God for more of what He has promised.
Jesus said that if we can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. Mark 9:23. Many people read the Bible, sincerely, yet little seems to happen in critical areas of their lives. They have faith, and they know that they have it. But many take the attitude that if it's God's will to give them what they ask, that He will just "sovereignly" do so. When He doesn't seem to, they assume that it isn't God's will for them to have their request. Unwittingly, they try to place the responsibility for DECIDING to answer prayer on God. This is a mistaken effort to "BELIEVE". Believing is for RECEIVING from God, not for PERSUADING Him.
Note: Jesus said that "Whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, BELIEVE that you receive them, and you shall have them" (Mark 11:24). Just possessing faith without BELIEVING, will not produce results! We MUST have faith, but as a RESULT of that faith, we must also believe. As we have noted, believing is the action part of faith. Note again Acts 14:10.
All of the great wonders that believers received in the past, have been the result of faith in God. Without faith in God, people have been frustrated. For example, "Vanity of vainities; all is vanity. What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3).
Note the contrast of men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. People that: "...wrought righteousness, obtained promises, subdued kingdoms, quenched the violence of raging fire, stopped the mouths of lions." No, through faith, all is NOT vanity! Praise God. But Jesus said that if a man gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul, what shall it profit him? Even IF a man could gain the whole world, without faith in God and Christ, it would be vanity. Such a man WILL leave it all behind when he dies. THAT will be vain, useless!
The New Testament shows us that through faith, material things can be used to produce eternal results. Those results become treasures stored up in heaven for us. Every effort to gain eternal treasures without faith is vanity. Without faith, we cannot do it. Unless we receive eternal life through faith, we will leave EVERYTHING that we have labored for behind when we die. THAT is vanity of vanities!
We have discussed at length that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. When we clearly understand this fact, and how to respond to it, our prayer life will become more productive, and in turn we will be able to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not Biblical faith, to "toss" a quantity of words towards heaven, hoping that God will be willing to grant what we ask. We need to understand that faith is a matter of the heart, not merely a mental effort. "For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).
Even WITH faith, whether anything happens or not will depend on the extent of our BELIEVING. All believers in Christ have a measure of faith. But often nothing happens because we stumble in the role that believing plays in our faith efforts.Recall again Jesus' words in Mark 9:23: "...if you can BELIEVE, all things are possible to him that believes". One may have faith, but unless he BELIEVES, nothing will happen. James 2:17 & 26: "Even so faith, if it has not works is dead, being alone." And: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also".
For the reasons noted in the book of James, FAITH IS A FACT, but BELIEVING is the ACTION part of faith. Faith without actions (belief) produces NOTHING! The Bible says so! Therefore, we will now focus more on the role that believing plays in the functions of faith.
Faith is the grounds, the title deed, the substance of things hoped for. It is a personal GRASP of what God has provided. But just knowing that God has provided something for us, will not make it happen for us. We WANT it to happen! Since believing is the ACTION part of faith, we must believe with unwaveing faith, WHEN WE ASK GOD for our request. BELIEVING is how the human heart EXERCISES the faith that it has received from God. Note the distinction between FAITH and BELIEF. For example, John 3:16 does NOT say that: whosever has FAITH should not perish, but: whosever BELIEVES...should not perish".
After we have gained true faith in God by hearing His Word, we must learn to activate that faith. There are three areas of activity that are vitally important for that purpose.
First, we must learn to TALK. We must talk according to the promises and provisions which God has given in the New Testament. That kind of talking is one way of believing. Romans 10:9: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." See the role that CONFESSION with our mouth (talking) plays in getting saved? That same role of CONFESSION (talking) is vital in RECEIVING other promised blessings from God.
"Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within thee: they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to you excellent things in counsels and knowledge that I might make thee know the CERTAINTY of the words of TRUTH; that you might ANSWER the words of truth to them that send unto thee?" (Proverbs 22:17-19).
Thus the importance of our CONFESSION CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED. We MUST learn to TALK in context with God's Word. That kind of talking or confession, must be CAUSED by the Word of God. We must talk according to His Word. Our confession of the facts that God has provided for us in Christ is a VITAL part of what I mean when I say that we must learn to TALK.
The problem is often that we say what we perceive people expect to hear when they ask about our condition or need. The world around us is accustomed to hearing responses of unbelief. Disappoint them!
We will know when God's Word is fitted in our lips. It will become our response to conditions that test us. It will become PRODUCTIVE in our life. It will CAUSE and REGULATE events in our life. Thus God's Word, through faith, will become the CAUSE and the REASON for our ACTIONS. Those actions may be outward or they may be simply an inward agreeing with God.
I am talking about having our faith in action. A Biblical application for such actions is Ephesians 4:22-32 (quoted in part, please read it all): "That you put off the old man,..."; "And that you put on the new man,...". The actions called for in this passage, can be accomplished by faith and believing. Our action of obedience is CAUSED by what God has said. Thus, we are ACTING OUT the Words of God. That is BELIEVING. One result will be joy and peace according to Romans 15:13.
Putting off the old nature and putting on the new one does not depend on our feelings. It depends on SAYING WITH OUR MOUTH, and NOT DOUBTING IN OUR HEART. "For verily I say to you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says" (Mark 11:23).
The act of putting off the old man and putting on the new seems to be an ongoing activity. We must learn to live in response to the impulses of our new nature in Christ, not the impulses from the old man.
The second of the three things that I believe we must learn, is that we must learn to WALK. This usage of "walk" means our behaviour. Such "walking" with the Lord makes our RELATIONSHIP with Him a blessing.
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:22). And: "These things I write unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God...". "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..." (1 John 5:13-14). "All unrighteousness is sin...(1 John 5:17).The above quoted Scriptures, and many more in the Bible, teach us about our "walk" in the Lord. That means our lifestyle. Much of our effort in following our Lord Jesus focuses on living to please Him. He is pleased when we exhibit and experience the life that He came to give us. This means living to please Him, not to BECOME SAVED, but because we ARE saved.
The third thing that I believe we must learn, is that we must learn to COUNT. James 1:2: "My brethren, COUNT it all joy when you fall into different temptations;...". And Romans 6:11: "Likewise reckon (count) ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God". Romans 4:17: "As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, before Hm whom he believed, even God, Who quickens (makes alive) the dead, and calls those things that be not as though they were".
It is appropriate for christian believers to so use our faith also, because of Ephesians 5:1. "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children". Since it is righteous for God to do those things, it is RIGHTEOUS for His children to do them also! This means that if we say in faith, "I put off the old man" (Ephesians 4:22), we ACTUALLY DO IT! Thus our TALKING and our COUNTING work together to affect our WALK in the Lord. It is this walk of faith that pleases God and obtains for us victory in this world. Again, the word "walk" as used in this way in the Bible, means the whole round of our activities: literally our lifestyle.
As we noted in Romans 15:13, God fills us with all joy and peace in believing. By this verse we can identify what feels like a "spiritual feeling". That "feeling" is what is stated in 1 John 5:6: "...it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth". The Holy Spirit bears WITNESS with our spirit when we BELIEVE. I.e., act on God's Word. In this manner, the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit of the "rightness" of our BELIEVING. He thus affirms in our heart the assurance that what we are believing for is ours, often BEFORE we can materially see it with our eyes!
