January 1, 2015

Validated Faith

Currency is a form of money circulated as a medium of exchange for goods and services; it is the means used to obtain what we need. In the United Kingdom, the currency is the pound sterling. In Japan, it is the yen. In France, it is the French franc. In the United States, we use the U.S. dollar.

In the spiritual realm, the “currency” we use to obtain what we need from God is faith. We do not exercise faith to acquire material benefits, but to receive spiritual blessings and the power we need to live for God. Faith is necessary! The Word of God tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. In Romans 1:17 we find these words: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

This text is part of an epistle the Apostle Paul wrote to believers in Rome. There, converts to Christianity lived in a society that subscribed to many gods—a god for this and a god for that. Their city was home to numerous temples. The people around them had shrines in their dwellings, and observed certain rituals of obeisance, although their gods were without power. Christian believers were surrounded by pressure to reject the currency of their God as false and valueless.

In Romans 1:17, Paul reminded these believers that those who had been justified by the Blood of Jesus were to live by faith. Faith was the currency they were to use to receive what God offered. God had given to each of them the measure of faith, and that was what they were to live by.

Some key words in verse 17 help us understand the point Paul was making. In the preceding verse, Paul had stated that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” In verse 17, he continues, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed...” The word translated righteousness in this phrase means “justification”—a gift bestowed by God, giving man a right standing before God and the ability to live a life pleasing to Him. Paul goes on to state that this righteousness is “revealed.” The word translated as revealed means to “disclose” and “to bring to light things which become known by their effect.” In other words, justified individuals will be identifiable by their actions. Their manner of living will effectively prove their faith and righteous standing before God.

The word faith in this verse means to be “persuaded” or “convinced of spiritual truth.” It is reliance upon Christ, trust, belief, or assurance that what God says is absolutely true. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is actually a substance; it is tangible. It is “evidence of things not seen.” Like proof presented in a court of law, faith confirms our conviction that the truths upon which we stand are sure. The word faith also indicates a firm persuasion. King Agrippa was one who lacked that quality. He said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” “Almost” is not enough! We cannot be almost saved. We cannot almost have faith. We cannot almost believe God. That will not work! We must possess an absolute assurance—be fully persuaded that God is able to deliver that which He has promised.

Since faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God, we must live by faith in order to receive the promises of God—and not just any faith, but faith that has been validated or proved by our works. Abraham was one who validated his faith by his actions. When God said to him, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2), Abraham did not hesitate. He rose up early the next morning and started on a journey toward the mountain. After three days he saw the place afar off, and told his servants, “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”

Abraham acted upon his faith; his obedience was prompt and complete. When he raised the knife to slay his son according to God’s command, being fully committed in his heart to obey, he heard the words, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Genesis 22:12). Abraham validated his faith in God by his obedience. The Apostle James said, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” He went on to say that because Abraham believed God, “it was imputed unto him for righteousness” (James 2:21-23).

When we truly live by faith, we move beyond the realm of human reasoning and obey no matter what the cost. Faith is validated by our actions, and that is the faith that pleases God.

Like Abraham, we must validate our faith in God by acting upon the instructions we read and hear from the Word of God. We must show God that we trust Him even when we do not understand. When we truly live by faith, we move beyond the realm of human reasoning and obey no matter what the cost. Faith is validated by our actions, and that is the faith that pleases God.

The necessity of validation is illustrated in how we use a bank card. When we place money in a bank account, we want access to those funds twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, whether it be a work day, a weekend, or a holiday. So we obtain a bank card to allow us to withdraw funds. However, before we can use that card, we must have it validated. The money is ours. It is in the bank, and our name is on the account, but we cannot access it unless we present a validated card. Similarly, the blessings of the Lord are ours. They are in the Heavenly bank, but we cannot access them unless we have validated faith.

The Roman centurion who came to Jesus on behalf of his servant had it right. He told the Lord that there was no need for Jesus to come to his house in order to heal his servant. The centurion was a man of authority, having soldiers under him who would obey his command to go or come. He told the Lord, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8). He validated his faith by reaching out beyond normal reason and asserting that if Jesus would only speak the word, his servant would be healed. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (verse 10). The centurion validated his faith, and we must do the same in our day. We must believe God beyond natural reason.

In Matthew chapter 14, we read how by faith Peter walked on the water. That action defied the laws of physics; in the natural, it would be impossible for a man to walk across the waves of the Sea of Galilee. But at one word from the Lord, Peter stepped out of the boat and started toward his Lord. Each step he took validated his faith.

Peter’s example also shows us what happens when doubt and fear come in—immediately it nullifies faith. Peter started out with confidence. However, when he began to consider the natural conditions that surrounded him, his faith wavered and he began to sink down into the waves. Thank God, Jesus is a restorer of our faith! When Peter cried out, “Lord, save me,” immediately Jesus reached out His hand and helped him. We must learn from Peter, and take care not to focus our attention on natural circumstances, but on God.

We want to be strong in faith, unwavering. We must be one hundred percent assured that what God has promised, He is able to perform. And then we must act on that faith without doubt or fear. The Word of God lets us know that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). We cannot be driven like a wave of the sea and tossed if we want to receive anything from the Lord. We cannot waver and allow doubt and fears to overwhelm us. We must turn our eyes away from what human research and statistics would tell us, and validate our faith by stepping out and trusting God!

Living by faith supersedes all human wisdom. Romans 1:17 speaks of the righteousness of God being revealed “from faith to faith”—from start to finish. Once we receive something from God, it encourages us to believe Him for something greater. We move from faith to faith until, like Abraham, we are able to call “those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). That is the power of faith!

Faith is the currency we need. If we believe, we can be saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Spirit or healed today. That “impossible” situation we face can be resolved in God’s time. We will receive answers if we have faith that does not waver!

All of us will have opportunities to validate our faith. Let us follow the example of Abraham, the centurion, Peter, and others whose accounts are given in the Word of God. Let faith rise to meet the challenge! Our needs are varied—they may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual—but faith operates the same in every situation. Hebrews 10:38 says, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” We want God to have pleasure in us! So let us allow our faith to take hold of His promises. Let us purpose to validate our faith by putting away doubt, and wholly trusting in our God and His unfailing promises.

apostolic faith magazine