Saturday, July 7, 2007

Faith and the Sovereignty of God

It has been said that prayer is not about overcoming God's reluctance, but about laying hold of His willingness. It is the same way with faith. Faith is believing the Word of God. Indeed, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). So faith that is divorced from the Word of God is not the biblical kind of faith. Apart from the Word, it can be very dangerous and is, at best, presumptuous.

But whenever God has spoken, we can believe to the fullest extent whatever He has said. To expect God to honor His Word and keep His promises does no violence whatsoever to God's sovereignty. Rather, it honors God in His sovereignty, for God has exalted His Word even above His name (Psalm 138:2). Whenever He promises something, it is because He fully intends to do it.

Now, notice how Jesus begins His discourse on mountain-moving faith and prayer that gets results:
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For 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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24)
“Have faith in God.” Mountain-moving faith has everything to do with God. It is not contrary to God but in alignment with Him.

Jesus then explains how to engage that faith: “Whoever says to this mountain ... and does not doubt those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” Here is faith at work in the heart, and here is confession made with the mouth. That is how faith works, and it gets results without violating the sovereignty of God.

Next, Jesus relates it to prayer: “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The NASB has “believe that you have received them.” This must be in line with the sovereignty of God because Jesus said it, and He never did anything that was contrary to the will of God.

Faith is all about believing the Word of God and therefore honors His sovereignty.