We often sense the witness of the Holy Spirit as a feeling of joy or peace. Sometimes He may witness to us by other elements of the fruit of the Spirit. All of the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-24. According to Ephesians 5:9-10, the fruit of the Spirit proves what is acceptable to God. We SHOULD allow such witness to encourage and to reinforce our believing. When we sense the fruit of the Spirit, we can recognize that as being Divine approval.
After that, we must vigorously defend our faith against doubt. We must resist all information that would contradict our "stand". We must: "...hold fast our confession" (Hebrews 4:14). The witness of the Holy Spirit should be a great assistance in our effort to do that.
Perhaps some of these things are but basic and are review for most readers of this book. Yet I believe that such review is important as a foundation for what follows. It is my sincere desire that the information in this book shall help your faith to grow. All of us need to grow in the faith that Jesus has authored for us. Note again Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".
People of faith in the Bible practiced the three things that we have noted. They won the approval of God, and so can we, if we follow their example.
Romans 10:17: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." This means that we can have a ready response to God when we hear His Word. That may be simply an inward agreeing with the Word, or it may be some action that the Scripture requires. Let us consider two passages of Scripture that I trust will illustrate what I mean by "response to God's Word". We should also see how important our responses are to God.
If we do not pay attention to His dealings with us, God will often permit us to go our "own way" about things, much to our loss. That is not His perfect will, but He will respect our "right" to choose to obey or to disobey.
1 Samuel 3:1-11: "And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli (the high priest of Israel). And the Word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see, and ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, here am I. And he ran to Eli, and said, Here am I; for you called me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, here am I, for you did call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.
And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for you did call me. And Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if He call you, that you shall say, Speak, Lord; for your servant hears.
So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for thy servant hears. And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold...".
The Scripture says that the Lord called Samuel. Samuel heard the Lord, but mistakenly thought that it was Eli calling him. He gave no response to the Lord, but went instead to Eli. The Lord did not give further information to Samuel until he finally RESPONDED to Him.
God spoke directly, in Person, to Samuel. But he, naturally, MISUNDERSTOOD. So we too, must RECOGNIZE and UNDERSTAND and GRASP the MEANING of God's Word. Samuel MISSED God's dealings with him, until he was taught how to respond. If we do not RIGHTLY DIVIDE God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15), WE CAN MISS GOD ALSO! It is of paramount importance for us to rightly divide God's Word when He speaks to us, either by the written word, or by the Holy Spirit within us.
Notice that when God spoke to Samuel, FAITH CAME to him (Romans 10:17). But even with faith AVAILABLE, Samuel did not respond to God, because he did not know how! (Today, some people read or hear the Scripture, but have no idea of HOW to apply what it says.) So the Lord did not continue His message to Samuel at that time. Why did it work that way? The Bible tells us in verse seven: "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the Word of the Lord revealed to him." That is why. Samuel had no idea that it was anyone but Eli calling him. There was no other person there, it "had to be Eli." But it wasn't Eli, it was the LORD calling him. Thus, we can see that to misunderstand is a very natural human trait.
As always, FAITH and BELIEVING were required for Samuel to RESPOND to God. When Eli told him HOW to respond, and he did it, God revealed His message to Samuel. From then on, Samuel never again "missed it". God lists his name in the Biblical Hall of fame, in Hebrews 11:32.
The other Scripture that we will consider is Matthew 14:25-31. "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them (His disciples, who were in a boat on the sea of Galilee), walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway, Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be you, bid me come to you on the water. And He said, come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, saying unto him. O you of little faith, wherefore did you doubt?"
Surely, Peter was exercising the power of supernatural faith, but even so, he let doubt cause even that to fail!
CIRCUMSTANCES gave rise to fear in Peter. DOUBT then hindered his FAITH, and he began to sink. So we should see that though a believer has faith in his heart, circumstantial DOUBT can hinder his faith. IF it does, he will be unable to complete a faith act. Peter could not, in the direct Presence of Jesus Christ. Peter's priviledge of walking on the water was a one time opportunity, never available like that again in this world. He lost it by doubting.
Matthew 21:21-22 says: "Jesus answered and said to them, Verily, I say unto you, if you have faith, and DOUBT NOT, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, you shall receive". Belief is ALWAYS the correct response to God's Word.
It is vitally important for us to receive God's Word. This means to believe it, and correctly respond to it. It is given first in the written form, and secondly in the spoken form. The two forms completely agree. The FACTS provided in it by promises must be obtained by faith. God's divine integrity gives us ASSURANCE to ACT accordingly, thereby to gain His provisions. According to Hebrews 11:33 some people obtained promises. According to Romans 15:4 they were written for our learning that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
We need to learn how to receive what God has promised. That means more than learning WHAT God has promised. It means learning how to ACTIVATE His promises by faith. Remember that according to Ephesians 2:9, faith is a GIFT of God. It is given on the basis of UNDESERVED, UNEARNED, DIVINE FAVOR. That is the first of the two major aspects of Divine grace. The other aspect is that of God's Holy influence on the human heart.
Also, as noted previously, God has given to every man (believers) the measure of faith. Men who are outside of the Kingdom of God, unsaved people, have no such measure of faith. See 2 Thessalonians 3:2.
Also, let it be known that faith is not to be confused with human WILL POWER. A certain measure of will power IS needed to use, and to sustain the use of faith. But will power is NOT faith. The urgency of our requests to God is not faith. The NEEDS that we have are not faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Such faith rises out of what God has said and done for us in Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God's written record of those things. Their substance and their evidence, in the form of faith, comes to us, when we hear the Gospel. We begin to realize the FACTS, and their substance and their evidence begins to ASSURE us, giving us CONFIDENCE in their REALITY. They actually exist! They are SO to us because God's Word SAYS that they are! Our desire to possess them, and our need of them is thus satisfied in our heart and mind. Rejoicing, gladness and praise to God is nearly an automatic result.
Such response in our heart prompts us to ACT according to the Divine facts of the Gospel. Such action is what the Bible calls BELIEF. The Gospel is God's power to CAUSE that response in our heart. When it does, to be saved, for example, Romans 10:9 is the ONLY part that we must supply in order to become saved. We must supply Romans 10:9 to the Lord, thus authorizing Him to execute the new birth in us. Jesus DID the work necessary to save us long ago, at Calvary. That is an unchangeable fact. God is just waiting for us to believe the Gospel. We really are not waiting for God to decide to answer our prayers; He has said, "yes", and "Amen" to all of His promises in Christ. Notice Romans 10:10: "For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". But: "...without faith, it is impossible to please Him (God), for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
We receive faith by hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith enables us to act with the correct response. The response of our heart to the facts that Biblical faith assures us of, is defined as scriptural belief. We must defend that action of our heart against the attacks of satan, doubt and unbelief. If we yield to them, satan will tempt us to doubt that we receive the facts of God's Word and unbelief will force us into failure. Therefore, we must NOT PERMIT OUR MIND OR HEART TO ABANDON THE ASSURANCE OF FAITH, AND THE RESULTING RESPONSE, FOR ANY REASON. Notice Hebrews 10:35: "Cast not away, therefore, your CONFIDENCE which has great recompense of reward". Hold steadfastly to it. The FACTS of God's Word WILL remain, even if you DO let go, but if you do, you will NOT receive them. That is why satan attacks: to steal them from us through unbelief.
Faith and belief occur in our heart, INDEPENDENTLY of outward, physical circumstances, oppostions, and conditions. The facts of redemption EXIST. They were irrevocably accomplished by Jesus Christ and God the Father, LONG BEFORE our circumstances OCCUR. Though our circumstances and conditions CANNOT delete the FACTS OF REDEMPTION they can cause failure if we respond to them in UNBELIEF.
