Tag Archives: Faith

The Prayer of Faith

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“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:15)

Without examining the various interpretations of this somewhat controversial passage, we merely note that one of the main ingredients of effective praying is faith. There are others, of course (praying in God’s will, no unconfessed sin, unselfish motives, etc.), but all these must be “mixed with faith” to be effective (Hebrews 4:2).

There are many such exhortations to pray in faith. Jesus said, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). Another example is James 1:5-6: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” And another: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

Every Scripture passage must be viewed in context, of course, including the context of the entire Bible.

The “faith” we must exercise is not only a spiritual confidence that God will answer (and this, clearly, is necessary), but also faith in God as Creator (and, therefore, able to answer!), Christ as Savior (therefore, justly willing to hear), and in the Holy Scriptures as the written Word of God.

James warns any man without genuine faith: “Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:7-8).

True biblical faith is faith in God the omnipotent Creator (Hebrews 11:3), faith in Christ as redeeming Savior (John 3:16- 18), and obedient faith in the revealed Word of God (1 John 3:22). Then we can believe in confidence that God will indeed answer our prayer of faith. HMM

How to Please the Lord

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“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)

In this verse, Paul expresses the strong desire to be “pleasing to” (the idea behind “accepted of”) the Lord Jesus Christ. It should likewise be our own ambition—whatever we do and wherever we are—to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!

The Scriptures give us a number of specific ways in which we can be confident of pleasing Him. For example: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). That is, our criterion should be pleasing Him—not ourselves. Similarly, we are warned that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). That is, our thoughts and deeds must not be governed by worldly considerations.

By suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him. “If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable [‘well-pleasing’] with God” (1 Peter 2:20).

“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must walk by faith if we would please the Lord. This is not faith in the abstract, but specific truth—faith to believe the revealed Word of God and to act on that faith.

God is pleased with generosity. “But to do good and to communicate [to share what we have with others, for His sake] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). This certainly includes sharing the gospel, as well as our material possessions. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Finally, when our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise: “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). HMM

Have the Mind of Christ

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“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The mind of the natural man is “a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28), a “carnal mind” (Romans 8:7), and a “defiled” mind (Titus 1:15), characterized by a daily walk “in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18).

When a person is born again through faith in Christ, however, he should be “transformed by the renewing of [his] mind” (Romans 12:2) and should henceforth seek to conform to the mind of Christ in every attitude and every decision.

But what is the mind of Christ? As our text says: “Who hath known the mind of the Lord?” Paul echoed the same question to the Romans: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34).

There are many aspects to His infinite mind, of course, but the key is undoubtedly the great attribute of sacrificial love. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who . . . became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-6, 8).

Thus, following His example, we should “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). We should constantly “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest [we] be wearied and faint in [our] minds” (Hebrews 12:3). We should receive “the word with all readiness of mind” and serve “the Lord with all humility of mind” (Acts 17:11; 20:19). Herein is the mind of Christ. HMM

Saving Faith and True Creation

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“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

This is the very first object and example of faith in the Bible’s great “faith chapter,” Hebrews 11. This fact strongly argues that any truly meaningful and effective faith must be founded, first of all, on the revealed fact of special creation—creation ex nihilo—not creation through some protracted, naturalistic, imaginary process of evolution. All of the “worlds” (Greek aion—that is, the “space/ times”—the continuum of space and time which constitutes the physical cosmos) were simply called into existence by God’s omnipotent word. “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9). In no way did He have to start with some chaotic form of matter already in existence. Jesus Christ—the Word of God (John 1:14)—created space and time as well as matter/energy. “By him were all things created” (Colossians 1:16). “Without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Right at the end of the previous chapter, the apostle asserts that “the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) and concludes by speaking of those “that believe [literally ‘have faith’] to the saving of the soul” (v. 39). Following immediately then is his definition of faith, and after that the great progression of objects and examples of faith in Hebrews 11. Heading the list of these, of course, is faith in the special creation of all things by the Word of God. The necessary conclusion is that a “living” faith and “saving” faith must be founded, first of all, on the fact of supernatural creation of all things by God in the beginning.

