According To Your Faith

Pt. 1

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

Agf-blanco.com

            Mat 9:27-29 says, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” 

            Thayer’s Lexicon defines faith as follows: “conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.”  “Be it unto you” simply means “let it become yours.”  So, Jesus told these two blind men, “According to your conviction and belief that I can do this, let it become yours (receive your sight).”

            This is the principle of faith in Jesus Christ and His Word.  Many Christians have bought into a passivity that declares in all things, “If it be God’s will.”  The problem is, this is not faith.  “Whatever will be will be” is a nice tune in The Sound of Music, but it is not faith.  Faith reaches out and takes what God has freely given by grace.  Faith believes.  Faith declares God’s Word to be so.  Jesus puts the ball back in our court.  “According to your faith – not my will or ability – let it become yours.”

            This was usually Jesus’ response.  Notice these verses: Mat 8:13 “And 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.” Mat 15:28 “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  Mar 10:52 “And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”  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.” Luk 17:19 “And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”

            Now, we know Jesus is forever the same (Heb 13:8).  He does not change.  We know His Word never changes (Ps 119:89). We also know, that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father (Jn 14:9, 12:45).  Therefore, He says to us today, that which He said to those living at the time He walked the earth – “According to your faith, let it become yours.”  Why do we often relegate healing to something of the past, but yet we firmly believe that salvation is for today? Is it not the same God? The same Word? The same faith? Doesn’t the One who forgives our iniquities also heal us (Ps 103:3)? Didn’t the One who was wounded for our transgressions also bear our sickness (Isa 53:4-5, Mt 8:17)?  Why do we treat these things as totally separate, when the Bible does not?

            In another instance, Jesus told the sinful woman, “Thy faith has saved thee, go in peace.” (Lk 7:50).  This time, that comment refers to forgiveness of sins, and not physical healing.  However, the word translated “saved” here was translated “made whole” in Mt 9:22, in reference to physical healing.  Why? Because the Greek word sozo means “save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, make whole”.  Again, in the very word we use for salvation, is healing a part of the definition.  What have we seen brings this forth?  Our faith.

            We would not sit back and say, “Well, if God wants me to be saved, then I’ll be saved.” No, we understand we must respond in faith.  We must believe in our heart and confess with our mouth.  Yet, often times concerning healing, we do the opposite.  We’re passive. That’s like saying as we sit on the couch all day eating twinkies, “If God wants me to be in shape, then He’ll get me in shape.”  No, we have to cooperate with God. 

            Now, concerning the “what ifs”: Just because something is a Biblical truth and a spiritual reality, doesn’t mean we walk in it. Take fear, for example.  Lots of verses tell us we do not have a spirit of fear (2Tim 1:7, Rom 8:15, 1Jn 4:18).  However, many Christians live in perpetual fear.  Is this God’s will?  No.  Has provision been made for us to walk free from fear?  Yes.  Then why do some live in constant fear?  Because they do not walk in the light of the spiritual reality of who they are in Christ.  Quite simply, it is a lack of faith in God’s Word.  We will receive “according to our faith”.  Though we do not have to live in fear, we will – if we do not believe.  So it is with any of the promises of God.  May we simply believe the promises of God, and take hold of His promises through faith.  Selah.

According to your faith

Part 2

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

Agf-blanco.com

            Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Last week, we talked about the fact that Jesus many times told people He healed and delivered, “According to your faith, be it unto you.”  He essentially put the ball back in our court.  We often want to assign responsibility to God, often doubting either His willingness or His ability; but Jesus always turned it back to the person’s faith.  “I am willing – be thou healed” or “If you can believe, all things are possible” are just a couple of examples.

            Some people resist this at first, because they don’t want the responsibility being placed on them when it comes to receiving from God.  It’s easier to just say, “Well, I guess if God wants me to have it, then I will.”  However, this is unbelief – and unscriptural.  In reality, it’s a great blessing it relies on us, rather than on God.  If it were God that needed to change, we would be up the creek – because He doesn’t change (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8).  The good news is, that we can change.  We can decide His Word is truth, and step out in faith – our feet firmly placed on His eternal, unchanging truth.

            So, if receiving from God is dependent on our faith – what then is faith?  Faith is the foundation, assurance, confidence of things expected; the evidence, proof, conviction of things not seen.  Faith is “now” – hope is “then”.  Faith is the firm confidence and assurance that I now have the promises of God, and will no doubt see them made manifest in the future.  Faith sees beyond the natural and temporary, and looks into the supernatural and eternal.

            For instance, salvation has already been bought and paid for through the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  This is a spiritual reality.  However, it is faith that brings that truth from the spiritual into the now.  Faith claims that salvation that has been worked by Jesus.  Faith says, “Yes and amen” to the promise of God, and makes it a reality in our own life – and thereby we know we have eternal life (1Jn 5:13).  We cannot physically look inside ourselves and see it, but we know it is true because God’s Word says it is.  This is faith.

            This is why Paul says we walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor 5:7). “Walk” means literally to tread all around, but figuratively it means “to live”.  The Bible says we are to live by faith (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38), but what does it mean to walk, or live, by faith? 

