Strong in Believing

The other morning I was sent a text message with a link to a teaching entitled Strong in Faith. As soon as I read the title, I sighed, because the title of the teaching made no sense.

The phrase 'strong in faith' only occurs once in the entire bible.

Romans 4:20
He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

It says Abraham was strong in faith, but that just can't be, because before Jesus Christ there was no such thing as faith.

Galatians 3:23-25
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto [until] Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The word faith is only used twice in the old testament and in both cases it is a wrong translation from words meaning trustworthy and faithful. The word faith is not used anywhere in the old testament. Go and look. Faith came with Jesus Christ. Look again at Romans.

Romans 4:20
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith [pistis, believing], giving glory to God;

Here faith is contrasted with unbelief, but the opposite of unbelief isn't faith, it's believing. Faith came with Jesus Christ, so it is impossible for anyone in the old testament to have had faith, and that includes Abraham.

So what is faith? It is translated from the Greek word pistis which means to believe. Pistis could always be translated as believe. However, to distinguish between the perfect believing of Jesus Christ, and our believing which is far from perfect, we refer to Jesus Christ's believing as faith. Before Jesus Christ, there was no faith, no perfect believing of Jesus Christ, so it would have been impossible for Abraham to have been strong in faith. Abraham was strong in believing.

The Greek word pistis always refers to either human believing or the perfect believing of Jesus Christ. As they are both translated from the same word, the context in which they are set determines their meaning.

When people think of moving mountains, they usually assume it's something they can't do because it requires some mysterious magical formula called faith. No, it doesn't. Faith has nothing whatsoever to do with it. The bible doesn't say it takes faith to move mountains.

Mark 11:23
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

It doesn't say faith here, does it? Faith is something Jesus Christ did, believing is something we can do. It says we are to believe, and that's accurate. It isn't faith that moves mountains, it's our believing.

Mark 11:23
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

On the day of Pentecost, the gift of holy spirit was first made available. It was made available by the faith of Jesus Christ. Faith isn't something we do, it's something that was done for us. Faith isn't something we practice and develop to become strong in, it's something Jesus Christ did for us.

Romans 3:21,22
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

The righteousness of God is something we freely receive because it was made available by the faith of Jesus Christ. Faith isn't something we do, it's something that Jesus Christ did.

When reading the bible, it is generally easy to see where pistis should be translated as believing rather than faith. Faith was something Jesus Christ did, and it simply refers to his perfect believing. Our believing isn't perfect, so whenever faith is attributed to men and women in the bible, it's believing, not faith.

Romans 1:8
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith [believing] is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Did these people have faith? No, it was their believing that was spoken of throughout the whole world. Whole sections of the word will now make complete sense.

Romans 3:20-22
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Our righteousness, our justification, the gift of holy spirit, our eternal life is something Jesus Christ believed for us to have. It was his perfect believing, his faith that reconciled us back to God.

1 Corinthians 2:4,5
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

That your faith [believing] should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Is faith something we do? No, faith is something Jesus Christ did, so faith here should be translated as believing. It is our believing that should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Do you know what the power of God is? It's the power in the gift of holy spirit, it's the power to energise that gift and speak in tongues. Our believing doesn't stand in worldly wisdom of men, it stands in energising the gift of holy spirit and demonstrating God's power. It takes believing to speak in tongues and demonstrate God's power, and we can do it because of the faith of Jesus Christ.

If you want to be strong in something, the word tells us what we can be strong in.

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Ephesians tells us to be strong in the Lord, not strong in faith. Our Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be strong in our Lord Jesus Christ. To be strong in the Lord is to walk by the spirit with Christ as our head. If you want to move mountains, forget about being strong in faith, rather, believe and get that power of God energised.

Mark 11:23,24
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Chapter 4 - Living Waters