Friday, May 6, 2005

Faith Comes From God

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
“Have faith in God.” A more literal rendering of the Greek text is “Have faith of God.” This reading is supported by a number of translations, including Young’s Literal Translation, the Modern King James Bible, the Literal Translation of the Bible, and The Worrell New Testament.

Adolphus S. Worrell, Baptist preacher and professor of Hebrew and Greek, explains:
Have the faith of God; translators generally render this, “Have faith in God;” but, if this had been the thought, it would have been easy to have expressed it in the Greek. Faith originates with God; and those who have real faith have His faith; the same perhaps as “the faith which is of the Son of God.” (Gal. 2:20) This mountain: nothing short of the faith of God can remove mountains; but His faith, operating through His obedient children, can accomplish this, (Acts 3:6; 9:34). (Worrell, A.S. The Worrell New Testament, 1904)
W. B. Godby’s Translation of the New Testament also supports “have the faith of God.” Godby was a nineteenth century Holiness preacher. In his commentary on Mark 11:22, he says, “There is a difference between faith in God and the ‘faith of God,’ the latter being a perfect faith, admitting no admixture of doubt.”

John Gill was a Baptist preacher of the eighteenth century. He pastored the Strict Baptist Church, which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Here is what Gill said this about this passage:
“Have faith in God; or “the faith of God,” so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions; that is, exercise, and make use of that faith which has God for its author, which is the work of God, and of his operation, a free grace gift of his; and which has God for its object; and is supported by his power, and encouraged by his goodness, truth, and faithfulness: and so the Arabic version renders it, “believe in God”; not only that such things may be done, as the drying up a fig tree, but those that are much greater. (Exposition of the Entire Bible)
Adam Clarke, early nineteenth century Methodist preacher, said:
Have faith in God — echete pistin Theou is a mere Hebraism: have the faith of God, i.e. have strong faith, or the strongest faith, for thus the Hebrews expressed the superlative degree; so the mountains of God mean exceeding great mountains—the hail of God, exceeding great hail, etc. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)
A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, supports this reading, as well, in The Gospel of Healing:
Jesus does not say to you, “Have great faith yourself.” But He does say, “Have the faith of God.” God's faith is all-sufficient, and you can have it and use it. You can take Christ for your faith as you took Him for your justification, for your victories over temptation, for your sanctification. You may then rest in the assurance that your faith has not failed to meet the demands of the promise, for it has been Christ's own faith.
Every one of us can have the faith that comes from God. In Ephesians, Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). To the Romans, he said, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10.17).

There is a faith that comes from God, and a faith that comes from the world. The faith that comes from the world teaches us to trust in ourselves and to be moved by circumstances. It conditions us to be directed by our own understanding and to rely on our thoughts, emotions and senses. The faith that comes from God brings us into total dependence upon Him, leaning fully on His Word and the rich promises He has given us. This is the Bible kind of faith. It comes from God and it always directs us back to Him.