More on Faith

David Brandt Berg

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“According to your faith be it done unto you” (Matthew 9:29). If you’ve got the faith for it, God will do it. And faith is not just hoping, believing, or somewhat expecting, but knowing—absolutely knowing!

Faith has lost its meaning to us today. Today the word faith means kind of a hazy, vague belief of some kind in something or other; the word faith doesn’t really mean much. It meant more than that in God’s Word. But it doesn’t mean much today to most Christians. It is the substance, it is the hupostasis, it is the title deed (Hebrews 11:1).

About that word translated “substance” in the 11th chapter of Hebrews: When they translated the New Testament from the Greek nearly 400 years ago, they were still puzzled by the word hupostasis. Now they knew from the way this word hupostasis was used in some Greek literature that it was apparently something fairly substantial, very sure evidence of some kind, so they translated it “substance.” With Greek classical literature not ordinarily using business terminology, it was very difficult to find this word or what it meant.

But a few years ago archaeologists uncovered the burned ruins of an old inn in northern Israel. There they found a small iron chest containing what were apparently the valuable papers of some Roman noblewoman who had been traveling in Israel at that time. In this little chest they found most of the papers labeled with a big title HUPOSTASIS at the top of almost every paper. The business of the day was done in Greek because this was the worldwide language of business and culture, even though the Romans were ruling the world.

All of these papers which had the title Hupostasis in big letters across the top were title deeds to her properties. But this was long after the King James Version was translated, so they didn’t have the advantage of that discovery.

If you turn to Hebrews, the 11th chapter, the word “substance” there is just as good and conveys the message and I am quite sure it’s sufficient, but if you want to make it even clearer and more explicit, you can write above that word “substance,” in parentheses, “title deed.” Now faith is what?—The title deed.

In fact, you could put it this way: “Now faith is the title deed to things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Perhaps this Roman woman had never seen the properties she’d bought in Israel, but she knew she had them and she could prove her ownership even though she had never seen them.

If you’ve got real faith, even though you haven’t seen the answer yet, you’ve got the title deed to it. It’s yours; your name’s written on it and you will see it eventually—that’s faith. You know you’ve got the title in your hands. Praise God. It’s done. Real faith knows, and it happens. It never fails.

I want to warn you right now that you’d better have the faith yourself. Don’t do it because somebody tells you to and you’re acting according to their faith. You’ve got to have the faith for it yourself, unless you’re such a new convert that you just don’t know anything and can’t do anything and it’s an emergency situation. Sometimes God will give people vicarious faith, and in that case, strangely enough, it would be like they just have faith in you.

Salvation is a gift, the Holy Spirit’s a gift, but healing, though it’s a gift, you have to earn it through obedience. You can’t exactly earn it, but you’ve got to be worthy of it. If you want to keep it you’d better obey. When you’re healed, you’d better stay close to the Lord and do the things that He healed you for.

You’d better use that strength that God gives you in healing for His glory, or He can take it away from you. This is not so with salvation or the Holy Spirit—those are pure gifts. I don’t know whether I should put it that way, because I’ve had a lot of healings I didn’t deserve. But it’s almost as though you have to be worthy or earn it or obey to get it. Healing is a little extra bonus from the Lord; it’s a little extra blessing, kind of like finances. If you think you can just live as you please and get God to support you, you’re mistaken!

You’d better obey the Lord and stay in the center of His will and do what God wants you to do, if you expect to live by faith and expect God to take care of you.

God can do miracles! He expects you to do what you can do, but God helps those who cannot help themselves. He’s not going to feed you or wash your face for you, shove food in your mouth and brush your teeth, or roll away the stone, but He’ll heal you and He’ll supply the food—although He’ll usually let you cook it. Of course, there was one prophet He had the birds deliver it every morning and evening, both bread and flesh (1 Kings 17:4–6).

God can do anything if you trust Him, if you’re obedient. Now here’s the connection between obedience and faith: It’s pretty hard to have faith if you’re disobedient. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to believe God for anything if you’re disobedient. But if you know you’re doing your best to please Him and obey Him, you can expect almost anything. God will do almost anything for you, some of the most amazing things you could possibly imagine. I could tell you some things you probably wouldn’t even believe that God has done for me—just because I love Him and am trying my best to please Him, obey Him, and do the job.