Therefore, let us rejoice in the facts of redemption and hold fast our confidence until what we are believing for appears. The foregoing statements show exactly how to receive God's promises, whether for salvation, Divine healing or any of His other provisions for us in Christ. They also show how to activate those promises.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree. They work together to cause faith in the heart of those who are willing to believe God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make us sensitive to God's Word and to convict us of its trustworthiness. The Holy Spirit also works in us to guide us into all truth, giving us full perception of it, with spiritual understanding and wisdom. Praise God.
Such faith is the mystic substance and evidence in our heart of Divine facts, according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we say, "Faith is a FACT". The action that demonstrates that faith is what the Bible calls "BELIEF". Therefore, we say that belief is the ACTION part of faith. The two must work together.
Faith is a substance from God that affects our judgement about things or conditions. For example: "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she JUDGED Him faithful Who had promised" (Hebrews 11:11).
Faith is that which sustains us in our believing, even to death and beyond. But we must beware lest we focus on our problems rather than on God's Word. If that happens it can move us to anxiety, then DOUBT may get into our heart. If we permit doubt to come in or if we have doubt in our heart, it can nullify our faith. "...If you have faith and DOUBT not..." (Matthew 21:21). We can tell when doubt is affecting us: we begin to lose CONFIDENCE during our faith battles. The contest to prevent such loss of confidence is often referred to as a "faith fight". The Scripture tells us to hold fast our profession without wavering.
An example of one who didn't lose confidence is the patriarch, Abraham. Though his faith spanned about twenty five years before his son Isaac was born, he didn't lose confidence. He staggered not at the promise of God. He didn't let doubt cause him to waver by losing confidence in God's promise. We must not waver either, if we are to receive what God has promised.
Don't focus your attention on your problems. Don't check to see if your faith is working yet. Look STRAIGHT at the facts that are given in God's Word. Then: "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God...shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7)." When doubt and fear or uncertainty approaches, VIGOROUSLY RESIST THEM; cast down imaginations.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)." Such faith actions (BELIEVING) WILL CERTAINLY PRODUCE RESULTS. Mark 11:22-24 shows that the God kind of faith works in the ways that we have been discussing.
"Verily I say unto you, if you have faith and doubt not... (Matthew 21:21)." Life's experiences and training causes most people to have plenty of what I will call "RESIDUAL DOUBT". Residual doubt meaning doubt that resides unconsciously in us due to otherwise "inescapeable facts"; such as gravity or "incurable diseases", etc.,. Yet we must not presumptiously ignore such facts, which would be the case without such faith. Instead, we should build up our faith and overcome residual doubt by taking God's Word into our heart. Usually time, study and practice is needed to establish unwavering faith in our heart. But we can overcome residual doubt. We can develop undoubting faith that does not waver in the face of opposition.
Jude verse 20 is a good verse to practice concerning this. "But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith...". Don't wait until calamity strikes to try to build up your faith. Every army in the world practices and drills battle tactics BEFORE they go into actual combat. Christians shouldn't wait until battle before attempting to develop their faith either. Believers should teach their children to build up their faith too.
Typical human behaviour wavers in faith, and incorrectly responds towards God. That is, it RESISTS Him, or without faith, attempts to gain what can ONLY be gotten through Biblical faith and believing. It is true that God is merciful and ready to help us. But we must accept the way that He has provided. The Bible warns in Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death". How blessed and productive it is to do it God's way!
As previously noted, without faith it is impossible to please God. But He
supplies the faith that we need in order to please Him, by His Word, glory to
To have more effective faith, we need to understand the part that the TRUTH of God in Christ Jesus plays for us. It is vain and counterproductive to believe any "truth" that is not of God! John 8:30-32: "As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free".
God's Word is the truth that Jesus is referring to, as noted in John 17:17. "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth". For the sake of this study, let us call God's Word the "True Facts". I am referring especially to the New Testament, though of course ALL Scripture is the true facts about everything written therein. The Scripture was written for our learning, that we might have hope.
It should be obvious that Jesus was not referring to just any "truth". This is true because some Biblical truth does not, by itself, make one free. For example, if it stood alone, Romans 3:23. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". Yet that Scripture surely IS the truth.
By observation of Biblical facts, we can see that there are two main categories of truth. We, inescapeably, MUST deal with them. First, the redemptive truth that is in Christ Jesus, the TRUE FACTS. Second, the facts of the natural world around us. Let us call them the "APPARENT FACTS".
The Bible shows us the extremes to which this dichotomy goes. For example: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; He who believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this" (John 11:25-26)?
Jesus said that even if a believer dies (natural death), yet shall he live. John 11:25. The passage relates the death of Lazarus. Jesus was talking to his sister, Martha. Lazarus had been dead four days. That was a natural fact that could not be denied. But the TRUE FACTS in Christ, Himself the resurrection, said that Lazarus would live. The natural, apparent fact was that Lazarus was dead, and had begun to stink. But the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH in Christ proved valid, and Lazarus came out of his tomb, alive and well, praise God.
In our effort to "walk" in the truth of God we are often confronted with Apparent Facts that contradict the Divine truth. Our faith and believing are vitally important elements in overcoming such contradictions. Whether we overcome or not, is determined by whether we respond to the True Facts or to the Apparent Facts. The control of our thoughts, disposition, attitude, actions, and our WORDS is critically important at such times.
All born again believers have a measure of faith. But we have to stand firmly in it, lest pressure from "Apparent Facts" should make us fail through unbelief. At one time Jesus said: "...the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:47). And Romans 6:16 says: "Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death or obedience unto righteousness"? These verses show that we need to persist in faith against "Apparent Facts". We aren't to PRETEND that Apparent Facts don't exist. Rather, in spite of them we are to hold firmly to the True Facts.
According to Ephesisans 3:16-17, we can receive strength from God in our inner man. "...that He would grant you... to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...". We should ask God for strength in our inner man, so that we may hold fast to the True Facts, even if Apparent Facts contradict them. "For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4).
Please notice! This manner of dealing with things in life does NOT mean to ignore "Apparent facts" or to pretend that they are not real. Rather than to emphasize them, it means to confess what God's Word says, in spite of them!
Specifically, in the case of threatening or lethal sickness, TAKE the medicine that you need to stay alive, UNTIL DIVINE HEALING MANIFESTLY REMOVES the threat! You MUST stay alive until faith can OVERCOME the threat! Many have erred in judgement, not understanding that fact. They seemingly felt that IF they could somehow show God that they TRULY believed Him, that He WOULD heal them. Such efforts to "bargain" with God WAS THEIR ERROR. God already KNOWS how much we believe Him. The only exception would be if He clearly TELLS us to do something special. But faith which is the SUBSTANCE of our healing MUST correctly function through BELIEF to gain what we hope for. Trying to bargain with God so that He WILL heal us, is a misguided effort of UNBELIEF.
You see, dear reader, the "True Fact", the Truth of God in Christ, is that Jesus has already HEALED you! Ponder 1 Peter 2:24. When that "TRUE FACT' causes deep seated, unrelenting ASSURANCE in your heart, producing worship and praise and thanksgiving to God BECAUSE it IS so, you won't feel ANY need to convince God! It's yours! Believing that fact will cause a victorious response of gladness, worship and praise to God. Hallelujuah. Just go about in victory and enjoy what Jesus paid for, and did for you. Hold fast THAT confession. Faith and belief has CAUSED it in your heart and it rises TO your mouth for expression. It is a futile error to try to FORCE faith FROM your MOUTH into your heart.
