Tuesday, April 13, 2010

By Faith Alone - Part II

During my lifetime, I've had the privilege and the pleasure of traveling to various countries, including Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Hungary. I personally enjoy flying. Anyone who has traveled at all knows that when you board a passenger plane to travel, you trust that the plane will do what it is designed to do. You are persuaded that it is airworthy and will carry you across the country or over the ocean to your destination.

Faith in God is a bit like that. Faith is not simply giving mental assent to something. It's not simply agreeing theoretically with an idea or concept. It is the kind of confidence you have when you board an airplane to cross the ocean. You absolutely trust the plane to do what it is supposed to do. You step out and take action to demonstrate your trust in the object of your faith. Of course, as a Christian, you should be praying and putting your trust in God for safe travel, since accidents do happen.

Sola fide is a Latin phrase, meaning "by faith alone". The early reformers used it to describe the fact that our salvation is by faith alone. Some people disagree with that notion and say that a person is saved by his good works or by a combination of good works and faith. In this study, we’ll look at this controversial topic to see what the Bible says about it. We’ll find out how faith is a key to answered prayer.

Everything we receive from the Lord we receive by faith. Let’s look at some examples in Scripture.

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (Jam 1:6). When you pray to the Lord, be sure you ask in faith believing.

“And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” (Jam 5:15). When we pray for someone to be healed, it’s the prayer of faith that heals.

“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.” (Mat 9:22) It was the woman’s faith in Jesus that instantly made her well.

“Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘It shall be done to you according to your faith.’” (Mat 9:29). The blind man received his sight by faith.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.” (Mar 10:52)

“Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.” (Mat 15:28). Jesus delivered this woman’s daughter from demons, because he saw her faith in Him.

How much faith do you need? “And He *said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.’” (Mat 17:20). All you need is a little bit to move a mountain.

“And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,” it will happen.” (Mat 21:21)

When the apostles were asked how they healed the lame man, here is what they said: "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” (Act 3:16). They healed the lame man by faith in Jesus Name.

Putting it All Together
You may wonder what this has to do with our main topic of “by faith alone”. It has everything to do with it. Jesus spoke to a lame man one time, whose friends had brought him to Jesus to be healed. When He saw their faith, He said to the man, “Take courage. Your sins are forgiven.” But certain religious people watching this were thinking He was blaspheming by claiming to forgive sins. They knew that only God can forgive sins. Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “’Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’--then He *said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he got up and went home.” (Mat 9:5-7).

Jesus demonstrated at that time that He has power to forgive sins when a person has faith in Him. Since we cannot see whether the person’s sins are forgiven, He demonstrated it by also healing the man instantly from lameness. It was all based on their faith.

So whether you need salvation, healing, miracles, deliverance from demons, or an answer to your prayers, faith is the key. It’s all by faith alone in Jesus’ name.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: We'll study more about faith in the rest of this series. So I hope you will follow it at the following links:

By Faith Alone - Part III
By Faith Alone - Part IV

You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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