Faith Comes from God

It is much that way with faith, or believing God. He enables us to believe (Phil 1:29). He, and He alone, gives us the "measure" of faith that we possess (Rom 12:3). When we honestly assess our faith, we realize it has been "obtained" (2 Pet 1:1). The "grace of God that brings salvation" (Tit 2:11) has not only "appeared," it has brought an abundant supply of "faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus" (Tit 2:11; 1 Tim 1:14). When we are persuaded of the reality of these things, it encourages us to engage in a hearty effort to believe God. All such efforts will be honored by the Father, Who finds great delight in the soul that desires to believe His Word. It is as true with you, as it was with the believers in Achai, described as "those who had believed through grace" (Acts 18:27).

Some Cannot Believe

Those with hardened hearts, choosing to reject the Word of the Lord, thrust themselves away from eternal life. Their condition is so serious it is frightening. John recounts an occasion that arrests our thinking, jarring the senses of merely academic minds. "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 'He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them'" (John 12:37-40).

God can and does blind men's eyes and deaden their hearts--that is the Divine affirmation. The Spirit reminds us of the words of Isaiah the prophet, which were directed to the false prophets--those that supposedly spoke the Word of God to the people. The prophet's words startle the flesh. "The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers). For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, 'Read this, please,' he will answer, 'I can't; it is sealed.' Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, 'Read this, please,' he will answer, 'I don't know how to read'" (Isa 29:10-12).

God will ratify the human decision to reject His Word. He CAN pour out a spirit of deep sleep upon people, so they become completely oblivious to the solemn warnings and precious promises of His Word. In my opinion, this accounts for the obtuse condition of many churches. God has poured out a spirit of deep sleep upon them because of the hardness of their hearts!

God invariably responds to the reaction of men to His Word. For those that are of tender heart, choosing to receive the Word and allow it to dominate their thoughts, He will give faith, enabling them to believe His Word. For those that count it a common thing, God will cover the eyes of their heart, rendering them impervious to His powerful Word. Perhaps this accounts for the many ministers and teachers that are so abysmally ignorant of God's Word! The Spirit portrayed men that WOULD not believe as those that COULD not believe because of Divine intervention! Sobering considerations, indeed!

Believing An Affirmation

One final word on believing the Word of God. You will be tempted to think this is limited to accepting the commandments--God's requirements for what you are to do. Many people view Scripture as a manual of conduct, only seeing it as a directive concerning human conduct. However, believing God goes far beyond this. Believing assumes a promise, or a statement of Divine purpose. Nineveh believed a word that declared God was going to destroy their city (Jonah 3:5). Abraham believed God's promise of an Offspring through Whom the world would be blessed (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6; James 2:23). Samaria believed the good news of Jesus declared by Philip (Acts 8:12).

The primary message to be believed is that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16). Here is the central message of Scripture, to be embraced with the whole heart and mind. Believing this glorious affirmation enables the individual to overcome the world--to triumph over Satan's incessant efforts to make us part of the cursed order. How wonderfully this truth is stated in Scripture. "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:4-5, NIV).

This single affirmation--that Jesus is the Son of God--encompasses a great body of spiritual reality. Jesus is the sole means of obtaining the favor of God. He is the only One that has fulfilled the will of God. He was "cursed" for us (Gal 3:10-13), and was "made sin" that we might be "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21). He "tasted death for every man," thereby freeing us from death's dominion (Heb 2:9). He, and He alone, "destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil" (Heb 2:14), liberating us from the tyranny of the serpent. It is Jesus that now "is able to save" us to the fullest extent because "He ever lives to make intercession for us" (Heb 7:25). God has "sent Jesus" to "bless" us by "turning" us "away" from our "iniquities" (Acts 3:26). All of these benefits, and many more, are received when we "believe" the "testimony God has given about His Son" (1 John 5:10-11).

Similarly, the primary promise of the Bible is to be embraced by faith--to be believed. The Spirit states it for us in 1 John 2:25. "And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life." All of the promises of God are compressed into this single benefit--"eternal life." Apart from Jesus, this is completely transcendent to humanity--beyond their reach. You are asked to believe the promise, to perceive its applicability to you. The Word of God declares it, but you must believe it to appropriate the blessing.