BY Dr DOUG MAMVURA
I have realised that as Christians we can easily become very casual about some elementary truths which are so critical to our victorious living.
There are some basic things about faith that we need to continually go over. Just because we have heard it once doesn’t necessarily mean we know it.
Sometimes it is good to go back and review some old truths from God’s Word that we have now taken for granted. Before you realize it, you have forgotten some things that you knew years ago. Some of these basics are found in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Notice this sentence: “Now faith is…”. Even though the word “Now” in the context is not used in this sense, please allow me to direct your thought to this word as though it were referring to present tense for the purpose of revealing something about faith that is important to all of us. Now faith is…. Faith that is the substance of things hoped for is always now faith. The substance of things hoped for is always now. You can say it several different ways. If faith is not now, it’s not faith. If it’s not faith that is present tense, it’s not the substance of things hoped for.
Whenever you are praying for something, you have to believe as you pray that you already have it and you will have it.
Sometimes people keep putting off things God promised until some later date.
Jesus taught us that “What things you so ever desire, when ye pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them (Mark 11:24). When are you going to believe you receive what you ask in prayer- when you receive the answer or when you pray? You should believe you receive when you pray. If you pray this afternoon at three o’clock, it will be now when you pray. Let’s say it this way: Now faith is, or faith is now.
Let me say again that even though the intent of the word now in Hebrews 11:1 is not used as a present-tense word, let’s use it that way to provoke our thinking. Let’s think of the words on both sides of the word faith as being present-tense words: Now faith is. Notice Hebrews 11:6: “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.”
Note the phrase, that he is. It’s present tense. It doesn’t just mean believing that there is a God, but believing that He is in the now.
Your faith has to be in the now, in the present tense. It can’t be put off into the future or back into the past. It must be present. Abiding faith that is now. Faith that is in the now is the substance of things. That is what the Word of God says.
However, you hear some of us believers say, “I believe God’s going to do it sometime.” That’s out in the future. Make a decision to release faith that is in the now. If you have the faith, then you have the substance of things desired. You have the substance of it, but you don’t physically have the thing desired. It has not been manifested. You can’t wear it, drive it, or fly it. But you have the substance of it.
The faith substance is the raw material which will cause the manifestation of the thing desired. Without this faith, it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Yes, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What things is faith the substance of? All the things that God has given us by promise. Let’s go to 2 Peter, chapter 1, for some insight into these promises. “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
Who is Peter writing to? “…to them that have obtained like precious faith….” In other words, if you have obtained the same faith in Jesus Christ that these men had, then Peter is writing to you. It doesn’t matter what century people are living in. It still applies to those of like faith.
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord”. (2 Peter 1:2). Grace and peace are not added to you, but multiplied to you. Allow me to share with you the definition of grace which the Holy Spirit gave me. He said, “Grace is God’s willingness to use His power and His ability on your behalf, even though you don’t deserve it.”
Grace is God’s willingness. What a powerful statement! This is another word which most of us have become so used to it such that we now fail to appreciate its meaning in our daily walk with the Lord.
Most people don’t have any trouble believing that God is able to do anything, but they aren’t sure He is willing to do it for them. They are strong in believing in God’s ability but weak in believing in His willingness.
God’s willingness is multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. The Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith in God and His Word comes by hearing what God said. When you gain the knowledge of God, you gain faith in God. Then you know how God will respond to your faith in Him.
If God’s Word is in you, then faith is in you because His Word is filled with faith. God didn’t give Andrew Womack or Joseph Prince more faith than He gave you. He didn’t give Kenneth Hagin more faith than He gave you. These men have the same Bible you have. Your Bible has the same word of faith in it. But your faith must be developed. Faith grows when you plant it. There are so many who think everyone else was given more faith than they were. But we were all given the same amount. Romans 12:3 says God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. Every person was given the same measure. God didn’t give one person more than He gave another.
The only way to measure faith is to measure the Word in you because God’s Word is filled with faith. If His Word is in you, you have faith. God gave everyone the whole Word of God in Bible form.
The whole Word, or logos, is the measure of faith He gave. It contains all the faith that is available in promise form. Some receive it; others don’t. God gave everyone the same measure of faith, but it is often rejected. God’s willingness to use His power and ability on your behalf is multiplied to you when you gain the knowledge of God. That’s the reason some people get more from God than others. Then some say: “Well, I don’t understand why God did that for So-and-so. He never does anything like that for me! Listen to their words: “God never does anything like that for me.” Isn’t that amazing? For 20 years they have been saying, “God never does it for me.” Jesus said: “If you believe and doubt not in your heart, the things which you say shall come to pass.” They say those things because they don’t have faith in their faith. They have not become personally acquainted with God and His ways through His Word.
Faith is in you if the Word of God is in you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’ve memorised the Bible, you have great faith. Faith without works is dead.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura