All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

July 10, 2011



What is

Faith?

Mini-Book

Part 1



Printed for:

HANDS FOR JESUS

P.O. BOX 18655

MILWAUKEE, WI 53218-0655



For more information visit our Web sites at:

www.handsforjesus.cc

www.handsforjesus.org





2011 by Merle E. Koepke

All Rights Reserved

Introduction



In Hosea 4:6 it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." This is not just speaking of the Children of Israel at the time of Hosea. This is also speaking of Christians today. Christians are God's people. God has adopted them in Christ Jesus from the foundation of the world.

Speaking of Christians, Ephesians 1:4,5, says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Christians are God's people. God chose Christians as His children before the foundation of this world. Yet, many of God's chosen Christians are being destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

There are many teachings in the churches today that do not agree with the written Word of God. These teachings did not come from God. They came from man. Some are teaching that there are two kinds of faith.

If that was true, then there is something wrong within the Godhead. Is God divided? Does God make mistakes? Is God confused in what He does, and how He does things?

Men, without understanding of spiritual things are teaching from their minds things they ought not to be teaching. A careful study of the written Word of God will reveal the difference between what God is teaching and what man is teaching? Many times what God says, and what man says does not agree.

In Luke 18:1, speaking of Jesus, it tells us, "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Why would Jesus be teaching that "...men ought always to pray, and not to faint?"

Praying without faith will not accomplish very much. For prayer to work it must be done by faith. From the beginning to the end of the Scriptures, God is looking for faith. We see that already in Genesis 4:1-5 where both, Cain and Abel brought an offering unto the LORD. Abel's offering was accepted by the LORD, but Cain's offering was not accepted. Why? Hebrews 11:4 says, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."

In Hebrews 11:6, it says, "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." Therefore, without faith it is impossible to please God.

If God is not pleased in what we do, our believing will be of no avail to us. We can pray and pray, and it will not do any good. God will not answer prayers that are not according to His Word.

There are many Christians today, wondering why God does not answer their prayers? They pray and pray, and nothing happens. Why? Usually, it is because of the teachings of men. Men teach things that do not agree with the Scriptures. They are teaching from their minds, things that they have heard others teach.

This is not what God desires for Christians today. Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John 6:45). It is the will of God that every one of His children are taught by God.

God teaches us by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 2:27 it says, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." When God teaches us something, we should take notice and believe what God teaches us.

When Jesus came teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, many of the Jews would not believe Him. Many of the Jews wanted to continue to believe what they had been taught by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes were taught by Levites, that were teaching the Law of Moses according to their idea of what the Law said.

Jesus taught the difference between the Law of Moses that was being taught at that time and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God which should be taught today (Matt. 5:1-7:29). There is a big difference between the Law of Moses and the Kingdom of God. The Law of Moses was good, and it was all that they had before Jesus came teaching the Kingdom of God. The Law of Moses could keep people from committing certain sins which caused many to die before their time. But the Law of Moses could not justify anyone (Acts 13:38,39). There is a major difference between the Law of Moses and the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is a heavenly kingdom, which operates in the spiritual realm. The Law of Moses only operated in the natural realm, and provided for things here on earth. But, what about after we leave this life here on earth, where will we be?

Speaking of the Kingdom of God, Jesus said in Luke 7:28, "Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Christians need to be taught by God and live and operate "by faith." The kingdom of God operates by faith, from within our spirit, not according to the Old Testament law in our mind. In 2 Corinthians 3:6 it says, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

What is Faith?



The Bible definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1 where it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith does have substance and faith does have evidence.

Faith is not the same as believing. The Greek word for "believe" is "pisteuo," which means "to believe in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing." Many call believing faith, but it is not the same as true faith in God. True faith in God has "substance of things hoped for," and it is the "evidence of things not seen."

True faith comes from God and is given to those who believe. True faith does not go by things that are seen, but rather by "things that are not seen." In short, true faith operates from the spirit of man, not from the mind of man. Our mind is in our head. Our spirit is in our belly. There is a difference between the mind and the spirit of man.

