Wednesday, December 1, 2004

God is Full of Faith

Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The testimony of Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, is that God is faithful. In the Old Testament, the word for “faithful” is the Hebrew aman. We find the same word in Genesis 15:6, speaking of Abraham’s faith: “He believed [aman] God, and He [God] accounted him for righteousness.”

You might recognize that aman sounds very much like amen.” That’s because they are cousins, and follow the same principle of faith. When we say “amen,” as in prayer, it means that we are believing that prayer to be answered (At least, we are supposed to be believing for the answer. Of course, many people have no real idea what “amen” means. For them it has become little more than a tagline.)

In the New Testament, the word for “faithful” is the Greek pistos, the same word for “faith.” You see, God is very much a God of faith. In fact, He is “full of faith” as the English word “faithful” literally means. Consider the faith of God:
  • Jesus told the disciples, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). Literally, the Greek means “Have faith of God.”
  • Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith does not come from us, it comes from God, and is itself a gift of God. God cannot give what He does not have.
  • Faith is a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, … faith” (Galatians 5:22, KJV). All these fruits are brought forth in us by the Holy Spirit because they all come from God.
You see, the nature of Biblical faith is to believe the Word of God. If we do not believe God and what He has said, then in Bible terms, we are in unbelief.

The Bible says that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). That is, faith is the underlying reality of what we expect to see fulfilled. Is that not what God does when He speaks His Word? He has every expectation of seeing it happen. For example, when God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1, and darkness was on the face of the deep, God said, “Let there be light.” He believed what He said and had every expectation that light would appear. The result: “And there was light.”

That is how it always is with God. When He speaks His Word, He expects it to be fulfilled. The LORD said through the prophet Isaiah, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). That is faith.

Faith, believing the Word of God, is how God Himself operates. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). God had confidence in His own words. He did not go by what was visible, but by what He was saying — His will being expressed in His words.

If God is full of faith in His own Word, then ought we not also to be full of faith in His word, believing God to fulfill everything He says? If God operates by faith in everything He does, ought we not also to operate by faith in God’s Word in everything we do? No wonder Hebrews 11:6 says that, without faith, it is impossible to please God, because faith is what God Himself is all about.

So when Jesus said, “Have faith of God,” He was teaching the disciples to line up with the way God does everything. That is why He could then go on to say, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23). [By the way, the word “assuredly” there is the Greek word amen, a powerful word of faith.]

God is full of faith, and we can have the kind of faith that God has. Therefore, we can operate in the same way God operates, speaking His Word and expecting it to be fulfilled.