A Journal for Bible Teachers

Essential Elements of Faith

Essential Elements of Faith

Building our lives upon His living Word.
Those who love the Lord Jesus Christ want to please Him more than all else. Scripture declares, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Those who please God must have faith.

Faith is much more than a desire or wish for something. God’s word clearly defines five essential elements for faith to bring forth the reward that God desires for us. Faith begins with God. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). Let us look together at God’s part and our part of faith.

 

Receiving the Rhema

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (Greek – rhema) of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith is initiated in us when God speaks a rhema to us. The translated phrase “word of God” is used for two different Greek words with very different meanings. One word is logos, which is used to denote a discourse or teaching. It is a general word that could apply to anyone. The other word is rhema, which is a specific word given to a specific individual for a specific situation.

Luke 5:1-6 provides us with an excellent example of the distinction between these two Greek words. In verse one, the word logos is used when Jesus taught the multitude. In verse five, Jesus gave Peter a rhema that produced the faith for the large catch of fish. This specific word was given to Peter for this situation and cannot be replicated unless God gives it as a rhema again or to another individual. Many Christians have tried to apply a rhema given to another situation usually produces misunderstanding and personal frustration.

It is hearing a rhema from God that initiates faith. Remember, Jesus is the author and finisher of faith. We cannot initiate faith out of our own needs, desires, or wishes. It must be born from the heart of God. This is God’s part. Without the rhema, we cannot have faith.

 

Believing the Rhema

After the essential first step of receiving the rhema that initiates faith, the next part of faith is to believe what God says. The first step comes from God, but the second step is our responsibility. We must believe God: “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (II Chronicles 2 0:20). Faith proceeds no further if we do not believe what God has spoken to us. “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established” (Isaiah 7:9). Believing can be quite simple if we understand how something can be achieved, but difficult when it is beyond our comprehension. If we are to believe God, we must not rely upon our own understanding, trying to figure out how everything can be accomplished (Proverbs 3:5).

What does it mean to believe God? Believing is to be so fully persuaded that what God has said is true, that our words and actions portray a confidence that it is so. If we truly believe what God has spoken to us, we will move on to the other necessary responses.

 

Confessing What God Declares

So far, we have looked at two steps toward faith: hearing the rhema of God and believing it. Now we come to the third step toward the fulfillment of faith: confessing the rhema of God. Once God has spoken to us, what we speak is very critical to the ongoing development of faith. “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13). What we truly believe will issue forth from our lips. The word that initiates faith in us is confirmed or denied out of our own mouth. We are warned not to waver in professing what God has said, no matter what circumstances may develop to the contrary. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23).

Many people begin to say things that destroy faith when circumstances do not transpire as they had visualized. Some make slanderous statements, defaming God’s name and character. Our words declare how we view God.

Notice Israel’s testimony of God when they heard the evil report of the ten spies. “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2). Their confession kept them from entering the land. And what did they receive from God? They died in the wilderness as they had spoken with their own lips. Forty years later, after that generation finally died off in the wilderness, a new generation went through the Jordan River into Canaan to conquer Jericho. They were to march around the city for seven days, keeping quiet until the final shout (Joshua 6:10). Could the reason that they were not to speak be that God wanted to spare them from destroying faith with a negative confession? One soldier expressing a tinge of fear or doubt could stir others the wrong way and undo the whole offensive Sarah gave a good testimony of God as she waited for the fulfillment of His promise (Hebrews 11:11). Her testimony of God enabled Him to prove His faithfulness. Our confession validates our faith in the rhema of God and moves us closer to seeing it fulfilled. “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee” (Job 22:28).

 

The Obedience of Faith

The steps of faith we have discussed thus far are: hearing the rhema of God, believing it, and confessing it. The next critical part we must act upon is identified by Paul: “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26).

We must not ignore or neglect this essential action for us to obtain the fulfillment of our faith and thereby receive His good report (Hebrews 11:2). Often when God gives us a rhema, it not only contains promises but also requires our obedience. Peter expresses this well: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner” (I Peter
2:6-7).

After believing what God has said, we must follow through with obedience. Peter makes the point here that those who do not believe are disobedient. They do not follow through so that faith can progress. Remember, a heart that truly believes takes action. In reading about the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, one can readily recognise the obedience of each one to the rhema God had spoken to them. Noah received a word from God to prepare an ark in order to save his family during the coming judgment. “And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him” (Genesis 7:5). His faith would never have been completed had he not obeyed the word of the Lord. He would have perished with many others who were disobedient (I Peter 3:20). Our obedience to the rhema releases heaven’s forces to act on our behalf. The obedience of faith is an essential for the fulfilment of the promise.

 

Patient Waiting

The fifth element that is often necessary for the fulfillment of faith is patient waiting. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2 :3). Occasionally, especially in the case of a new Christian, the word of faith is fulfilled almost immediately. This is the way we would most often choose it to be. However, most often this fifth step of faith proves to be an essential element. Habakkuk found this to be true as he received the word of the Lord: “though it tarry, wait for it.” It seems that it usually does tarry, necessitating our need to wait patiently after we have done what God told us to do.

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:36-39).

Most promises take time to be brought to fulfillment. God takes no pleasure in making us wait just to fulfill some needless amount of suffering. God’s interest is not only that we receive the promise, but also that we obtain a good report from Him and develop a deeper relationship with Him as we are waiting. He takes pleasure in those who have learned to trust Him no matter what the circumstances. During times of patient waiting, we come to know God’s ways and His reasons for doing things the way He does. So many are impatient, wanting the promises more than they want the God who promised them. Those who wait patiently demonstrate that they want to please Him more than anything else. We know that without this element of faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Why does God speak promises to us and then make it necessary to wait? “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18). Patient waiting is necessary so that God can do the very best for us. His best takes time to develop!

If we are impatient and move ahead, seeking to fulfill what we want in our own way and on our own timetable, we cannot receive His best. In the end, we will be disappointed with the results. We will have aborted what He was developing in us if we fail to steady our souls and wait patiently. He waits so that He can be gracious to us and display His great mercy to us. What a depth of contentment and satisfaction when the fulfilment of His promises is complete in us! “When the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). His blessing abounds fully in us if we are willing to wait until He has developed all His plans to maturity.

 

The Complete Process of Faith

Each of these five elements is essential in the fulfillment of faith. We must remember that God initiates the whole process of faith in us with the rhema. The next three steps of believing what God said, confessing what God said, and obeying what God said, are our necessary response to the word of faith. The final step of waiting is normally our required final action to bring faith to fulfillment. Then Christ will complete the process of faith working in us with its fulfillment!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2).

Adapted from the book, “God’s Powerful Voice” by Robert Tucker.



About the Author

Rev. Robert A. Tucker Sr.has pastored Starville Church, Marine City, Michigan for over 30 years. He graduated from Elim Bible School (Dip. Min) and received his masters degree from Regent University (M.A.O.L.). Rev. Robert Tucker teaches in Bible schools and in leadership seminars throughout the world. He authored articles and books that are published in many languages and used in many different countries.

Rev. Tucker is married to Angeline and together they co-authored a book that is a practical study on marriage and family life. They have two grown children, both serving the Lord, and four grandchildren.

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