There is no formula given in the Word of God concerning receiving from The Lord. The reason is obvious. All individuals and their situations are unique. Faith always requires different things of different people. Consequently, the formulas given by most preachers simply do not work. Therefore, one must understand that no formula is available. The few steps I will give also must not be construed as a formula.
The Will of God
As with the woman with the issue of blood, individuals must settle it in their minds that it is the will of God for them to receive from The Lord. If they vacillate on this point, it shows a lack of faith. We must believe that “...he (God) is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) James told us that faith cannot work in a double-minded atmosphere. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8) He also said, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…” (James 1:6)
As the woman with the issue of blood, touching The Lord must be anchored in God’s Word, in other words, claiming His promises. In effect, this is exactly what she did. She must have had an inkling of knowledge as to what this blue tassel on Jesus’ garment meant. Therefore, she touched it and in faith. So, claim The Word for your particular case, and believe it. Understand, as well, that what Jesus did for you at The Cross opens the door for great and wonderful things. In fact, The Cross of Christ gives us much greater access than what this dear lady had so long ago or anyone else before The Cross, for that matter.
Persevere Until the Answer Comes
This is where many believers break down. They do the things mentioned, and no answer is forthcoming, at least at that particular time. They soon grow weary and quit. The Holy Spirit desires that we keep believing, even though circumstances may say the opposite, as they often do. The answer will come, even though, at times, it may be delayed. As stated, and by now it should be obvious, it is not nearly as simple to touch The Lord as it is for The Lord to touch us, but it can be done, as evidenced by this dear lady. This passage was given by The Holy Spirit for this very purpose.
“And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” (Mark 5:29)
And Straightway the Fountain of Her Blood was Dried Up
The heading contains a powerful meaning. It not only means that the bleeding instantly stopped, but that which caused the bleeding (the fountain, if you please) was instantly dried up. In other words, she was instantly and completely healed. While she would ultimately grow old and die, it would not be from this disease.
And She Felt in Her Body That She Was Healed of That Plague
The heading means that she had felt, oftentimes, the efforts of the doctors attempting to help her but only hurting her. As she felt that, she felt this, but with a great difference. Then, she felt pain. Now, she felt healing. Because of what she felt in her body, she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that “she was healed of that plague”, and so she was. The cure was instantaneous. Let us say it once again, the doctors of that time had absolutely no similarity to the medical profession presently. Today, medicine is a science, and therefore, is somewhat predictable. I thank God for modern medicine, for doctors, for nurses, for hospitals, etc. I thank The Lord for the knowledge that He has given individuals in these last days as it regards the medical profession. No, our taking medicine or being under the care of a doctor does not harm our faith or diminish it whatsoever. While, of course, The Lord does not need anything to heal anyone, still, as every believer knows, while The Lord does heal, He does not heal every time. Thank God, at times, He helps us by using the medical knowledge of the doctor or whatever the case. Sometimes, it seems that He affords no help whatsoever from any source, but we are still to believe.
“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)
And Jesus, Immediately Knowing in Himself That Virtue Had Gone Out of Him
The heading tells us a couple of things. First, that which was done by Christ for others had a price tag attached to it, as is obvious in this verse, at least as it pertains to Him. Virtue (power) went out of Jesus. This would have had some effect on Him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Second, we learn from this the tremendous power of faith in God. In mid-1995, I was in a series of evangelistic meetings in Mexico with a couple of services on the United States side of the border. I was involved in a meeting and was almost ready to leave for the service that night when I greatly sensed the presence of The Lord. My mind was on the message I would preach that evening, which was this very text. The Lord spoke to my heart saying, “I’m going to show you something about this illustration of the woman touching the hem of My garment that you have not previously seen.” Actually, as any memory comes back, even as I dictate these notes, some of it began to unfold even then. However, it was only during the message that The Spirit of God outlined that which He had spoken. The auditorium was jammed to capacity that night, and correspondingly, there was a mighty move of The Holy Spirit in the entirety of the service.
