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Topic: Faith

Where Did God Say That?

by Darrel Cline

What is faith from a biblical perspective? The Bible uses faith as a term to denote the whole body of teachings which make up the revelation of Christianity. (066) These teachings are the faith. The Bible also uses the word faith to refer to a human claim to believe something. The Bible acknowledges that many people claim to believe many things, but when crunch-time comes they demonstrate their lack of faith. Then the Bible also uses the word faith to indicate the way a person looks at life at the fundamental level. The way a person sees life is what he believes. This is faith that is acceptable to God if the person sees life to be as it is described in the Word of God.

In this article we want to look at another aspect of faith. In the Bible, the faith that pleases God is the faith that accepts His statements as descriptive of reality. This means that faith is fundamentally a response to God's Word.

This is a critical aspect of faith because we have so many today who claim that faith is simply confidence that God will or won't do certain things. Faith isn't faith unless it springs from a declaration from God that He will or won't do certain things. What I mean is this: someone gets a diagnosis of a terminal illness, and everyone is challenged to "believe God for a healing". But this is not faith. It is presumption. If God had given a promise, an utterance, a statement, that He would heal, then it would be faith to believe unto a healing. But the fact of the New Testament is that God never made such a blanket commitment to the members of His Church.

James 5 contains a limited promise of healing--healing of illness that has come upon a child of God because of divine disciplinary action upon the repentance of that child. The Gospels record significant numbers of healings which were in accordance with the Old Testament revelation concerning the ministry of Messiah, but these healings were accomplished before the New Covenant was established. The apostles performed miracles of healing, but not on the basis of promises of healing, but rather on the basis of a promise to the apostles that they would be able to validate their message by miraculous signs. In the body of revelation that establishes the content of the faith for New Covenant believers, there is no commitment from God to insure physical health for His children.

Instead, what we have are some rather frank statements that the children of God are going to be subject to the disintegration of the body over time. Even the miracle-working apostle Paul was denied healing for himself and for his co-workers on different occasions. If there had been a blanket promise of health in the New Covenant, Paul would have been healed and God would not have been able to refuse to fulfill His Word to him. But this is my point: faith is a response to a statement God has made. The reason there is so little real faith today is because there is so much biblical ignorance. You can't believe what you don't know.

What do you believe? Where in the Bible did God say it?

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This is article #067.
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