That is true because Bible FAITH is produced in our heart in ONE WAY. It comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17. Then notice Romans 10:10: "For with the HEART man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". What man BELIEVES in his heart is the confession his mouth must make in order to obtain salvation. Such faith and believing comes into man's heart by HEARING, and hearing by the Word of God. Our mouth CANNOT produce Bible faith. That's why it was stated above that it is futile to try to force faith FROM our mouth (by empty,groundless confession) INTO our heart. Such empty confession will always fail.
We can build up our faith before a need arises for it, by feeding on the FACTS of God's Word, the "True Facts". Then we can draw upon them when we need them. Even when we are not sick, we should frequently affirm the true facts of our salvation, healing and victories in Christ. It seems wise to do this before we get into a "faith fight". Too may times people fail to do so until a crisis comes. Then they try to rise to victory. It is more difficult to do that when we are fighting for a "faith victory" over "Apparent Facts".
Our testimony, confession, (the kind discussed above), attitude, and disposition needs to be established. They need to be strengthened and to grow, so that we may win the battles of life that all of us must face. It is important to understand that such resources of faith and belief usually are not gained with a single glance at God's Word. The Bible says with good reason: "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed..." (2 Timothy 2:15). That's the way to gain correct knowledge. Then using our faith, which comes from that knowledge, is the way to establish our testimony, confession, attitude and disposition.
Bible study is the way to renew our mind with the "True Facts". Such renewing of our minds (Ephesians 4:23) by the Scripture is one way of building up ourselves on our most holy faith (Jude 20). The "True Facts" of the Scriptures are the sources and the anchors of our confession.
We also need to discipline our thought life, which tends to agree with the "Apparent Facts". We must MAKE our thoughts and confesson agree with the Truth of God. God's Word IS the "True Facts" WHETHER we agree with it or not. But the natural, carnal mind of man is at enmity with God. Therefore, from our inner man we must FORCE our natural mind to agree with God, even against natural tendencies. In Christ Jesus, as believers, we have a NEW NATURE and mind. We must yield ourselves to them, instead of to the old nature and to the carnal mind.
The following Scriptures are excellent anchors of faith when we are attacked
by "Apparent Facts". When any seductive or anxious, fearful, doubtful
thoughts, or symptoms of "Apparent Facts" occur, these verses can
encourage your faith. Psalms 27:1-2; 28:7; 91:2-5; 103:3-5; Isaiah 53:4-5; 1
Peter 2:24 and Philippians 4:19. The Lord may lead you to others, as you study
the Scripture for yourself.
We must also understand the role that HONESTY plays in our faith efforts. The Scripture uses the word "Honest" in some form, eleven times in the New Testament. Understanding the subject of honesty is critical to a victorious faith life. If our conscience accuses that our confession is dishonest, we will have difficulty in believing that we receive what we ask for.
For example, Jesus said that the Word of God produces fruit in an honest and good heart" (Luke 8:15). Romans 12:17 tells us to provide things honest in the sight of all men. Romans 13:18 speaks of being willing to live honestly. 1 Timothy 2:2 tells us to pray that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all honesty.
Believers are aware, as we should be, that we must be honest, and to refuse deceit and lying. However, as believers, we are compelled to deal with the two aspects of truth, previously discussed. i.e., the Redemptive Truth of God in Christ, and the facts of our experiences in the world, which we are calling the "Apparent Facts".
What I want to show is that sometimes APPARENT FACTS contradict what God has said in His written Word. This often causes difficulty for people. For instance, the Scripture in 1 Peter 2:24 tells us that by the stripes of Jesus we WERE healed. But in common experience, EVERY APPARENT FACT may indicate that we are VERY sick. Then when we would exercise our faith and SAY that we ARE healed--. At that critical point, our conscience may accost us about the issue of HONESTY.
QUESTION: Is it Honest to say that we ARE healed, when EVERY symptom easily "PROVES" that we are sick? Underdstanding that point is of crucial importance for us. If we hesitate in uncertainty or if we fail to resolve the point, DOUBT may overpower us, causing us to lose the battle of faith.
As we stand at the crossroads of this dilemma, the outcome of our well being depends on how we resolve the issue. How SHALL we resolve it? Can it be resolved? Most assuredly it can. Permit me to suggest two steps that should resolve the issue of honesty. It may require extensive practice, but it can be done.
Step One. Decide for yourself, "Is God's Word true? And are the 'Apparent Facts' true? WHICH ONE SHALL prevail over the other, as far as I am concerned?" You MUST decide! QUESTION: Is God honest? Now remember that it is God Who tells us that by the stripes of Jesus we ARE healed, and also that by them we WERE healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 and 1 Peter 2:24). ANSWER: Of course, God's Word is TRUE, whether we or any one else agrees that it is or not!
Step Two. Consider Romans 4:17: "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before Him Whom he believed, even God, Who calls those things which BE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE." THAT is how God "operates". Again, I ask, "Is God honest?" Notice also Ephesians 5:1: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." Since our heavenly Father operates in this manner, and we are bidden to follow Him, ARE WE LESS THAN HONEST to proclaim by faith what our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ have said and done for us? Are we DISHONEST to believe and to confess what they declare to be a FACT? EMPHATICALLY, in such confessions of faith, we are NOT dishonest!
The confrontation between the "True Facts" and the "Apparent Facts" often appears. We face the distinction between the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH that is in Christ Jesus, and the "Apparent Facts" of this world. E.g., 2 Corinthians 5:17: "...the OLD things are passed away, behold, all things are become new". Yet many believers struggle against the "old" things.
Is it RIGHT and is it RIGHTEOUS for us to lay hold on the redemptive truth that is in Christ Jesus? Is it right and righteous to proclaim boldly, with a good, HONEST conscience, what God Who CANNOT LIE says in the Scripture? Unless our conscience is trained, guided, and sustained by the Scripture, it may be difficult to do so, but we MUST succeed! If not, we WILL face the consequences which the "Apparent Facts" will impose upon us. Note: "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy" (Jonah 2:8). If we "observe lying vanities" of the "Apparent facts" over the "True Facts", we are forsaking our own mercy which our Heavenly father has provided for us.
We should make up our minds to believe stedfastly what God has said and done for us. We can, and we MUST choose to observe, believe and hold to, the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH which is in Christ Jesus, concerning ALL things.
Please allow me to emphasize that I am not implying or suggesting that we are to IGNORE "Apparent facts". We must not PRETEND that they aren't REAL. They usually are. But in spite of them, we must "lock on to" the "True facts" from God. We must REFUSE to let go of our confesion of faith. Hebrews 10:35: "Cast not away therefore your confidence (which is one aspect of faith), which has great recompense of reward."
God's intention and provision is for believers to reign in THIS life. Romans 5:17. (No NOT politically, yet.) Alas, this aspect of God's provision receives so little attention in the usual preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The BIG PICTURE of Gods intention and provision for His children is that we are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Note Romans 8:17 and Titus 3:4-8. In order to reign in life, we must receive the gift of righteousness and abundance of grace. Both are available to us according to 1 Cor. 1:30 and John 1:16.Praise God.
We can enter by faith, into what is available to us. Jesus said that whosoever will may come and drink freely of the living water. Let us be bold, and eager to do it.
