“The Just Shall Live By Faith”
Fred Coulter - 1987
This is the fourth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Here we are half way through, and we’re just having a real fine Feast. The weather’s beautiful and God has blessed us in every way. And we’re going to go over to the Hughes’ and have lunch later this afternoon. Before we go over there I want to ask you a question.
Why does the Bible say that the just shall live by faith? And what does it mean? What kind of faith? How much faith do you have? Does your salvation depend solely upon YOUR faith? Well, we’ll find out what that means today.
You do have faith. You have your own faith. Everyone can have their own faith, and that is effective to a certain degree. So let’s begin here by giving a little definition of what faith is.
Faith and belief are synonymous. Faith means that you have belief and faith and trust in someone or something. Belief is the active, (or “to believe”, the very form of it) where you are actually believing. And how we find through the book of John, “the one who is believing into Jesus.” I’m sure you remember that and recall that. But let’s see what your faith can accomplish. And even your faith toward God alone can accomplish quite a bit.
Let’s go to Matthew 8, and while we get here let’s be sure and answer the question, because lots of times if we pray for something or if we are anointed to be healed, or prayed for to be healed, and we’re not healed right away, then lot’s of times we are told: “Well, something is wrong with your faith.” Now is that necessarily so? Well, we’ll see as we go along here.
“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented’. And Jesus saith unto him, ‘I will come and heal him’. The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it’. When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, ‘Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel’” (Matt. 8:5-10). Now that tells us what kind of generation that it was. Remember, Jesus said it was a faithless generation, too. So it tells you quite a bit about their faith and belief in God.
So then He said, “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs. 11-12). Now, “the children of the kingdom” here actually refers to the Jews who were living in Judea at that time, that they were not going to enter into the Kingdom of God. They didn’t even have enough of their faith to begin to believe Jesus so that they could, as we’ll see a little later on, receive the faith for salvation. Because the faith for salvation, as we are going to learn, is different than the faith for just healing, or the faith and trust in doing things. It’s quite different.
You know, modern psychology is based on a faith. Did you know that? It’s based on the faith in the self, and what the self can do, what a person can accomplish, and thinking positive thoughts. And can’t a person accomplish and do a lot of things? Sure they can. They can do a lot of things, but that is not the kind of faith that’s necessary for salvation.
“And Jesus said unto the centurion, ‘Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee’. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (vs. 13, paraphrased). That very time. Then He went to Peter’s house, and so forth. “And when He was entered into the ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with waves: but He was asleep” (vs. 23-24). Now I don’t know how Jesus was asleep there. I suppose He could do anything anyplace. That would be fine. But if I were in a ship like that I’d be leaning over the side and half my stomach would be too.
I never will forget the time I was on my way to Korea, and I got conned out of $20 to some Sargent with all these stripes who said, “Well, I’ll get your name put on the Hawaii roster. You can to go Hawaii instead of Korea.” And I said, “Here’s $20.” Never did find him on the ship. But anyway, as I was going out through the Golden Gate and on the troop ship, we got out there and just the first thing, the waves and everything, all of us land-lovers went over to the rail. That was it. And we weren’t in a bad storm till we came back, and it took us quite a while coming back. We came up from Japan up through the Gulf of Alaska and on down through Seattle. We were on a troop ship and I tell you that thing was listing over about like that with the wind. And you talk about everybody with their eyes wide open and looking out. That was quite some affair there, coming back. Anyway, it gives you a feeling of what the disciples were up against.
But this is just a little rowboat, and here they are out in the Sea of Galilee and here come the waves. And I’ll tell you, if anything makes you feel helpless - that’s when you’re in a small boat and the waves are coming in and there’s more water coming in than you’re able to bail out. Ok? So that’s kind of the picture that it was. But He was sleeping.
“And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us: we perish’. And He saith unto them, ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith’? (vs. 25-26). Now that’s quite a profound statement, isn’t it? If we have faith in God, and if we trust God, then we don’t have to be fearful in the sense that we are afraid that God is going to run off and desert us. We don’t have to be afraid for our lives. We don’t have to be afraid of things like that. We can trust God.