The mind of man operates from the "living soul" of man, which includes the intellect, reasoning, understanding, etc. The spirit of man belongs to God and operates according to the desires and will of God.

In the beginning when the LORD God created Adam, the physical body of Adam was formed of the dust of the ground, and by the breath of the LORD God, man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). The LORD God also formed a spirit within man (Zech. 12:1). God used man's spirit to give man understanding. In Job 32:8 it says, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."

God operates in man from the spirit of man, which is in man. From the spirit of man, the inspiration of God gives man understanding of God's will for man. God also used the spirit of man to inspire men to write the Scriptures, which are called "the written Word of God." By the written Word of God, we come to an understanding of God and man.

It is sad that there are so many spirit-filled Christians teaching the doctrines of men today. Some of these teach that "man died spiritually in the garden of Eden and could not hear from God." That is contrary to the Word of God and should not be taught by anyone, especially spirit-filled Christians.

The purpose for God placing a spirit within man was so that God could reveal the truth to man from the spirit of man which was in man. Those teaching a doctrine that man died spiritually and could not hear from God are without understanding. They are not getting their information from God, but from the spirits of this world.

In the Old Testament, God worked from the spirit of man to write the Scriptures. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." From man's spirit, which is in man, by the inspiration of God, men wrote the Scriptures. If man's spirit was dead to God and could not hear from God then man would not have been able to write the Scriptures according to what is revealed in the Scriptures. Satan is a liar, and Christians should not believe the Devil when the truth is already made known to us in the Scriptures.

The way God got men to write the Scriptures in the beginning was by the inspiration of God from man's spirit. That is also the way God was able to use men to prophesy. But that was not God's total plan for man and the spirit of man which is in man.

That was the way it was in the Old Covenant, but we have a better covenant. In the New Covenant, God takes away the old spirit that was in man, and gives us a new spirit wherein God dwells in His fullness (Ezek. 36:26; Col. 2:9,10). It is no longer God working through man's spirit to give man understanding. Now, it is God dwelling in the spirits of Christians, to do all things. In the new birth, God and man are now joined together in one spirit. The very life of God lives in us and we live in God by His Spirit dwelling in us (Col. 2:9,10,3:3).

This is a major change in man being a "new creature in Christ." There is a twofold operation of God in the new creation of mankind. God dwells in the spirits of every individual Christian. In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." God is in every born again Christian individually, working that we will be willing to do His good pleasure. The Spirit of God does everything He can, in each individual Christian to help, guide, comfort, lead, and teach us all things.

It is "God in us," doing the works (John 14:10). It is no longer men teaching us to know God and do the will of God (Heb. 8:10). It is God Himself, working in us to do His will (Phil. 2:13). This is a major difference from what it was before we were born again. Now in Christ Jesus, we are one with God (Col. 3:3).

At the same time, there is another change made in those who are born again. When we were first born into this world, we were in Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-48). But when we become born again, our living soul is translated from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9; Col. 1:13). Now, we are no longer in Adam but in Christ Jesus.

We were living in a physical body of earthly flesh and bones. Now we are living in a spiritual body of spirit, in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

What does this have to do with faith? Faith operates from our spirit, not from our mind. Faith is an operation of God, not of man. God gives to every born again Christian "a measure of faith" to do what God has called them to do.

In Romans 12:3 it says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." To each one individually, God gives them the faith they need to do whatsoever God has called them to do.

Romans 12:4 says, "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office." Not everyone is called to the office of an apostle. When God calls someone to the office of an apostle, God gives that individual faith to operate in the office of an apostle according to the plan and purpose of God. The anointing for the office of an apostle includes the faith to work in the supernatural power of God for that office.

Having the anointing for the office of an apostle, Peter and Paul raised people from the dead (Acts 9:36-41; 20:7-10). That is evidence of the office of an apostle. When Tabitha died at Joppa, the saints at Joppa called for Peter, that he would come without delay. When Peter arrived, he went in to pray for Tabitha. In Acts 9:40 it says, "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up."