I am persuaded that one of God's high objectives is for all believers to reign in life. But many do not seem to know that and consequently, they do not enter into God's higher purposes.
Let me now make a very bold statement. We are right and we are righteous to appropriate all that God has provided for us in Christ. UNDERSTAND: we are not here considering how to get saved, or how to become born again. We are delving into Philippians 2:13: "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure".
In the case of sickness or of symptoms, many stumble in their faith. They are UNABLE to make, with unwavering faith, a confession that they ARE healed, because of the "Apparent Facts" of their case. The same causes of failure can occur in seeking to reign over other things in life that affect us.
Let us begin to practice making bold confessions of faith, based upon God's promises. Let us hold to them firmly, without wavering. Let us determine that nothing shall prevent us from receiving what we are believing for. Let us stretch our faith to receive more of God's great promises.
In order for us to reign in life, we must learn to rule over "Apparent Facts", when they contradict God's Word, The True Facts. Also we shall have to settle the issues of HONESTY and fear, once and for all.
We shall also have to resist the cliches of religion which we have all heard. Holding fast to what God has said will help us do that. Remember, He meant what He said, and said what He meant. He intends for us to receive what He has provided for us. According to Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son: "Ask, and it shall be given you..." (Matthew 7:7).
Please notice Isaiah 54:14. "In righteousness (one of the ingredients needed to reign, according to Romans 5:17) shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt NOT FEAR: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee". This verse shows us one of the main roots of oppression.
Need I remind you that fear has been a concomitant of human experience ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden? First, Adam felt guilt. And then FEAR! And fear permits oppression to attack us, according to Isaiah 54:14. No wonder that Jesus always assured people by telling them not to fear. Fear is the OPPOSITE of faith, and it can be the detriment of every intention of faith. Let us get the BIG PICTURE, and rise to reign in life. The gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace is available to us, praise God.
By living according to God's plan for us, we can LIVE FREE from such fear! When we do, we will be far from oppression. Thank God for His Word. What a source of comfort and hope it is for believers. Notice: "Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep your foot from being taken" (Proverbs 3:25-26).
"Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart to my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withall be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth that thou might answer the words of truth to them that send unto you? (Proverbs 22:17-21).
We have a basis for absolute faith in God. That is because God CANNOT lie! What He says about any subject is the TRUTH. His statement abrogates every alternative that does not agree with the Divine statement. That basis is the basis for our assurance when we are dealing with conditions and influences in the world. "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). God IS true, even if men dissent.
We need to develop the attitude found in Psalms 119:128: "I esteem all your precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way". This disposition believes EVERYTHING that God says about any subject. It rejects as FALSE all contradictions.
It is this unhindered readiness to believe that I refer to as "The Disposition of Faith". On the contrary, note the Apostle Thomas' disposition to the "Apparent Facts" of Jesus' death. He said: "I WILL NOT believe...". Such a disposition is common to humanity. But Jesus reproved this attitude in Thomas and in all the Apostles (Mark 16:14).
The very atmosphere of this world is one of enmity to the truth of God. It is an atmosphere of doubt and of darkness. The Scripture states that men walk in darkness, and that they do not know at what they stumble. It says that they are sensual and that they are children of darkness. e.g., education is purported to be the great panacea for all human ills. But education to the world's way of thinking without Divine truth is a deadly snare and deep darkness. It is doomed to fail as a means of accomplishing peace of heart or of social tranquility.
People of the world work with information begotten from a fallen, imperfect creation. Therefore, their conclusions are often incorrect in comparison to the truth that God has taught humanity. It is true that education has given us much. Education has also taken much from many, because it has trained many in enmity and unbelief towards God.
In one common human activity, we can see how believers, unknowingly, can be affected by the world's darkness. For example, consider 1 Timothy 4:3-6: "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats (foods), which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto you have attained." Because of unbelief, the world is in darkness about those facts.
God took forethought for mankind's need for food. (Indeed He took forethought for the need of every living thing on earth.) "And God said, (to Adam) Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: to you it shall be for meat (food)" (Genesis 1:29).
Later, God said to Israel: "And you shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless your food and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you" (Exodus 23:25). Again, God said if Israel would obey His laws, that he could keep them alive. Therefore, we are to understand that God never intended for food to harm people or for it to make us sick. He has showed mankind how to avoid harm and sickness from food. Eating is God's idea, and it is His provision. He made us able to taste distinctions in food for our benefit and pleasure! He could have made us without ability to enjoy taste, but He didn't. He DOES expect us to be wise in our eating habits, and to avoid gluttony. Its true that we must overcome the SIN that seeks to capture our appetites. We must be continent in all our habits. But may I say emphatically, as I said before, that eating is God's idea and provision.
Through study, and by experimentation, people have learned much valuable information about the world's food stuffs and about human anatomy. Also, they have learned much about nutrition. But it is extremely important for our purposes, that we realize that their MODELS and METHODS of observation and testing, are just as much FALLEN as is all of the other creation around us.
There is another realm, a higher order, which is available to believers in Christ through faith. The New Testament and church history shows that BELIEVERS CAN receive the benefits of that realm. That realm supersedes the natural, fallen creation. In Matthew 6:9-10, Jesus taught us to pray that God's kingdom come. The ultimate end of that prayer is the political kingdom of God on earth. But from the parables of Jesus, we should see that there are aspects of it that are available to believers right now.
Again, it requires that we possess viable faith in the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH of God that is in Christ Jesus. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and that truth shall make you free" (John 8:30-32).
As an example, have you ever wondered why Jesus said in Mark 16:18: "... if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them..."? In that single statement, Jesus provided for DOMINION by BELIEVERS. That is within the purpose of God for us. Romans 5:17.
"That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7)." God's intention in saving us is that we should be made heirs. Joint heirs with Jesus. Surely, we must renew our minds by God's Word, in order to accept these things. Also, they are not commonly taught in churches. But Jesus said the Word of God CANNOT be broken, and that His Words shall never pass away: as noted, there they are!
Let me ask you: "Why do you say "grace" at mealtimes, and then react as if what nutritionists say is the final authority about it?" Just whose word prevails as far as you are concerned? Jesus BLESSED food. And He said: "For verily I say unto you that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he says" (Mark 11:23). Therefore, a BELIEVER can bless his food. Remember 1 Timothy 4:4-5:"For EVERY creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer."
According to the above Scripture, it is extremely important that we believe and know the TRUTH of God. The "Apparent Facts" of this world constantly seek to force themselves and their conditions upon us. Though we are subject to natural, worldly influences and conditions, Jesus is not offended when we boldly activate His power to overcome them through faith. He intends for us to defeat them. He has provided for us, so that through faith we may have a means of overcoming more of them than we have realized. Through faith we can subject them to the victory that Jesus Christ won for us at Calvary.
Romans 5:12 tells us that sin came into the world by one man, and death by sin. One of the consequences that came with sin and death, is the loss of well being. It is a constant threat to everyone in the world. But thank God, Jesus has redeemed BELIEVERS, and we need not be helpless in dealing with it.
Being victors over loss of well being depends on whether or not we know and believe the truth of God. We know that the "Apparent Facts" will run their course, unless we get a miracle from God or otherwise overcome them by faith. That common knowledge causes some people to take a fatalistic attitude about life. But the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH in Christ provides victory for believers, not fatalism. Shall we not in faith, enjoy what our Heavenly Father has provided? Why are His promises written if they are not for us?
