Faith believes it already has the things which it cannot see.
In my post ‘The Bible vs Experience & Opinion‘, I wrote about the importance of believing what the Bible actually says, over contradictory experience and opinion. At the end I made the comment, “That’s what faith is all about“. In this post I want to show you how vital faith is, in the life of a Christian. I wrote specifically about faith in my post, ‘What’s With This Faith Thing?‘, and I guess you could consider this post to be a sequel to that one. Probably a good place to start would be for me to give you a definition of faith, so let’s look at Hebrews 11:1 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]“. When you have assurance it means that you are 100% convinced, there is no doubt in your mind. If someone were to give you the title deed to a house or piece of land, it would mean that property was yours. You wouldn’t say, “Well, yes, but I haven’t actually seen the property yet – I’ll believe it when I see it…..“. Its the same way with faith, faith believes it already has the things which it cannot see….yet. Just as Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (New Revised Standard Version). Faith is not wanting something to happen; faith is believing, regardless of any evidence to the contrary, that it already has happened.
The Jordan has never had any healing properties – it’s just a river!
So let’s look at some Biblical examples, beginning with the woman with the issue of blood. Did this woman receive healing because she touched Jesus’ garment (His prayer shawl); or was she healed, because she had faith that if she touched His garment she would be healed? It’s obvious that it wasn’t just because she touched Jesus. Peter thought it was a ridiculous question for Jesus to ask who touched Him, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you” (Luke 8:45, The Message). Many people were touching Jesus, but there is no testimony of any of them being healed. It was the woman’s faith that made the difference. Or how about Naaman, who was cleansed of leprosy in 2 Kings 5, when he dipped (after a little bit of persuasion) seven times in the Jordan River. Do you think Naaman was healed because of the amazing healing properties of the Jordan? Of course not, the Jordan has never had any healing properties – it’s just a river! Naaman was healed because he put faith in what God, via Elisha, had told him to do and then put that faith into action.
Faith was the key ingredient.
Look at Acts 6:8, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people“. Could Stephen have done those wonders & miracles if he didn’t have faith that he could do them? What if Stephen had thought, “Well I know God can do something amazing, but the question is – will he?“? No, if Stephen had thought like that he could not have done those wonders & miracles – faith was the key ingredient. Another example of faith being the key ingredient is found in Acts 14:8-10, “And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked. The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked“. Paul perceived that the man had faith to be healed, if Paul had not seen faith in the man’s eyes, he would not have spoken words of healing to him.
Our church leaders should be able to boldly proclaim the will of God.
Romans 8:1 says, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world“. It was the faith of those first Christians that the world took notice of. Today, the perception of much of the church is that it is not really sure about anything. We hear of debates in the church about many things. Some say we should not have women bishops, others say we should; some say homosexuality is wrong, other says it’s not; some say healing is for today, others argue it isn’t. I could go on and on. We hear church leaders saying what they think God’s will is – probably; letting us know what their opinion is. Don’t you think that church leaders ought to know what the will of God is? Why all this doubt? Our church leaders should be able to boldly proclaim the will of God, not just offer their opinion. How do you think all of this looks to the outside world?
The truth is faith is extremely important.
I know that emphasising the importance of faith makes many people uncomfortable. They would much rather believe that if God wants something to happen it will, and if He doesn’t it won’t; that faith has little, if anything, to do with it. People like this philosophy because it takes the responsibility off of them and places it firmly on God. But the truth is faith is extremely important. Romans 14:23 even goes as far as to say, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” – meditate on that for a while.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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