Faith To Know
What God Already Knows
Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor
Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church
101 East Walnut Street
Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Faith can be described in many ways, but one scripture defines it to be “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Think of the words, “the substance of things hoped for.” Something with substance has realness to it and can be taken hold of. Faith allows the regenerate mind of a child of God to actually take hold of the real substance of that which literally exists out of his reach. And think of the words, “the evidence of things not seen.” Something that gives evidence bears witness to truth and causes the witnessed truth to be known as a reality. Faith bears testimony of unseen things to the mind and allows the truth that lies in the realm of the invisible to be clearly seen. So the one possessing God’s marvelous gift of faith has abilities beyond the realm of natural possibilities that allow him to hold things that cannot be held and see things that cannot be seen. Through faith unreachable things are in full grip and invisible things are in full view.
Perhaps no one fully comprehends the wonder of the miracle of faith. Most people who have faith probably do not truly appreciate what they have been given and take for granted this ability to hold the unreachable, to see the invisible and to know the eternal. There is a great tendency among Christians to underestimate the miracle of faith. Most seem to think that man just innately has faith or that man of his own power can produce and exercise faith. The Bible is clear concerning the origin of faith and teaches in many places that God is the source of the miracle of faith. The scriptures say that faith is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) It is further said that faith is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) It is also declared that Jesus is the author of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) Yet further, it is stated, “it is given…to believe on him.” (Philippians 1:29) And finally it is said that the same power that was worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead is worked in us who are enabled to believe. (Ephesians 1:17-20) So the faith that is in man is not of man. It is a wonderful and miraculous gift from God to man.
On the other hand, there is a great tendency among Christians to overestimate the role of faith. Faith is not the channel through which man has eternal life. Faith is the channel through which man can know that he has eternal life. Faith does not give eternal life to a man. Faith gives to a man the assurance that he has eternal life. A person should be cautious about putting too much faith in his faith. Man’s faith is too unfaithful to secure his eternal life. Man’s act of faith is as inadequate and full of fault as his works in any other category. As all works of man are lacking, so is man’s faith. The apostles’ faith was declared to be little faith. If these notable men’s faith was said to be little, what word could be found to describe the tiny faith of other believers? The faith of a grain of mustard seed is said to be able to move mountains. Truly how adequate is the best of man’s faith? Can a failing, doubting, faltering, unbelieving faith that cannot perform the comparatively simple task of moving mountains on earth in time be depended on to move a person to heaven eternally? Is this weak, inadequate, unbelieving belief the basis for declaring the salvation of sinners? If so, who can be assured of being saved?
But though faith cannot be depended on for eternal life and is not the means to eternal life, it is nonetheless very important to the child of God. Instead of faith being the means to man’s existing in a state of regeneration or in the realm of eternal life, faith is the means to man’s awareness that he exists in this state. Faith is the means by which man can understand and realize what is the cause and basis of eternal salvation. Faith is the means by which one can know and hope in Jesus Christ. There is a difference in having eternal life and having the assurance of knowing one has eternal life. There is a distinction in being eternally saved and having the peace that comes from realizing that one is eternally saved. There is a differentiation in the individual existing in the state of having eternal salvation and the mind of the individual existing in the state of mind of knowing that he has eternal salvation. Now the sole and only cause and basis of man having eternal life is Christ. But the means to man’s understanding that Christ is the cause and basis of these things is faith. And this makes faith of extreme value to an individual.
Furthermore, there is a great distinction between falsely believing self to be the cause and basis of eternal life and truly believing Christ to be the means for this life. There is a notable difference in mistakenly believing one’s own good works or faith to be the source of salvation and accurately believing Jesus to be the sole source of salvation. There is much difference in believing that one’s faith is sufficient as opposed to believing that Jesus is sufficient. There are many doubts and much lack of assurance in believing that the basis of salvation is in self. There is much comfort and much confidence in knowing by faith that salvation’s basis is Christ. Faith is not essential to eternal salvation, but it is essential to assurance and peace in the inner being of the one who has the salvation. Faith is not essential for the possession of eternal life. But it is essential for the peace that a child of God can enjoy after regeneration. Both the eternal life and the faith are gifts of God by grace. First God gives the life. Then He gives the faith so His child can know he has the life. At that point the child can begin to experience and live the life he possesses. And at that point the child of God can know spiritual things. By faith the child of God can know the God who is his Father, the God who is his Savior and the God who is his life-giving and faith-giving Comforter.
So faith is given to allow the child of God to somewhat understand and know God. Faith is given to allow the child of God to understand spiritual things. Faith is given to allow the child of God to understand the concepts of God. Faith is given to allow the child of God to have a sense of reality in things hoped for. Faith is given to allow the child of God to see things that are unseen by natural eyes. Faith is given to allow the child of God to know things that the natural mind cannot know.
