October 2, 2022
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Faith: What It Is and How to Have It.
What is grace? G‑R‑A‑C‑E: “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Jesus Christ, by dying in agony on the cross for our sins, provided all the riches of God for us.
But without faith, there is no way to acquire God’s grace. (See Ephesians 2:8.) This is why, when Paul tells us about grace in the book of Romans, he goes on to talk about faith.
So then, what is faith? F‑A‑I‑T‑H: “Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” Do you want to be saved? To be sanctified? To have your prayers answered? To overcome the world? Christ said, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29b).
Lack of faith is not weakness; it is wickedness. Unbelief is slander against God. (See 1 John 5:10.) Unbelief led Eve to sin in Eden. Unbelief locked the doors of the Promised Land and caused Israel to wander in the wilderness. It is unbelief that sends men to Hell.
Faith is no better than its object. Weak faith in God is better than strong, misplaced faith in anything else. It is not the size of your faith, but the object of your faith that counts. Look in the Bible—many who got a blessing from God had weak faith. (Read Mark 9:17-25.)
Never put faith in faith. “Positive thinking” is not faith. There is nothing mystical about believing. People tell you, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” Simply not true! Just because you think you can do it does not mean you can. And after a while, you will find yourself discouraged.
Some people say faith moves mountains—but that is not true. God moves mountains. “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame’” (Romans 10:11; emphasis added).
And we must be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a; emphasis added). The original Greek literally means looking away from everything else. Don’t look at others. Don’t look at yourself. Don’t look at circumstances. Don’t look at Satan. Look to Jesus.
The devil wants to make you doubt your salvation, so he will say, “Just how strong is your faith?” First thing you know, you will start examining it. Satan is trying to get you to look at your faith rather than looking to Jesus. When Satan pulls that trick, turn the tables—say, “Yes, my faith is weak, but Jesus is wonderful. I trust in Jesus.”
The object of your faith is the one true God, so your ambition should be to know Him. The more you know Him, the more you will find faith as the byproduct. “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10).
God is the object of your faith, so the origin of your faith is God’s Word. In order to pray in the will of God, you must hear the Word of God. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (see Romans 10:17).
That is, faith comes from outside of you. Peter said about those who had obtained faith, “To you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29; emphasis added). Nobody can believe unless God enables Him to. (See John 6:44,65; Ephesians 2:8.)
To enable you to believe, God uses His Word. Faith is not a leap in the dark; it is a step in the light. Some say, “Name it and claim it.” That is absurd. You cannot claim it unless God names it.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In the Bible, “hope” means bedrock assurance based on the Word of God.
The Greek word translated as “word” in Romans 10:17 is not logos, which means the revelation of the Word of God. It is rhema, which means the communication of the Word of God. It is not the Bible you hold in your hand which gives you faith; rather, it is God speaking to you out of that Bible.
To have faith, you must hear Jesus today. He is speaking to your heart, saying, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Faith is not man’s way of getting man’s will done on Earth; faith is God’s way of getting God’s will done in Heaven. Many think that faith is something we use for ourselves. If faith is a tool for you, that would make God your servant. But God is not your servant; you are His.
Are we hemmed up by the will of God? Yep—like a minnow hemmed up by the Atlantic Ocean! The will of God does not mean fewer blessings. The objective of faith is that God’s Word will have its effect, and that God will do it through us.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14; emphasis added).
How do we know His will? By knowing His Word.
How do we trust His Word? By knowing Him.
The object of faith is God, so know Him. The origin of faith is the Word of God, so hear Him. The objective of faith is the will of God, so yield to Him. The operation of faith is the work of God, so obey Him.
If you say you believe God but you do not obey Him, you do not believe Him. Faith is belief with legs on it. Faith obeys. God enables us to believe, but if we do not, we are the ones held responsible.
God said to Israel, “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Romans 10:21b). That is, people who refuse the Word of God. “Contrary” means they are not only disobedient but obstinate.
You are not saved because of your works; you work because you are saved. You are not saved by faith and works; you are saved by faith that works. If it has not changed your life, if it does not make you a different person, if it does not cause you to obey the Word of God, then do not say you have faith, and do not say you are going to Heaven. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26b).
Faith is the gift of God. But does that mean that if God gives it, you will automatically believe? No. Your breathing is a gift from God, but you can smother it if you want to—foolishly!
God gives you His Word and His Spirit. “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).