Central Truth: The kind of faith that spoke the universe into existence is dealt to our hearts.
jesus-cursingfigtree-webThere are two things to notice about the God kind of faith. First, a man believes with his heart. Second, he believes with his words. It isn’t enough just to believe in your heart. In order to get God to work for you, you must believe with your words also. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall say … and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). This is the unalterable law of faith.
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:12-14, 20-24
Let us focus our attention on the statement, “Have faith in God,” or as the margin reads, “Have the faith of God.” Greek scholars tell us this should be translated, “Have the God kind of faith.” Jesus demonstrated that He had the God kind of faith. While He was afar off, He saw that the fig tree had leaves. But as He approached it, looking for fruit, He saw that it was barren. Some have questioned why Jesus looked for figs on this tree when it was not time for them to be ripe; it was not their season. However, in that country trees that retained their leaves usually had figs also.
Finding no fruit on the tree, Jesus said, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
The next day when Jesus and His disciples passed by again they found the tree dried up from the roots. Amazed, Peter said, “Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away.”
It was then that Jesus made the statement, “Have faith in God (have the faith of God, or the God kind of faith). For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
After telling His disciples in verse 22 to have the God kind of faith, Jesus went on to explain in verse 23 what this meant: The God kind of faith is the kind of faith in which a man believes with his heart and says with his mouth that which he believes in his heart, and it comes to pass.
Jesus showed that He had that kind of faith, for He believed that what He said would come to pass. He said to the tree, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
This is the kind of faith that spoke the world into existence. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). How did He do it? God believed that what He said would come to pass. He spoke the word and there was an earth. He spoke into existence the vegetable kingdom. He spoke into existence the animal kingdom. He spoke into existence the heavens as well as the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars and the universe. He said it and it was so. That is the God kind of faith. He believed what He said would come to pass and it did.
The Measure of Faith
Jesus demonstrated the God kind of faith to His disciples, and then He told them that they too had that kind of faith – the faith that a man believes with his heart, says with his mouth what he believes, and it comes to pass.
Someone might say, “I want that kind of faith. I am going to pray that God will give it to me.” However, you don’t need to pray for it – you already have it. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Notice that Paul wrote this to believers, for he says, “to every man that is among you.” The epistle of Romans was not written to the sinners in the world; it was a letter to Christians. He addresses this letter “to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints …” (Romans 1:7). And in it he tells them that God has given to “every man the measure of faith.”
Paul also said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Paul is saying here that this faith is not of yourself. He was not referring to grace, for everyone knows that grace is of God. He is saying that the faith by which we are saved is not of ourselves. It is not a natural, human faith. It was given to sinners by God. And how did God give the sinner faith to be saved? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” In these verses Paul has said that faith (1) is given, (2) is dealt, and (3) cometh.
Romans 10:8 says, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” The Bible, this message of God, is called the word of faith. Why is it called the word of faith? Because it causes faith to come even into the heart of the unsaved. It causes the kind of faith that spoke the universe into existence to be dealt to our hearts. Faith is given to us through the Word.
Believing and Saying – the Key to Faith
Notice again the words of Romans 10:8, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” How does this compare with the words of Jesus in Mark 11:23? Paul’s writings to the Romans agree exactly with what Jesus told His disciples when He said, “Whosoever shall say … and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe … shall have whatsoever he saith.” We see here the basic principle inherent in the God kind of faith: believing with the heart and saying it with the mouth. Jesus believed it and He said it. God believed it and He said it, speaking the earth into existence.
Verses 9 and 10 of this same tenth chapter of Romans say, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” A measure of faith is dealt to the sinner through hearing the Word. Then he uses it to create the reality of salvation in his own life.
When Christians are asked, “When were you saved?” They often answer by saying something like, “About nine on the night of July tenth.” They are mistaken, however, for God saved them nearly two thousand years ago. It only became a reality to them when they believed it and confessed it. Salvation belongs to everyone. Every man and woman in this world has a legal right to salvation. Jesus died for the whole world, not just for you and me.
When the truth is preached to the sinner it causes faith to come. When he believes and confesses, he creates the reality of it in his own life by his faith.
Romans 10:13, 14, 17
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Just as faith comes from hearing the Word of God, so does anything that we receive from God. The God kind of faith comes by hearing God’s Word. In other words, God causes the God kind of faith to come into the hearts of those who hear. No wonder Jesus said, “take heed therefore how you hear” (Luke 8:18). You cannot let it go in one ear and out the other because that won’t do any good. Faith won’t come. If you act as if the Word of God were some fairy tale, faith will not come. But when you accept it reverently and sincerely, when you act upon it, faith comes.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (II Corinthians 4:13). Paul said that we have the same spirit of faith. And what belonged to the church at Corinth belongs to the church today. On no occasion did Paul or any of the apostles ever write to encourage the people to believe; never did they tell them to have faith. Our having to encourage believers to believe or have faith is a result of the Word of God’s having lost its reality to us. We are believers! When our children are away, we don’t have to write to them and say, “Be sure to keep breathing.” They will continue to breathe as long as they are alive. Neither do we have to encourage believers to believe because that is what they are – believers.
How many of us realize that our words dominate us? “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth …” (Proverbs 6:2). Another version says, “Thou art taken captive with the words of thy mouth.” A young man once told me that he was never whipped until he confessed that he was whipped. One writer put it this way, “You said you could not, and the moment you said it you were whipped.” You said you did not have faith and doubt rose up like a giant and bound you. You are imprisoned with your own words. You talk failure and failure holds you in bondage.
Defeat and failure do not belong to the child of God. God never made a failure. God made us new creatures. We are not born of the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of the will of God. We are created in Christ Jesus. Failures are man-made. They are made by wrong believing and wrong thinking. I John 4:4 says, “… Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Learn to trust the Greater One that is in you. He is mightier than anything in the world.
God created the universe with words. Words filled with faith are the most powerful things in all the world.
The key to the God kind of faith is believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. Our lips can make us millionaires or keep us paupers. Our lips can make us victors or keep us captives. We can fill our words with faith or we can fill our words with doubt. We can fill our words with love that will melt the coldest heart, or we can fill our words with hate and poison. We can fill our words with love that will help the discouraged and broken-hearted, with faith that will stir heaven. We can make our words breathe the very atmosphere of heaven.
Our faith will never rise above the words of our lips. Jesus told the woman with the issue of blood that her faith had made her whole. Thoughts may come and they may persist in staying. But if we refuse to put those thoughts into words, they die unborn. Cultivate the habit of thinking big things. Learn to use words that will react upon your own spirit. Faith’s confessions create realities. Realization follows the confession. Confession precedes possession.
Memory Text: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach” (Romans 10:8).
Faith in Action: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22).