WHAT IS FAITH? -- In Matthew 8:13 says, “And Jesus said unto the centurion, ‘Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.’” In other Words, He said, “I will work according to your faith.” “And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” The centurion had real faith. In Matthew 9:22, “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” And in Matthew 9:29, “Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you’”
Faith is the key to move God out of Heaven into earth. God does not know anything about sympathy. Sympathy is a soulish element of man. You cannot play on God’s sympathy. He will not respond because you are in trouble and need sympathy. God only responds and moves to faith. Every time you see God move out of Heaven into earth, it is because God has found someone that believes.
The nature of faith is this: intellectual, emotional, and volitional. The volitional act of faith – acting as if a thing is so, when it is not, in order for it to be so – that places you at the disposal of Christ. Only when you are at His disposal are you allowing Him to be the Lord and Master. This is why faith must be a day-by-day action.
Faith is that act on your part that places you at God’s disposal. When you see the nature of faith, you will find out that every sin you have in your life is the result of unbelief. This means that you have displaced yourself from trusting Christ. He can’t fill you. You can’t work the works of God because you are not at His disposal. The only person that is pleasing to God is the person that is standing in the Will of God, on His Word. Find a promise from God, then act on that promise, and you will have success. Until you are actively stepping out of the revealed Truth of God, you are not pleasing to God.
The Word of God says that signs shall follow them that believe. Are there signs and wonders following you? Faith is not what God is going to do or what He has done, but it is what He is doing for you. What are you personally believing God for right now? Food? Clothing? House? Home? That’s not what I am talking about. The point I am trying to make is this: Faith is so acting on the revealed Word of God that God has to perform a miracle to keep His Word. When people around you see the miracles of God through you, then they will know that there is only one explanation for your life, and that is God. You have a testimony. Until then, you might as well keep your mouth shut.
FAITH IS ACTING -- Every true act of faith is followed by an activity of faith. The business of faith is to convert Truth into reality. If you have real faith, prove it by your life. Experience is never the support of faith. Experience is the evidence of faith. We believe that Jesus Christ can do this or that. Has He done it? Do we proclaim by our talk or by our experiences (faith in God) that Jesus Christ is sufficient for every problem life can present? Faith is an act, and an affirmation of that act, that bids Eternal Truth to become present fact. Faith is not believing God can, or wanting God to, but is acting upon God’s Word as it is being done now. Faith is an active principle of trust in Jesus which is ready to venture on every promise He made. We cannot have faith in every Word of the Lord Jesus when we choose, but the Holy Spirit will have to bring that Word of Jesus Christ to our remembrance and apply it to the circumstances we are in. The point is, we believe and venture out on Him. Faith must be tested in conflict to see if is only head or if is heart faith which brings living reality.
CORRESPONDING ACTIONS – James 2:14 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” in other words, if a man professes to have faith, and yet his actions do not correspond? One of the gravest mistakes that many believers make is, to confess their faith in the Word, and at the same time contradict their confession by wrong actions. We say that we trust the Father for our finances, and at the same time we are worrying and fretting about how are we going to pay our bills. One moment we confess that no word from God can ever be forfeited, that He is able. The next moment we are repudiating all that we have confessed. James tells us there must be corresponding action. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1: 22.
“Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7: 24-27
So many who profess Christ and who declare they believe the Word from Genesis to Revelation, and say it with a great deal of fervor, but are not doers of the Word. They are talkers of the Word. They have mentally assented to the fact that the Word is true. It does them no good. They are not making it their own. I may confess as loudly as I please that God is the strength of my life, and at the same time tell about my weakness and my inability. There is no corresponding action there. In John 6:47 Jesus said, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” Believing is having. It is possession. Mental assent admires the Word, confesses that the Word is true and very desirable, but it does not possess. Believing, ends in the glad confession. “It is mine. I have it.”
How little real action on the Word we see today. You remember the man who was brought into the presence of the Lord Jesus by four of his friends. Mark 2: 1-12, Jesus said to him,” Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” If he had not acted on the Master’s Word’s, he never would have been healed; but because he acted, he was healed. In Luke 5:5 Peter said, “But at thy Word I will let down the net.” What a change would come into some of our lives if we said, “At thy Word I will.” We have clung to the theories of man, and ignored the Living Word. We mentally assent to the integrity and the reality of the Word, but we do not act on it. A great pitfall in faith is, not knowing the difference between mental assent and faith. You may say that you know God’s Word is good, but you will never really know it until you have acted on it and reaped the results of it. That is what I am trying to tell you faith is. Faith is giving substance to the things hoped for.
I went to work, and I acted on God’s Word. I hoped for physical strength to do the work that I knew must be done, but faith gave me the substance to that which I hoped for. Faith says, “God is the strength of my life,” and as I acted on God’s Word my faith gave substance to that which I hoped for. Many people just hope and stop there. That will not work. Faith es the substance of things hoped for. Hope does not have any substance, but faith gives substance to it. “Well, I hope God heard my prayer.” If that is all you did, He did not, and there will not be any answer. But your faith can give substance to the answer to that prayer. In fact, it will. So, remember, hope says, “I will have it sometime,” and faith says, “I have it now.” As John Wesley said, the devil has given to the church a substitute for faith that looks and sounds so much like faith that people cannot tell the difference, and he called it “mental assent”. Many people see what God’s Word says and say that it is true, but it is just with their minds that they are agreeing. That is not what gets the job done. It is the heart, the one that receives it from God. The Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth…”
Someone asked me, “How can I tell whether I have faith or whether it is just in my head? (if it is just mental assent) I know God’s Word is true. I know God promises me healing, and God promises me the Holy Ghost, but for some reason, I cannot receive it, and I cannot understand.” That is only mental assent. If you have faith, real faith in God’s Word, you will say, “If God’s Word says it is so, then it is so. It is mine. I have it now.” Faith says, “I have it when I cannot see it.” Notice what the text said: “It is evidence of things not seen.” Some say, “Yes, but this thing I have been praying about, I do not see it. It has not come to pass yet.” Well, if you already had it, you would not have to believe it. Then you would know it. A lot of people want to know it first, and then believe it, knowing it from the standpoint of it coming to pass. We know it because God’s Word says it is ours. From that standpoint, then it materializes. Until we act upon it, it does not become a reality.
You may hold the Resurrection Truth as a great doctrine or dogma, but it will not mean anything to you until you say, “He died for me. He conquered death and hell for me. He arose for me. And because He arose I am a victor. Satan has no dominion over me. I am free” Then the Word becomes something more than a doctrine or a theory. It becomes a reality. People who act in the Word receive things. You act faith. You talk faith. Your actions and your Words agree. You are a believer. It is important that you learn this simple lesson. It is not struggling, praying or crying, it is acting on what God has spoken that brings results.
The Word “faith” is a noun. The Word “believe” is a verb. Believing is really “acting on the Word.” It is simply acting on the Word of God as you have acted on the word of a physician, the word of a lawyer, or the word of a loved one. You do not ask the questions: Do I believe? or do I have I faith? You simply say, “That is what God has said”, and act accordingly. Faith is the result of action. Believing is taking the step up to the object, the thing you want. Faith is having arrived. James 2:17 tells us “faith without corresponding actions is dead.” When we act on the Word, we show our faith. We know that no Word from God is void of power “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37. So we act on it. “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22