A Message of Faith
As I preached, I was greatly sensing the presence of The Lord with the congregation sensing it as well. I came to the part regarding the woman touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. When I got to that part, The Holy Spirit fully brought out that which He had given me in part before the service. It was as follows: Jesus did not know this woman was in the crowd, did not know of her illness, did not know of her determination to receive her healing, and did not know she existed. As stated, The Holy Spirit did not see fit to reveal this to Jesus, perhaps for the very reason I’m about to give. Her experience portrays to any and all that faith in God is such a powerful force, even such a powerful commodity, if you please, that it would pull healing from Jesus, even though He did not know this woman existed. As I began to expound this to the congregation, you could sense faith building greatly in the audience. As well, it was so powerful to me all night long that I actually slept very little. On the way to the airport the next morning, it increased respecting that which The Lord had given me. God loves faith. Actually, one cannot even please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). God wants His children to believe Him. If something was so powerful (as this obviously was) that it would bring healing from Christ, even though He did not even know the woman existed, then we are talking about something that is powerful beyond our comprehension. All believers should diligently seek to increase their faith in The Lord and God’s Word. In fact, such is done by the diligent study of The Word of God, for “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) This is the reason that I have used these illustrations from the ministry of The Master to illustrate the great doctrine of Divine Healing.
Turned Him About in the Press, and Said, Who Touched My Clothes?
In the Greek, it actually says, “Who touched Me on My Clothes?” As the next verse proclaims, there was great press of people around Him and that many were attempting to touch Him but without any recorded results. The difference was that this woman had faith. Consequently, He felt it.
“And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?” (Mark 5:31)
The disciples were not privileged to know what was going on, but The Lord knew something had happened, something wonderful.
And His Disciples Said unto Him
They did not understand His question, especially considering that scores of people were pressing Him, even thronging Him, and consequently, touching Him. What did He mean, “Who touched my clothes?” Consequently, we see from the fact of faith performed by this dear woman that the only thing she needed was faith in God. She did not have to go through the disciples, and in fact, did not do so. So, that shoots down the roman catholic appeal to dead saints or live ones, for that matter. She went personally to Jesus, without Him even knowing she was there. By her faith, she was able to receive exactly what she needed.
You See the Multitude Thronging You, and You Say, Who Touched Me?
The heading portrays that this was completely beyond Peter’s understanding, or any of the other disciples, for that matter (Luke 8:45). Why would one touching Him mean more or be different than others touching Him? The difference was faith. Why did this woman have faith, and the others did not? There is no answer to that. Actually, they should have had more faith than she did. They had already witnessed the miracles of Christ, while she had only recently heard what Jesus could do, or so it seems, but yet, she had great faith in Christ. From the time The Lord spoke to my heart in Harlingen, Texas, respecting this truth that I have attempted to relate to you, I have sensed an urgency of The Holy Spirit respecting the increase of my faith. It’s as if He’s telling me, “Do not look at circumstances or situations, but look to Me and believe.” I have sensed and felt that as never before. As well, I believe it is faith that will be used to touch untold millions for the cause of Christ. God never does anything of this nature but that it is for an intended purpose.
Look What The Lord Has Wrought
From that time in 1995, The Lord has done wonderous things for this ministry. In 1997, The Lord gave me the great Word of The Cross, and as well, how The Holy Spirit works within our lives. In the year 2000, He gave me the Son Life Radio Network, broadcasting the Gospel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, now on some 74 radio stations. In 2010, The Lord instructed me to begin the Son Life Broadcasting Television Network. As of this writing, we are going, by television, into 90 million homes in America, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. As well, we are going into nearly 300 million homes in cities outside the United States, plus satellite and the internet. In fact, I’m told that more than 2 billion people can tune into Son Life Broadcasting Network, if they so desire. I believe The Lord has told me that a move of God is coming that will be the last great move before the coming Great Tribulation. It will usher hundreds of thousands, if not millions, into the Kingdom of God. We must never forget “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
The Lord Looks for Those Who Exhibit Faith in Him
“And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.” (Mark 5:32)
Irrespective of the question Peter had asked, Jesus began a scrutinizing gaze in search for the woman. It is amazing how The Holy Spirit works. Jesus knew someone had touched Him with great faith, but that is as much as The Spirit gave to Him. The Holy Spirit did not tell Jesus where the woman was in the crowd, and at this stage, I don’t think Christ even knew if it was a woman or a man. All of this was for a purpose. There is a possibility that the woman was very shy. Then again, because of her disease, she had actually broken the Law of Moses by touching Jesus. In other words, she was unclean. Consequently, The Holy Spirit would give her time to compose herself before she would give her testimony. She had only touched the garment, and had not, by any means, grabbed it. Therefore, His knowing of this touch was not because of its action but because of what it represented, her faith. While it was unlawful for her to touch The Lord due to her particular physical malady, still, this was only ceremonial law and by no means a moral law. Consequently, the law of faith that she evidenced overrode this ceremonial law, exactly as it did when David ate the shewbread, thereby breaking a ceremonial law (1 Samuel 21).