Evolution is also based on faith, but it is contrary to Scripture and to true science. “Theistic evolution” is a false faith, and those Christians who believe such things should carefully examine their hearts in the light of God’s Word. HMM

The Power of Grace

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“. . . whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” (Ephesians 3:7)

In the New Testament, the words for gift and grace are closely related. Charis is usually translated “grace,” and charisma is most often rendered “gift.” The twice-born are to use their gifts with one another as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

When God gifts us with faith so that we are saved by His grace (Ephesians 2:8), we are then “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). This “new man” is granted the potential to understand the “exceeding greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:19) and to participate in the divine nature so we can escape the corruption pervading this godless world (2 Peter 1:4).

When we preach the gospel, we use “the power of God” that will result in the salvation of those who respond (Romans 1:16). Right after the Day of Pentecost, the apostles gave testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in a demonstration of that power so that “great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). The message, the power, and the grace of God are inseparable.

When our lives radically change in response to the new man created in us by God, we do so by “the grace of our Lord,” which is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14). When we access the strength to rise above infirmities or difficult circumstances, we experience the Lord’s grace that is sufficient to deal with or overcome whatever may be hindering us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When we “work out” the salvation God graced us with, we can be sure that God is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). HMM III

The Power of Faith

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“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

When God grants the gift of faith to enable us at the point of salvation (Ephesians 2:8), it isn’t a static power that merely resides in our minds but is rather an empowerment that is expected to grow into a dynamic and demonstrable “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

Faith preserves and protects us.

Jesus insists, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). These words are precise. Once faith is exercised, an eternal transaction takes place wherein a person is passed from spiritual death to eternal life. This is an absolute change and eliminates the possibility of hell (John 10:28-29).

Faith is power for effective prayer.

The “mustard seed” promise in Matthew 17:20 does not refer to size or amount but to quality. The Greek comparative hoce translated “as” in that passage refers to the same kind of faith as the mustard seed. Just so, the promise of Matthew 7:7 (if you ask and seek, you will find) depends on our confidence (faith) in the heavenly Father.

Faith is the shield against the Enemy.

God’s armor in Ephesians 6:10-18 lists “the shield of faith” that provides an ability “to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” That shield is defensive in the sense that it only provides protection when we use it to block the darts. The active use comes when we “resist the devil” (James 4:7) as we remain “stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). HMM III

The Power of the Gospel

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

This verse contains important information. We are told God’s power resides in the gospel, and that the purpose of this power is the salvation of both Jew and Greek. This passage is intended to incorporate spreading the gospel to all humanity and is specifically stated by the Lord Jesus: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Evidently, the event that takes place when one is twiceborn is nothing less than a supernatural creation by the Creator Himself (Ephesians 4:24)! There is no need for salesmanship or psychology or finesse or technique; the dunamis (power) of the Living God is transmitted, applied, and exercised as the gospel is spoken and a person listens.

• Ephesians 2:8—“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
• Romans 10:17—“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
• John 6:63—“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
• 1 Peter 1:23—“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
• 1 Corinthians 15:3-4—“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

To be successful (not to mention obedient) to the Lord’s command, we must surely use the power of God that has been made available to us in the Scriptures! HMM III

Nothing Too Hard or Too Small

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“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

This mighty declaration of faith in the Creator of heaven and Earth was given by Jeremiah in respect to a mundane sort of need—the need of assurance that his real estate investment would be safe, even if he were forced to be away from it for many years. There is nothing too small for the Lord, just as there is nothing too hard for Him, and He delights to “shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Since God created all things, He certainly can control all things. If a person really believes the very first verse of the Bible—the simple declaration that the entire space/mass (energy)/ time universe had been called into existence by God—then he or she will never find it difficult to believe any of the other declarations or promises of His inspired Word.

In response to Jeremiah’s great statement of faith, God gave him the assurance he sought: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). God, who made the sea, could roll back its waters to enable His people to pass through its very midst unharmed (Exodus 14:29); He who made the earth could cause the earth to cease its rotation to give His people victory (Joshua 10:12-14). There is nothing too hard for the God of creation!

We can be confident that 21st-century problems are no more difficult for God than those of 600 B.C. May our mighty Creator grant us trusting and obedient hearts in both the great problems and the small problems of life. In this verse, the Hebrew word for “hard” is the same as for “wonderful” (Psalm 107:8). God delights in transforming the hard things of life into the wonderful works of God! HMM

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