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Bible verses about Faith, Building
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 2:9-10

In this long process of faith- and conviction-building in Moses, God was laying a foundation in him, in that people of faith parented him during his most formative years. One should never conclude that the first several years of a child's life are unimportant; in fact, it is in those first couple of years that he is started down the path of the rest of his life. What path will it be?

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

Train means "to hedge in," "to put walls around," "to narrow the way." God was doing this through Amram and Jochebed: They were starting Moses down the right path.

We do not know for sure how long Moses was with his real parents. It was at least until he was weaned. In those days, it seems to have been customary for a child to be on the breast for about two years before he was weaned. It is possible, some commentators say, understanding the culture of Egypt, it is likely that Moses was with Amram and Jochebed until he was about six years old. The reason, they say, was to get the child through those "bad years," for instance, "the terrible twos," because they had them too. By the time he was turned over to Pharaoh's daughter, he was over the hump, and she would not have such a hard time taking care of him. So, he may actually have lived with Amram and Jochebed through what we could call the pre-school years.

In verses 9-10, there is an ironic twist. God worked it out that the child who, by order of Pharaoh, should have been killed at birth is now under the secure protection of the powerful family that ordered his death. God has a sense of humor, does He not?

Not only that, the family of Moses not only received their precious baby back, but they were paid wages for doing something that they would gladly have done for free had the situation been different. It is examples like this that caused later writers to comment that God knows how to deliver the godly out of their temptations and trials. For instance, in Ephesians 3:20, Paul says that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, the Holy Spirit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

Exodus 4:27

This episode takes place when the forty years that Moses spent in the wilderness tending Jethro's sheep has come to an end, and God has sent him back to Egypt. However, Moses' faith is not really all that strong, so he complains to God that he does not know how to speak, which is interesting because, when Moses was in Egypt, he was a leader, a champion of men, apparently a general of the armies, and in line to become Pharaoh. Those responsibilities would entail that he communicate to others and maybe give speeches before thousands of people.

Yet now, suddenly, he does not know how to speak. Perhaps during that forty years, God had worked on him in such a way that, not that he had really forgotten how to speak, but he had learned enough about himself that he was no longer as self-confident as he had been in Egypt. Now he would have to put his confidence in somebody else. He may not have felt all that confident that God would be with him. So God came to his aid by providing his brother, Aaron, to do the speaking.

We all have failings of faith, but we should not feel overly bad about this because God supplies the need to overcome them in some way. He does not dump us as too weak but works things out another way. It is for experiences like this that the concept in I Corinthians 10:13 comes into play. God will make a way of escape that we may be able to bear, overcome, or endure our trials. In Moses' case, the way out was provided in the person of Aaron, who, apparently, had no fear of public speaking.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 1)


 

Matthew 16:7-8

These men were witnessing of all of these awesome things that Jesus was doing, yet He accused them, indicted them, of not having much faith. One would think that if miracles build faith, there surely should have been faith in those men above all people on earth. They knew Jesus' works were genuine. But miracles do not have much value in terms of building faith, which is why God is not concerned about working miracles for us all the time. They really do not help us spiritually all that much.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God a Magician?


 

Luke 9:3

At this point in His ministry, Jesus tells them not to be concerned with procuring extra provisions for their journeys as they went to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. He specifically instructed them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece" (Luke 9:3). A short time later, He gave similar instructions: "Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road" (Luke 10:4). The parallel account in Matthew 10:7-10 mirrors these directives:

And as you go, preach, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

Jesus Christ was not issuing a blanket prohibition against sandals, or against money, or against owning more than one shirt. However, for a limited interval of time, He directed them to travel lightly, for a number of reasons.

First, for these initial activities, Christ did not want His disciples to be concerned about physical preparations. He wanted them to focus on the job that He had given them to do—preach the gospel and report back to Him—rather than on worrying about obtaining extra clothing or footwear. His emphasis was on the mission He was sending them on, but He knew human nature's tendency to worry about the details of its own comfort and existence. He did not want the disciples caught up in any preparations that would delay or distract them from His work through them.

Second, Christ was helping them to build faith in God as their Provider. He was teaching them to live and do His work without concern for their physical lives. He states clearly that if we are seeking His Kingdom first, and all that it entails, God will provide for all of our real needs (Matthew 6:33). The Father provides for even the birds and flowers, and we are of much greater worth than these (verses 25-32). God even has a name that reflects this: YHWH-Jireh, the Lord will provide as He thinks fit.

There is an alleged contradiction between the accounts given by Matthew and Mark. In Mark 6:8-9, Jesus says, "Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts—but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics." In Matthew 10:9-10, He instructs, "Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs." This problem is easily resolved when we realize that He is really talking about two different things. In Matthew's account, Jesus does not forbid wearing sandals or carrying a staff, but only forbids their providing themselves with more—getting extra ones. Instead of being concerned when their current trappings wore out, they should trust God to supply their need and go just as they were. On this verse Albert Barnes comments, "The meaning of the two evangelists may be thus expressed: 'Do not procure anything more for your journey than you have on. Go as you are, shod with sandals, without making any more preparation.'"

