“Faith” What is it, where does it come from, and how do I get it?
Many people in these days declare their faith to be sure, they believe and trust entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they Love God with all their heart soul mind and strength. [Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27.]
And yet, they struggle daily with sin, and the crushing weight that it bears upon their soul.
These Christians say that they have faith in Christ, and that they are saved by that very faith through the Grace of God, and yet their heart confirms a faith that is found wanting, a faith that will surely fail when tribulation comes. Sadly, this kind of person finds faith, difficult to explain; they say that they have it, but not according to the Word of God.
Faith is the means by which we are saved; being saved is to be made righteous, or justified, both of which have the same meaning.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” Romans 3:24-26, 22. See also Romans 1:17, 3:21-22, 4:11, 5:17, 9:30, 10:6; Galatians 2:16, 3:2
We are made righteous by faith, that it might be by grace, therefore we must search diligently for the Bibles reckoning of faith, for it is the means by which we are made righteous.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
By this we know that faith is essential to salvation, the reason being that without it, it is impossible to please God. For: “whatsoever is not of faith, is sin” (Rom. 14:23), and of course, sin cannot please God.
So what is “Faith”?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
“The teaching of faith is the teaching that such is the nature of the word of God; the teaching of people to exercise faith is the teaching them to expect the word of God to do what it says, and to depend upon it to do the thing which is by it spoken; the cultivating of faith is by practise to cause to grow confidence in the power of the word of God itself to do what in that word is said, and dependence upon that word itself to accomplish what the word says.” A.T. Jones December 27 1898
In brief: “it is the expecting the Word of God to do exactly that which it says, and then, depending upon that same word, to do exactly what it says.”
Notice in the following verse how this idea is presented, the Lord says:
“As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55: 10, 11.
“So shall my word be.” As the earth of itself can do nothing, so you of yourself can do nothing. And as the moisture of rain and snow from heaven makes the earth bring forth, and bud, and produce fruit, so shall my word do that which I desire, to bring forth the fruit of righteousness to the glory of God. ”
My Word, . . . “[IT] shall accomplish that which I please.”
The Word of God . . . effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thess. 2:13.
We should carefully note the promises of the Lord in the following verses.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10
The writer of Hebrews here quotes Jeremiah 31:33:
” But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Ezekiel confirms the same idea:
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:… A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26
We find in each of these witness a sure promise from God, that He will do the work. It is He who will write His Laws into our Hearts and put them into our minds.
The Righteousness of God.
The righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, is unto, or literally into, and upon all them that believe. Man’s own righteousness, which is of the law, is only on the outside. Matt. 23:27, 28. But God desires truth in the inward parts.
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6.
“These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” Deut. 6:6. And so the promise of the new covenant is, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Jer. 31:33.
He does it, because it is impossible for man to do it.
The most that men can do is to make a fair show in the flesh, to gain the applause of their fellow men. God puts his glorious righteousness in the heart. But he does more than that, he covers men with it. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isa. 51:10. “He will beautify the meek with salvation.” Ps. 149:4. Clothed with this glorious dress, which is not merely an outward covering, but the manifestation of that which is within, God’s people may go forth; “fair as the moon, clear as the sun; and terrible as an army with banners.”
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” Romans 3:21-22
The righteousness which is delivered to man is the righteousness of God, which- “is by Faith of Jesus Christ.” Paul expresses his desire, that when the Lord comes, that he be found “not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Phil. 3:9.
Paul repeats here that it is the faith of Christ, which is the righteousness of God by faith.
And also in the Revelation it is said of the saints: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12.
God is faithful. 1 Cor. 1:9.
Christ is faithful, for “he abideth faithful.” 2 Tim. 2:13.
God deals to every one a measure of faith. Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8.
He imparts to us his own faithfulness.
This he does by giving us Himself, so that we do not have to get righteousness which we ourselves manufacture. But to be sure, the Lord imparts to us in Himself the faith by which we appropriate His righteousness.
It is therefore the faith of Christ which brings forth the righteousness of God in man; because the possession of that faith is the possession of the Lord Himself.
That faith is dealt to everyone, even as Christ gave himself to everyone.
Should we ask then, what can prevent anyone from being saved?
The answer is nothing, except the fact that not everyone will keep the faith.
If everyone would keep all that God gives them, then all would be saved.
It is therefore our part is to depend on His Word by faith, the question that we need to ask, is. How is that faith imparted to us?
We have already seen that it is the faith of Jesus, and that it is to be written in our hearts and our minds, but how are we to receive it?
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. The Head directs, the body obeys. God speaks; and we must each listen to His voice. For faith comes by hearing His Voice, that is the Word of God, and no one can give faith to another. “It is the gift of God.” [Ephesians 2:8] Once again, faith comes from the Lord, and the Lord only, He gives us the faith that we need, and He gives it to us by His Word.
We are to depend upon His word to work in us, to do that which is well pleasing in his sight.
To cultivate dependence upon the word is to cultivate faith.
And “the knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired.”
Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what it says, and the depending upon that word to do what it says. That is what faith is, and as faith comes by the word of God, it is plain that the word of God, in order to inculcate faith, must teach that the word has in itself power to accomplish what itself says.
And such is precisely the truth of the matter: the word of God does teach just this, and nothing else; so that it is truly “the faithful word”—the word full of faith.“…And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
As the water bound up in the thick clouds is to remind us of the mighty power of God. It is also to remind us of His Gospel of grace; for that is but the power of God unto salvation. The Gospel is the good news of salvation from sin, and everything that speaks the power of God tells us of the power He has to give us righteousness.
“Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord has created it.” Isaiah 45:8
And carrying out the same figure, the prophet Hosea says:
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy: break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12
Righteousness by faith! – Is Right-doing by faith!
Because faith works.