            The word for “live” in Greek has two meanings.  One is to live, as in not be dead; and the other means to live out – as in our daily walk (Thayer’s).  So then, to live by faith means not only that we will receive eternal life by faith (as opposed to dying in our sins); but that we will also live our daily lives by faith.  Again, we walk (live) by faith, not by sight.  We don’t live our lives based on our circumstances, but based on God’s Word.

            This same principle is seen in Proverbs 3:5-8: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”  We are not to live by sight (leaning on our own understanding and being wise in our own eyes); but we are to live by faith (Trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and acknowledging Him and His Word in all things).  When we do this, not only will God direct our steps, but it will also be health to our body.  Yet another passage of Scripture where faith and healing go hand and hand.

            2Co 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  The things seen are natural and temporary.  They are subject to change.  The things unseen (God and His Word) are spiritual and eternal, and remain the same.  This is where we need to put our trust and confidence. 

            Some may say it is impossible to operate in this kind of faith; but may I say, often times you already do.  Yes, when it comes to salvation, many of stand immovable on God’s promises.  We firmly believe in the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.  My question is, why do we often make exceptions for all the other promises?  If they cannot be relied upon, why should the salvation promises be relied upon?  Is it just the promise of eternal life that’s good?  Are none of the others?  And if so, why? Selah.

According to Your Faith

Part 3

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

Agf-blanco.com

Galatians 2:20 says, “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.”  Notice, the new life in Christ is lived by His very own faith.  Jesus gives us the faith to believe. It is His very own faith He imparts to us.  We have no shortage of faith.  We have the faith of the Son of God.  Faith is a fruit of our born again spirit (Gal 5:22).  God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom 12:3).  This being the case, we need not pray for more faith.  Even if we only had a tiny amount of faith, this alone is sufficient to move mountains (Mt 17:20).  So, clearly, we do not need more faith.  Rather, we need to rid ourselves of unbelief.

            I encourage you to read Mk 9:17-29 carefully. In this story of the man who had the demon possessed son, we learn at least four important lessons.  1. If we can believe, all things are possible (Mk 9:23).  This is the response Jesus gave to the man, who asked Him, “If you can do anything, help him.”  Here, Jesus is clearly making our faith the determining factor, and not His ability.

  1. We can have belief and unbelief at the same time (Mk 9:24). Again, just a little faith can achieve great things.  However, having unbelief counters our faith, and the result is zero.  So, we must not focus on getting more faith, but instead on eliminating unbelief.  3. Jesus is not pleased with unbelief (Mk 9:19).  We ought not make excuses for our unbelief.  It is faith that pleases God (Heb 11:6).  Jesus rebuked the people for their unbelief.  We must see unbelief for the sin that it is (Heb 3:12). 
  2. Prayer and fasting drives out unbelief (Mk 9:29). The disciples saw the awful manifestations of this demon possessed boy, and unbelief crept in – making them powerless.  Remember, they were commissioned by Jesus to cast out demons, and had been doing it with success (Lk 10:17); But here, unbelief crept in, and faith failed.  Prayer, fasting – and may I add – hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17), causes faith to rise and unbelief to depart.  As we read, pray and fast; we start acknowledging all we are and all we have in Christ; and our faith becomes effective (Philm 6).

            The difference between great faith and little faith is not the actual measure within, but how much faith we operate in – which is dependent upon the amount of unbelief we have.  We may possess faith, but operate in very little.  In Mt 14:22-31, Peter demonstrated great faith when he walked out on the water to Jesus.  However, when he started considering the storm, unbelief arose and faith failed.  As long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus, he could do the impossible; but when he started walking by sight, doubts flooded his mind, and his faith ceased to keep him on top of the water.

            We cannot be double minded, and expect to receive from God (Jam 1:6-8).  Notice, it’s not that God won’t give to us, but that we can’t receive it.  God has given us all things in Christ (Eph 1:3, Rom 8:32), but our unbelief will not allow us to receive it.  Jesus wanted to do mighty works in Nazareth, but their unbelief hindered Him (Mt 13:54-58).  Again, we must not only “have faith”, but we “must not doubt” (Mt 21:18-22). Unbelief is the key hindrance to receiving from God.

            We must understand how important faith is. It is mentioned 247 times in the KJV Bible, and 245 of those times is in the New Testament.  It is a weighty matter, according to Jesus (Mt 23:32).  We must not count it as some insignificant or minimal doctrine.  We live by faith; we walk by faith; we’re justified by faith; we’re saved through faith; we’re healed through faith; we’re made righteous through faith; etc. 

            We must ask ourselves and answer the question posed by Jesus: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8).  Will we be found in faith upon His return?  If He were to walk among us now, would He marvel at our great faith, or rebuke us for our unbelief?  He indeed does walk among His churches (Rev 1:20, 2:1).  I ask myself, would my faith impress Him, or disappoint Him?  May we be willing to fall on our face in faith, rather than stand in unbelief.

            The sum of the commandment is a pure faith (1Tim 1:5).  However, we must fight the good fight of faith (1Tim 6:12).  The world, the flesh, the Devil, fears, doubts, unbelief – these all strive against our faith, and must be resisted.  We must press in, and take the Kingdom by force.  We cannot be passive, and operate in great faith.  We must also exercise patience, which is the twin sister of faith (Heb 6:12).  This means, we do not quit.  We do not throw in the towel.  We continue to believe and not doubt – week after week, and year after year.  It matters not that we believed at one time.  It only matters that we believe now. Selah.