The Principles of the kingdom of God (3) The Principle of Faith
Primary Texts: Hebrews 11:1, 6
The life of the child of God is a life of faith. No one has seen God at any time, and so when you come into His kingdom, you must realize that you are entering into a realm that will always go against your reasoning. Everything about the Kingdom is a matter of faith. We are saved by faith – Ephesians 2:8, we walk and live by faith – II Corinthians 5:7, we believe that God exists by faith – Hebrews 11:6, and we are also kept by faith – I Peter 1:5.
It is important to live by faith because it is faith that unlocks the power of God to act upon your situation – see Hebrews 11:11, 32-33. Also when Jesus healed people, He looked for that characteristic of faith in their lives: The centurion – Matthew 8:8-10, The Syro-Phoenician woman – Mark 7:26, Blind Barthemaeus – Mark 10:51-52
What then is Faith?
It is defined in the dictionary as a belief, trust or loyalty to a creed, religion or someone. It is usually done with a strong conviction. To us, it is the belief and trust in the God of the Scriptures and upon His infallible word. But then, note that faith is not believing in something that you know is not true. It is believing in what God has spoken or declared to be. Some people have accused us of not being realistic but the fact of the matter is that faith goes beyond reason, and if placed under the natural and intellectual microscope, will not be able to pass the test of reasoning – see Hebrews 11:3.
Someone rightly said that “faith is any act that is based on or inspired by trust in the character and competence of God.” Consider the leper in Luke 5:12-13.
What Faith is Not
1. Faith is not hope. Hope is a good waiter but not a good receiver. Hope says, ‘I will get it’ but Faith says, ‘I have it’. Hope says, ‘I will be healed’ but Faith says, ‘I am healed.’ Hope looks at the future but Faith looks at the now. Faith sees the thing as having been accomplished. It is essential therefore that you do not pray in hope but in faith, to have that need met. Remember the case of Sarah in Hebrews 11:11 and Jesus’ words in Mark 11:24.
2. Faith is not mental assent. You can agree that something is true but not act on it. A lot of people believe that Jesus died for the world, but did He die for them? Many believers agree that they should tithe for God’s work, but do they? A lot of politicians believe that abortion is evil yet they vote for legislation that promotes it. Consider the action of the people of Nineveh when Jonah pronounced their doom – Jonah 3:5-9. The fact of the matter is that scripture speaks of things that are not seen but faith gives substance to those things so that we act on the conviction of their reality. See Heb. 1:1-3.
III. Faith is not feeling. It is independent of how or what you feel. You can feel saved today and unsaved the next day. When asked how you know that you are saved, the answer is not that you feel saved because in a low moment, that feeling will be gone. The answer is that you are saved because God says so – Romans 10:9-10.
The Evidence of Faith
1. Faith is known by the actions that it takes – see James 2:17-24, Hebrews 11:8. If you believe what God says concerning you, that belief must guide your relationships, giving, daily walk and conduct, and prayer life. In Heb. 11, all the heroes of faith were mentioned because of the actions that they took.
2. Faith is also known by what it endures – Hebrews 10:35-39; 11:32-40. Consider Peter’s admonition to the persecuted believers – I Peter 1:6-9. Your trials are a sure test of your faith. Will you give up? In Heb. 11, observe that from v.35, the Heroes of faith became the persecuted who refused to give up. Bypassed for promotion because of your faith? Tithed and no results? Lost so much in business in spite of claiming the promises? Do not give up. Sometimes, our expectations do not always come to pass but should that make us give up on God? – Hebrews 11:13. Consider what the Chinese church is going through right now. Kevin Smith commented that “Faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.” Your standing in the midst of your trials and temptations is evidence of your faith. Do not give up on whatever that you are praying for – your children, spouse, family, financial breakthrough, etc. you may be laying the foundation for a great posterity.
The Source of Faith
1. The Divine side: Every one of us has an inward potential for faith – Romans 12:3. Faith is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and so some believers may have it more than others – I Corinthians 12:9. Jesus is the source of our faith and we can cry to Him to increase our faith – Hebrews 12:2, Luke 17:5.
2. The Human side: This connotes not just hearing but also obeying a specific word that God has spoken – Romans 10:17. The people who heard the words that the apostles preached believed, that is they had faith. The word is a precursor to faith. What has God said concerning your sick body? – Acts 4:4. If you must have your faith grow, be a student of the Bible.
God delights in the fact that His children trust in Him, and we must approach the throne of grace with that in mind. He is always pleased with us when we trust Him – Hebrews 11:6. God made a boast of Job – Job 1:8. Can He boast about us? Enoch was commended and rewarded for his faith – Hebrews 11:5. The elders (those on the wall of faith) were commended for their faith – Hebrews 11:2.
We cannot walk without faith and, on this basis, God has called us to adopt this principle of faith if we must succeed in His kingdom. I pray that we learn to fully walk with God by faith and not be weary, in JESUS’ name.