Now on the other hand, we’re to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. And we’re not to run out and just tempt God and put ourselves into situations that are untenable. In other words if you walk down the worst street in Los Angeles, don’t be surprised if God maybe let’s you get bumped on the head and lay in the sidewalk for awhile just to teach you a lesson. Don’t go running on down there and expect God to do everything for you. Remember what Satan told Jesus. He said, “Jump down off this temple pinnacle, and God’s angels will lift you up.” And Jesus said, “Don’t tempt the LORD your God.” So there’s a balance.
“Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (vs. 26). Now just picture yourself, struggling and fighting for you life. You’re in this little boat. You’re on the Sea of Galilee in this fantastic storm and then Jesus gets up, and He just commands the wind. He says, “Wind, be still.” And it stopped, and it was calm. And of course that happened instantly. Here the boat’s tossing to and fro. All of a sudden you look out and it’s calm, not a wave, and it’s beautiful. Well, and it says here, “But the men marvelled, saying, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him” (vs. 27)! Now that took quite a bit of faith on Jesus part to be able to do that, because we are going to find out that Jesus HAD to have faith. Did you know that Jesus had to have faith? Because He trusted “…Him that was able to save Him from death…” (Heb. 5:7).
All right, now let’s go to Chapter 9. So He stopped off there in the town and healed many. “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee’” (Matt. 9:2). And He said in another place, the same account, “What’s the difference if you say, ‘Your faith has healed you’, or ‘Your sins be forgiven you’?”
All right, let’s go to Mark 5. And here again we’re going to see about the faith that YOU can have. Because this ties in with another very important scripture that is going to be the key to understanding what kind of faith we really need for salvation.
Now here’s a woman who had a terrible and a horrible problem. “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed Him, and thronged Him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians…” (Mark 5:24-26). You know, doctors can help at certain times in certain ways, but you know even the doctors are beginning to find out and know, in spite of all that they have, there is very little that they can actually do. And a lot of things that they do are not the things that should be done. And that’s one of the reasons that the AIDS thing is going to be dumbfounding for them. We can just say, “Ok, so they find out how to offset the AIDS thing.” You can be guaranteed something worse will come along. You can be absolutely guaranteed that it will.
But it’s incredible how that people suffer many, many, many things. And I know that in my life as a minister I’ve seen a lot of people who’ve suffered a lot of things because of the doctors, and finally they come to their senses and give up on the doctors and lo and behold they improved. Now, not in every case. Each case is a different situation, ok? But here this poor woman had suffered many things of the physicians.
“When she heard of Jesus, came in the press behind [in other words, came in the crowd that was pressing behind Him], and touched His garment. For she said, ‘If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole’. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue [power] had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, ‘Who touched My clothes’?” (vs. 27-30). Now that’s quite something that He would know instantly. That tells you an awful lot about the power of God, the power of God’s Spirit, and the perception that Jesus had, and the use that Jesus had of it.
“And His disciples said unto Him, ‘Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, ‘Who touched me’? And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. And He said unto her, ‘Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (vs. 31-34).
So people can be healed. They can have certain things done because of a certain amount of faith that THEY have. And that helps answer the question, “Why are there people who are not in the Church of God that do pray and have their prayers answered?” The only reason you can conclude is that they have a certain amount of faith. Now does that mean that they’re necessarily called for salvation? Maybe, maybe not. That depends on what God does, because being called for salvation is an entirely different situation.
Look at all the thousands of people that were with Jesus, around Jesus, and so forth. He didn’t heal everyone who was sick. He didn’t heal all the blind so that they could see. He didn’t heal all the lepers so that they were healed and whole and clean. No. But He’s showing right here the kind of faith that is there - YOUR faith.
