Central Truth: God has provided the way whereby everyone can have faith.
We read in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We see from this that “without faith it is impossible to please him …” Therefore, if God demands that we have faith when it is impossible for us to have faith, then we have a right to challenge His justice. But if He places within our hands the means whereby faith can be produced, then the responsibility rests with us whether we have faith. God has told us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. But He has also told us how to get faith. If we don’t have faith, it is not God’s fault. To blame God for our lack of faith is nothing but ignorance. God has provided the way whereby everyone can have faith.
Faith for Salvation
The Apostle Paul said that we are saved by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). But how do you get faith to be saved?
Romans 10:8-10, 13, 14, 17
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
After studying the passage of Scripture quoted above, what three steps does man take in order to receive salvation? (1. Confess, 2. Believe, 3. Accept) To whom is this salvation available, according to verse 13? (Whosoever) According to verse 17, where does faith come from? (By hearing the Word of God)
Acts 11:13, 14
13 And he shewed us how he (Cornelius) had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
God instructed Cornelius to send for Peter in order to learn the plan of salvation. In the Great Commission, recorded in Mark 16:15-18, Jesus told His disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature …” As Cornelius had not as yet heard this glorious gospel, he was not saved. God told Cornelius to send for Peter in order to learn the plan of salvation. Why did Cornelius have to send for Peter? Why couldn’t the angel have explained the plan of salvation to Cornelius just as well? (Angels cannot preach the gospel. God has given this task to man.)
The verse, “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved,” shows us that men are saved by hearing words. The reason for this is that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Faith for Healing
7 And there they (Paul and Barnabas) preached the gospel.
8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked;
9 The same heard Paul speak: who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
A casual reader of the Word once said concerning this passage of Scripture, “Isn’t it wonderful how Paul healed that man?” However, Paul did not heal the man. The man was not healed because Paul was an apostle. He was not healed through Paul’s faith. The man himself had the faith.
Paul did three things:
1. He preached the gospel (verse 7).
2. He perceived that the man had faith to be healed (verse 9).
3. He told the man to stand up and walk (verse 10).
The man did three things:
1. He heard Paul preach (verse 9).
2. He had faith to be healed (verse 9).
3. He leaped and walked (verse 10).
The man was not healed by some power that Paul had. The man himself had faith to be healed.
Where did the man get the faith to be healed? (By hearing Paul speak [verse 9]). What did Paul speak? (He preached the gospel [verse 7]). Paul preached a gospel of salvation and a gospel of healing. “For I not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). A footnote in the Scofield Bible referring to this verse says, “The Greek and Hebrew word for salvation implies the ideas of deliverance, safety, healing, and soundness.” Therefore, Paul was saying, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is the power of God unto deliverance, safety, healing, and soundness.” Paul preached the full gospel, not just part of it.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
The great miracles recorded in the above verses came about as the result of Philip’s preaching Christ. The New Testament knows no Christ without Christ the Healer. Physical healing is part of the gospel. If there is no gospel of healing today, then neither is there a gospel of salvation.
Faith in Action
P.C. Nelson, who was for many years a noted Baptist minister, said, “Healing is part and parcel of the gospel.” While he was pastoring a church in Detroit, Michigan, in 1921, he was run over by an automobile. The doctors said that his right leg would probably have to be taken off at the knee. Even if they didn’t have to take it off, it would be stiff. As he lay in his hospital bed the verses of scripture in James 5:14,15 came to him. “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
He tried to excuse himself to the Lord by saying that they didn’t practice this in his church. The Lord reminded him of a certain man and his wife who believed in it and told him to call them to come pray for him. He did so and they came, anointed him with oil, and prayed the prayer of faith. He was healed and his leg didn’t have to be removed, neither was his knee stiff. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Many years ago, as a young denominational boy I lay on the bed of affliction. As I lay there reading Grandma’s Bible, the more I read the more I learned. I soon realized that I had never heard the full gospel, but just part of it. The more I read the more I saw that I didn’t have to die. The more I studied the Word the more I realized that I could be healed.
The devil was right there, of course, bringing to my remembrance all the doubt and unbelief I had ever heard. He told me that healing had been done away with. (Fortunately, I couldn’t remember ever hearing that faith had been done away with.) Also, I had been taught that God would heal if He wanted to do so. This, however, was an even bigger insult than saying that He couldn’t.
I read in Mark 5:34 where Jesus spoke to the woman with the issue of blood, saying, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Jesus didn’t say that His power had made her whole. He said, “Daughter, thy faith …” When I saw this I knew then that if her faith had made her whole, my faith could make me whole. And, thank God, it did. My paralysis disappeared, my heart condition became normal, and I’ve been going at a hop, skip, and a jump ever since then, preaching the gospel in its fullness. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Memory Text: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Faith in Action: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22).
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