Those who are called to the office of an apostle have been given the faith to operate in that office. Which includes the faith to raise the dead. Even in the nineteen hundreds, Smith Wigglesworth walked in the anointing of an apostle. Even though Wigglesworth never claimed to be an apostle, he did have the anointing of an apostle. It is said that Smith Wigglesworth raised at least seventeen people from the dead.

How does someone get that anointing? First of all, it comes from God. The LORD sets in the body of Christ "apostles" (Eph. 4:11). Men do not set apostles in the body of Christ. Many call themselves apostles, but that does not make them an apostle. Those who are called as an apostle develop the faith by staying in prayer and ministry of the Word.

In Acts 6:4, the apostles said, "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." This is how the anointing of faith is obtained and increased. Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." By continuing in prayer and ministry of the word, the apostles are equipt to operate in the faith it takes to raise the dead.

It is said of Smith Wigglesworth, that he never went anywhere without staying in the Word and in prayer. Smith Wigglesworth never read anything other than the Bible. He refused to let anyone bring a newspaper into his house. When he traveled, he even made some that were traveling with him, stop and pray, before they continued on their travels.

It is sad that there are so many in the Body of Christ today who have taken the title of an apostle, but do not have the anointing. They have come up with all sorts of ideas of who is an apostle? Yet, the Holy Spirit is the one that gives an apostle the anointing to do the work of the ministry of an apostle.

Not everyone is called to the office of an apostle. Therefore, whatever office they are called to, God gives them faith to operate in that office, whether it is an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, an evangelist, or pastor. The faith that is needed for that office is given to that individual for that purpose. There are many other operations within the body of Christ that need faith to operate in the anointing for that position.

As an example, it takes faith to prophesy, and to speak in tongues, and to interpret tongues (1 Cor. 12:10). These are all gifts of the Spirit that need faith to operate. Those who have not been given faith to operate in those gifts will not be able to operate in that gift. That is why the question is asked in 1 Corinthians 12:29,30, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?...Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" Not everyone has been given faith to operate in these offices, or anointings.

Faith is a gift from God, and given to whomsoever God wills. If God does not give us faith, we will not have faith. In Jude 1:3, it says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

Faith is a gift from God, therefore, God delivered faith unto the early saints, which included the disciples of Jesus before they were born again. In Matthew 10:1 it speaks of this saying, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power {exousia} against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." In Luke 9:1, it says, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power {dunamis} and authority {exousia} over all devils, and to cure diseases." Then in Luke 10:19 the LORD said, "Behold, I give unto you power {exousia} to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power {dunamis} of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

The Greek word "exousia" is "authority." The Greek word "dunamis" is "miraculous power." Both of these two powers were given to the disciples by Jesus. They were given "authority and miraculous power" over all the works of the enemy.

In giving the disciples this power and authority, the LORD delivered unto these disciples faith that they could do the same works that He did (Jude 1:3). They needed faith to do some of the works that were done before Jesus died and arose again from the dead. After Jesus arose again from the dead, He breathed upon them that they would receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). When they received the Holy Spirit they became born again and also receive the fruit of the Spirit, which included faith (Gal. 5:22).

Being that faith was once delivered to the saints, and God is not a respecter of persons, we should all "...earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

God gives faith to those whom He calls to do the work of the ministry. But, God does not limit faith to only those whom He calls to the fivefold ministries. God gives faith to everyone who is born again of the Spirit in "the New Birth." Faith is given to every Christian as a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Therefore, every Christian has faith given to them. Because that every Christian has faith, every Christian is expected "to live by faith."

It says in Romans 1:16,17, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek...For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Notice it says, "...The just shall live by faith." Actually the word "shall," implies that "living by faith" is not an option. It could say, "the just must live by faith" By this, every born again Christian is expected to live by faith.

This faith which is given to us by God gives us the ability to do the will of God. God gives us faith, and God expects us to live by the faith which He has given us.

