Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Have the faith of God." – part 1

The Word for today:
Mark 11:1-19

Let’s take a look at Mark 11:22:
And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.”

Nothing there, it seems, that the Bible doesn’t tell us a thousand times.  But if we render the original Greek words literally, Mark 11:22 reads:

And Jesus answered them, "Have the faith of God”.

Do you notice the difference?   Does the difference make any difference to you?

It makes a lot of difference to those who struggle with faith and unbelief, like this man did:
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

I pray that prayer often.  I have faith in Jesus, so I am saved.  But I do not have the faith that walks on water.  I, like the disciples, am of little faith (1).  So what can I do about it?

What we can do is appropriate God’s faith as our own.  That may sound way out there, so let’s look to the cross for the explanation.  On the cross, we gave Jesus our sin, and he gave us the righteousness of God:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus took the entire list of our sins. One of those sins is our unbelief—to whatever degree we have it.  What we received, among other attributes of God’s righteousness, was God’s faith.

So when Jesus, in Mark 11:22, tells us to "Have the faith of God,” he isn’t telling us to search for something we’ll never possess.  It’s already ours, just waiting to be claimed. 

Other Bible passages allude to this precept:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:8-9)

The faith of God has been made over to us.  It’s in the bank, so to speak, just waiting to be withdrawn.

Tomorrow, we’re going to the bank.


(1) Matthew 6:30; 14:31, etc.

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