Hebrews 11:6 says "But without faith (Greek pistos=firm persuasion or conviction) it is impossible to please him (God) for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Just as a man, who would seek gold from an individual or from another man, must believe that such a man exists and that this man has the authority to give him the gold that he is looking for.
How silly to think that you will receive gold from a phantom of a man, from a man who you do not even believe exists and if he did exist and by your diligent search you were to discover that such a one did not have the authority to give you that gold, for which you seek, why would you ever seek it from him?
Likewise, in the matter of salvation, a man must believe that God exists, that He is, that is, that he has being and existence and that He is who he says He is, all that the scriptures affirm about Him and that he has the authority to give or withhold eternal life as he pleases. Now faith is a gift and to say that faith is the same for all believers is a misunderstanding of its nature.
True, all believers have faith at their conversion, at the moment of their regeneration but does this mean that a man five years into his Christian walk has the same faith as he had when he was converted? Yes and no.
Yes with regard to the substance and object of faith for saving faith is alike precious and common to all saints (2 Peter 1:1; Titus 1:4; Romans 1:12) and this is the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22) who is the same yesterday, today and forever ( Heb. 13:8)
But this faith is also uncommon in that it is rare among professing Christians "for many are called but few are chosen" Matt. 22:14.
But does this mean that all believers have the same degree of faith? No. Some have great faith
like that of the Roman centurion in Matt. 8:10 and the woman of Canaan in 15:28. It is said
to be little and next to none in others Matt. 17:20.Mark 4:40; Luke 8:25 as to its exercise.
Remember the man who said "I believe, help thou my unbelief Mark 9:24. Abraham had a strong faith and staggered not at the promise through unbelief.
True faith may be ever so small but if it springs from saving grace then it is pleasing to God. Sin is when we act not according to faith for "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" Romans 14:23.
If faith is not by degrees then the apostle's prayer for an increase in faith would be meaningless in that they could never attain to a greater faith than they already possessed Luke 17:5. So also one believer may have a greater or lesser degree of sanctification than another believer.
True, all believers were chosen before the foundation of the world by God the Father (2 Thess. 2:13) and sanctified in time at the moment of their conversion "for by one offering hath he forever perfected them that are sanctified" Hebrews 10:14.
This has been called positional sanctification by some but sanctification is also a lifelone process by which the believer separates himself from every evil way by growing in grace and the knowledge of God's word which defines his duty. To this end Jesus prayed for his disciples when he said,"Sanctify them through they truth: they word is truth. (John 17:17).
This wasn't a prayer for saving faith which is the beginning of sanctification because the disciples were already true believers as evidenced by verse 20 which says "Neither pray I for these alone (His disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word", that is, future believers in the years to come.
Faith is a grace which does come by degrees. You mean one man can not be more faithful to God's covenant than another? How ridiculous. There are some believers who are more faithful than others, that is, they are more obedient. They are graced with a greater measure of God's Spirit.
Men as finite creatures have a greater or lesser degree of faith and of God's Spirit. Some remain very weak in their faith and are given less grace in their Christian life.
However, being sensible of this, they are commanded to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 2 Peter 3:18 and we have to be and we should through our self-examination, come to realize that we need more grace to be faithful and to keep God's commandments.
We need more faith to lay hold on the object of our faith even the blessed trinity but particularly Jesus Christ our mediator. Faith is a gift which comes from God and it is the eye and hand by which our soul looks at and lays hold on Jesus Christ and is united.
So we should pray for more faith. We should pray for more grace. There's something wrong if we're satisfied with the degree of our faith and the degree of our grace and the degree of our knowledge. We should grow in all three.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See his videos on www.YouTube.com LAStreetPreacher. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.com
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