The Importance Of Faith
Bishop Tim Sowersby, Ph.D.

The word faith is used only two times in the Old Testament and 243 times in the New Testament. This in itself is a sign of the moving away from living under the law in the Old Testament, to living by faith in the New Testament.

In Deuteronomy 32:20 God said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. In Habakuk 2:4 the Lord said, Behold his soul, which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. These two passages show the devastation of living without faith.

In Hebrews 11:6 Paul tells us: 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. Jesus told us that He is the way, truth and the life and that He came that we may have life and life more abundantly. This verse parallels the verse in Habakuk stating: ...the just shall live by faith. So, faith, being so important, what is it and where does it come from? Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. These two descriptions of faith, substance and evidence, denote the essence of tangible goods. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The evidence and substance of faith then, is the Word of God.

Many Christians find it easy to believe John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Do they say they believe it because they don't have to see proof of it right now? After all, life after death isn't something we want to come to pass right away! I say this having acquaintances who, as children and young adults, regularly attended churches that believed in the saving grace of God for life after death and little else. The word of God speaks of many promises, therefore the saving grace is to be saved from many things that the promises address.

If, without faith, it is impossible to please God, it would be a desperate panic to live a lifetime waiting for the promise of salvation after death and at the last moment to doubt, having never seen the word of faith in action during our lifetime.

One of the easiest promises to believe God for is a return on our tithes and offerings: Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat on mine table, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room to receive it. This is the only verse where God tells his people to prove Him. This is a great place for the new believer to start exercising faith. We must have enough faith in the Word of God to act on it.

In Luke 17:5 the apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith. In verse 6: And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. The profound part of this statement is the size of the faith needed to make it come to pass. The mustard seed, being the smallest of all seed is the analogy that told them that if they had even a small faith they would command whatever they would and it would be done. I had read these two verses several times before I realized the magnitude of Jesus' answer to the disciples request for more faith. After all, If they had faith in His word that they could ask and it shall be given then their ears would be open to the simplicity of his answer.

We can have the entire bible memorized but if we regard it only as a story it is no good to us except, as good reading. Faith in the Word of God is life and health.

In Deuteronomy 28 God tells us of all the blessings that will come on his people if they hearken diligently to His word. He goes as far as to say that the blessings would come on them and overtake them. They had to do the law for these promises to come on them. Jesus became (took on) the curse of the law for us so that all we have to do is believe in him and the promises would come on us. Romans 6:17-21 tells us that through faith in Jesus that the righteousness of Jesus is in us there by making the blessings described in Deuteronomy to come on us. Galations 3:9 And so they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Verse 13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree. Verse 14: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

If these promises are to become reality to us they become such through faith in the word. God is the same always. If our faith doesn't work it is not faith, or it is wrong thinking: James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amis, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Even so, God used His word to make all things: Genesis 1:3-26. John 1:1-4, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the lite of men. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. So, Jesus is the Word and faith in Him (the Word) is life and truth.

Faith is so important for the New Testament believer. God's word is what we have faith in. The spoken word is all powerful. When Jesus spoke the word, people were healed, demons cast out, the dead raised,... We have the same word that Jesus used and God expects us to be like Jesus, following in footsteps, being like God: Philippians 2:5-6 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God. John 14:12 Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Having faith in eternal life is more than believing for life in heaven after the death of the body. Paul tells Timothy in 2nd Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Eternity began in the beginning and our personal eternity began when we were born.

God helps us to hear the Spiritual meaning of the Word: Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

As Christians, faith in the Word of God is the beginning of our salvation and help in any endeavor. James 1:7 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering... ; James 5:16 ...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. We can know the will of God in every situation: Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. So let us read the Word of God daily, which will renew our minds and build our faith in all the wonderful promises that our most loving Father, God has for our every day eternity.

copyright 2002 Bishop Tim Sowersby, Ph.D.
Used by permission.