“But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” (Mark 5:33)
This passage proclaims her now seeking mercy as she had previously sought healing, and it would now also be granted.
But the Woman Fearing and Trembling
The heading pictures something going on in her soul. Luke perfected this statement by saying, “And when the woman saw that she was not hid,…” (Luke 8:47). Perhaps the consternation was caused by the knowledge that, in as much as she was unclean, she had broken ceremonial law by touching Christ. She had not asked His permission, carrying out her act of faith, so to speak, behind the scenes. Now, He had stopped the entire procession and was looking earnestly through the crowd and proclaiming that virtue had gone out of Him. She was found out, but the results would not be what she had feared. This she did know, the disease was gone.
Knowing What was Done in Her
First of all, and as stated, the woman knew the disease was gone. Considering that she had spent all of her living on doctors for some 12 years and had grown no better but worse, there was no doubt in her mind or body that she was healed of that plague. Actually, she could feel it deep within her that the problem was gone. Furthermore, she would never be troubled with it again. It was a complete and permanent cure. And yet, she was fearful that she had done something wrong. No doubt, she knew of the strict censure of the pharisees. Not knowing Jesus before now, due to living a goodly distance away (according to tradition), she wondered if Jesus might be angry.
Came and Fell Down Before Him
As stated, the heading proclaims her seeking mercy as she had previously sought healing. This much she did know, anyone who (as Jesus) had that type of power manifested, was more than ordinary and deserved worship, which she freely gave. She did not know what He might do, but she did know what had already been done. She had been gloriously and wondrously healed, and of that, there was no doubt. Can you imagine how this dear lady felt, knowing that she was healed, especially after suffering for some 12 years? She would never be the same again, and no wonder. How many millions, down through the centuries, has The Lord changed their lives exactly as He did this dear lady? How many in the world today can say the same thing as that dear lady of so long ago?
And Told Him All the Truth
These six words of the healing proclaim, in beautiful simplicity, that this woman shared exactly the thoughts of her heart concerning the touching of the hem of her garment. Luke, being a doctor, added the words, “…how she was healed immediately.” (Luke 8:47)
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus
He is a Friend that’s well known
You’ve no other such a friend or brother
Tell it to Jesus alone
She told everything exactly as it had happened. In her heart of hearts, she knew that anyone who had such power would also know if she told otherwise.
“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” (Mark 5:34)
In verse 25, she was addressed merely as a certain woman, now she is called daughter, which signifies relationship. Jesus, in effect, had made her a member of the family of God. As someone has said:
And He Said unto Her, Daughter
First of all, the word daughter was a word of endearment. In effect, He was claiming her as a member of the family, so to speak. Not only was she healed, but she was now saved as well. She was now a member of the family of God. It was the same family to which the disciples belonged, as well as all who have prostrated themselves as she did before the lowly Galilean. Even though she was near His age, or possibly even older, His use of the word daughter proclaimed Him as the Messiah. Therefore, He spoke as a father to a daughter.
The Remedy Alone is Christ and Him Crucified
This entire episode has a far greater meaning than just the healing of an individual, as wonderful and gracious as that was. It is obvious here that this malady represents to us the ever-flowing bitter fountain of sin, for which no treatment can be found in human philosophy. The remedy is only to be found in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. Pulpit said, “To touch Christ’s garment is to believe in His incarnation whereby He has touched us and so enabled us, by faith, to touch Him and to receive His salvation of grace.” As stated, there is no earthly remedy for sin, but there is a remedy. That remedy is Christ and Him Crucified and Christ and Him Crucified alone.
Your Faith Has Made You Whole
The heading carries a powerful statement. He said to her, “Your faith”, implying the ingredient that one must have in order to receive from God, be it physical, financial, domestic, or spiritual. The word faith is central to the Christian experience and message, and yet at times, this word is corrupted by a misunderstanding of its true, Biblical meaning. Oftentimes people use the word faith to indicate what is possible but uncertain. This is what causes most people not to receive from The Lord. The Bible uses the word faith in ways that link it with what is assuredly and certainly true. Consequently, this is the type of faith that this woman had and that all are demanded to have, that is, if we are to receive from The Lord. The object of our faith must not be ourselves or others, but rather Jesus Christ and Him crucified and that alone (Romans 6:3-14, 1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 21, 23; 2:2; Galatians 6:14). There is no limit to what faith in God can do. It holds out a promise to all of mankind that a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ can literally transform any situation.
