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Faith and the Word

October 13, 2016

“The just shall live by faith.” Two verses later the great “Hall of Faith” begins with a definition of faith and then the rest of Hebrews 11 shows faith in action. Every example of faith in Hebrews 11 is inextricably connected to the Word of God.

God warned Noah of a flood. Noah believed God and built an ark.

God called Abraham out of his home. Abraham believed God and went out.

God promised Sarah would bear a son. Sarah believed God and received strength to conceive.

God promised Abraham’s descendants would be strangers in a foreign land but would return to the promised land. Joseph believed God and commanded his bones be taken from Egypt when the Israelites left.

God promised He would destroy Jericho. Israel believed God and marched around the city according to God’s command.

Whether it be His command or His promise, God’s Word is the basis of faith. Christian faith is the firm assurance of the truth of God’s Word which becomes the foundation for behavior. Faith is never the object of itself. Faith is not effective because it believes. Faith does not accomplish great things because of the conviction of the person or the intensity of his desire. Faith believes God. God accomplishes great things through those who believe Him. God is always the object of faith.

Because God is the object of faith true faith must be a response to what God has said. Faith is not some mystical force conjured up by those with sufficient internal persuasion. Faith is the definite response to the objective promises and plans God has revealed in His Word.

Faith to live is not faith to follow your dreams. Faith to live is not faith to pursue the late night schemes you had after eating too much pizza. Faith to live is the faith to follow the commands of God. Far harder to go out and preach the gospel to your neighbors than to move to another city in hopes of achieving your dreams. Faith is bold to follow God’s commands.

The prayer of faith is prayer rooted in the promises of God and built on the revealed will of God. When Jesus promised answered prayer to those who believe, He was not issuing a blank check for those who could conjure up enough personal conviction to make something happen. Mountains don’t move because a person believes hard enough. Mountains move in accord with the promises of God. Jesus was issuing a cashier’s check backed by the explicit guarantee of the Word of God.

The promises of God to answer the prayer of faith cannot be divorced from the rest of the Word of God. Faith in faith and faith in prayer are not blessed by God’s promises. Faith in God that seeks the accomplishment of His Word will always be answered. The prayer of faith is prayer that knows what God has said, that prays in agreement with His Word with a certain conviction that God will keep His Word.

Faith believes God and orders life in accord with God’s Word.

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