Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundational principle of a genuine and triumphant spiritual life. No spiritual realities promised in the Bible – holiness, knowledge, power, courage, fruitfulness, etc. – can ever be experienced without an abiding faith in Christ. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Jesus denounced those who refused to put their faith in Him, even though He had taught them the divine truths and done many miracles that proved His divinity. He chided them, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?…” (Matthew 17:17). He disapprovingly asked His disciples (being frightened by a great storm of wind, where the waves beat into the ship), “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
While Jesus reprimanded people who lacked faith or had little faith, He commended those who expressed extraordinary faith. He told the centurion who exhibited extraordinary faith in His power to heal his servant who was sick with palsy, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). When a woman, “which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment” (Matthew 9:20) for healing, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matthew 9:22). To the two blind men who “followed him, crying, and saying, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27), He responded with the words: “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). That’s not all. Hear the words of Jesus to the woman of Canaan, who sought deliverance for her daughter who was “grievously vexed with a devil” (Matthew 15:22): “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:28). Whoever came to Jesus with a prayer of faith received not only answers to his / her prayer, but also His commendation.
Like the apostles who said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5), we too must pray that our faith will steadfastly grow. An increase of faith is greatly to be desired by all Christians. We enjoy “boldness and access” to God “with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12). Paul reminds all Christians that it is “by faith ye stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24b). Daily spiritual joy and hope are gained as “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Victories in spiritual battles belong to those who take “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). Indeed, “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4b). Thus, we can be sure of a life that is steadfast and sanctified, successful and safeguarded for the glory of God – “the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38).
Scripture tells us that the ancient spiritual heroes “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:33-34). The stories of the valiant deeds of God’s servants who exercised their faith in God’s Word are strewn all over the pages of the Scriptures.
Consider a few examples of the valiant men of God who gained great victories through faith:
- “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Hebrews 11:4).
- “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…. for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).
- “By faith Noah…prepared an ark to the saving of his house… and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
- “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and… by faith he sojourned in the land of promise… for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
- “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age…” (Hebrews 11:11).
So also, by faith, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, David and many more did great things in their generations.
My beloved brethren, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a). “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23).
Faith shall make us a people of great spiritual conquests and accomplishments. Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20). The “mountain-moving” faith is not faith in oneself, much less faith in faith, but faith in God. It is not faith itself – no matter how great – that moves mountains, but the God in whom the faith is grounded. Faith has only as much power as its object. If we persist in prayer with faith, we will receive God’s promised forgiveness, peace, joy, freedom, guidance, fruitfulness, protection, wisdom, victory over sin and trials, and countless other blessings.