Are Christians who put a big emphasis on faith almost part of a cult?
How important is faith to the life of a Christian? Is it an optional extra? Are Christians who put a big emphasis on faith almost part of a cult, as many Christians seem to believe? Should we be avoiding churches which come under the ‘Word of Faith’ banner? Well, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you will know that the answer to these questions will be found in the Bible – which is where you should always go for answers. Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]“. Which is pretty good evidence that:
- Faith is extremely important
- Faith is not an optional extra
- Christians who emphasis faith, are actually taking the Bible seriously
Can we really have the faith of God?
But let’s see what else the Bible has to say on the subject.: In Mark 11:22, Jesus told His disciples to “have faith in God“, which doesn’t seem to be just a helpful suggestion – it seems to be more of a command. The centre column in my Bible, says that this could also be translated, “Have the faith of God“. Have the faith of God! Wow, let’s read that again – HAVE THE FAITH OF GOD! Can we really have the faith of God? If Jesus says we can, then yes, we can. Let’s simple take Jesus at His word. In Matthew 8:26 Jesus chastised His disciples for having “little faith“, but then in Matthew 17:20, He said to His disciples, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…….nothing shall be impossible unto you“. So when Jesus chastised His disciples in the verse above (after He had rebuked the storm), was He saying that their faith was even smaller than a mustard seed? The answer is found in Mark’s description of what happened, in Mark 4:40, “How is it that ye have no faith?“. No faith?!? That must have come as quite a stinging criticism, but they knew that Jesus was right. Jesus had said, “Let’s go to the other side of lake“, so they should have been able rebuke the storm themselves, based on Jesus’ words, by saying something along the lines of, “Jesus said we are going to the other side and you are not going to stop us, storm“.
God has given to everyone the exact same measure of faith.
But do we all have different amounts of faith? Can we develop our faith? And if so, how? Romans 12:3 says that, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith“. Notice it says the measure of faith, not a measure of faith. God has given to everyone the exact same measure of faith, not big faith for some and small faith for others – God is no respecter of persons. “Wait a minute,” you may ask, “If that’s true, why is it that some people’s faith seems far more effective than other people’s?“. Glad you asked! The answer to that question will also answer the question of whether or not we can develop our faith. Romans 10:17 informs us that, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“, so the way to develop your level of faith is by hearing the Word of God – both from your mouth, as you read, and from hearing it preached.
Your faith will be weak if you have hardly ever used it.
Faith is like a spiritual muscle and it needs to be used. Natural muscles need to be used, otherwise they grow weak and faith is no different. Your faith will be weak, if you have hardly ever used it. The Common English Bible translates Matthew 8:26 as, “Why are you afraid, you people of weak faith?“, so maybe the disciples’ problem was that their faith was weak through lack of use. Don’t worry if used never used your ‘measure of faith’ in your life – just like physical muscles, if you start using and exercising your faith, it will become stronger. Actually, you must have used it at least once, because it takes faith to make Jesus your Lord & Saviour and become a Christian.
Faith is like a muscle—it grows by being worked pic.twitter.com/n3liicSdLX
— Jesse Duplantis (@jesse_duplantis) 24 July 2017
The Bible has a huge amount to say on the subject of faith, but for now let’s look at the part that faith played in the healing miracles of Jesus. This should give you some idea of how you can exercise & develop your faith. Of course you don’t need to be sick to exercise your faith, it could mean believing for your bills to be paid, believing for a new car, trusting God when problems arise – there is really no area of life where faith does not apply. But getting back to Jesus’ healing miracles: in Matthew chapter 8, Jesus met a centurion whose servant was sick. Jesus offered to go to his house, but the centurion said that that wasn’t necessary. He told Jesus, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed“. There was no doubt in his mind, he didn’t say, “Hopefully my servant will be healed“ or, “God willing, my servant will be healed“. No – with confidence he said, “My servant SHALL be healed“. Jesus was pretty impressed, to say the least, and commented to those that were following Him, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel“. This particular story ends in verse 13 with these words, “Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour“. The servant was healed because of the faith of the centurion. Now before you tell me that it was because of Jesus, check out Matthew 13:58 where Jesus was limited by the unbelief (or lack of faith) of the people.
It wasn’t the faith of the dead child that restored her to life, it was the faith of Jesus and the faith of her parents.
Let’s look at another example. In Mark chapter 5, we read about the woman with the issue of blood. This woman was healed, before Jesus even knew anything had happened. Verse 28 tells how, before she got to Jesus, she said to herself, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” – no room for doubt there! The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition goes further and explains that the woman didn’t just say it once but, “she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health“. Jesus confirmed that her healing was the result of her faith by stating in verse 34, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole“. The next thing that happened, is the account of the young girl that had died whilst Jesus was talking to the woman who had had the issue of blood – the daughter of the synagogue ruler, Jairus. I have heard this cited as evidence that healing is not about faith, “Well, she couldn’t have had any faith if she was dead“. But in this case, it wasn’t the faith of the dead child that restored her to life, it was the faith of Jesus and the faith of her parents. Most of the people who were there laughed at Jesus, when He said that the girl was not dead, but sleeping. So Jesus put them all out (verse 40) – He removed the unbelief and only took in a very select group of people to where the girl was lying: her parents, plus Peter, James & John. The result, was that the girl was resurrected and the people “were astonished with a great astonishment“!
Let’s end today with a brief look at Abraham, who is referred to as ‘the father of faith’. When Abraham was 99 years old and his apparently barren wife Sarah nearly as old, God told them that they were going to have a son, “this time next year“. Abraham believed that what God had said would come to pass, and sure enough it did. That is exactly the sort of faith that we should be walking in – the kind of faith that says, “Well if God said it, then I believe it, and I fully expect it to come to pass“.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.