The Spiritual Gift of Faith: Is it Saving?

faithLast week we saw the elusive gifts of the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.

Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given by God to each believer to be used in the service of the body of Christ – the church. Today’s gift may be very familiar to some of you, or perhaps even all of you. We often talk about faith; faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in friends or family, faith in the government. Can you have faith in someone?  Sure you can.

But that’s not the kind of faith when you’re talking about the spiritual gift.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 12:6-11. Faith is from the Greek word pistis meaning a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing that produces a full acknowledgment. The word believe is slightly different than faith although they are sometimes used interchangeably. Believe is from the same root word as faith and means to be persuaded of or to place confidence or trust in. For example, I believe you are telling me the truth. I believe and have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow. Is that the kind of faith we’re talking about?

Does every Christian have this gift? The answer is found in v. 9 of the passage we just read. God doesn’t give spiritual gifts to people who are not Christians. Remember that spiritual gifts are given at salvation to every believer for use in the body of Christ. This is not saving faith because Paul says that God gave, “to another faith by the same Spirit.” You can’t have a spiritual gift of saving faith because spiritual gifts are given only to Christians. Which came first? Clearly saving faith must come before the spiritual gift of faith. The spiritual gift of faith could then be defined as the ability to believe God for something not yet realized. This is mountain moving faith. This is the kind of faith that gives a person a vision, a vision to stand firm with the conviction that God will bring to pass what He said He would. The person with this gift has the ability to rely on God for the impossible because they don’t see it as impossible. They think of verses like Luke 1:37: “With God, nothing is impossible.” Like Matthew 21:22, “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” This is the person that knows God will make it happen no matter what the situation looks like. The person with this gift will limit his asking to those things that God wants. His desire is the same as God’s desire. The spiritual gift of faith is the firm conviction that God wants to do something remarkable.

Even if we do not possess the spiritual gift of faith, we still have a responsibility to have faith. In our examination of other gifts, we’ve seen that even if we don’t have a particular gift, we often are to exhibit the characteristics of certain gifts. Even if we don’t have the gift of evangelism, we are instructed to witness to others and make disciples. Even though we may not have the gift of teaching, we are to, “Study to show ourselves approved of God.” Even though we may not have the gift of the word of wisdom, God’s Word instructs us to be wise. Even if we don’t have the gift of mercy, that is not permission to be unkind or unmerciful. If you don’t have the gift of giving, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to invest in the kingdom.

Let’s look at our responsibility for faith as believers.

  • Romans 1:17 tells us that the righteousness of God is revealed faith by faith.  It is by faith that the righteous man is to live.
  • Hebrews 11:6 says that, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
  • “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) It is by grace we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and we are sanctified or set apart by faith. (Acts 26:18)
  • Galatians 2:20 tells us, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
  • “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Remember the chorus to George Michael’s song? “Cause I gotta have faith, I gotta have faith.  Because I gotta have faith, faith, I gotta have faith, faith, faith.”

Our responsibility is to pursue faith. In 1 Timothy 6:11, Paul told Timothy to “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” Paul goes on in 2 Timothy 2:22 to say, “Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.” Pursue means to run after something in order to catch it. Pursue is a present tense verb in the imperative mood. That means we are to do it, it is a command for us to do it now.  We aren’t supposed to get ready to pursue. We are supposed to pursue faith now. How do I pursue faith? We pursue faith by being in the Word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

There are many scriptural examples of faith. A good one is found in Matthew 8. Paul tells us of a Roman Centurion that came to Jesus saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus tells the Centurion “I will come and heal him.” The Centurion tells Jesus that he isn’t worthy enough to have Jesus visit his house and asks Jesus just to say the words and his servant would be healed. This man had faith. In fact in Matthew 8:10, Jesus, “. . . .marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.'” Marvel comes from the word that means wonder. We get our English word amazed from this word. The Creator of the world, of life, of everything was amazed.  He marveled.  Now that’s faith!

Another example in Matthew 9:2, “And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.'” It was the faith of the people that brought the paralytic to Jesus that made him hold. The faith of people can influence God. That is amazing.

Want to hear an amazing story of modern faith?  Google George Muller.  Click here to read Precept Camden’s site about Darlene Deibler Rose.

The spiritual gift of faith is not given to every believer, but some do have it. What about you? Do you have mountain moving faith?


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