There is only one way to supersede the conditions of the "Apparent Facts" in this world. That is by the superior REDEMPTIVE TRUTH that is in Christ Jesus, successfully activated by faith.
The text in 1 Timothy 4:3 treats of believing and knowing the Truth of God. That is the truth that makes people free. John 8:32. Through the Word of God, believers can be FREE from what the unbelievers must "put up with". Yet living free includes fighting the good fight of faith in order to stay free (1 Timothy 6:12) because satan, our arch enemy, tries to recapture us.
Ephesians 4:23, tells us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Believers, whose minds are renewed with Mark 16:18, can even overcome deadly things. Jesus said: "...if they DRINK ANY DEADLY THING it shall not hurt them". But under the conditions of the "Apparent Facts" of this world, many have died when they drank something deadly. Understand: the "Apparent Facts" of this world REIGN unless through faith we break their dominion. Mankind CANNOT break their dominion by mere personal whim. But the TRUTH of God as noted above, provides a way by which BELIEVERS can break the dominion of many things. The reason that there are exceptions is, for instance, death's dominion. Its dominion cannot be broken, except temporarily, until Jesus comes again (Hebrews 9:27).
In all cases, we must understand that Biblical faith is NOT to be used to TEMPT God with. Be warned! This is NOT an area for unbelievers (or for those with unproved faith) to EXPERIMENT in. Just because one has been saved does not mean necessarily that our faith is developed enough to apply this aspect of Mark 16:18. It will not work just because someone decides that they want to "try it". Faith is not a toy to defy natural order, and it is not to be attempted for personal whim. Rather, it appears to mean for victory, if for instance, one is forced to drink poison or if one does so accidentally.
On the other hand, nutritionists speak of certain types of foods as being "junk food". Their explanation is generally that "junk food" is food with little "food value" and possessing large amounts of "empty calories". Some kinds of food (or the ingredients in them) cause undesireable results. By means of their knowledge, technical abilities and observations, nutritionists can prove that they are correct. But they are operating from the natural, apparent facts as we have discussed them. The REDEMPTIVE TRUTH in Christ Stands! Note Mark 16:18; 1 Timothy 4:3-6, Exodus 23:25 and Proverbs 4:20-25, as noted above.
God's Word stands above criticism by humans and their imperfect knowledge. If we renew our minds with the superior truth of God, we need not be victimized by conditions that unbelievers MUST endure. Is that good doctrine? The Word of God says that it is! Note 1 Timothy 4:6, quoted above. Therefore, when you say "grace" over your food, you ought to EXERT your faith to prevail over apparent conditons of this natural, fallen world.
Again, I definitely am NOT suggesting foolhardiness or presumption.
Presumption would be to assume that you can "do it" with no word from
God to "cover it". But God's Word DOES provide for the blessing of our
daily food. Faith gives rise to action because God's Word provides for it.
Another thing to be understood is that we will have to PRACTICE using our faith
until it becomes unwavering. Only unwavering faith can obtain the complete
benefits of divine victory over "Apparent Facts". This is the case
whether we are talking about food or about other areas of concern. "But
strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even to those who by reason of
use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews
5:14). As we have said before, it is very worthwhile to develop our faith BEFORE
we get into a "faith fight" about something that may be more vital.
1 Timothy 4:4-6: "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the Word of God and by prayer. If you put the brehtren in remembrance of these things you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto you have attained."
And Luke 11:41: "But rather give alms of such things as you have; and behold, all things are clean unto you."
The Bible has a surprising number of things to say about food and human relationship to it. The Bible has both positive and negative statements about food, as can be noted by such Scriptures as Romans 14:1-6, 14-17; 1 Timothy 4:5; Luke 9:16; Luke 11:41; 1 Corinthians 10:16, etc. It would be a good study for the reader to read these passages from your Bible.
Some people have a problem of conscience about food. They may be either uninformed or misinformed about what the Bible teaches about it. The way to freedom is through the knowledge and belief of the truth in Christ. It is the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH in Jesus Christ that makes people free. If we renew our minds according to the Scriptures, we need be neither victimized nor foolish in our eating habits.
Some people feel that it is not wise for them to eat certain foods. In their case that may be so. But if they wish to escape mere scruples of conscience, they can build up their faith, through the knowledge of God's Word. Then they can gain freedom from those limitations. Nowhere in the New Testament does God's Word limit our diet, except to abstain from blood and from things strangled. According to Jesus Christ and according to apostle Paul, all things are clean to believers. Luke 11:41; Romans 14:14.
Please understand. One is not greater before God, because he can eat anything he desires, than one who only eats from a limited menu.
Paul very clearly discusses this in Romans 14:1-5. According to verses 20-23, if one has scruples of conscience about certain foods, he wouldn't exercise faith in eating them, and so he might incur condemnation if he did eat them. As was previously said, one is not more saved, because he has ability to eat anything he wishes, than the one who limits himself. "For the kingdom of God is not meat (food) and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).
The purpose of extending our faith is a worthwhile pursuit. The reason is that when one learns to exercise a principle of faith and believing in one area of life, that principle often works in other areas. The Lord often teaches us secrets of faith that we can use in more than one area. The more areas that we are able to reign over through faith in Christ, the closer we can come to completely reigning in life by Christ Jesus. It is a premise of God's grace that we can do that according to Romans 5:17.
Jesus said: "...behold, all things are clean unto you" (Luke 11:41). He was speaking about foods and hygiene. Why should we as believers, tolerate needless impositions on our liberties?
Note however, that it is impossible to exercise Biblical faith to indulge in sin, whether it be in food, drink or anything else. There is no wisdom, might nor counsel against the Lord, and His counsel shall stand. Romans 6:13-16 teaches us to yield ourselves to God, and not to sin. Galatians 6:7-8 teaches us that God is not mocked, that whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
There can be great joy and true Biblical liberty in knowing and believing the truth. Romans 15:13: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing...". The Bible also speaks of the liberty wherewith Christ makes us free. By understanding the truth, and by faith and believing, that freedom in Christ becomes available to us. It is His will for us to enter into it. We can become able to reign over more and greater areas of life.
Therefore, we should see that the only liberated life is the life of Bible faith. Jesus came to set the captives free, including all areas that people get snared in. Praise God, praise God. That liberated life is gained through faith, and by believing God. Jesus taught that nothing is impossible with God, and that all things are possible to him that believes. (Matthew 19:26 and Mark 9:23).
In the Scripture, it appears that there is POINT of ACTION at which faith can cause God's promises to come to us. I.e., a point at which one consciously begins to ACTIVATE his faith. We need to study and to understand that "point". What IS that point and how does one recognize it? What does one do to activate it?
In Mark 11:24, Jesus said: "...when you pray, BELIEVE that you receive them, and you SHALL have them". During the previous chapters of this book, we have kept stating that "faith is a FACT, and that BELIEVING is the ACTION part of faith". Therefore, we can say that Jesus is telling us to initiate an ACTION of faith WHEN we pray. Therefore, when YOU pray is the "POINT"! BELIEVING is what ACTIVATES your faith.
We are ready for ACTION WHEN what God has said or done for us in Christ Jesus becomes to us an assured FACT in our heart. That solid fact in our heart SUGGESTS, NUDGES, and MOVES us to ACT!
