Without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), so our relationship with the Lord is dependent on it. Faith is what brings the things God has provided for us from the spiritual realm into the physical realm (Hebrews 11:1). Our faith is the victory that enables us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4). Everything the Lord does for us is accessed through faith.
Yet there is much confusion about faith today just as there has always been. It’s like having a computer and knowing its potential but not having a clue how to use it. Many of us know how frustrating that is. The Bible is our manual with detailed instructions, but just like in the natural, few people take the time to really study it. They are impatient and want to do it on their own. They may reach some level of success, but to really be proficient, they have to read the book.
One of the areas about faith that gives people the most trouble is the concept that we have to acquire more faith and that some people have much faith, while others have virtually none. We spend a lot of effort, like a dog chasing its tail, trying to get something we already have. Every born-again Christian already has the same quality and quantity of faith that Jesus has. That’s awesome.
In Ephesians 2:8, Paul says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” It’s God’s grace that saves us, but not His grace alone. If that were so, then everyone would be saved because God’s grace has come to all men (Titus 2:11).
We have to put faith in God’s grace, but the faith that we use isn’t our own human faith. This verse says that faith is the gift of God.
There is a human faith that is inherent within every human being, and there is a supernatural faith of God that only comes to those who receive the good news or the Word of God.
Human faith can only believe what it can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel; it’s limited to the five senses. Using natural human faith, we can sit in a chair we’ve never sat in and believe it will hold us up. We fly in airplanes when we don’t fully understand how they work, and we don’t know the pilot, but we trust that everything will be fine. That takes human faith, which God gave to every person.
What if I asked you to sit in a chair you couldn’t see? Or what if the chair was missing one of its legs and was falling over? You wouldn’t sit in a chair like that with human faith. Would you fly in a plane if you could see that the engine was falling off or the tyres were flat? Your senses would forbid it.
Yet when it comes to God, we have to believe things that we cannot see. This is the definition of faith which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. You can’t believe in invisible things with human faith. You need God’s supernatural faith.
Romans 4:17 says, “God … calleth those things which be not as though they were.” God’s faith goes beyond sight. God’s faith operates supernaturally, beyond the limitations of our natural faith.
The context of this verse from Romans speaks about how God supernaturally blessed Abram and Sarai with a child in their old age. Abram was 100 years old and Sarai was 91 years old when Isaac was born. The year before Isaac’s birth, when Abram still did not have a child by his wife, God told them the child was coming, and He changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. Abram meant “high father,” but Abraham means, “to be populous, father of a multitude.” God changed Abram’s name and called him the father of a multitude before it came to pass. Romans 4:17 explains this action by saying that “God calleth those things which be not as though they were.”
When the Lord created the universe, Genesis 1:3 tells us that He created light on the first day but didn’t create the sun, moon, and stars until the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:14-19). The Lord called light into being first and four days later created a source for the light to come from. That’s not the way natural man does things. We are limited, but God calls things that are not as though they were. That’s supernatural.
That’s the kind of faith we have to use to receive salvation. We have to believe in God, whom we have not seen, and believe that our sins are forgiven, which we cannot prove by natural means. It takes God’s supernatural faith to receive salvation. Where do we get it from? We get it from God’s Word.
Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We access God’s faith through His Word.
When we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit empowers it, and if we receive the truth, God’s supernatural faith enters us. We were so destitute that we couldn’t even believe the good news on our own. God had to make His kind of faith available to us so that we could believe in Him and receive His salvation. We were saved by using God’s supernatural faith to receive His grace.
Once we receive God’s supernatural faith at salvation, it doesn’t leave us. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. Faith becomes a permanent part of our born-again spirits. We sometimes use the God kind of faith that’s present in our spirits and other times we don’t. The truth is, it is always present. There is no lack of faith within any true Christian. There is just a lack of knowing and using what God has already given us.
Romans 12:3 says, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith”. God didn’t give us different measures of faith; we all received the measure of faith. If I were serving soup to a lot of people, and if I used the same ladle to dish it out, then that ladle would be the measure. Everyone would get the same amount of soup because I would use the same measure. That’s the way it is with God’s faith. He only used one measure. All born-again Christians received the same amount of faith.
That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:1; “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.” The Greek word that was translated “like precious” in this verse is “isotimos”, which means “of equal value or honour.” We have the same faith that Peter used when he raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42) and when he made people whole by touching them with just his shadow (Acts 5:15).
We also have the same faith that Paul had. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Paul did not say that he lived by faith in the Son of God but by the faith of the Son of God. The measure of faith that Paul had was the same measure that Jesus had. It was Jesus’ faith. If there is only one measure of faith (Romans 12:3), then we also have the faith of Jesus.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura