When I say the word “faith” you might think that means to “believe”. I don’t make that connection… when I say “faith”, I’m really saying faith-in-the-finished-work-of-Jesus-Christ. That’s the specific connection I am encouraging you to make. It’s a subtle shift, but it makes all the difference!
To understand what faith is, let’s imagine a life lived without any faith at all. In such a life the room around the person is all that exists. Walls, bricks and the roof. There is nothing unseen or to be believed in. No God to be reconciled to. That is a life without faith. If you asked them about their life they may reply with statements about real life things and material concerns about the future for their kids, studies, employment and so on. Real life stuff, nothing beyond that.
But a totally secular life is rare, because human beings are designed for a relationship with God – which we lost during the fall in the garden of Eden – so we usually yearn for a deeper connection with Him. Therefore we strive to make some connection with Him. As a result we might believe in any number of belief systems, trying to find our way to Him. This kind of person has some faith, but it’s not anchored in God Himself, but instead it is placed in a belief system which doesn’t have the power to save that person from death. This person considers eternal things and things beyond this life.
Now let’s consider a person who has faith in Jesus Christ. Their view on the world is often shaped by their understanding of Jesus Christ, Who He is and what He might or might not have done for them or for the world. Their life is in the here and now, but their thinking includes a lot of information which is not visible. They pray for helf from an unseen source: Jesus Christ.
This person has faith and to some extent will experience some of the things spoken about in the gospels. The greater their “measure of faith”, the more concrete these unseen things will become.
Let me explain that, because it is a very important statement. The greater their “measure of faith”…
Rom 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
… the more concrete these unseen things appear to be…
Now faith is… the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] – Heb 11:1 Amplified Version
So as your faith grows, Jesus Christ will appear more clearly to you, and your experience of His power in your life will be more and more real. All of the famous Christian were known to have immense faith. Smith Wigglesworth is famous for saying “only believe” and Kathryn Kuhlman spoke of the Holy Spirit as her best friend. Both of them had an overcoming faith and saw healings and people raised from the dead. What made their faith so strong? They were absolutely convinced that the devil was defeated on the cross and as a result they often saw this truth manifested in their lives.
This change is not psychological, it’s a real change in you which results in a change in the unseen spiritual world around you. That change in the unseen world is often called “the anointing of God”, but I think that since one of the names of the Holy Spirit is “The Anointing” I think we should call that unseen stuff by it’s right name, it is faith. I am more and more convinced that faith is in fact a substance. It is a real and unseen force that affects the world around us.
Why didn’t I write about this at the beginning of the book? It’s my expectation that after reading about Jesus Christ and Him crucified for 100 pages of this book, over time your measure of faith has grown to such an extent that you are now able to “perceive as real fact” these kinds of things. It’s possible that some people would not be able to perceive these things as “real fact” if it was introduced near the start of the book.
Faith can be accurately described as a substance, because it can sometimes be seen and experienced. We can experience it when our faith in Jesus Christ has healed us…
Mark 5:34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
We can experience the reality of faith when a person with great faith walks in the room, because often people can feel the presence of God with them. There is a well known story about a servant of God sleeping for a night in a bed and then for a time after that anyone who slept in that bed was healed of sickness. The disciples anointed a handkerchief and it carried healing (their faith in Jesus Christ) to the person who needed healing. Smith Wigglesworth did the same.
So we come to the core of my message: faith-in-the-finished-work-of-Jesus-Christ. I have noticed that faith based on Jesus Christ and Him cruficied is far more powerful than just having faith. I think that is why Paul wrote these words…
1Co 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Some people focus on other aspects of Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit, it is all faith, it all brings favor and blessings, all can heal. But the most power is in our focus on “Jesus Christ and him crucified”.