My dad used to say to my mother, “You’re the Lord’s spoiled child; He pampers you.” She really loved the Lord and she made all kinds of sacrifices, was in touch with the Lord, and really served the Lord and really obeyed Him. So He gave her anything she wanted, anything she asked the Lord for, her heart’s desire. I told you about the time she stuck a quarter in the slot machine and got the jackpot. In my case, maybe I wanted to see this or that, or go some place or have something that maybe you might have thought was a luxury or a little unnecessary.

But maybe after you’ve served the Lord as many years as I have, He might even supply a few things exceedingly abundant above all you could ask or think, pressed down, shaken together and running over—more than you need, little luxuries, comforts (Ephesians 3:20; Luke 6:38).

Come on, let’s face it. You’ve got stuff right now you don’t really need. The Lord was good to you and gave it to you because you pleased Him. He only guaranteed food and clothing, “all your needs according to His riches in glory” (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:19). You’re only guaranteed your needs, but if you please Him, He usually throws in a few little odds and ends with it just to keep you happy.

A father is obligated to support his family and supply their needs and give them food, clothing, and shelter; the law will even come after him if he doesn’t. But if he really loves his children and they really please him and obey him, he will often come home and bring them the little extras—little extra gifts, toys, and presents.

The stage you go through first is probably the rock-bottom stage, because first God sees what you’re going to do with a nickel before He starts giving you quarters or half-dollars or dollars, or maybe a hundred or even a thousand. He wants to see if He can trust you with nothing before He gives you something. If you’re faithful in a few things, He’ll make you ruler over many (Matthew 25:23). The Lord’s going to wait to see if He can trust you with the necessities before He trusts you with any luxuries.

Some people have grandiose ideas of how God’s supposed to supply their needs. They think they ought to be rolling around in the very best vehicles and have the finest and the best-looking and the most expensive and so on. “Nothing is too good for God’s servant.” I agree that nothing is too good for you, but it might not be good for you. It might minister to your pride instead of your humility.

God has ways of doing things that aren’t always our way (Isaiah 55:8–9). There are certain people hung up on certain doctrines of affluence—that no Christian should be poor, that no Christian should be afflicted, no Christian should be sick, should ever be unpopular, that you should have perfect wealth, perfect health and perfect popularity if you’re a Christian.

For some reason or other, I don’t seem to find that in the Bible about the apostle Paul. Somehow or another Jesus didn’t seem to quite fit that pattern, or His long-robed, long-haired, long-bearded disciples.

God will give you what you ask for; He’s very definite. Be definite with the Lord. He says, “Command thou Me” (Isaiah 45:11). He’ll give you what you ask for, and certainly what you have the faith for. That’s the way the Lord blesses if you trust Him, if you please Him, if you follow Him, if you obey Him, if you’re doing what He wants you to do and getting the work accomplished that He wants you to accomplish.

But watch out! Sometimes material blessings can be a snare and a little trap of the Devil, and the Devil can heap them on you if you just kind of compromise a little here or there. Naaman, healed of leprosy by the true God Jehovah, said, “Lord, forgive me now—I’ve got to go back to my job. You know I’ve got to go back and worship in the temple of Rimmon or I’ll lose my job, because the king worships Rimmon; he doesn’t worship Jehovah. Lord, please pardon Thy servant as I go into the temple of Rimmon, the king leaning on my arm” (2 Kings 5:18).

And you never hear anything more about Naaman after that. Well, he’s mentioned once in the New Testament—that’s about all (Luke 4:27). A couple of guys in Damascus might have been sitting out on the curbstone discussing Naaman’s healing, and one of them could have said to the other one, “I understand that Naaman went down to Israel and he got healed by that God Jehovah.” And the other guy could have said, “Oh, no! I’m sure it must have been the god Rimmon, because see, there he’s going into the temple of Rimmon right now.” Who got the glory?

Watch out about compromise. Watch out about any compromise or pulling your punches for advantage, for finances, for protection, for safety, for anything. Be faithful to the message; be faithful to the method; be faithful to the Word; be faithful to the voice of God; be faithful to the particular ministry He’s called you to.

Just remember, “Faith is the title deed to things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). And “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). So don’t think you can get away with not having it. Jesus said, “O ye of little faith! Wherefore dost thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

So how do you get such faith? “Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Hear and read the Word. The future is as bright as the promises of God!

 
 

Copyright © The Family International

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