Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. In today’’s broadcast, we tackle the question, "What is faith?””
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
What is Faith?
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 1
Brothers and sisters, the common definition of faith is as given in the scriptures: "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." "Through faith, we understand that worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." We are also told: "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God." "If you have the faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Through faith, we know God.
Now it appears that when we receive anything from God, be that knowledge of him or some other gift from him, we receive it through and by our faith. It is a direct transaction from him to us, but in order to receive it, we must exercise faith. When we examine the phenomenon of faith in the life of Jesus, God incarnate, we see him perform many miracles. The key that linked all these miracles was Jesus’’ exercise of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to do the work of God. This exercise of faith required each and every one of the recipients of spiritual and physical renewal to do something first to receive God’’s blessing to them. The man with the withered hand received healing only after obeying Jesus’’ command to ““stretch forth thine hand.””
Before turning water into wine, Jesus instructed that the water pots be ““filled with water.”” The man with dropsy was commanded to ““rise and pick up thy bed." Before the blind mind was healed, Jesus commanded him to wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. And we can’’t forget Lazarus, who was instructed to come forth by Jesus’’ command.
In these acts, we see the individual demonstrating faith to do what Jesus required. We see that the individual is mobilizing of all of the power within to bring about his faith desire to fruition. Thus the desire, the mind, the soul and the spirit were all involved in this focused desire. Total loyalty is exercised when we exercise spiritual faith. And herein is the evidence that they believed, for if they did not really believe, they would not have done as he asked them to do, and nothing would have happened.
Consider the example at Nazareth: "And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, ‘‘Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?’’ And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, ‘‘a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.’’ And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Again and again, we see the truth: "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him."
Why is this so? God’’s nature is absolute, infinite, and eternal. The maximum down-reach that God can make to his creatures requires their supreme up-reach. The very concept of God means that he transcends his creatures. If he were less than his creatures, he would not be God. God cannot act when the creature is not doing his very best. Therefore, it requires the supreme effort on our part when we interact with God. Now this supreme effort is different for each individual depending upon their potential. Nonetheless, half-hearted devotion will be unavailing, no matter one’’s potentials.
Why do we need to exercise faith? Why can’’t we just approach God as we would approach any other material creature? God is a spirit, and we are material. We are in the process of developing our spiritual nature. In the material interactions we use our five senses to tell us of the material things of the world. But the five senses are useless when trying to discern the things of the spirit. And though our spiritual eyesight is underdeveloped and will remain so for quite some time, the Father still desires to be in relationship with us. To that end, he has given us something to compensate for our inadequate spiritual insight. Without faith, we are blind. It is as if we have severe cataracts on our eyes and cannot see. Faith does for us, then, in the spiritual world what the physical senses do for us in the material world.
When we exercise faith--when we see by faith--we indicate that we believe. Otherwise, we would not reach out to him. How do we insure that what we are seeing is a bonafide reality? How do we know that the things that we are left with after interacting with the Father are true, beautiful, and good? How do we insure that our faith-sight is devoid of impurities such that we don’’t see what is not there, like a mirage?
Our relationship with God was defined by his Son, Jesus, who was God incarnate. Jesus revealed to us that God is our spiritual Father and that we are his spiritual sons and daughters. He revealed that God loves us as a father. And Jesus went about demonstrating this relationship while he lived in the flesh. He told us the only thing we needed to make this experience real was to exercise our spirit-born faith——to believe it to be so. And now that he has departed from the flesh, his Spirit surrounds our souls, demonstrating this same thing, leading, and guiding us into the correct relationship with the heavenly Father. This Spirit thus becomes the Spirit of Truth since it demonstrates the correct relationship that exists between us and the heavenly Father.
Now the relationship has been defined, and we have been told where to look and how to look with our faith-vision, there is no need to fear that we are interacting with an illusion. When we interact with a person that is not real, no change occurs within us. But when we interact with a bonafide person, we change. In the spiritual arena, when we interact with the heavenly Father, we change. We begin to display the fruits of the spirit. We begin to move away from our purely human nature and take on the divine nature. We become like what we see with our faith-vision. When we look with faith vision that is cleared of all the cataracts of evil, we see a clear picture of the heavenly Father as revealed in His Son.
We see a compassionate and empathetic loving and merciful Father who loves us with an infinite and absolute affection. We see someone who not only gives us faith but who has unlimited faith in us. We see someone who is patient and longsuffering, willing to wait while we mature. We see someone who is absolutely peaceful and joyful and who offers these qualities to us. We see someone who is meek, humble, and temperate; faithful, full of grace, and good. We see someone who is not only full of love but who is love. We see someone who tells us how much we mean to him, someone who values us with an infinite and eternal value.
We see someone who reminds not to fear because he will not allow anything to harm us. We see someone who guides and directs us through this life. We see someone who encourages us, gives us hope, someone who inspires courage and trust. We see someone who goes through this life’’s experiences with us, showing us their value and meaning. We see someone who replenishes our spiritual and moral energies after they have been depleted in our struggle to become spiritually perfect like he is. We see someone who stands ready to pick us up, when we stumble and fall, to forgive us if we rebel and repent. His hand of mercy is always extended towards us. We see someone who embodies all of the qualities we could ever imagine that are true, beautiful, and good. We see someone who is doing everything in his power commensurate with our free will to help us become all that we can, to be perfect even as he is perfect.
And as we keep looking with our faith-vision (as we worship), we increasingly become like him as demonstrated by his Son, Jesus. If the exercise of our faith were an illusion, we would not become like he is but would remain unchanged in our character. We would not, could not, display the fruit of the spirit.
So, what is faith? It is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It is the powerful transformer given us by our Father to be used right now to transform all of our potentials into actualities even if it should take an eternity to do so. And all this faith- power is ours for the taking. We only need to look, see, and believe by acting on it, thus demonstrating that we are "stretching out our hand to be healed."
This concludes today's message on understanding what faith is. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.