The Object of Faith Must Ever Be Jesus Christ and Him Crucified
The Old Testament speaks of false senses of security. It holds each of them up and examines them in contrast to the security that is ours in The Lord and in The Lord alone. Over and over again, it proclaims the foolishness of man in turning from reliance on God in order to seek the security of other men (Psalms 118:8; 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5). We are also warned not to have faith in riches (Psalms 49:6; 52:7), military power (Deuteronomy 28:52; Psalms 44:6; Jeremiah 5:17), or in our own goodness (Ezekiel 33:13; Hosea 10:13). True faith fastens on God as one Who, by His nature, is the soul certainty and sure reality. God is faithful and unchanging, established in eternity. Because He is, we can commit ourselves to Him. We have faith in God by understanding that His Son, our Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, is the source of all blessings, whatever those blessings might be. However, the means by which all of this comes to us is The Cross of Christ and The Cross alone. Let me say it this way:
As our faith is anchored in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross, God The Father commits Himself to us in covenant relationship. The placing of our confidence in Him brings us true well-being and safety.
The Old Testament View of Faith
In Old Testament times (which also carries over into the present), God demanded that those who follow Him do so because He is utterly faithful and trustworthy. In the great faith worthies, the New Testament points to Abraham as the faith’s principal example. Genesis 15 describes Abraham, then a very old man, in dialog with God. Abraham complained that God had given him no children of his own, despite an earlier promise (Genesis 12:2). God responded by amplifying the promise. Abraham looked to the sky, filled with its numberless stars, and heard God say, “So shall thy seed be.” (Genesis 15:5) The next verse tells us, “And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6) “Who (Abraham) against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he (The Lord) had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:18-21) Abraham examined the circumstances, and despite everything, decided that God was to be trusted. Abraham consciously chose to put his trust in God. This act of faith was accepted by The Lord in place of a righteousness that Abraham, within himself, did not possess. Abraham was not perfect by any standard, as the Scriptures bear out, but his life, as recorded in the Old Testament, shows, again and again, that he trusted God and acted on God’s promises, certain that he could count on The Lord (Hebrews 11:8-12).
The example of Abraham stands as the Biblical illustration of faith as a believing response to God. God spoke in the promise and command. Abraham trusted himself to God, and Abraham’s faith was demonstrated as he subsequently acted on what God had said (Genesis 12-22). Concerning Abraham’s faith, Jesus said “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56) What did Jesus mean by Abraham seeing “my day”? He was speaking of the fact that everything that The Lord had shown Abraham as it regarded justification by faith depended totally upon the coming Redeemer, Who was to come through the lineage of Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah. The Redeemer also would have to die in order to redeem fallen humanity. This great Truth was given to Abraham as it regarded the command of The Lord for Abraham to offer up Isaac in sacrifice, which, as is known, was stopped at the last moment (Genesis 22). However, even though The Lord showed Abraham that redemption would come by and through the death of the Redeemer (Genesis 22:13-14), He did not show the patriarch how the death would come about. That revelation was given to Moses, and we speak of The Cross. It concerned the serpent on the pole (Numbers 21:4-9). Jesus mentioned this as well. He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up (which spoke of The Cross): That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15) So, it has always been The Cross (Genesis 3:15).
An Example of Unbelief or Lack of Faith
While a study of Abraham’s life helps us to understand the nature of belief or faith, by contrast, the history of the generation of Israelites, who were redeemed from Egypt, helps us to understand the nature of unbelief. Exodus 4:1-8 is the foundation and Numbers 14 is the culmination of a theme. Exodus Chapter 4 reports a dialog between The Lord and a hesitant Moses. Moses had been told to return to Egypt. He would become the instrument of Israel’s deliverance. However, Moses objected, “...But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” (Exodus 4:1) God gave Moses the power to perform three miracles and explained, “And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.” (Exodus 4:8) The book of Hebrews warns New Testament believers not to permit a hardened heart to drag them into error. If that happens, they will become like the evil generation that heard God’s Word, but the unbelieving heart was shown by their refusal to obey (Hebrews 3:12). The story of Abraham and the Exodus generation show the meaning of faith in positive and negative terms. Through them, we see several basic aspects of faith.
