The righteous shall live by
faith. This declaration of the Christian's principle of life is found four times
in the bible: Hab. 2:1-5 (OT), Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:10, 11 and Heb. 10:38. In Habakkuk
we see the difference between the lives of the unrighteous and the righteous.
The unrighteous are puffed up and live by their own self-sufficiency. But the
righteous live by faith. Their confidence is in God. To them, faith is
more than a philosophy of life it is the very principle of life (Acts 16:31);
he is kept by faith (1 Pet. 1:5); and he lives by faith (Gal. 2:20). His faith
shall be tried many times and in many ways (1 Pet. 1:7), but faith will always
be vindicated, because it is more than equal to any occasion. Faith knows how
to wait on the Lord (Is. 40:31 OT), and it is always victorious (1 John 5:4).
Faith defies reason; it moves
mountains (Matt. 17:14-21). Faith does not always face facts; it never
gives up (Heb. 11:32-39). Faith says, "God is working out His perfect will in
my life and I can wait, endure, and suffer". Faith does not make anything
easy, but it does make all things possible.
What is Faith?
Read: Heb. 11:1-3
faith is the assurance (title deed) of things hoped for..."
Your faith is your title deed to eternal life. Just as a title deed is evidence
of real estate, so your faith is evidence of your eternal estate in God (2 Cor.
- Faith is talking God at His word and asking
no questions (Heb. 11:6).
- Faith is knowing that: "God causes
all things to work together for good to those who love God" (Rom. 8:28).
Faith does not believe that all things are good, or that all thongs work well.
It does believe that all things (good or bad) work together for good to those
who love God.
- Faith has two sides. One side has to do
with the intellect. It is an intellectual conviction that Jesus Christ is
God. The other side has to do with the will. It is a volitional
surrender of the will to Jesus Christ as Master. This is seen when Thomas
believed and confessed, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). "My
Lord", this was a volitional surrender; "My God", this was
intellectual conviction. Together you have saving faith (John 20:31).
Saving faith is an intellectual conviction that Jesus is God, and volitional
surrender to Him as Lord (Master) of your life. By faith, the mind trusts
in god; the heart responds to the love of God; the will submits to the commands
of God; and the life obeys in the service of God.
- Faith is paradoxical. It goes beyond
reason. It believes without understanding "why". It sings
in prison (Acts 16:25). It exults in tribulations (Rom. a5:3). It chooses
to endure ill treatment (Heb. 11:25). It accepts all things as a part
of Gods will (Phill. 1:12).
You are not born with this
faith. It comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). This is
why we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature, that they may hear
and believe (Rom. 10:13, 14).
The Importance of Faith
Read: Eph. 6:16
The shield of faith is a vital
part of the Christians armor. You are to put on the "... full
armor of God" (Eph. 6:10-18), because the Christian life is a warfare,
a spiritual conflict. As Paul names the different parts of the Christians
armor, he comes to the shield and emphasizes its importance by saying, "in
addition to all, taking up the shield of faith..." (Eph. 6:16). For with
the shield of faith, nothing can hurt you; "... in all these things we
overwhelmingly conquer through Him" Rom. 8:37).
The importance of faith is
seen in that:
- You cannot be saved without faith (John
- You cannot live victoriously over the world
without faith. (1 John 5:4)
- You cannot please God without faith (Heb.
- You cannot pray without faith (James 1:6)
- You cannot have peace with God without faith
- You cannot have joy without faith (James
- You are justified by faith and not by works
- You are to live by faith (Gal. 2:20).
- You are made righteous by faith (Rom. 10:1-4).
- Christ dwells in your heart by faith (Eph.
- The Holy Spirit is received by faith (Gal.
is not from faith is sin" Rom. 14:23).
Faith is important because
it honors God, and God always honors faith!
Read: Matt. 14:29-33
At this stage in the spiritual
growth of Peter, he was a man of "little faith" However, after Pentecost,
he became a spiritual giant. Let us take a good look at his "little faith"
and profit from it. Jesus came to His distressed disciples, walking on the water
in the midst of a storm. Peter asked to come to Jesus on the water. He
must have thrilled at the thought of doing the impossible. Jesus said,
- Peter did the impossible thing: He walked
on the water, by faith.
