Faith is that gift of God which comes as a beam of light to reveal the truth of our being and to lead us from darkness into that rarefied space of God’s presence. Through faith God performs surgery of our heart and soul to remove the cobwebs of our sinful nature that acts as a barrier between us and God. We do not acquire this on our own but it is a gift of God to the chosen ones despite their being nothing in them that makes them different from other sinners. It is not faith or the magnitude of it in someone that matters but the object of our faith that has and gives us the power to act towards loving God and His creation. It is faith that helps us rejoice in our past blessings and fills us with confidence that God’s fresh and new experiences will also be for our good.
What if nothing was impossible for you? – But that is the promise made by the Lord for all believers irrespective of their ‘quantum’ of faith – even with mustard seed like faith (Matthew 17:20). These are not rhetorical words but a definite statement by the Son of God. Will we live any differently if we really believed this? We were created in the ‘image and likeness of God’ filled with the Holy Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11), the same Holy Spirit that descended on the Messiah and empowered Him. Our little faith robs us of unimaginable blessings due to us in heavenly places – for we are meant to see the impossible happen through the exercise of our faith in the promises of our Sovereign Lord. It is the believers’ faith through which God reveals His glory to lead unbelievers from darkness into His Divine Light.
Faith that changes our physical and spiritual state – Faith has been defined to have two essential components – confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. The first, confidence is the point of beginning – believing in God’s character that He is who He says He is – loving, just, righteous. While the second, assurance is its ending point – believing in His promises as contained in the Scripture for He will do what He says – believing even when the materialization of these promises is not yet visible. This belief comes through remembering past blessings received others’ testimonies and stories in the Scripture of others. Abraham was 75 years old when he received the promise to be “the father of many nations” yet he waited for more than 24 years, without wavering for its fulfillment, thus giving glory to God through his belief that God has the power and will to execute His promise (Romans 4:18-21).
Faith is one word that has multiple meanings in the Scripture – it is faithfulness (Mathew 24:25); absolute trust of the Centurion seeking healing of his servant praying to Lord Jesus to “just say the Word from where He is” (Luke 7:2-10) whereas it is also counted as barren belief that produces no good deeds of love for God (James 2:14-26). Faith is a gift of God as an act of grace and not because we deserve it or have earned it through or good works, thus leaving no chance for us to boast (Ephesians 2:8). While mentioning the gifts of the Holy Spirit Apostle Paul mentions faith also since God saves us through His Son and gives us faith to develop the relationship of being His children (1 Corinthians 12:9).
Nobody has ever had any part in his/her physical birth and in like manner no one has any role in the new spiritual birth as child of God – both are a gift from God. When God blesses us with knowledge about His Son and through His sacrifice changes us from death to life in Him, it is His mercy and nothing by us (James 5:24). He plants the seed of faith in us and He nurtures it through His Word while we just follow His will for us for He helps and He leads us to salvation. Bartimeus was born blind, and was a beggar in Jericho, who learnt from the crowds about the arrival of Lord Jesus and starting crying out in a loud voice, seeking mercy. Many told him to keep quiet but he shouted even more until he was called by the Lord. He threw his cloak away to run towards his new life, received sight and followed Lord Jesus (Mark10:47-52).
Phillip brought Nathanael to Lord Jesus but before coming, he asked Phillip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Lord Jesus praised Nathanael as an Israelite in whom ‘there was no deceit’ and He surprised Nathanael by revealing his thoughts “when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” referring to Jacob’s dream about the ladder into heaven on which angels were descending and ascending (Genesis 28:12). Lord Jesus then reveals His identity “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:46-51). The Messiah Lord is “The Way”, only way to heaven and angels were seen to minister to Him in the wilderness after His temptation and in the Gethsemane Park, during times of battles of extreme significance to all of humanity. After resurrection Lord Jesus visited the disciples but since Apostle Thomas was not then present, he refused to believe in His being raised from the dead. The Lord does not condemn him for this attitude but encourages him to ‘not be unbelieving, but believing’ leading to Apostle Thomas crying out “My Lord and my God” (John 20:24-29). Faith, then and now, leads the suffering to come to the throne of mercy of the Lord to seek physical and spiritual healing and God richly rewards their faith.
How much faith is required to receive healing/miracle? – The Scripture does not specify the quantum of faith anywhere, even as a gift of the Holy Spirit there are no measures of faith being given to different believers (1 Corinthians 12:9). Lord Jesus specifically clarifies “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move” (Matthew 17:20). Faith is a gift from God to lead us to Lord Jesus to pray to Him to impart the necessary blessing doing through the work prayed for. Lord Jesus explained the authority performing the miracle/act of healing in answer to our prayer as “It will be done by My Father” (Matthew 18:19); “I will do it” (John 14:13). The initiation of the action is through our prayer but the commission is by a different authority – God the Father/ the Son. It is not our faith that moves the mountain but the power of God and in that situation there is no question of any specific quantum of faith needed for receiving the answer. It is not my faith but the object of my faith – God that acts in answer to my prayer.
Can we perform a miraculous deed for someone? – Yes, for God does desire for us to move mountains in faith and that is reflected in our creation in the image and likeness of God. We have been restored to that same original position by our Lord through faith in His sacrifice on the cross. The nine gifts of the Holy Spirit also include miracles and healing including faith (1 Corinthians 12:9-10). Thus the power and authority to perform miracles and healing is given by God through the indwelling Holy Spirit to a believer. Kingdom of heaven has been described by the Lord as a mustard seed which a man takes and plants in his field and this small seed grows into a big tree to provide shelter and blessings to others (Matthew 13:31-32). The indwelling Holy Spirit establishes this kingdom within us and this seed is nurtured through our daily prayer and worship and development of a close relationship with God. It is this relationship that then leads us to pray and intercede for others to seek blessings for them.
All Scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and God has given life to His Word, making it unchangeable but effective in every situation in all ages. There is nothing false in the Bible and all promises of God are true and He fulfills the same in the lives of believers. Lord Jesus provided specific authority to believers to ‘do the works he did; and even greater works than that’ (John 14:12); and ‘to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy’ and nothing can hurt us (Luke 10:19). Operating under such unimaginable power and authority, in faith, every believer is supposed to ‘move mountains’.
Apostle Paul and Silas were beaten with rods, put in stocks and placed in the inner parts of the prison, yet the two ‘praised and sang hymns to God, while other prisoners were listening’. God caused an earthquake, opened the shackles and as a result the jailer’s family was saved (Acts 16:23 –33). While being moved to Rome to stand trial there the ship in which they were travelling was struck by a storm putting all in great risk to life. Apostle Paul finally assured not only his guards but all 276 persons on board that “not a hair will fall from the head of any of them”, urging them to eat (Acts 27:21-38). Apostle Paul listed out his sufferings during his journeys to preach the Gospel and change the lives of innumerable people for Lord Jesus had declared him as a “chosen vessel of mine; who will be shown how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16).
All promises of the Word are operative till the second coming of the Living Word to judge the world but greater works also implies greater opposition causing sufferings from the forces of Satan. Are we willing to undergo those sufferings like the Apostles and other saints? We desire the power and authority to perform miracles without undergoing trials and temptations.
Are there different types of faith in believers? – No, there is only one faith and that is a gift of God through which God has made us alive from the previous life of death in our sins. We were under the power of lusts of our flesh but God by His grace has saved us through faith. This salvation is not because of our good deeds that made us deserving of this gift but a merciful act of the Lord, leaving us no chance to boast (Ephesians 2:1-3 & 8-9). There is only one faith given by God, but the difference is in our way of using that same faith. Invariably our focus remains on the barrier before us rather than the power and authority of our God. We tend to concentrate on what we can’t move thereby attempting to prove something on our own while looking away from the ‘Source of the power’.
Prophet Elisha was surrounded in Dothan, his place of dwelling, by the forces of Syria who had come to arrest him. The prophet’s servant cried out to him in fear but Elisha encouraged him not to fear “for those who are with us more than those who are against us”. In answer to the prophet’s prayer to God, the servant’s spiritual eyes were opened and he could see ‘the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’ (2 Kings 6:8-20). Those for us are greater than those against us for ‘are not angels ,ministering spirits to those who will inherit salvation?’
Our faith must encourage others and the parable of the mustard seed faith is one such example of the Lord encouraging the disciples. Secondly, our faith must stand on God’s promises alone for only then will God intervene in our lives to bless us. Despite the healing affected by Apostle Paul in others, he himself suffered from the undisclosed “thorn in the flesh” and his prayers for its removal were unanswered. He even advised Timothy to use some wine for his stomach ailment (1 Timothy 5:23). Believers have suffered untold sufferings and death at the hands of those under the forces of evil and though Lord Jesus promised a ‘life of abundance’ the Scripture does not assure us of financial prosperity. Riches are a gift from God and He gives these according to His will, while prosperity or poverty in no way show lack of blessings from God. Thirdly, our faith must sanctify us for all believers must get transformed into the image of Christ through daily repentance from sin in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this change that leads us from the lusts of the flesh in our lives to the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 19-23).
The three attempts of Satan to tempt Lord Jesus in the wilderness – to turn stones into bread; to jump from the temple height to test the truth of angels protection as mentioned an the Scripture and finally to give up all struggle and take up kingdoms of the world from him; are all acts against the will of God. Though miraculous in nature, Lord Jesus did not fall for the trick and surrendered His will to the Father’s will. We are empowered to move mountains but not against the established laws of God nor against His will.