Third, Christ did not want His disciples caught up in the spirit of materialism. Certain elements within the culture of the day would "preach" for money, either religiously or philosophically. Charlatans would sell "snake oil" cures. Mediums and spiritists could do seemingly miraculous things—for a price. People in this society would do anything to turn a quick penny just like today.

Christ's words in Matthew 10:8 are meant to counteract this mindset. He had given the disciples miraculous power to heal and cleanse, as well as authority over demons. Yet, because He had given these spiritual gifts to them freely, Christ told them to carry out His instructions without seeking monetary or material compensation. God's workers are worthy of their hire but should not build personal fortunes through the services they render for Him. God is certainly generous, and provides for His servants as He sees fit, but He prohibits them from using His gifts for their own gain. He will bless them as it pleases Him!

David C. Grabbe
Living By the Sword


 

Luke 17:5

The apostles wanted more faith so they could meet the challenges of God's demands, but Jesus knew that it was not quantity they needed but quality. They did not need an increase of faith that would bring some reward following its use, but a faith that, although small like a mustard seed, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The disciple with this type of living faith is convinced of the fact that God exists (Romans 4:16-22; Hebrews 11:1-3), conscious of his intimate relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2), and concerned about absolute submission to His will (Romans 12:2).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Unprofitable Servants


 

Luke 18:7-8

Since Christ questions whether even the elect will have the kind of faith He requires, it should be obvious we must grow in faith. Our initial faith toward God has to expand from a tender trust to full-blown conviction. Though we begin by being faithful in little things, we begin to develop the absolute trust required to submit our lives to our Sovereign and Provider without question, equivocation, or wavering.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God


 

John 4:46-50

The nobleman must have had a bud of faith, for his urgent need moved him to seek Christ. At least a glimmer of faith was necessary to believe that, if he could only convince Jesus the Healer to go to his dying child, his son would be healed. This first example of Jesus' healing miracles is important, as it emphasizes the link between miracles and faith. Those who desire to be healed or to have a loved one healed must exhibit faith.

Jesus' miracles of healing are instructive in that they give us kinds and actions of faith. By refusing to go with the nobleman, Jesus emphasizes and illustrates the potency of strong faith. Another time, Jesus teaches that a miracle is not the cause of faith as much as its reward (Matthew 9:22). Belief in Christ as Healer leads people to faith in Him as Savior.

We all desire divine intervention when we are in dire need; "there are no atheists in a foxhole," it is said. Though the nobleman's human faith was limited and weak, it was still real. Jesus helped him to develop it, leading to deeper belief. However, no matter how strong our faith is, if it is in a wrong object, it will do nothing to relieve suffering, but if our faith is properly directed, despite being weak, it will bring deliverance and comfort. Note, however, that faith itself does not relieve affliction, but the power of the One in whom we believe does.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Nobleman's Son


 

John 4:53

Following Jesus' assurance that his son would live, the nobleman never doubted again. The text gives no indication of an emotional reaction or that he pressed Jesus for instructions; he simply started his return trip to Capernaum. He accepted Jesus' word that his son was healed, and apparently, this knowledge comforted him to the point that he felt little need to rush home. The bud of faith that led him to Christ came to full blossom as he left Jesus.

When the nobleman is met by his servants with the wonderful news that his son had been healed at the exact time Jesus had said he was, the miracle is seen to have had a double effect - the sick boy was healed of his deadly fever, and the father was convicted of his belief in Jesus. In order to have faith, we must believe that Jesus' words are true. Too often, we possess a vague faith, a blurred longing for His promises to be true. In reality, we must cling to what Jesus says like a man gripping a cliff face over a deep chasm.

The conviction of the father and the startling result of Jesus' miracle helped to begin the process of conversion of the nobleman's entire household. Convinced that Jesus was the Christ by personally witnessing this healing, they had the opportunity to grow in their belief to full faith if they continued to seek and believe Him (Colossians 1:21-23).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Nobleman's Son


 

Hebrews 3:12-14

We all need to guard against unbelief as we would against an enemy. Paul is not speaking about a heart in which unbelief is merely present, but a heart that is controlled by unbelief, the kind of heart that will drag a person down even as Peter was dragged down into Galilee's water when he took his eyes off of Jesus. The peril of unbelief is that it breaks the trust on which our relationship with God is based. Unbelief leads to falling away, which is the opposite of drawing near. "Drawing near" is a major theme of Hebrews.

Falling away is the supreme disaster of life, the ultimate defeat, because it completely thwarts God's purpose for creation. It is essential we remember that when a person falls away, he is not merely falling away from a doctrine or even a set of doctrines, but from a living, dynamic Personality.