To illustrate the purpose of faith one can consider how faith is connected to Christ’s work on the cross. Faith is not given to the child of God in order that Christ might accomplish His work of cleansing the sinner, but so that the sinner might understand the work of Christ in the cleansing of sinners. Faith is given to the child of God so the child of God can know that his sins have been placed on Christ at the cross. Faith is given to the child of God so he can know that those sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west. Faith is given to the child of God so he can know that God never remembers the sins again. Faith is given to the child of God so he can know that no charge can ever be placed against him. Faith is given to the child of God so he can know that he is righteous by the finished work of Jesus. Faith is given to the child of God so that in knowing himself to be righteous, he can in his own mind see himself to be righteous. Faith is given to the child of God so that after seeing himself to be righteous, he can declare himself to be righteous through the finished work of Jesus. Faith is given to the child of God so he can in his own mind declare himself to be what he became in Christ. Through the gift of faith the child of God can see the finished work of sin removal accomplished by Christ on the cross, and can see that blood applied to himself, and can sense the cleansing and removal of sins by that blood, and can know of his righteousness accomplished by that work of Christ, and can declare himself to be in that state of righteousness, and can thereby be justified in his own mind by the gift of faith. The faith-gifted mind sees that the righteousness is not of self, but is by the work of Christ. And the faith-gifted mind knows that the declaration of righteousness concerning self is not based on self, but is based on the work of Christ. Faith is the wonderful means by which God declares to man things concerning God. And through faith man can declare to himself the things that have been declared to him.
Now these things that man knows by faith, God has known all along. It is not necessary for a man to have faith in order for God to know what He already knows. Man’s faith is not necessary for God to know the accomplishments of Christ. Christ accomplished what He accomplished. He came to save his people from their sins and He did it. And furthermore God knows He did it. If Christ did it and God knows it, then it is reality and it would remain reality if nobody else ever knows it or had known it. What was accomplished is accomplished. What was paid for is paid for. Sins that were removed are removed. In the mind of God Christ paid it all and there is nothing left to pay. No charge can be made against God’s people. They cannot be condemned. They are righteous by the finished work of Christ. There is nothing else to add. They are appropriately justified, declared to be righteous, by the finished work of Christ. And God knows it if nobody else knows it. And God has declared it if nobody else declares it.
But by the grace of God, God devised a wonderful means for His children to know some of what He has always known. And that means is the gift of faith. Faith is that wonderful fruit of the Spirit and evidence of spiritual life that God so graciously gives to His children. The faith-gifted mind of a man can know the things of Christ. It can know the things of the Spirit. It can know things God knows and has always known. By faith things God has known all along become known to man. The gospel of the finished work of Christ is heard with ears of faith. Eyes of faith see the concept. The idea is grasped by faith in the mind. The finished work of Christ is understood by faith. The gospel tells the sinner that there is no condemnation, no charge, no sin and no guilt. These have been removed and the sinner is washed in the blood of the Lamb. And by faith the sinner understands. The gospel tells the sinner that he can and will stand before God robed in Christ’s righteousness. And by faith the sinner sees himself righteous. God in His eternal plan saw the sinner righteous through Christ before time began. God saw the sinner righteous when Jesus accomplished God’s purpose on the cross. But the sinner sees it by faith. Faith even declares it to the sinner. Faith did not cause the righteousness. Christ did. Faith did not cause God to see the righteousness. Faith allowed the sinner to see himself cleansed by Christ’s blood. Once having by faith seen himself righteous, the sinner can declare himself to be thus. He is justified by faith. By faith in the finished work of Christ the sinner can declare himself to be righteous in his judgment of his own case in his own mind.
Works did not make a sinner to be righteous. Faith did not make a sinner to be righteous. Christ made the sinner to be righteous. He is the only basis on which a sinner can be righteous and He is the only basis on which a sinner can be declared righteous. Any declaration of righteousness based on anything else is a false declaration. To declare a man to be righteous based on his deeds is wrong. To declare a man to be righteous based on his faith is wrong. But to declare a man to be righteous based on the work of Christ is correct. And for a man by faith to believe himself to be righteous based on the work of Christ is correct. And for a man by faith to believe on the work of Christ so strongly that he can judge himself to be righteous by the wonderful finished work of Christ is correct. And a man who is in this state of righteousness by the work of Christ, and who can by faith see himself to be in this state of righteousness by the work of Christ, and who by faith in the work of Christ can declare himself to be in this state of righteousness is by faith justified—declared in his own mind to be what he truly is. The faith did not make the man righteous—Christ did that. The gift of faith only declared to the man what Christ had already done in order that the man might declare himself to be what he already is.
Faith is the God-given means whereby sinners can hold the reality of the substance of the truth of salvation. Faith is the Spirit-given evidence that lets sinners see and know these unseen things. Eternal salvation is totally of the Lord without means, but the understanding of the Lord’s eternal salvation is by the means of God-given faith. Praise God for the grace of salvation and for the real hope that comes with understanding God’s salvation by the grace of faith.