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Pointers along the way #201

Can faith save us?
- Jacob Ninan

Many will react to this by saying, "Of course! What a question for a born again Christian to ask?" Some may add that we can only be saved through faith and not works (Ep.2:8,9). Will a person from another religion who has faith in his religion be saved through his faith? Of course no one can be saved except through Jesus (Jn.14:6;Ac.4:12). So, can 'faith' save us? It is God who saves us, and not our faith, when we go to Him in repentance and faith in Jesus.

Jesus said on different occasions that someone's faith had made him or her well. Was it their faith that made them well or Jesus made them well when He saw their faith? Our faith is the confidence or trust that we have in God that helps us to go to Him to receive from Him different things that He has promised (He.11:6). But the one who gives us what we ask or does miracles such as healing is God. If there was no God, we can have as much faith as we like and nothing will happen according to our faith.

Some people who have not understood that the English language has changed in the meaning of several words from the time of the King James Version have thought that faith is a 'substance' like money or gold that can be accumulated (He.11:1). Even others, like the father of the demonised boy, think in terms of the quantity of faith, and pray, "Increase my faith" (Mk.9:24;Lk.17:5). Why then did Jesus say that even if we have faith like a mustard seed we can see a mountain moving to the sea (Mt.17:20)? He was saying that it is not the quantity that matters. What matters is whether our faith is in God. When Jesus said, "It shall be done to you according to your faith," He meant, "I'll do for you the thing that you have trusted Me for," and not, "I'll do for you exactly in proportion to the quantity of your faith" (Mt.9:29). If we look at the miracles Jesus has done, most of the time we see that people were not sure what exactly to expect from Jesus, and His response was far beyond their expectations!

Someone may ask why Jesus rebuked His disciples for having little faith. He wasn't, in fact, referring to the quantity of their faith, as if it was a substance. He was, in effect, asking, "You hardly have any confidence in God, don't you?" Faith is our confidence in God, and it is God, and not our faith, that accomplishes things.

Our faith is the response to what we know of God when we get to know who He is. If we say that we have faith to expect from God healing of a cold but not raising a dead man to life, we insult God. We can't escape by saying that our faith is small. We don't know our God well, and that is a serious matter. It is a different matter if we have faith in God to do supernatural miracles but He chooses not to do them on different occasions. This is fine because He is the one who has power, and He is also sovereign to act according to His own choice. Instead of hiding behind our 'small faith' let us admit that we need to know our God better.