The Absolute Necessity Of Faith   Leave a comment

George Müller

George Müller

In the 19th century, England was blessed to have on its soil a faithful man – George Müller. This man was renowned for his daring attitude of absolute dependance on God’s provision. He vowed that he would not make any request to man but to God alone. He was not a rich man, he took no debts but God provided a colossal amount of money worth about  £100 million today. Orphanages were built, orphans educated and fed freely. His determination of trusting God was a result of his knowledge of His Savior. God proved to be faithful to him in many ways before he embarked on this penniless adventure.

Churches around the world preach about justification by faith alone for salvation. Christians believe that they don’t have to do good works  to earn God’s favor for salvation. It’s all of grace.

It is noteworthy to say that being justified by faith is not a New Testament concept. Abraham was justified by faith even before Christ came. Hebrews 11 has a list of old testament figures who were commended by God because of their faith. Christ’s coming demonstrated powerfully how faith in God was the only means  for justification.

James 2:19-21 says:

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.”

Paul has powerfully set the foundation for justification by faith alone in his epistles (Romans 3:23-30). Law observance and good deeds could not save anyone. Here James is talking about the evidence of our faith. It is because we have faith in God that it results in good deeds. Our good deeds do not justify us but ther are visible proofs of the genuineness of our faith. Many preachers boast about salvation by grace through faith but the tragedy is that they stop at that faith which brought them salvation. This is where James is  raising the warning. Since we have been saved by faith in the Son of God, we need to continue living by faith in Him.

Hebrews 10:38 says:

And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”

We have trusted Jesus for the salvation of our soul. We need to continue trust Him for our daily needs also.

Paul rejoiced when he heard about the faith of churches (Col 1:3, 1 Thes 1:3, 1 Thes 1:3, 3:6). Faith of the believers is an indication of their spiritual health.

Jesus expects to see faith in us.

He said:  “But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:8

George Muller had faith in Jesus for the salvation of his soul. He did not stop there. His daily faith in God’s provision proved the genuineness of his trust in God.

The opposite of faith is doubt and fear. Faith is a firm assurance of what we hope for. (Hebrews 11:1)

For example, when Jesus calmed down the storm on the sea of Galilee, He said to His disciples:

Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Mat 8:26

He said to Peter : “You have so little faith, Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?” Mat 14:31

Jesus knew that we often have worries, fears and doubts. He said :

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” Mat 6:30-31

In the eyes of God, faith is of capital importance. What good is it to have a deep theological knowledge of the scripture but there is no evidence of faith in action?  Faith is about how much we surrender and trust Him. Was not Jesus amazed with the faith of the Roman officer? He even said that such people who have faith will feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

We read: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Mat 8:10

Mary and Martha had faith that if Jesus was there Lazarus would not have died. They could not see further. They gave up their hope when their brother passed away.

Mary said: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” John 11:32

When Jesus asked to roll away the stone, Martha protested and said: “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” John 11:39

But Jesus said: “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?

It was like Jesus sigh and said : “Martha, Martha, did not I repeatedly discoursed to you that if you would entrust yourself to me that you will gaze God’s glory? Did not I?

In the eyes of men, our Lord was late by 4 days. They reasoned that if Jesus was there, Lazarus would not have died. However, Jesus intentionally waited 4 days to go and this resulted to a greater miracle. The bible records that a huge crowd believed as a result of this miracle . The pharisees even wanted to kill Lazarus because of that miracle (John 12:10).

Our Lord was seeking for faith in Peter when he walked on water, faith in the disciples when there was the storm, faith in Martha when her brother died and faith in the Roman officer.  His teachings to the crowd were also to lead them to trust God for their everyday needs. We could also mention the woman who was bleeding and who was healed because of her faith (Mat 9:22) or the 2 blind men (Mat 9:29). These were His words:

Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” Mat 9:22

Because of your faith, it will happen” Mat 9:29

Salvation, healing, blessings are rooted in faith in God. There’s an absolute necessity of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Hebrews 11:6 says: “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

Many of us want to know how to please God. One powerful way is to have faith in Him. This is the kind of fruit God is looking in us. Trust in Jesus for your soul and needs.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent…For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” John 6:29,40

If we want growth in our relationship with Christ, we absolutely need to have faith in Him. Without faith it is impossible to please Him Hebrews 11:6 says. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews encouraged the readers to look at those who were before us and ran that race of faith:

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” Hebrews 6:12

There is like a huge crowd of witnesses sitting down in a stadium and watching us running this race of faith. Abraham the father of faith is one of these people watching us. There’re many stages of faith. Moses did not panic in front of the red sea. Why? Because his faith gradually grew through the previous miracles he saw. Abraham reached the peak of his faith when he offered his son Isaac wholeheartedly. It was after many years of seeing God providing for him that he was able to reach this maturity of faith. He had a strong faith in God’s promise for a descendant. Obedience to offer the promised son seemed therefore to be a conflicting request from above. It did not make sense. He still obeyed though. Abraham tried to reconcile how the promise God made could still stand through his obedience in offering the promised son. The amazing thing is that he figured out that God could raise Isaac from the dead even after sacrificing/burning him! He was throughly determined to sacrifice Isaac and also determined that from this same Isaac a large posterity will come!

Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death” Hebrews 11:19

How could a man reach such a mature faith? It was because throughout his life, he learned surrendering and trusting God. The evidence of his faith was proved when he obeyed.

Let us “run” the bible says, run with endurance this individual race. Jesus is Himself the One who initiates faith in us and wants it to grow.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1

The epistle to the Hebrews warns about the danger of unbelief:

So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest“. Hebrews 3:19

The Jews could not enter Canaan because they did not have faith for it.  “For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.” Hebrews 4:2

The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness because they failed to have faith that God could give them Canaan.

Numbers 14:33 “Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.”

Apart from Joshua and Caleb, the whole generation of those who complained perished in the wilderness.This was the gravity of unbelief. Number 14:38

Let us not take lightly the absolute necessity of living by faith. The Israelites were saved from Egypt but did not continue to live by faith. So it is for us. We have been saved from sins and God expects that we continue to live by faith.

God blesses us with trials to help us grow in our faith. It is abnormal if a Christian does not have trials. When God prunes and works in us, we should be glad about it. If it does not happen it is probably because we have not surrendered ourselves to Him.

James 1:3 says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

The testing of our faith takes time. We need to persevere so as to grow up in maturity.

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Posted November 23, 2013 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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