Now here’s a good example of someone who put their faith to work, and their faith caused them to exercise quite a bit of commotion, as it were. Quite a bit of action. “And they came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me’” (Mark 10:46-47).
And when I was studying through this, it brought up a whole other subject that I need to study through and cover, that is: What are the sure mercies of David? Because we hear about that and this reminded me of it and that will be quite a study in itself.
“And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, ‘Thou Son of David, have mercy on me’. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying unto him, ‘Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee’. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What wilt thou that I should do unto thee’? the blind man said unto Him, ‘Lord, that I might receive my sight’. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” So there again, YOUR faith. You have faith. You have a certain amount of faith. You have a certain amount of belief - that is YOUR FAITH. “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (vs. 48-52). Now that has to do more than just along the highway. I’m sure that has to do in the way of faith.
Now let’s focus a little bit more on the next part of faith. Let’s go to Hebrews 11, because faith, a deeper definition of faith, involves then COMMITMENT, a greater intensity of it.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” That’s just as good as having something in your hand. It is better, because as we mentioned yesterday - what is very important for salvation? Your willingness toward God. Well then here - your faith is the substance, that is the power then, as it were, the “…substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
This is a little bit different than being healed, because if you’re healed you see it, you’re healed. Now what if you have faith, faith in God, the power of God, and what if you ask to be anointed and ask God to heal you and He doesn’t heal you? Now what do you do? Well then, you have to have a greater faith because your commitment has to go beyond just the physical evidence of the here and now. Because we’re talking about a deeper commitment. This kind of faith then, you commit yourself to God totally. Ok?
“For by it the elders obtained a good report. 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” (vs. 2-3). And even yet to this day, even though we go down to the smallest most infinitesimal part of what we know of matter, still they don’t know what is behind that. And so this is valid for us today.
Now notice the kind of faith that is involved here. This kind of faith impels you because you believe in Jesus Christ. Because you believe in God, this kind of faith impels you to do the things that are right in spite of the circumstances around you. Now that’s quite a little bit different than following Jesus and grabbing hold of the hem of His garment. This is something which is deep, and something which is lasting, and this kind of faith comes from God. And yet we’re going to see there is another kind of faith that is even more powerful than this.
This is the kind of faith that helps you through the difficult times. By faith Abel, he offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. When obviously the easiest thing to do was to do what Cain was doing. Now then Enoch, he trusted in God, believed in God, walked with God, and apparently was the only one obeying God during the time of his life. And the evil people were after him. And God, as it were, transported him away. It says a little later here, these all died in faith. But he trusted in God to save him and protect him.
Now verse 6 is the real key thing here. “But without faith [separate from 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.”
That’s why you can go out here and you can talk to people, you know: “Do you believe in God?” “Yes, I believe in God.” But they don’t believe in Him enough to keep His commandments. They don’t believe in Him enough to commit their way to God. But all of these examples are those of people who have committed themselves to God and His way, by faith.
Then it talks about Noah. Now what if you had never seen rain? There’s an indication that before the flood it didn’t rain, but there was a heavy dew every day and every night. That’s how everything was watered. God came to you and said, “You know, I’m going to flood the world with rain. Now, I want you to build an ark.” Have to take a lot of faith. And he was committed and impelled to be doing the will of God in spite of all the circumstances around. And then one day it did rain.
There’s a new ad for Reese’s Pieces on television about chocolate and peanut butter going back to the time of Noah. They were just ready to tell Noah that the best thing in the world is chocolate and peanut butter and then the flood came so that’s why we didn’t get it until just a few years ago.
Abraham, now that took a lot of faith. You know the whole account about Abraham. I won’t go through that. Then the account about Sarah, how she was able to bear. And then by faith, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. By faith Joseph, when he died made mention, and so forth. And I want to get to Moses.