E.g., 1 Corinthians 15:3-5: "...how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He arose again the third day, according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve;...". That being the case, ACT on it! How do we ACT on the resurrection of Christ? "That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9). Notice verse 10: "For with the heart man BELIEVES unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
In Mark 11:24, Jesus told us WHAT the point is, and WHAT to do to activate our faith. He also told us WHEN to do it. To ACT on the foregoing Scriptures would be as follows. By hearing the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3), faith COMES. When it "arrives" in the heart, the POINT of decision to ACT on it has arrived. The faith that came by hearing the Word of God assures us that the Gospel of Christ is true. It then prompts us to OBEY the Gospel. I.e., to DO WHAT IT REQUIRES. Until that ACTION takes place, the faith that was received by hearing the Gospel cannot produce anything. It is very much present and real, and it is READY to produce. But if there is no RESPONSE to it, it is held inactive. Notice James 2:26: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works (ACTIONS) is dead also."
No, salvation is not BY our action or works. But our action is NECESSARY to obtain what ONLY Jesus Christ has provided for us. If we don't ACT on the Gospel (believe it) we will NOT RECEIVE God's gift of salvation, and we are LOST! Even in the new birth, we have an ACTION part to perform. We must BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31. That means that we also commit ourselves to follow Him daily. Such commitment distinguishes between BELIEVERS and professors. For anyone to assume that they can ask for salvation and keep on living in their former sins is not Biblical faith or belief.
Please note that our new birth, being forgiven our sins, and receiving eternal life is the GIFT of God. Our ACTS, WORKS, EFFORTS; even our faith -- did not CAUSE God's gift. Faith and believing only makes it possible for us to RECEIVE God's gifts by His grace. Our acts, works, efforts do not even cause God to DECIDE to give them to us. He decided that long before we existed. John 3:16 tells us what He did.
The same thing is true of Divine Healing. Jesus endured stripes for our healing even BEFORE He was crucified. Isaiah 53:4-6 and 1 Peter 2:24 provides us with information about the FACTS of forgiveness of sins, and of physical healing for our bodies. These, among other FACTS of redemption, are irrevocalbly in existence RIGHT NOW! ACT on these FACTS. You will receive forgiveness of your sins, and eternal life, and you will receive Divine healing for your sicknesses.
Now for the question of HOW TO ACTIVATE our faith. 1 John 5:6: "...the Spirit (the Holy Spirit of God) bears witness, because the Spirit is TRUTH." The Holy Spirit will witness to your human spirit the TRUTH of God's promises for you. That WITNESS is a very deep seated "KNOWING" and ASSURANCE, OFTEN accompanied by joy and/or peace. Now just ACT like the promise of God is TRUE. ACT like it is a reality to you. Even if all you can do is to INWARDLY PRAISE GOD, find a way to EXPRESS (which would be an act) the ASSURANCE which the Holy Spirit's witness causes you.
Defend that assurance against doubt which satan, conditions and "APPARENT WORLDLY FACTS" suggest. This is the struggle that seems so difficult for us. But the FACTS of God's provisions do not erode or become non-existent because of opposition. God does not become less willing to help us because of adversity. He CANNOT LIE, and if we meet the conditions He has said, we will overcome. Yes, defend that assurance against UNBELIEF. It is at this critical point in the process that people are so likely to fail. But we don't have to fail. Let us hold fast to our confidence and confession of the facts of God's Word.
People ask, "but what if the condition doesn't seem to change?" Answer: "Does the Holy Spirit continue to bear witness to your spirit about it?" If He does, since He will NEVER lie, the FACTS of God's provision for you in response to your request, are STILL TRUE! "For all the promises God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, ..." (2 Corinthians 1:20). So REFUSE to let go of your assurance or to cast away your confidence. (Hebrews 10:35; Mark 11:22-24). Of course, if God is dealing with you about something in your life, respond to Him, so that it won't hinder the use of your faith.
It seems strange that believers do not seem to realize that EXERCISING their faith by USING it is important. They know that exercise is important in other areas of life. But when it comes to spiritual things, they seem to feel that it is not "depending on a sovereign act of God", if they exercise or practice the use of their faith. Though all believers have a measure of faith, it may be difficult to use it in a crisis, if we are UNACCUSTOMED to USING it!
Asking God's blessing EVERY TIME you eat anything is good exercise for your
faith. Do it even if you are SURE the food you are about to eat is
"o.k." In that way you can become strong and adept at using your faith
and the principles of fatih for other things in life. "But strong meat
belongs to them that are of full age, even to them who by reason of USE have
their senses EXERCISED to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
"If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes" (Mark 9:23). "If you can...", seems to indicate that people sometimes can't believe. There could be many reasons why. Such reasons as not knowing what God has provided or not knowing how to respond to what God has provided. Or they may have insufficient knowledge about a subject.
The fact is that all that God provided in Jesus Christ for our redemption, is given to us in the form of PROMISES. Those promises have ETERNAL, UNCHANGING SUBSTANCE. But we must appropriate them for ourselves through faith. Romans 4:16 tells us that it is of faith, that it might be by grace. Thus, they are available to all, without respect of persons.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:1,6).
Ministers are to preach and teach the Word of God, so as to provide the true and correct knowledge of God. They must show what His requirements are in order to gain what He has provided in Christ. They must do this so that faith can come to those they minister to. Then they can believe. In addition, believers have responsibility to read and to study the Scriptures for themselves. Faith will also come to them in THAT way. Thus, it need not be that any one would have to remain unable to believe.
Romans 10:8: "But what saith it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach...".
Through the ministry which the Lord has given them, ministers can HELP some people to become bold in their faith; to RECEIVE BY FAITH WHAT THEY ASK from God. Everything that God has given to ministers is to move people to obtain the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgivensess of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me" (Acts 26:18). God WANTS people to obtain those things.
NOTICE, NOTICE, NOTICE! Our preaching and ministry efforts are NEVER to be made to COAX God into giving us what we ask! Prayer and praise to God seem to be in their highest form when they are offered out of personal recognition, enhanced by experience, of God's worthiness and glory.They are not "tools" to "sweet talk" God into the mood of answering prayer. He's already IN that notion, mood and readiness. As a matter of fact, He has already GIVEN to us ALL things that pertain to life and Godliness, according to 2 Peter 1:3.
No. Our efforts are to make way for faith to COME to people, and to help them to ACT according to Biblical faith. When they do, they WILL get what God has promised and provided for them in Christ Jesus. Praise God.
That is why we give "altar calls" at the close of our sermons. We should realize that during our preaching of the Gospel, FAITH HAS COME TO THE HEARERS, according to Romans 10:17. Then we are to TELL people WHAT TO DO with that faith, so that they can receive help from God.
We should expect similar responses from any Biblical doctrine. Faith for obtaining any promise from God ALWAYS comes by hearing that promise. People often do what we ask them to, and they DO get God's help, praise God. Our own faith, which we exhibit by our attitude of ASSURANCE, helps to encourage them to act in faith. Then they can get what they ask.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: for every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8).
The witness and comfort of the Holy Spirit in our own heart assures us that His power is ready to work, right now! This should dispel hesitance or fear on our part. Our own faith should rise as we minister. It thus enables US to act, and to instruct people about what to do to receive from the Lord.
