“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17 NKJV)
This passage always causes me to remember my good, good friend, Pastor Sam Thomas of Bakersfield, California. We served together as co-chairmen of the greater Kern County Crusade for Christ and spent much time praying together for many years. Each time we came together for any reason the first words from his mouth were, “The just shall live by faith.” I miss Sam as he is with the LORD.
One can never read the Scriptures without coming away with the theme of faith consigned to the life “that believes that God is” (Hebrews 11:6). “The just shall live by faith.” This strong defining admonishment is referenced three times in the New Testament hammering home the expectation that faith is a structural determinant of the Christian walk of life.
On one occasion with disciples watching in amazement, Jesus simply spoke words from His mouth and the miraculous took place. He, noting their astonishment, assured them that the same power was available to them:
“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done . . . . . . 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22)
Most would find it difficult to adequately define faith without the use of a defining Scripture from Hebrews 11:1, but it is vital that we gain an understanding of what it is and what it does—the character of the very word.
Faith is certainty—trust. I place my trust in and on many things in life. I trust my driving abilities, and I never realize how much until I place myself in a car where someone else is driving. With a few exceptions, I have trust for the support for my body weight even on chairs I have never sat on. We trust in foods that we partake in because of hunger. It is amazing the number of things we routinely trust daily without thought. That is faith. So, our Heavenly Father asks that we trust Him . . . have faith in Him for our whole life and needs.
Faith is continuity—connection. I have electrical wires connected running all through my house, but those wires alone do not supply my house with necessary power. There is also a heavy cable that runs from the top of a nearby pole to a connector on the corner of the top of my house. Neither that cable, nor the pole creates the power I need in my home. However, there is a place many miles away which does somehow create power. I must have a complete connection to the source of power before it is available to my use. I cannot see the power, electricity, coming through the many miles of connected wiring to my home, not even by looking at the wires in my home. By faith I flip a switch to my lights; even then I cannot see the power, but when the light comes on . . . voila! I see the light of the power result.
Once more, faith gives me a sure connection to the divine source of Power, God Himself. “Now faith is the substance (hupostasis—title-deed) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 emphasis added, mine). That substance/title-deed connects us to what is unseen! Through this faith connection reality is given to the soul.
Hebrews chapter 11 has often been characterized by the descripting phrase; “Heroes of the Faith.” These words and those that follow give credence to that moniker: “For by it the elders obtained a good testimony” (Vs. 2). And, throughout this chapter we are introduced to the many Old Testament heroes who displayed faith throughout their earthly lives, though they “did not receive the promise.”
“By faith we understand . . . “
“By faith Abel . . .”
“By faith Enoch . . .”
“By faith Noah . . .”
“By faith Abraham . . .”
“By faith Sarah . . .”
To mention a few . . .
There is an awesome lineup of faithful, trusting, servants of the LORD in Hebrews chapter 11, but we need to test ourselves with this word faith, and the key verse is Hebrews 11:6:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
As I began, we can have faith in many different things, but understand this:
Faith alone is not a power without an Object of Power! This is the truth! It must be your faith firmly connected to God’s Power!
22“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:22-24; underlines mine)
Have faith in God!
Beloved, many times in my 42 years of ministry God seems to give me themes that stick with me for long periods of time in my teaching and preaching times, even in conversations. From close to the beginning of this year, 2023, the theme I received and have not been released from yet is “the Fear of the LORD.” The Fear of the LORD! Often it has equated to “the Awe of God!” We’re speaking of the highest form of respect for God possible for man.
1“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:1-5).
Faith alone is not a power without an Object of Power!
The American church seems to be modeling the church of Ephesus. We do the work. We labor. We are patient. We persevere. We even use the LORD’s name as we work. We have faith. But we have lost faith’s object. We have faith in buildings, budgets, programs, people, and positions. From a human perspective, we can look pretty good. However, none of this equates to His Power. Church, we are doing church without the Object. Faith alone is not a power without an Object of Power! We must recover the true Object of our faith. We must recapture the Fear of the LORD, the Awe of God. Repent! Seek His face! Pray On!