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment” (vs. 23). Now it had to take quite a bit of faith on his mother’s part then, to go ahead and weave this little basket and make sure it was watertight, and put Moses in it. And then of course, you know, just like the account of “The Ten Commandments”, she watched where it went. And when the princess of Egypt picked it up, made sure that she came in and nursed him. So actually his mother did take care of him even though it was claimed to be Moses, one drawn from the water. So it took faith on her part.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God…” (vs. 24-25). Now that would take a lot of faith to do that wouldn’t it? More than just your own belief. You’d have to have a certain amount of faith that what God was doing was right, and especially to choose suffering. Now, very few of us are willing to choose suffering to obey God. Now sometimes we do. Sometimes we suffered. I think all of us have suffered somewhat in obeying God and putting God first and making sure that we were following Him. Ok. Rather “…than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (vs. 26). So then he forsook Egypt, and so forth. By faith he kept the Passover, and then it goes through, by faith.
The second stage of faith then is that you do the things that God wants you to do in spite of what the circumstances are. That’s what you do. And you don’t look to the physical, you don’t look to the here and now, you don’t look to your own advantage, you don’t look to what’s going to be best for yourself. You look to what your relationship is to God and you have faith that if you follow God, even though you cannot see the end result this minute, that because what God has said is true, because you have proven that God exists, because you know He created the universe, because you know that God is always right, and that you have committed your life to Him, that what God says, or has you do, you will do in spite of whatever the circumstances may be. Now that’s the second level of faith.
All right, there is another level of faith. It goes a little bit further than that. Let’s go to Romans 5. And just for a concordance study, it’s interesting that the word ‘faith’ is used more in the book of Romans than any other book. Now we are going to get into the third kind of faith. And the third kind of faith is above and beyond and it ties in with one of the scriptures we will read here in the first chapter of the book of Romans. Let’s pick it up here in verse one and summarize some of the verses as we go along.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which [Who] was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from [of] the dead” (Rom. 1:1-4). Now you know, Jesus had to have an awful lot of faith didn’t He? Sure He did, because He gave up being God to become a human being.
And you know, just think of your own human nature, just how human beings would react. That’s why God is so fantastic, and why Jesus had to have faith and trust in God the Father too. Would you be willing, if you were co-owner of the whole universe, to give it up to become a human being and maybe you might not make it back? He had to have enough faith and trust that God would keep His word, right? How many agreements have men entered into, where it was to their advantage to break that agreement after they had the total advantage? Did God the Father have the total advantage when Jesus was just a human? Could He have said, “Oh well, I’ve got all this myself. Tough luck.” No He didn’t. But was resurrected.
“By Whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith…” Now this is talking about the body of beliefs, the faith. But you also have to obey the faith that you believe. Because if you believe, and you obey, that’s going to demonstrate your faith. It will be automatic. It’s not something to show. It’s not something to prove. You know, it’s not like I’m going to prove how good I am or how much faith I have. It’s something you do automatically. By “…obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name” (vs. 5).
Now let’s drop down to verse 8. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” So now then he’s referring to their faith, their obedience, and what they were following and doing. “That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (vs. 12). So here we’re still talking about the faith that they would supply.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [believes, or, is believing]…” Now believing is the actuating of the faith that you feel in your mind. That is the actuating thing of doing it. Because if you say you believe something and you don’t act upon it, you don’t believe. And that’s what was the matter with the Jews. They did not believe. Ok then, he says, “…to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [Gentile]. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith…” (vs. 16-17). Now that faith, we’re going to see, comes from God, and we have our faith going back to God, but there’s another faith that is required for salvation. And we’re going to see that ONLY God can supply that faith. That’s something you can’t work up. That is something that does not originate with you. And it has an awful lot to do with the forgiveness of sin. Has an awful lot to do with the right-standing that you have before God. All right, from faith to faith.
Now, God has to have faith. He has faith in His plan. It talks about God Who is faithful. Before we get into one other part of it, let’s see here in 1 Corinthians 1:9, then we’ll come back to Romans. This you can count on, “God is faithful…” God not only is faithful in what He is going to do, but God also has faith that He imparts to us, and that becomes the thing that is absolutely important.
