When you were born into this life, you took a breath of oxygen and have continued to do so non-stop since then. In the same manner, the Christian is born again by faith, and must, of a necessity, live his life by faith. This is why it is important for every Christian to understand the role of faith and how to properly apply it in our lives.
In my study of faith, I can articulate 3 distinct things that faith makes possible:
1. By Faith, We Please God
“For without faith, it is impossible to please God…”
Many of the things we desire and pursue in life, may be possible without having faith. Let’s take for example, someone in financial trouble may work hard to make more money, or work smart to make even more money. He may beg for money or steal it! He can do all of those things without having faith. In fact, there is only one thing that you cannot do without faith – and that is, you cannot please God without faith.
In discussing choices about diet options, Paul even says, “…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23).
You may ask, “am I supposed to live every facet of my life by faith.” The answer is “yes.” Just as you breathe oxygen everywhere you go, as a believer, you live by faith.
2. Through Faith, We Understand the Works of God
“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”
God created the heavens and the earth. He made the plan of redemption after sin entered humanity. God made His covenant with Abraham, established the nation of Israel and sent the Messiah through them. Christ lived, preached, healed the sick, worked miracles and raised the dead. Christ then took our place on the cross, died, was buried and rose again on the third day. He ascended to heaven, and sent us the Holy Spirit.
All of those and more, are some of the works of God. We understand them through faith.
“Understand? Through faith?”
I know it sounds incredulous. However, let me emphasize that the things of God are closed off to the natural man, who is not breathing the oxygen of a faith life. The bible says:
“But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
This is why I am puzzled when churches make it their mandate to speak only in terms that natural men can understand. They are robbing their congregations of an understanding of the works of God at a depth where it can really impact them. Anyone teaching believers the Word of God must “…speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining (or comparing/explaining) spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (2 Cor. 2:13).
3. By Faith, We Operate the Works of God
After experiencing the miracles of Jesus when He fed the five thousand with a young boy’s five loaves of bread and two fish, the crowd of people came looking for Him. One question stood out in the ensuring discussion. The crowd asked Jesus:
“…’what shall we do that we may work (or operate) the works of God.'” (John 6:28).
It is evident that the crowd saw a supernatural act and were inquisitive enough to seek to know how to operate in it for themselves. The answer of Jesus Christ is true then as it is now:
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.'” (John 6:29).
This is the work of God: that you believe! That you believe on Jesus.
Jesus gave them the answer. The supernatural works of God – as we see it in the ministry of Jesus Christ – is accessible by exercising faith in the gift of God, Jesus Christ Himself.
Paul, in his rebuke of the Galatian Christians, chided them for embracing the law, abandoning faith and grace. He asked them a number of rhetoric questions, including this: “So then, does He who… works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal. 3:5). This fact was obvious to the Galatians, and should be to you too: miracles are worked when faith is preached and heard.
Peter and John in Acts 3 said the man who was crippled from birth healed at the beautiful gate of the temple was healed through faith in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16).
Many Christians ask, “why we don’t see miracles today like in the Acts of the Apostles?” Here is my answer: we see as much miracles today as we have demonstrated faith for. Read the New TestamentIf you and I would see more works of God, then we must exercise faith. However, it is important to remember:
“faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17).