Let us so preach and teach, with the Holy Spirit's help, as to "grip" their attention. Let us focus them; move them to "lock on" to Jesus and to the Word of God. This will cause an unhindered BOLDNESS to approach the Lord to receive their requests. The same course of action and faith would apply when one is ministering by the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I mean especially the Holy Spirit's gifts of revelation and of power, as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
Revelation 21:6 shows that the Lord will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. Again, in Revelation 22:17 He says that WHOSOEVER WILL may take of the water of life freely. Therefore, we know what God's attitude is towards them that seek Him in faith. He isn't capriciously withholding His grace from us. We must renew our minds with these facts, and believe that God WANTS to grant our requests. Let's QUIT praying to see if God's will is to answer as He has promised. Praise God, He intends for believers to GET WHAT THEY ASK! Praise God.
For the sake of encouragement, and for bold faith, let us consider the following. In the foregoing Scriptures, the words, "unto him", and "whosoever", are clearly intended to show the fact that ANYONE can do it! ANYONE can get a drink of the water of life. In Matthew 7:7-8, as quoted above, Jesus said that EVERYONE that asks receives...". The "you" in verse seven is directed towards "EVERYONE" in verse EIGHT. "Anyone", "you", "him", are key words that direct the action of obtaining from God towards "whosoever will". ANYBODY CAN DO IT!
Anyone can ask and get answers from God. Even people who are living in sin CAN get some answers from God. If not, then how could they get saved? Surely, God cannot bless sin or approve of sin. But He is merciful and ready to save. He is willing to answer anyone who meets the required conditions of faith and believing. How many sinners have called upon God while yet in their sins, and when God answered, turned from their sins to follow Jesus? Praise the Lord for His wonderful works towards the children of men, amen. For further Scriptural assurance read St. John 7:37; Revelation 21:6 and Revelation 22:17.
The Scriptures show that there are glorious steps beyond one drink for those who BELIEVE unto righteousness. For example Saint John 7:38 shows that BELIEVER'S have access to rivers of living water. Is it not greater to have a river in us than to get one single drink? Also, Romans 1:17 states that the righteousness of God is REVEALED from faith to faith. Faith is required to receive REVEALED knowledge from God and to walk in it. Romans 5:17 shows that God planned for BELEIVERS to reign in life, in this world. Is that not greater than one one single drink?
Titus 3:4-8 shows us that God is willing to justify ANYONE who believes on Jesus. But for the benefits of being justified to be more than temporary for us, we must work out the salvation that we receive, by daily following the Lord Jesus. "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12). In parable form, most people can pick apples from an apple tree when they are in season. But to GROW an apple TREE is another matter. Moreover, we must exhibit a growing faith to the Lord so that we may be made HEIRS of God. We are to do this by working out the salvation that we have received, though this does not mean that we are to work to GET salvation.
Hebrews 11:1 states: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". By His Word, God says to us that faith is, FIRST, the substance of things hoped for. SECOND, that it is the evidence of things not seen. Therefore, we are correct to understand that FAITH is, to us, the FIRST substance, and that it is to us,the FIRST EVIDENCE, of things which have no material reality as yet. Instead, we have their substance and evidence in the form of faith, based upon what GOD (Who CANNOT lie) promised and provided for us. Glory to God.
We need to understand within our heart that: "By faith in God's Word, I have the evidence and the substance of what I am asking for". Against every contradiction, we need to rejoice and be glad BECAUSE we have received by faith. Praise God. Note Romans 15:13: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit". We shall have to learn to maintain this dispositon of faith and believing, in spite of those who may question the credibility of our faith. We must answer them without negating our faith.
This would be easier to do if we did not have an aggressive, malicious adversary, whose purpose is to kill, steal and destroy. But he cannot do those things if we hold fast our confession of faith. Praise God.
In this book, we have been studying faith as a way of life. Real Biblical faith is always a very personal matter. We may hear someone discuss faith. But that does not automatically mean that THAT degree of faith is working in us. Yet we can get results by following someone else's example of faith.
Carefully note the wording of Hebrews 13:7: "...whose faith follow...". The word "follow" comes from the Greek word that means to imitate. For example, God promised Abram that he should be the heir of the world. Romans 4:13 tells us that he got that great promise from God through faith. Genesis 15:6 states that Abram believed in the Lord. He acted on God's promise, being assured by faith. We, too, should be assured by God's promises and act accordingly.
We have continued to repeat that faith is a fact and that believing is the ACTION part of faith. Faith (the fact) came in the form of a promise from God. Abram disposed himself and committed himself to it, and began to ACT accordingly.
Then in another case it is written: "...for the Lord is a God of knowledge and by Him actions are weighed" (1 Samuel 2:3). QUESTION: What does God weigh actions by? ANSWER: FAITH is one reference that God uses to weigh (measure) actions by, according to Hebrews 11:6. Do your actions spring from faith in God's Word? Or do they spring from fear, unbelief, selfishness, desperation, etc.,? Jeremiah 17:10 shows that the Lord searches man's heart, and that He tries our reins, to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
When the Lord searches our hearts, does He find that we are acting from faith in His promises or from human emotion? If we respond to the issues of life as God's Word tells us to, BECAUSE He tells us to, that is an action that springs from faith. The Bible calls that BELIEVING. And the Scripture states that with the heart man BELIEVES unto righteousness. His actions are the result of his believing. That makes his actions of faith right before God.
QUESTON: "Why did you act that way?" ANSWER: "Because God's Word says to DO it!" Our emotions may suggest doing something else, and we may be tempted in our thoughts. YET if we DO what God's Word says do, because we BELIEVE it, that is faith EXPRESSED in the form of BELIEVING. In that way God's Word is the regulating, controlling, enervating POWER that anchors our lives in RIGHTEOUSNESS. A person who lives like that is righteous, according to 1 John 3:7. "...he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous."
We are constantly faced with the need for overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil. But Jesus made seven glorious promises to the overcomers. He finalized them for all believers in Revelation 21:7: "He that overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be His God, and he shall be My son." What an assurance from God to man.
God spent long centuries of faithful dealings with people in all kinds of circumstances, so that we would have a firm foundation for unwavering faith in Him. Now for our part, 1 John 5:4 tells us that this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. FAITH is the VICTORY! Amen.
This has been a technical study on the subjects of Biblical faith and believing. Faith is not something to be stored up merely in our memory. As we have seen, it is with the heart that man believes. Faith and believing is not just a mental effort. Faith is a spiritual SUBSTANCE THAT WORKS IN OUR HEART. It is ALWAYS the result of hearing God's Word. It is an error to try to "operate" from what we remember ABOUT faith. Distinguish between what is merely your memory, a mental effort, and what is an action of your heart. Believing is the ACTION part of Biblical faith. Again, the two MUST work together.
Because of these things, it is vital to constantly take God's Word into our heart and mind. In that way we may always enjoy the blessings of Biblical faith. Proverbs 4:20 bids us to: "...let not them (God's Words) depart from thine eyes...". That means to continually look at things in life according to God's Word. That will certainly give us a different outlook on life than the world has. We are children of light, and through God's Word, we should see things by faith that do not appear to the unbelieving world around us.
One of our greatest desires towards God is to get our prayers answered. Many people spend their entire life at that level of spiritual development. That is not a bad usage of their time. But there is available to believers more than just the supply of our needs. We can learn of HIM, and know Him in personal fellowship.
Abraham was called the friend of God because he believed God. Jesus called
His disciples friends upon the premise that they would obey Him. To be a friend
of God and of Christ, we shall have to DO whatsoever they command us. That
requires our faith and belief, because without faith it is impossible to please
God. Faith is therefore the key to eternal life.
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Faith That Comes By Hearing by Leon O. Poole - Public Domain [Copy Freely]