Let’s go to 2 Thessalonians 3:3. Now it says in another place that we can be confident. And confidence is part of faith in this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will what? Perform it. Till when? The day of Jesus Christ. We can have that confidence, absolute faith and assurance and hope that that is going to be. “But the Lord is faithful, Who shall [e]stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
I know Bob and I were talking after the Day of Atonement, about how there in 1 John 5, it shows that we are kept from the evil one. And I tell ya, after reading some of that book, “The Jesuits”, that that whole Vatican is a tangled mess of evil and wretchedness and intrigue. Boy, that has really been something, just going through that, and then prepare for the sermon today the faith we have to have. I’ll tell ya one thing. We don’t have to go through all the intrigue and things. We don’t. That’s why we are where we are.
“But the Lord is faithful, Who shall [e]stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts…” Now this ties right in with the sermon I gave yesterday about how God governs through His Spirit, through love, ok? “…The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thes. 3:3-5). Now that’s an awful lot that God is doing, but the point is that God is faithful. How is faith given, and how does that interact with our faith then, that’s the next question?
First of all, God calls. Did I ever bring a sermon entitled “What Is God the Father Doing?” Do you recall if I ever brought a sermon “What Is God the Father Doing?” Yea, I think I did. Well, God is the one Who is calling us. We have direct relationship with God. God gives us His Spirit. Ok. Now with repentance we have our commitment to God. Then we have the next thing. God justifies us in forgiving our sins. And then He perfects us in Christ Jesus.
Now let’s go to a very interesting scripture back here in Mark 11:22. So when you ask God to increase faith, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God’.” Now I’m going to get back to this one little sentence here because it means more than just have faith in God. “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea’; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith (vs. 23). Now is that some kind of faith you can work up?
I know we all have a certain degree of faith. We have enough faith to be here. We have enough faith to follow God. But I don’t see us standing alongside the lake down here casting trees into the lake. Nor do I see us moving mountains, but nevertheless we know that we have faith. So what is He talking about here, verse 22? Is it that YOU have faith in God? No. If you have an Interlinear, and this is where knowing a little bit about the Greek helps out. This Greek term here, “have faith in God’, really should be translated “have God’s faith”. Now that’s entirely different, isn’t it? Have God’s faith. That’s the third phase of faith. Have God’s faith.
Now maybe that will start ringing a few bells in your head as far as bringing some scriptures together and so forth. How does this relate then to salvation because it is God’s faith, which is going to bring us to salvation. We have our part, remember, it’s from faith to faith. From our faith to God, God’s faith back to us, and it’s a continuous thing with God’s Spirit. But it is God’s faith.
Now absolutely, God’s faith is powerful. Let’s go to Ephesians 2 and let’s see something about this faith in God. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He [has] loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath [has He] quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are [are you] saved;)” (Eph. 2:4-5).
Now we’ve gone through and maybe we need to review again some more about grace. Maybe I need to do some updated material on that because we are getting some people who are writing in asking for some updated things of what we have. And maybe it might be better since we’re in 1987 now. If we send out updated tapes on grace rather than…, what they’re 2 ½ years old now aren’t they? But I hope you still remember about it, I’m sure you do.
Let’s continue on here, “For by grace are ye [you] saved through faith; and that [is] not of yourselves [as it should read ‘your faith’ where it says ‘of yourself’]…” In other words it’s not faith that comes from within you. Your faith may save you from sickness. Your faith may give you enough to get a start in obeying God, but then you have to go to the next level of faith with God’s Spirit to where then you commit yourself to God. Now then you come to the next one, “…by grace are you saved through faith and that is not of yourself.” In other words it doesn’t come from you. “Of yourself” means “not of yours”. And that has to do with faith. But, “…it [that is the faith] is the gift of God” (vs. 8). Now obviously grace is the gift of God but then you have to have faith that is the gift of God.
