Friday, 24 July 2015

What is Faith? ~ Rabqa

St Augustine said: "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.

Heb 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Moffatt's translation of this verse reads: Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.

The author of Hebrews supports his encouragement to steadfast faith by reviewing the triumphant experiences of Hebrew heroes. First He provides not a definition, but a description of of how faith works. Faith is established conviction concerning things unseen & settled exception of future reward.

The Greek word translated substance literally means "a standing under," & was used in the technical sense of "title deed." The root idea is that of standing under the claim to the property to support its validity. So faith is the title deed of things hoped for.

Faith gives substance to things hoped for, hope doesn’t have any substance, but faith gives substance to those things you are hoping for. In other words, what God is saying here is that faith is taking hold of the unseen realm of hope & bringing it into the realm of reality.
Faith grows out of the Word of God Rom 10:17 So faith then comes by hearing, & by hearing by the Word of God.

AS Ganeida said last time that the Greek word for faith is Pistis which means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, & persuasion. in the New Testament setting pisitis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust & reliance in God & all that He says. The word sometimes means the object or content of belief. (Acts 6:7; 14:22; Gal 1:23)
What God is telling us is that faith is laying hold of hope & bringing it into the realm of reality. Too many times when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, healing or an answer to prayer, many people are just simply hoping they will receive. Hope is NOT faith.

Hoping does not get the job done; it's believing. The Bible says "now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1. If it is not now it's not faith. Someone may say "Well I believe I'll get the Holy Spirit sometime”. That is not faith, that is hope, because hope is always future tense or pointing to the future. But faith is now. Faith says "I’ll receive right now; I believe I have my petition now when we pray

 Mk 11:24

Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.

We need to realise this when it comes to receiving from God.. The same principal is true concerning receiving the Holy Spirit, healing, or an answer to prayer. The principles of faith are the same in any area, you want to receive from God.

Faith chooses to believe God's word above the evidence of the physical senses & is to be kept subject to the Word of God. In other words Faith is not denying the circumstances; rather it is believing God's testimony & living in agreement with it.

Unbelief is really taking sides against God's Word. The sad thing about it is, there are so many believers who are in doubt & unbelief, & who are taking sides against the Word of God.  These same believers then wonder why God's Word doesn't work for them.
God's Word cannot work for you if you take sides against it. If you want God's Word to work for you, you must side with it.
When you learn the principles of faith, then it is easy to receive whatever it is you are seeking or whatever you desire from God that is in line with His Word.

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven.

Let me put it this way if you come & ask me to pray in agreement with you say in the area of finances & that you need an extra $50 dollars to meet a bill, I pray the prayer of faith, then tell you that it is done, & you respond "well I hope so", then it's not done because you were hoping & I was believing. Let me give you an example: I like to think I am a girl of faith, I can pray for healing, expecting & believing I am healed or whoever I am praying for, & animals & have seen some miraculous results, even with my own cat Willum has been on deaths door, because of the prayer of faith he is as fit as a mallee bull. I mention pets because God gives them to us to love & look after, they become part of our family & I believe He wants them well. Now I have been praying for a husband for quite some time now with no answer, it was when I was preparing this message that God spoke to me & said "You have been praying in hope, for you keep confessing my husband is coming & not "Thank you Father I have him now". Again hope is always future tense, & faith is now.

This is why some of our prayers don't work for us. Certainly, it isn't God's fault that prayer doesn’t work. If our prayers don't work. it isn't God fault because God never fails. He is always the same & that means He is always faithful to His Word. (Heb 10:23; 13:8; Rom4:20,21)

It is imperative that we pray in line with God's Word, He does not change, He only works in line with His Word. So when we pray & don't get an answer we are at fault, it cannot be God's fault because He never changes, we must get back to praying in line with His Word. We cannot substitute hope for faith & expect to get answers from God.
Please don't misunderstand me, if you keep hope in the right place, it is a most blessed & wonderful reality to you. Paul said in 1 Cor 13:3
And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paul didn't say that faith & hope aren't important; he just said that the greatest of these is love.  Each one has their place.
For example, you can't substitute love for hope, & you can't substitute hope for faith. Yet so many people are trying to receive from God whatever they need based on hope instead of faith.

I know this because sooner or later they say if you take my hope away from me I don't have anything left.

Now we can thank God that we do have a Blessed Hope. The Blessed Hope of the Church is the soon to return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saved dead, the rapture of the living saints, the hope of heaven, & the hope of seeing our loved ones & friends.