The Basics of Faith
First, faith is not some response to evidence, even when that evidence is clearly miraculous. Abraham believed God. His faith was a response to God Himself, Who met Abraham directly in a word of promise. That Word from God is far more compelling for faith than any miracles performed in the material universe. Second, faith in God engages the total person. It is expressed in presumption and action and by the word believing. In fact, believing is the action part of faith. Abraham was well aware of his and Sarah’s advanced age, but Abraham also considered God’s power and faithfulness. The fact of God so transformed Abraham’s perspective that he easily accepted God’s promise, although fathering a son was humanly impossible for him. But Israel poised on the borders of Canaan, could see only the military strength of that land’s inhabitants. They treated God with contempt (Numbers 14:11; 16:30) by refusing to consider His power and reality.
Faith is also expressed in actions. When Abraham was told to go to Canaan, he packed up and went (Genesis 12). When the Exodus generation was told to conquer the land, they refused even to try. They were betrayed by their unbelieving hearts. Third, the outcome of faith was demonstrated. When a person responds to God’s self-disclosure, faith-generated obedience leads to blessing. Abraham believed God and knew God’s protection during his lifetime. Conversely, the unbelieving generation of Israelites wandered back into the wilderness to die in its desolate wastes.
Faith as Expressed in the New Testament
The object of faith in the New Testament (as in the Old), continues to be God, but now it is through Jesus, Who is a reality, whereas in the Old Testament, He was only a shadow. Consequently, faith, as expressed in the New Testament and in Christ, is far more developed than in the Old. The reason is clearly expressed by Jesus Himself, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) God The Father has revealed Himself in the Son. The Father has set Jesus before us as the One to Whom we must entrust ourselves for salvation. It is Jesus Who must be the focus of Christian faith, and more particularly, what He did for us at The Cross (Ephesians 2:13-18). The context of our faith and in our relationship with Jesus, which are inseparable, believing has come to mean:
Faith as Expressed in the Gospels
The Gospels report many signs (miracles) that Jesus performed as He traveled and taught. Often, but not always, Jesus’ healings were intimately associated with the faith of the sick person exactly as expressed in this woman who touched the hem of his garment (Matthew 9:2; 22; 29; Mark 2:5; 5:34; Luke 17:19; 18:42). However, a survey of the Gospels shows that, for most people, Jesus’ miracles failed to produce true faith. Even as Jesus hung on The Cross, the mocking promise of his watching enemies was alive, “Now, come down from The Cross,” they pledged, “and we will believe.” (Matthew 27:42; Mark 15:32) Also, when Jesus was raised from the dead, what happened? These men were the first to attempt to hide the evidence (Matthew 28:11-15). In this, we see the phenomenon. We note of the Old Testament report of ancient Israel’s unbelief. The Exodus miracles provided incontrovertible proof of God’s power and His presence, yet the Exodus generation would not commit themselves to Him. The nation in Jesus’ day saw His healings, watched Him cast out demons, and even saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead, yet they refused to believe.
Belief is the full flow of God’s power was difficult, even for the disciples. They had trusted themselves in Jesus as the Son of God, but when The Lord was crucified, their hope and confidence drained away. On the day of the resurrection, they could not bring themselves to believe that the One they trusted had come to life again (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24). However, in the Gospels, one vital fact is made clear in Jesus’ words about faith, a lack of trust in God in Whom we have faith, closes off life’s possibilities. When we fail to believe, we do not experience the full range of God’s activity (Matthew 21:22), but when we trust, we open up our future to a full experience of God’s power (Matthew 17:20; 21:21; Luke 7:9-10). All things are possible to the one who believes. For you and me, faith in Jesus does not come through an observation of miracles, as wonderful as they may be. Faith is born as we learn about Jesus, find out what He said, and what He did for us as it refers to The Cross and then put our trust in Him. When we go on to deeper faith and act in reliance on the power and presence of God, as we trust, our life opens up to all sorts of possibilities. Miracles follow faith. Believing, we experience God at work in our lives.