Now what kind of faith is that? Now you may have understood some of this before and I know that I’ve heard this read many times. You know, “Grace is the gift and the faith is a gift and now let’s move on”, and we leave it right there. But what does it mean? Let’s go to chapter 3:11. “According to the eternal purpose which He proposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by [into] the faith of Him” (Eph. 3:11-12). Now that is an awkward expression in English. And it should be translated, because the translators, trying to make it clear in the English, overlooked the simplicity of what it means in the Greek. It really should say, “…access with confidence by His faith.” By Jesus faith.
Now if God gives you that faith, that’s the kind of faith for salvation. That faith is a gift. That is something, isn’t it? You think about that for a minute. Now this also helps us get rid of another work of salvation that we would be doing. Because many times in the past we were told, “Work up that faith so you’ll be saved.” No, that is a gift that it is Christ’s own faith, which He gives to us. Now let’s see how that works.
Let’s go to one other place here. This is one we did on a sermon some time back but let’s go to Revelation 14:12. “Here is the patience of the saints…” This one we all know. “…Here are they that keep the commandments of God…” Now we know that the commandments are God’s commandments. We understand that phrase, “…commandments of God…” They belong to God. They are God’s commandments. However, we do not use the same expression or the same thinking for the next phrase, “…and the faith of Jesus.” So it means: “Here are they who keep the commandments that are God’s commandments and have or keep Jesus’ faith.” You could translate that: “And keep Jesus own faith”, because that’s in them because God gives it as a gift. And that’s a tremendous thing when it comes to understanding how then God continually deals with us. It’s all to often that we can think that God is right there because God has the power to just zap us and knock us, and trip us up. God is not there to do that, brethren. Even though we may go through afflictions. Even though we may go through trials. It’s the trial of your faith, isn’t it? But you have hope and trust in God.
Let’s go to Romans 3. Now this is going to help us understand even more why then we cannot be justified by works. Not even works you do. But it is by faith. Let’s read it here, verse 20. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…” Now what does “justified” mean? Justified means to be made right in the sight of God. And to be made right means that you have your sins forgiven. But is that all there is to it? No. No. You have to have the grace of God, you have to have the faith of God. Ok? “…For by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” Now the word “without” doesn’t mean “in the absence of”. It means, “separate from” the law of God. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ…” Now that is not translated correctly. That should be “even the righteousness of God which is by Jesus own faith.” It is Jesus faith which qualifies us for salvation. That’s why there’s no work you can do which will make you right before God. Even though it is what God requires you to do. Now I hope that makes a little more sense because God is not talking out of both sides of His mouth. In other words to be made right before God requires the faith of Jesus Christ. Jesus very own faith. Alright, now let’s just continue on here. That faith then is “…unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Eph. 3:20-22).
So your belief is the activation of your faith to God. God then, with the faith of Jesus, activates that to you. That’s why, once you have received God’s Spirit and you are faithful to God and God increases that faith and adds to that faith, He adds the faith of Jesus Christ to you for salvation. So therefore your commitment is greater than just believing. It is greater than just committing yourself to God. It is having that very same faith of Jesus Christ as a gift that is given to you. So that’s why when the apostle said “increase your faith”, and Jesus said of the parable concerning the servant and all that he did, He said, “So likewise, when you’ve done everything that you’re required you’re unprofitable servants.” Why? Because what you do, though required, is not the thing which is going to create the salvation that God is going to give. the only thing that does it is Jesus Christ’s own faith given to you as a gift, and then interacts between you and God, from God to you, and you back to God and that is how it is from faith to faith. Ok?
Now, we come over here to verse 30. It says, “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (vs. 30-31). Because then you have the mind, the attitude, the heart to keep the laws and commandments of God the way that God intends you to have.