Faith needs to be cultivated. It grows by reading and studying God's Word, and by meditating on it. It grows in an atmosphere of trial or experience because it is exercised through use. It also grows, as we find here in these three verses, in an atmosphere of exhortation from others who are fellowshipping with us. Exhortation is a preventative of falling away, which is a major reason why fellowship is so necessary. Without it, a person may hold his own, and perhaps his faith will not slip very much, but one who is not fellowshipping with others of like mind will rarely ever grow.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith and Prayer


 

Hebrews 11:6

Because faith is indispensable to a good relationship with God, its importance cannot be overemphasized. But notice the condition in this verse. It does not say that God is the rewarder of everyone but "of those who diligently seek Him." Living faith is direct; it has its foundation in diligently, actively, consistently, zealously seeking Him in study and prayer and in conforming to His will. Those who are doing these things are encouraged that they will be rewarded. The reward is to find Him. This, in turn, increases faith.

The biblical word "faith" is most synonymous with the English word "trust." "Faith" can be a mere agreement with a cold, hard fact. This is fine as far as it goes, but it loses a great deal of meaning when we consider that this One with whom we are dealing is a warm, dynamic, powerful, loving Personality. Biblical faith, trust, is firm. It is faith in full flower, acting consciously and with agreeable feeling - we might call it "conviction."

This faith is not done coldly and calculatedly - simply because a thing is right. It is not done with a "perhaps" or a "maybe," but with joy and with firm conviction, with a consciousness that one is in agreement with this dynamic and loving personality. We should be aware of our unity with Him just as we are aware of our sense of touch - our strongest sense in terms of evoking emotion: consider a punch in the nose compared to a kiss. But faith, trust, is sensitive in the same way. It is conscious of the things of God; it sees God. In addition, faith not only evokes the hard, cold facts (it has "a remembrance of truth"), but also responds emotionally to a wonderful, dynamic, gracious, and powerful Personality, who is our Friend.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Fervency


 

Hebrews 11:23

Moses was born into a terrible situation. We may think we were born into unfortunate circumstances, but our situations pale in comparison to Moses' start. However, he had one thing going for him humanly: his parents, Amram and Jochebed.

Moses, of course, was unaware of these things, but God supplied the saving grace in the form of Amram and Jochebed. The Exodus account focuses on the part of Jochebed because it was she, undoubtedly, along with Miriam, who actually carried out the casting of Moses on the Nile. Hebrews 11:23, though, uses the term "parents," so that we understand that Amram was also involved—with his faith.

Notice that they were not afraid of the king's command. The Bible does not say what strengthened their faith, but they did a pretty dangerous thing. They put their lives on the line, as well as Moses' life, by putting him out on the water. Did God speak to them in a dream? Did God give them a vision? Did God send an angel? Or did they rely on the promise given to Abraham, knowing that they were coming to the end of an age? We cannot know because God does not say.

Whatever it was, in a way it does not matter. All that matters is that, somehow, they believed it and followed through by doing this thing that, at least on the surface, appears to have been very risky. Were they convicted that what they were doing was right? Certainly! Even the power of Egypt could not turn them aside from their conviction. Even the fear or the threat of losing their lives could not dissuade them. They did not have a preference—they were convicted! They put their lives, and their son's life, on the line because they trusted the word of their God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

1 Peter 1:1-4

The major theme of I Peter is to strengthen the feeble knees, as it is put in Hebrews 12:12, of his brothers and sisters in Christ who were buckling under the weight of their Christian burdens, whatever they happened to be. At the very beginning of this strong exhortation, then, he reminds them of their hope.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Revelation 1:9

This verse emphasizes the overall importance of patience. James 1:2-3 shows that patience allows the trial to become completed and produce the right thing.

John emphasizes the word "kingdom" (Greek is written emphatically to draw attention to certain words). The other two words, "tribulation" and "patience," are like parentheses on both sides of the word "kingdom." What this does is to cause the word "tribulation" to define the path to the kingdom! Think of tribulation in terms of trials and pressures that arise as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ, our journey toward God's Kingdom, and our faith that we will be a part of it. The way to the Kingdom of God is through trials. We will not just skate along because God has created work for us to accomplish in our lives so that we might be prepared for the Kingdom. If we are not prepared for it, we will not be there.

The way of preparation is for God to put us through trials, just as if we were going to school. We can think of trials in terms of lessons that need to be learned, character that needs to be built, attitudes that need to be adjusted. All of these put pressure on us. So tribulation—pressure or trials—is the path. "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). We are going against the flow of the world, and God has designed it this way to prepare us for His Kingdom. Thus, there will always be pressure on us.

Pressure is the way to the Kingdom, and patience is the necessary element for making it. If we are impatient, we will not be there! Salvation is by grace through faith, and faith is needed when we do not have what we desire—the Kingdom of God. There is no need for faith if we do not have to wait! Patience is required while we are waiting. It is that simple.

The way to the Kingdom is through testing and trial, and the way to succeed in testing and trial is to put our faith to work by being patient! That is the path that will exercise our faith. God will see that it is there, and His creative efforts on our behalf will work. All of us must have patience. It is there, but it has to be activated. We have to trust that God really wants us in His Family, and if we want to be prepared for His Kingdom, we had better start using patience.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 8): Ephesians 4 (E)


 

 




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