This is the one subject that will always give reason to a debate. I remember the day when I spoke about faith at our office what the reaction of people was. One has to remember that the people I worked with were all engineers, brought up in a typical exact science environment. I even had a question from one person asking me if I still believe that Mark 16 verses 16 and 7 are still applicable today in that can I still speak in tongues and if I can still ask the LORD to protect me from things like snake bites. My answer was that if the Bible declares it, so be it.
But what is faith?
What is the definition in the Bible? Hebrews 11 verse 1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This book in the Bible is about faith and covenant. In verse 6 it proclaims another truth: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” These two verses make it clear that I have to believe in that which none of us have seen without ever doubting the LORD. If I should have any doubt, I will not be able to please the LORD, and I will not be able to lay claim to any of the promises in the Bible, as He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Let us take Abraham as an example. The LORD promises that out of Isaac will come a strong and everlasting nation. The LORD asks Abraham to offer up Isaac to Him. Abraham did not doubt the LORD at all, as Abraham understood a covenant. According to Abraham the LORD had two choices: He had to raise Isaac from the dead or He had to provide a substitute, which the LORD did. But why these options? Abraham understood that if the LORD promised something, He would let it come to pass. So if we examine the scriptures, the LORD had only these two options as He cannot lie and He told Abraham that out of Isaac would come a strong nation.
I have found that we can basically divide today’s Christians in three different groupings:
1 Resignation Faith.
This is the group that continues on a daily ritual, without expecting anything from the LORD. They normally do not expect anything from the LORD, and will say that whatever happens must be the will of the LORD. If you should ask them if they will inherit everlasting life, their answer would normally be: I hope so. The do not understand the character of the LORD, and believes that everything that happens to a person is the will of the LORD. They will even believe that thing like sickness and death comes from the Lord, and things like healing, baptism in the Holy Spirit and provision is from the devil. They have never analysed and found that the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples contain a sentence saying that the will of the LORD be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Maybe they expect to be sick and lame in heaven. Can such a faith save you? I doubt it. Do you think that you can end up in heaven saying to the LORD that I never really tested anything and hope that I am saved? This type of expression lacks faith, because it does not understand Gods character. This type of faith lacks an understanding of Gods character. It does not understand that God and His word is one. With this type of faith you are putting up a smoke screen of who you are. You might look very religious, but you lack the power of faith.
2 General faith.
This group I would think makes up the majority of Christians. This group believes that God is and is a rewarder of those who believe in Him. The problem with these people are that the moment there is any doubt, they would back the doubt and attribute it to God. This group of believers are believers where doubt plays a major role. They would build their faith on past experiences rather that the Word of God. They would commonly believe in the existence of Satan and his army, but will doubt if we have any power over them. This group would pray to the LORD and wait for the outcome and ascribe the outcome as the will of God, rather that examining the Bible and praying according to the Bible. Let me illustrate it with an example. Let us say that John is in the situation where he knows that he will run out of funds to supply for his family within the next two to three weeks. He will now pray and wait for the result. If the LORD provides, it was His will. If He does not provide, it is also His will. You see we have to examine the Word and pray and believe what the Word of the Lord proclaims.
3 Overcoming faith.
This group of people understand what faith is, and knows that faith can overcome things like you own flesh, 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world..” It is a faith that can overcome sin and Satan 1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” It is a faith that can overcome sickness Mat 9:22 “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” It is a faith that believes that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is a faith that believes that God and His Word is one. It is a faith that not only believes in the existence of God but also believes in Him. It is a faith that can save. John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Overcoming faith will not give in to the opinions of man, but will hold on to what the Word declares. It is a faith that knows that it is impossible to separate Him from His Word. To be on His side, is to side with His Word. If I can take the person in the previous example and transform him into a person with overcoming faith, he would have done the following. He would have looked through the Bible and found the following scriptures in Mat 6: 25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” John in this instance would have prayed in overcoming faith that the Lord should supply that which John needed, clothes and food, as the Bible declares that he does not have to worry about this. Yet he is worrying about this, as this scripture has not yet manifested in his life, although the Bible declares that it will, even though John has laid down his life for the LORD and became a new creature. The LORD will provide. That is overcoming faith in action.
How do I build my faith?
How do I manage to grow in faith and believe in what the Bible says? The following nine points will help you in this.
Know that you are saved.
You can be assured of your rebirth from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. You can know of His love and His presence every moment of the day. Col 1:13 and 14:” Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”.
Know that you are a new creature.
Those people who do not understand the rebirthing of someone, almost always treat people as if they were still in the flesh, but fail to see the power of the LORD. 2 Cor 5: 16-17 “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Col 1:21,22: “21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”
1Pet 1:23: “23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1Pet 2:9: “9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Revelation 1:5 and 6: “5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Know that you are in Him and He in you.
In Him, In Christ, In whom, these phrases occur more than a hundred and thirty times in the New Testament. This we have to understand. Rom 8:1: “1¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Gal 2:20: “20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Know that you inherited His righteousness.
This means to stand a favourable relationship with Christ. Hebrews 4:16: “16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Know the Power in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Our faith will be restricted if we do not know the privilege we have in using the Name of Jesus. What is in a name: Authority, reputation, representation and success.
Mark 16:16 -18: “16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
John 14:12-14: “12 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
Know obedience to the Word
We have to realise that God’s ways are totally different from ours before we can trust in the Word of God. Our logical thinking will not help us in this regard. We will always question the reality of the Word and the reality of what God said. James 1:22 – 26: “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
Luke 8:21: “21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”
Know what to confess.
Keep a hold on to your confession, as it is the key to you faith. Heb 4:12 and 14: “12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”