Ok, let’s come over here to chapter 5 and let’s see what else this faith then does for us, because it does an awful lot for us. You see that’s why some people kind of miss the mark, because they’re adding all of their faith in it, and they’re out here trying to prove to God what they can do. And even your very best is not going to be what is required for eternal life. So God gives His Spirit. God gives His faith. God gives His grace, and God gives His love all through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore being justified by faith…” Who’s faith? Jesus faith. “…We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2). Now to me this opens up a lot in my understanding and in my mind and my feeling about faith and what God wants from us and how we need to yield ourselves more to God and God will grant us more of His faith coming back the other way. And it’s a continuous thing. And there are times when we have more faith. There are times when we have less faith. There are times when the faith of other people even affect us. Remember what Jesus did when He came down to Nazareth, and everybody said, “We know this guy. This is the carpenters son.” And He couldn’t do any miracles there because of their faith. So He healed a few sick folk. So it’s not always static, it’s not always to the full and feeling the greatest all the time. But this is something that ebbs and flows from faith to faith.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also…” Haven’t quite reached that yet. But saying that I’m not begging for it, you know, don’t temp God please. “…Knowing that tribulation worketh patience…” (vs. 3). It does. At first it works impatience. Almost all tribulation at first works impatience because you don’t want to go through it. Later it works patience. And isn’t it interesting how later on, as it says there, you know, when you receive correction or whatever it is, that afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness, ok. After you go through something and you look back on it, then you can say, “Oh yes, well I remember this.” And you know, the many things you’ve gone through, then it gives you more patience in many different ways. And the word patience can also be endurance.
“And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is [He has] given unto us” (vs. 4-5). Now there it says an awful lot about how our lives need to be and how it’s going to go forward in that way. And you know brethren, the more we come back to God, the more we draw on God’s Spirit. And you know, just like yesterday, I failed to mention that if a person is not really willing, is an hour of prayer a day going to make God willing? You think about it for a minute. If a person is not really willing, will cloistering themselves off into a monastery and taking a vow not to speak to anybody for 20 years, is that going to make God do anything? No. No it isn’t, if your heart is not willing. Now if your heart is willing, and your heart and mind and soul and everything is dedicated to God then how long must your prayers be to please God? An hour, two hours, three? No, there’s not time because you’re putting it in a slot. And you say if you have so much time in prayer then God is bound to do something. No. If you have faith in God, then God will answer your prayer. It’s entirely different. that’s why there are many times you can pray and pray and pray and pray and the answer doesn’t come. Therefore then you have to go back and ask God for His faith. Ask God for His righteousness. Ask God for His graciousness. And then things will begin to fall in line. That’s how they’ll happen.
Let’s go to Galatians 2:16. This will help us understand Galatians a little more. And here again in the English it’s not really as clear as it ought to be from the Greek. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ [Jesus own faith]…” That might be the best way to translate that because it is the faith of Jesus. But it is Jesus’ own faith. Now I am sure that when you first read that when you first came in the Church, that was the hardest thing in the world for you to really understand because you were told to keep the commandments which is the law of God. Right? And you had to do it. Then it was required of God. And then you read this, “Knowing that a man is not justified by works of law buy by the faith of Jesus…”, now it becomes even easier to understand. Keeping the commandments, we know, are required. However, to be justified before God requires Jesus’ own faith, the whole life of Jesus, everything that He stands for. And if God is going to do that then that makes things on the proper level and plane that it should be.
“…But by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Because only Jesus’ own faith will be sufficient. Nothing else will be sufficient. Jesus’ own faith. “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ…” There it is again said in just a little different way. “…We ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…” Now we’re talking about something even greater. If Christ lives in you then the faith you develop is the very own faith of Jesus Christ. That is the real key thing. “…And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [Jesus’ very own faith or by the very own faith] of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:16-21).
Ok, let’s go to chapter 3. Here again we’ll see the same thing. “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ [Ok, the promise of Christ’s very own faith] might be given to them that believe [cause it’s Jesus’ own faith]. But before faith came…” Now there was enough faith in the Old Testament, wasn’t there? There was some faith. But he says, “…before faith came…” What is he talking about? Before God granted Jesus Christ’s very own faith to those that He called, “…we were kept under the law…” (Gal 3:21-23). In other words, the law was put there to be a guidepost to what? To be a schoolmaster, teacher for us to what? To lead us to Christ.