- Next, Peter did the conceivable thing: He
saw the storm and had a second thought -- he doubted. For a moment,
he lost sight of Jesus. He may have turned and started back to the boat (Luke
- Now Peter did the natural thing: He feared
destruction. Doubt always breeds fear.
- Then Peter did the expected thing: He began
to sink -- he failed.
- Now Peter did the right thing: He prayed,
"Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and
caught him. Once more Peter made contact with Jesus by faith.
- Again, Peter did the impossible thing: He
walked on the water with Jesus, to the boat.
In this lesson, we see the
success and failure of "little faith".
Now, let us recap the steps
that led to failure. Peter started by faith, and walked on the water. Then he
saw the storm, and had a second thought that led to doubt, that produced fear,
that caused him to turn back, that brought about the failure.
You need a faith that is bigger
than the elements that would drag you down to defeat. You can have big faith
by "prayer and fasting" (Matt. 17:20, 21) and by feeding your faith
on the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
You can have mountain-moving
Three Kinds of Faith
Read: John 11:21-44
In this chapter, we see the
faith of Martha in connection with the resurrection of her brother Lazarus.
Now Lazarus fell ill, and Martha and he sister Mary sent for Jesus to come and
heal him. Jesus delayed His coming until Lazarus was dead and in
the tomb for four days. Then He came to raise him from the dead, and found
the limited, fundamental faith of Martha His only obstacle.
- Marthas faith was limited. She
said, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died"
(John 11:21). The death of Lazarus meant the end of Marthas faith.
She believed that Jesus had the power to raise her brother up from the sick
bed, but not from the dead. Her limited faith restricted the power of
Christ (Matt. 13:58). Limited faith is controlled by circumstances, and motivated
by fear of failure.
- Marthas faith was fundamental.
Jesus said, "Your brother shall rise again" (John 11:23). These
words were spoken to kindle hope and faith in Martha; but she said, "I
know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day" (John
11:24). Martha declared her fundamental faith in a great truth, but
that is not enough. Jesus stated, "I am the resurrection and the
life" (John 11:25). Jesus was saying that He had all power over life
and death. Then He asked, "Do you believe this?" (John 11:26).
Martha evaded the question by stating her fundamental faith in her creed (John
11:27). It is not enough to believe in a creed only; faith must go beyond
your creed to the living, all-powerful Christ. Her faith limited the power
of Christ (Mark 10:27), and "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). Jesus wept
when He came to raise Lazarus form the dead and found limited, fundamental
- At last, unlimited faith came to Martha
when she consented to have the stone moved from the grave (John 11:41). When
Jesus first ordered the stone taken from the grave, Martha objected in unbelief
(John 11:39). Then Jesus, challenging her to believe said, "Did
I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (John
11:40). Martha believed and waited to see the glory of God, and
she was not disappointed. We often hear that "seeing is believing",
but this is not so. You believe and then see. Faith comes before sight.
Now Marthas faith no longer limited the power of Christ. She consented
to have the stone moved from the tomb and Jesus "cried out with a loud
voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43), and Lazarus was
Dont be satisfied with
limited, fundamental faith only, when you can have unlimited faith that pleases
God and reveals His glory.
The Hall of Faith
Read: Heb. 11:32-39
This chapter is often called
the "Hall of Faith". You need to come here often and linger
long, that your faith may become strong in the Lord; for in this Scripture we
get a view of the history of Israel and the church, as it is written by faith,
in the blood of the saints.
- They worshiped by faith as Abel.
- They walked by faith as Enoch.
- They worked by faith as Noah.
- They lived by faith as Abraham.
- They governed by faith as Israel.
- They fought by faith as Joshua.
- They conquered by faith as Gideon.
- They subdued kingdoms by faith as David.
- They closed the mouths of lions by faith
- They walked through the fire by faith as
the three Hebrew children.
- They suffered by faith as Paul.
- They died by faith as Stephen, the first
Christian martyr (Acts 7:54-60).
By faith they were patient
in suffering, courageous in battle, made strong out of weakness, and were victorious
in defeat. They were more than conquerors by faith. It is only by faith
in the all-powerful Christ that you can be superior to circumstances, and victorious
over all the evil forces that would destroy you. "Fixing your eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith" (Heb. 12:2). The faith of the
saints inspires us, but we look to Jesus as our example of faith.
proceed to Lesson 11