We rejoice in that hope, but that's all future tense. Jesus is coming again, whether we believe it or not. He is coming because the Word says so. The resurrection is going to take place whether we have faith or not. The rapture is going to take place whether we believe it or not. & loved ones & friends who are Christians, who have died & left this world & have gone to heaven, are there regardless of what we believe about it.
My faith is not going to bring back Jesus. In other words, I can't believe that He will come back at a particular time & have my faith bring Him back. If that were true then the Church could believe & could bring Jesus back by their believing.

Jesus is coming, But you see that is all future tense because we don't know when that will happen, but we do know it will happen. We do know that it is Blessed Hope. We also know that it is purifying hope for 1 Jn 3:3 says
And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

The Greek word for pure is hagnos comes from the same root word hagios meaning holy. The adjective describes a person or thing as clean, modest, pure, undefiled, faultless, & without blemish. Christ's ability to overcome temptation & remain pure makes Him a role model for all believers.
Looking for Jesus' return & waiting for that Blessed Hope is simply believing what the Word says.

If I say ""I'm going to get my healing sometime " that's not believing at all. It's hope, NOT faith & hope won't bring healing to me. If you say I believe God is going to heal me, sometime that isn't faith it's hope. Again anything that points to the future is hope. It is not faith because faith is now Heb 11:1 Now faith Is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith says "It is mine I have Now". Hope on the other hand says "I'll get it sometime. As long as you are in hope & not in faith whatever it is you are desiring will never materialise that is it will never come into being. But the moment you start believing & acting like God's Word is so, your faith will work for you.

If you have been in the healing line time & time again, then say "I just can't get healed, that is the very reason, you have confessed that you CAN'T get healed In Matt 25:34 ...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Because you said you can't what in fact you are saying is that you believe you can't get your answer, so as long as you say you can't & believe you can't, then you can't. But as soon as you start  believing you can receive from God, whatever you need, you will get your answer,
Kenneth Hagin tells how his hope was changed into faith, He had laid in bed for sixteen months before he was healed, he had been sick all his life, therefore never had a normal childhood. He never ran & played like other children & at fifteen years of age became totally bed ridden.
Five doctors, one of whom had practised at the Mayo Clinic had said that as far medical science knew or any record of, no one had lived past the age of sixteen with this disease. He became totally bed ridden just a few months before he was sixteen he remained bed ridden till he was almost seventeen years of age.

He went through everything, everyone does when they desperately want to be healed. He thanked God for all the good books on faith & healing, not that there were many in those days. He was just a denominational boy reading his Grandma's Bible.

When he was trying to get healed he cried & prayed & said, "Dear Lord, please heal me." He begged God to heal him, & prayed all night & for several nights.

Kenneth said "when you are bed ridden twenty four hours a day you can do a lot of praying."

He prayed many hours a day, day after day, & month after month, but not getting any results as far as obtaining his healing. Then he had a feeling that God had heard him & had healed him. He didn't feel it physically but felt that God had heard him in the spiritual sense.
But then he'd feel his heart & it was not beating as it should, & he would look at his lower limbs & they were paralysed, his legs were just skin & bone.
Then He cried & said "Lord I thought you were going to heal me. I just felt like you did, I just knew it, but you didn't”.

He couldn't understand it, for about a month or so he wouldn't look at the Bible, & decided he might as well give up on prayer as a bad job. Then he started slipping away to death’s door, he fought death with every fibre of his being. The he came back to the Word of God.

He wanted to live so badly, from the natural point of view he fought death & could not see where he was missing it spiritually. He tried to act on God's Word & would recover from the attacks but still didn't receive his healing.

On the second Tuesday in August 1934 (a bit of trivia that date was the 14th) after lying on a sickbed for sixteen months he said to the Lord, "Dear Lord Jesus, when you were on earth you said in Mk 11:24
Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.
You said, "When you pray". I have prayed. You said "Believe" I have believed.

He continued "Dear Lord Jesus, if You stood here by my bed in the flesh & I could see You with my physical eyes, & I could reach out my physical hand & lay my hand on Yours, if You were to say to me, "Son the trouble with you is you're not believing," Kenneth said that his response would be that Jesus was lying because he did believe ( he said that he would have in kindness, not arrogance).

Then he suddenly saw it, like some had turned on a light bulb. He spoke again to the Lord & said "Dear Lord Jesus I see it, I see it, I have to believe I receive my healing before I get it. I have to believe for my heart whilst it is not beating right. I have to believe I have receive healing for my paralysis even from the natural point of view I am still paralysed, & if I believe I receive it, then I have it.

That was thing he hadn't done, he wanted his healing first & then believe it. Instantly he saw what he had been doing, he had been hoping all those months to receive healing & of course hope doesn’t work. He could never receive his healing through hope, only by faith, so he had to believe before it manifested.

He was lying there on his bed, it was only the lower part of his body he couldn't move, no one told him to raise his hands, he doesn’t know why but he did, he lifted his hands towards heaven & said "Heavenly Father, dear Lord Jesus, thank God I am healed! I believe I am healed."
When he said to the Lord that he believed & he received his healing he had faith working for him. He said "Thank you dear Lord Jesus, for my healing! I believe that my heart is well; I believe that my paralysis is healed! I thank you for the healing. He praised God in that vein for about ten minutes that his body & heart were healed.

The devil tried to steal the healing telling him he wasn't healed but Kenneth sent him on his way... satan tried to tell him that he had lied because he said that he was healed, Kenneth told the devil that he didn't lie because he didn't say he was healed only that he believed
He was healed. He went on praising God & thanking Him for the answer. Then He heard a voice on the inside of him that said "Now you believe that you are healed, healed people don't have any business being in bed at this time of day, they need to be up."

Kenneth said "Yes that's right Lord, Praise God I'm going to get up."
Now he was in faith, believing is taking a step of faith, & that requires the corresponding action, in Kenneth case he had been in bed for sixteen months he needed to get up out of bed in order to act in faith. He didn't look or feel any better, nor did he have any feeling from the waist down. If he had gone by feeling, he would have been saying that he wasn't healed, but he knew that he had been healed regardless of how he felt, so he pushed himself to a seated position, then with his hands he pushed his limbs & feet off the bed & twisted his body around so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed. His feet fell to the floor like like chunks of wood.

The devil tried yet again tell him that he would fall & that he would have to lie on the floor for hours before someone would be home to put him back in bed. in Eph 4:27 says neither give place to the devil so he ignored him as if he satan hadn't spoken.

He grabbed hold of the bed post, but his knees wouldn't function, with his arms hugging the bedpost he hung there sagging at the knees. Praising God he lifted one hand a bit I am healed he declared in the presence of Almighty God & the Lord Jesus Christ & the angels in heaven, & to the presence of the devil & evil spirits he said the Word of God is true. I believe I am healed.

Because he had been lying flat on his back for sixteen months, he felt that the room was spinning, he closed his eyes & eventually everything seemed normal again, So he opened his eyes & began praising God & thanking Him "according to the Word I am healed, I believe that’. Then he felt something, feeling was actually returning to him. It seemed to start at the top of his head, & went down over him, Like oil or something warm. When it got to his waist, the feeling continued right down to his toes. every nerve in his limbs was reactivated, & it felt like two million pins were sticking in him.

Then he felt normal, his paralysis was gone, so he said "I am going to walk now." He did & had been walking right up to the time he went home to be with the Lord In 2003 at the age of eighty six.

We sing the song "Every step by faith", Some churches march round the room singing "Every step by faith," This is not a fun thing to do but a reminder that faith is an action, we are not merely to sit back & let God do all the work we must do our part in Kenneth's case he had to get up out of bed.

That's what faith is, you must act on it, God will do his part but you have a part to play as well, whatever God tells you to do, do it, it's no different then when Jesus told the man at the pool of Bethesda "Take up your bed & walk (Jn 5:8).
We need to realise that faith is of the heart, not the head. John Wesley called it mental assent, he said that people mentally agree that the Bible or the Word is true, but they don't believe it in their heart.

If you are only mentally agreeing, you will say you believe that the Bible is true, but you don't believe it is true for you, & you conclude in saying something like "I believe the Bible is true, but I don't have my answer, & don't understand why." But faith says "It's mine, I have it now." Faith believes the Word & acts on it.

A good analogy between head faith & heart faith, is the example Thomas' faith versus Abraham's faith. Jn 20:25-29.
So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Rom 4:17-21
(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in thepresence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
You can see the difference between Abraham's faith & Thomas' faith. Thomas said I won't believe until I can see the print of the nails in His hand & the wound in His side, Jesus said to Him in V 25 "Because you have seen me you believe, blessed are they THAT HAVE NOT SEEN & yet have BELIEVED."

Now look at Abraham who Calls those things which are not as though they were.(V17)

So we see that true Bible faith is of course Abraham's faith Because Heb 11:1 say
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

Abraham is mentioned in this chapter as having faith that pleased God (8-12) Abraham's faith was based on Rom 4:17...being fully persuaded that, what He (God) had promised, he was able to perform. Abraham believed God & he believed His promise.

Acknowledgement Kenneth E Hagin.

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