Then we come down here to verse 24. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith [the very faith of Jesus Christ]. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” No, we have graduated. Does that mean, not like the Protestants, that we don’t keep any laws except those we choose to do? No. We do the things that God shows us to do. Did Jesus have faith to obey God? Yes. Did He have faith to do them the way God wanted? Yes. So then we have faith to do the things that God wants us to do by the very faith of Jesus Christ. And then it goes on saying, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus [or again, by the very own faith of Jesus Christ]. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (vs. 24-27).
Ok, now let’s continue. Let me just clarify something. Where it says, “There’s neither Greek nor Jew, free nor bond, male or female, for all are one Christ”, in other words before Christ Jesus we all stand equal because we have what? Christ in us, the love of God, the Spirit of God, the faith of Christ. However, in this life there is still who we are, and what we are, male and female and so forth, and those things are all evident. However, it says, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (vs. 28-29).
Go to the book of Hebrews chapter 12. Now this follows after chapter 11, obviously with all the examples of faith, but here’s what we need to do and this will help us really comprehend what this says even more. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight…” Now weight can be likened unto doubt, holding you back. “…And the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author [beginner] and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2). Now to me that makes that verse just mean even so much more because it’s not just my faith that I know God can do certain things. It is not my belief only, believing in that Jesus, and committing myself to Him, but it is Jesus Who is the beginner, the author and the finisher of our faith. That it comes from Christ and goes back to Christ and it is from faith to faith.
“…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Then it has one right here that is really quite a profound verse. “For you have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (vs. 2-4). Haven’t come to that point. I haven’t had anyone call me up and say, “Come on over and anoint me, I’m bloody cause I’ve been resisting sin.” I don’t know if I’ll have to do that but whatever. Ok.
Let’s go to Philippians 3, and this will help you understand Philippians 3 even more. And again, I just imagine the first time that you read this you had a hard time understanding this. Now this is going to open this up even more, even more. Let’s pick it up here in verse 7. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ [Jesus’ very own faith…” (Phil. 3:7-9).
Now you can’t have any greater righteousness than that. And that is what God looks at us, every one of us, is what Christ has done. That’s how we can stay unblamable and unreprovable in His sight. And you know, rather than go to the extreme that some people do and say, “Well, you’re free to do anything you want,” that isn’t what God wants us to do. But be so thankful and grateful and rely on God, this helps us to be inspired to want to do God’s way. This inspires you to want to follow God rather than, “Well, gotta follow God. Yep, it’s going to be the Sabbath tomorrow, and yep we’ve got the holy days. Yea we have to keep the holy days.” See, it makes it entirely different, see? It is Christ Who is doing it.
“…The righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…” And I think we have a long way to go to catch up with the apostle Paul, but he said he wasn’t perfect and he hadn’t made it. He says, “…but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (vs. 9-14). And that’s going to be done through Jesus’ very own faith.
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…” (vs. 15). That’s the kind of faith you need to have, the kind of mind that God wants us to have. So it is true, it is true that the more that you have the mind of Christ, or that you will have the faith of Christ. And it’s not going to be a matter that every day you’re more and more, and better and better, and greater and greater, and all this sort of thing. But it is a constant thing from faith to faith that is going to see you through.
Now let’s close by going to Ephesians 3. Let’s see what this kind of faith is to do for us. As we mentioned here, Jesus’ very own faith. I’ve gone through this many times and I even learned more of it this time by going through it again, knowing that it is Jesus Christ’s very own faith, where he says, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…” Who’s faith? We just read a little earlier, Jesus’ very own faith. He’s giving that to you. “…That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” And who would have thought of that it is the faith of Jesus Christ, Jesus’ very own faith. “…According to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:16-21). And so that’s how you are saved by faith to faith. So brethren have Jesus Christ’s very own faith in you.