Faith as Looked at By John the Beloved
John looks at the relationship between believing and evidence. He examines superficial belief and connects true faith with life and death. In addition, several passages of John’s Gospel call for careful study. In Christian faith, knowing and believing are linked. We respond to testimony about Jesus with our intellect as well as with our hearts. John’s Gospel looks at two kinds of testimony. There is the testimony of Jesus’ miracles, and the testimony of Jesus’ words. At times, these two lines of testimony enhance each other, thus the twelve, who were already committed to Jesus, saw the miracle at Cana of Jesus turning the water into wine according to John 2:11, and found their belief in Jesus strengthened. It is not unusual to find that many of the observers of Jesus’ works were moved to some kind of belief. The testimony of Jesus’ miracles was compelling (John 7:31; John 11:45; 12:11). Yet others, who saw the same signs, chose not to believe, rejecting Jesus against the evidence of The Lord’s works (John 10:38; 14:11). In John, we see that the testimony provided by miracles and signs, forced observers to take Jesus seriously, but signs and miracles alone do not bring about saving faith.
John distinguishes between two types of believing. His Gospel was written, he told his readers, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31) Yet, when John describes the response of the crowds to the testimony of Jesus’ miracles, it is clear that those who believed did so in a way that fell short of life-giving belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. John 2:22-23 tells us of many who saw His signs and believed Him, but later, after that same crowd of shallow disciples heard Jesus speak of Himself as the bread of life (John 6), they complained, “…This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). John observes that “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66) Superficial faith came in response to the miraculous, and it died when Jesus communicated the divine content of His message. Nicodemus, a religious leader confessed, “…we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2) Yet, when other religious leaders heard the message that Jesus spoke (John 7:16-17), they refused to go on to the belief-involved commitment to Jesus as The Lord (John 7:45-47). Wonder at Jesus’ powers, even agreement that God must have sent him, fall short of saving faith. Only when one recognizes Jesus as the Son of God and commits himself completely to Him does a person believe in the fullest saving sense. This commitment involves accepting His words and making them the framework of one’s life.
Faith and Life
Over and over in his writings, John links faith with life and unbelief with death. The one who believes in Jesus has eternal life. The one who does not believe is already condemned to eternal death. The intimate connection between life and believing is as marked in John’s Gospel and epistles as a connection between faith and righteousness in the writings of Paul. Chapter 8 of John’s gospel explores the link between the testimony of the miraculous and the testimony of the message. Jesus teaches clearly that He and the Father are inseparably One, thus belief in Jesus is the critical issue for every hearer “...for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) The miracles of Jesus, likewise, cannot be argued away, but when Jesus spoke the truth, the religious leaders attacked Him. Unlike Abraham, who heard God speak and responded with belief in The Lord, this generation did not respond to the Word of Truth. When the physical descendants of Abraham rejected the fresh Word of God that came through Jesus, they proved themselves to be of a different spiritual family, for Abraham believed God, but these men refused to believe God’s Son.
The Miracle of Lazarus
Chapter 11 of John’s gospel tells the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. While many accepted the testimony of the miracle, and accepted Jesus’ Word about Himself, the story itself looks at believing from a slightly different perspective. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, did believe Jesus. They believed that Jesus, as the source of life, would raise Lazarus “at the last day.” (John 11:24), for Jesus was The Christ and the Son of God (John 11:27). However, although saving faith was present, the women still failed to understand the life-giving power of Jesus, power that enabled Him to raise the brother then and there, recalling him to life, even though he had been dead for four days. This proclaims to us that one may have a saving faith in Jesus, as the sisters of Lazarus, and yet, limit His power. When we put our trust in Jesus, the Son of God, we enter a relationship with One who is LORD and His ability to act in our world. This without limitations. Actually, this characterizes the greater majority of the modern church. Saving faith in Christ is believed and maintained, but yet, many limit Him thereafter.
Paul and Faith
To Paul fell not only the task of presenting the Gospel but also of giving testimony and explanation, consequently he dealt with faith and salvation, faith and righteousness, and faith and fellowship with God. In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul demonstrated the fact that all of humanity is lost without a shred of righteousness that would permit God to accept any individual, at least on his own merit. He said, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” (Romans 3:20). Yet, God has determined to bring mankind to a salvation that necessarily involves sinners becoming righteous in His sight. This, Paul explained, is accomplished in the death of Christ, which was a sacrifice of atonement. Through faith in His blood, the individual who believes is declared righteous, thus salvation and righteousness come through faith in Jesus and what He did for us at The Cross, and through faith, salvation and righteousness are available to all.
There was a time on earth
When in the book of heaven
And old account was standing
For sins yet unforgiven
My name was at the top
And many things below
I went unto the Keeper
And settled long ago
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT