HAVE THE FAITH OF GOD
In Mark 11:22, Jesus told his disciples (in the literal Greek), "Have (the) faith of God".
So what is "The faith OF God". Some say that because God knows all things, he does not have, nor does he need, ....faith. Some theologians say that the Greek phrase "Have faith of God" is what you call an "objective genitive" which makes God the object of our faith, rather than a "subjective faith", which would make God the "possessor' of faith.
Therefore, on those subjective grounds alone, they conclude that God
has no faith, but we
are to have our faith in Him.
First, I would say that if God desired to communicate that we were to have faith IN him,
he would have said "Echete en ton theon", and not "Exete theou". I believe he is communicating to us that we are to exersise "God-like" faith, that is, confidence in his promises, & that confidence is unselfish in nature, and energized by unselfish love,
(1Cor 13:1-4, Gal 5:6)
Consider the following passage:
1 Cor 12:
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit;
So we see from implication as well as context that faith is generated from the spirit of God, as much as prophecies, miracles, discernment of spirits, etc. In fact, in 1Cor 13, God tells us first that prophecy AND knowledge shall cease, but that faith, hope and love continue.
Faith is NOT somethng that ceases, neither in this time, nor in the
time to come. Faith is
the fruit (that which is produced) of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and to
say that faith shall come
to an end even in the next age of eternal life in heaven, is to say that
love, peace, goodness,
patience, (etc etc) will come to an end. The fruit of the spirit are the
very virtues of God
himself, and he is eternal. The fact that "faith" is the fruit of the
spirit should be proof
enough that it is "OF God".
1 Cor 13:2 says that if I have ALL faith so as to move mountains, but have NOT LOVE, I am nothing. That is to say you have no reputation with God, nor any reward from God.
Faith must be motivated by unselfishness and by a pure heart. Jesus could have turned
the stones into bread to satisfy the "lower cravings of the flesh", so
to speak, but he refuse
to utilize the power of God for selfish needs, even hunger.
What, then, is faith? Is it "hoping something shall come to pass". Is it "believing" but not knowing for sure something will transpire? Is it something "just short of knowing for sure?".
Just what exactly is faith? What is faith that is "OF GOD" ?:
Faith is the CONFIDENCE, trust, reliance, ASSURANCE, and a conviction
that brings certainty to your heart for that which is believed. It is
by faith that you have
confidence, assurance and knowledge that your sins are forgiven and you
have eternal life
with God by believing in Christ Jesus as your redeemer and Savior.
In Mark 11:23-24, Jesus tells us how to have (and exercise) the "faith
of God" :
19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.
20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away.
22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have (the) faith of God.
23 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.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in
heaven forgive your
There are 4 "ingredients" in God-like faith, confidence, assurance, persuasion, etc.
1. "Say" to this mountain (or what your need or request is).
It says in Eph 6:17 that the sword of the spirit (of God) is the "rhemata", the "spoken word" of God. And in Romans 10:8-10 we see that "verbal confession" is synonymous with "believing". So if you are confident ( have God-like faith) that God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory (Phil 4:6-8,19) then you can boldly profess it accordingly.
2. Believe. The word "believe" (Strong's #4100) comes from the same word as "faith" (Strong's # 4102). So to "believe" is to have the faith, confidence and persuasion
that what is spoken (from a heart of purity and unselfishness) shall come to pass.
3. No Doubting ! It may sound somewhat "redundant", but I believe the Lord added that clause to demonstrate absolute, unshakable faith. Recall when, in Mark 9, the man who had a son possessed by a demon, Jesus said to him:
23... If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
The man "believed', but it was mixed with doubt.
4. Forgiveness: If we desire God to move on our behalf, we
must NOT hold
bitterness or unforgiveness toward our fellow man -- any fellow man, but
fellow Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no little
teaching in the Gospels
about forgiveness. Even if we know someone else has a grudge against
US, we are to go
to THEM and try to be reconciled. Forgiveness is a big part in "purity
of heart", and
"unselfishness". If we want to be forgiven of our God for our mega-sins
against him, the
least we can do is to forgive one another. It is no accident he put
that "clause" regarding
forgiveness in context of "mountain moving faith". "Faith operated and
energized by love"
will be full of goodness, mercy, kindness, forgiveness.
Let's look at an example of "Unwavering faith":
In spite of the circumstance, in spite of the apparent "condition" of his body and that of Sarah's, Abraham did not stagger, contend, dispute or doubt the word and promise given to him by God, but was strengthened in his faith, conviction and persuasion ..... as he gave glory to God. I believe he gave glory to God from the moment he received the promise,
and from the moment he believed the word of God. And the promise is
to us, that we shall
receive if we believe and doubt not. That is to say, if we have "the
faith of God".
Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with
faith, from God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ
Remember, Love, peace and faith are "Fruit of the spirit", and are attributes of God, therefore. Do you believe that God has confidence that what he speaks shall be done?
Our faith, when it is pure and undefiled, unwavering, will be "God's
faith", the confidence
and persuasion that what is spoken from a pure undefiled heart shall be
So how do we come into this "faith OF God" ? Isn't it automatic when you become a Christian? ( obviously not, looking at the condition of the church). So what is the answer?
Read the passage in Matthew 17. Jesus had already given authority to his disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons, preach the gospel, etc. They were having phonomenal success, until they came to the lad with the "spirit of epilepsy". They could not cast him out:
They had experienced much success prior to this incident. In fact, they came back at one point in time to Jesus excited that "demons were subject to them". Jesus at that point had told them "do not rejoice that demons are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in the Lamb's book of life".
So what's the difference here. Jesus response to their inquiry was
that it was "because of
your unbelief, your want or lack of faith"; (more literally,
ovligopisti,an; inadequacy or
imperfection of faith (MT 17.20). Their faith was
inadequate for the task at hand.
Notice how "much" faith it takes to move mountains, and to do the impossible? Actually, it is NOT the size or quantity we are looking at, but the SEED, or the SOURCE. Jesus told them (and us) that all things are possible if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed.
Is that small faith? No, because Jesus often commented on their "little faith", even when Peter walked on the water, but began to sink.
"Faith as a mustard seed" is faith that, although germinated in "seed form", grows fast, tall, and strong:
Faith grows as it is nurtured, watered, and rooted in "fertile soil". Consider the parable of the "Sower and the Seed":
Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (John 1:1)
Paul says that "faith comes by hearing, and the hearing comes by means
of the 'spoken
word' of God", (Ro 10:17). As the Word of God takes root in our heart,
it will grow strong,
like a tree and produce fruit "in its season" (Ps 1:1-3), becoming fully
perfect, complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4)
How else do we develop "God's faith", or "God-Like" faith? Jesus told his disciples in Mark 4 that it was through prayer and fasting that faith is nurtured and matured. He set the example himself:
And Paul admonishes us in the same:
And in Jude we learn that praying in the Spirit of God will build us
up, make us strong,
sufficient for the task;
So if you find your faith seems inadequate or imperfect for the task
at hand, follow the
example of the Lord, pray without ceasing and feast on the word of God
daily, and your faith
will be "God like", and you will be able to exercise the "faith of God".
Remember what Paul said to the Galatians:
If indeed Christ lives in you and I, and God dwells in Christ (2Cor 5:19) and the same spirit which "raised Christ from the dead" dwells in us, (Ro 8:11), and we can "do all things
through the one who empowers us" (Phil 4:13), do we not magnify and glorify our God by
demonstrating the "faith of God" ? Can we move anything apart from
God? Is our human
sufficiency so great we have no need of "God's faith", the fruit of his
spirit? Can we in
ourselves move mountains? It is the "power that worketh in us" (Eph
produces and exercises the mountain moving "faith of God".
One final look at Mark 11:22-24;
"Have faith of God" is written in the "imperative mood", which means it is a
command or at least a strong entreaty, not a suggestion or good
idea. It is not an option,
but an "expectation", something we are to abide in and conduct our lives
Also written in the imperative: "Be thou REMOVED and CAST into the sea!;
This reflects your attitude of heart, authoratative spirit, and confidence that God will move on your behalf. Remember, all authority has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and
with that authority he has sent us into the world to break down
strongholds and take
dominion over principalities and powers of the devil. This is the
primary purpose of
exercising the "faith of God", not for selfish needs.
In verse 24 it says "What things you desire, when you pray, ...... BELIEVE that you receive them ( imperative mood) ... and you shall receive. That is to say, "Be persuaded ! Have utmost Confidence ! Be Assured in your heart with unshakable Persuasion !
In other words: "Have the Faith of God !":
Hopefully I have at least shown you scriptual evidence that we are to
have more than faith
IN God; we are to have the faith OF God. Perhaps I can leave this
one last closing
thought and reference with you:
We have been made "partakers of the Divine Nature", or literally, "theias": the Divine Being, or nature and essence of God. We are being conformed into the image and likeness of the Son of God (Ro 8:29, in whom all the fulness of God dwells, (Col 1:15, 2:9)
and we are being made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26,27, Eph 4:24;
Col 3:10), so we have the confidence that the attributes of God ( especially love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, self control and faith ) are being formed in us; the very nature of God our father is being formed in us, to his praise and glory, not our own.
It is by the exceedingly great and precious promises given to us by our Father in Heaven
that we are being transformed "from glory to glory" into his image, likeness, and nature.
All praise and glory be to his name forever more !!
Beloved, let us "HAVE THE FAITH OF GOD" !
© Copyright M. C. Loveness