Hebrews 11 gives us the simple Bible definition of genuine faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear…without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
There is a human faith. We all trust in certain things. We believe in the sincerity and reality of various things. We go to the sink, turn on the faucet, and drink water that we believe is safe. We go to the grocery store and buy packaged and bottled goods. We eat them with confidence. The doctor prescribes medicine from a pharmacist. We take the prescription as directed, trusting in its safety and purity. In a thousand ways every day we exercise human faith.
However, saving faith is quite a different matter. It is not simply a belief in certain facts about God or the Bible. It isn’t just a belief in a Supreme Being or force. Religion is not saving faith. Satan and his demons believe in God and Jesus and tremble. (James 2:19; Luke 8:27-28) Saving faith is a gift from God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” This kind of faith does not come from within us, and it does not come from without us. It comes from God Himself. In a special, miraculous way He reveals Himself to us through His Word. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
In Luke 9 a distraught man came to Jesus bringing his only son who was possessed by a demon. He had first asked the disciples to cast out the demon, and they could not. Jesus rebukes his disciples for this in verse 41. He had commissioned them in 9:1, “and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.” They were empowered and sent out to do the very thing this distraught father begged them to do. Verse 40 tells us “and they could not.” The question arises: Why could they not do what the Lord had commissioned them to do? Why did they fail? Mark’s account records their embarrassment. They asked the Lord, “Why could we not cast the devils out?” Jesus answered them, “Because of your disbelief.” He goes on to tell them that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed, they could remove mountains. He says, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting…” (Mark 9:25-29)
The disciples’ failure was a failure to pray. Someone has wisely said, “All our spiritual failures are failures to pray.” Jesus warned, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing; but the flesh is weak.” (Matt.26:41)
Why is it that we often fail in areas in which the Lord has commanded? These disciples should have been able to help this poor man and his son. Obviously, they acted presumptuously and in their own strength. “Without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Whatever the Lord has commanded us to do, He has already given us the grace to do it. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6)
Our resources are spiritual. They are mighty and able to pull down strong holds and move mountains. Our charge is, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication…” (Eph. 6:18)
"I know not what methods rare, But this I know, God answers prayer. I know that He has given His Word, Which tells me prayer is always heard, And will be answered, soon or late; And so I pray, and calmly wait. I know not if the blessing sought Will come in just the way I thought, But leave my prayers with Him alone, Whose will is wiser than my own, Assured that He will grant my quest, Or send me answer far more blest."
- Eliza Hickcock
May the Lord give us grace to persevere in prayer and obey His Word. Thank you for your prayers and support of these broadcasting ministries.
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