Faith comes from our spirit, where God dwells in us. When we pray in the spirit, it is our spirit that does the praying. In 1 Corinthians 14:14 it says, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." It is not our mind that does the praying in the spirit. It is our spirit that does the praying in the spirit.

Therefore it says "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (1 Cor. 14:15).

That is why it says in Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Faith comes from our spirit the same as praying in the Spirit comes from our spirit. It is a work of God from our spirit that enables us to pray in the spirit, and also to build up our faith while praying in the spirit.

Faith does not come from our mind. Believing comes from our mind. Faith comes from our spirit.

The reason there are so many Christians not receiving answers to their prayers today is because they are believing in their mind, but they are not receiving their information from their spirit. They are being taught by men using the wisdom of men, not the wisdom which comes from God.

In 1 Corinthians 2:4,5, the Apostle Paul wrote, "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 should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." When Christians trust in the "enticing words of man's wisdom," God is not pleased. God is only pleased when Christians get their information from their spirit, where God dwells in His fullness.

In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." God is working from within our spirit, that we become willing to do His good pleasure. God's will and good pleasure is not the same as the will of men and the pleasures of this world.

In 1 John 2:15-17 it says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him...For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world...And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

If we are to do the will of God, we must learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit and walk in "true faith," which comes from God and gives us "substance and evidence of things not seen."

There is a difference between faith and believing, and we should know and understand the difference. Many Christians are not receiving from God that which is promised them because they are trying to follow the teachings of men rather than being taught by God.

One of the differences between faith and believing is that faith has an inward certainty, where believing does not. Believing is a mind operation whereas true faith comes from the spirit of man. Faith comes from God, and is given to those in whom God sees the desires of their heart.

God looks at the hearts of people, whereas men look at the outward appearance. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."

In Proverbs 4:20-22 it says, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings...Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart...For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." It is very important that Christians understand the importance of what is in our heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Those who believe in their mind can accomplish a lot in this life. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said to a man whose son had a deaf and dumb spirit, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Jesus was telling this man that just simply believing would give him the power to cast out a deaf and dumb spirit from his son.

There is a lot that people can do when they believe. But, if Christians would understand the will of God for His Children and the plan of God for their lives, they would also understand that God is looking for those who will "live by faith," not by simply believing.

There is a difference between believing and faith. Therefore in Romans 1:16,17 it says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek...For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

God knows the difference between faith and believing. In the New Covenant, God is looking for those who will live by faith. Living by faith is also mentioned in Galatians 3:11 where it says, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." Then in Hebrews 10:38 it says, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

If we are to please God, we must learn the difference between believing and faith. Then we need to walk by faith and not by sight In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Faith does not walk by sight. Faith walks by things not seen, as it says in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That which is not seen is the opposite of that which is seen. Therefore, walking by faith is the opposite of walking by sight.

Not everyone has faith. In 2 Thessalonians 3:1,2 says, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you...And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." Today, there are many religious people who come against Christians. They do not have faith. Satan uses these to come against the work of the Holy Spirit among Christians. Being they are not born again, they do not have faith given to them.

Faith must be given to someone for them to have faith. But, everyone has the ability to believe. By believing alone, many can do great things. In Mark 9:14-29 it tells of a man who had a son that was possessed with a deaf and dumb spirit. The man brought his child to Jesus's disciples, but they could not cast that spirit out of the child.

When Jesus was speaking to the man, He said to the man, "...If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark. 9:23). Jesus was speaking to the father of the child who was possessed with a deaf and dumb spirit. This father was not given faith as the disciples of Jesus were given, when Jesus "...gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out..." (Matt. 10:1). Yet, everyone has the ability to believe. To the father of this child, Jesus said, "...If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark. 9:23).

Believing operates from the minds of people. Everyone has the ability to believe. Satan knows the ability that man has in believing. Doubt and unbelief are operations of Satan in the minds of people. If Satan can get someone to doubt the power of believing, he can stop them from receiving all that could be theirs. God is not stopping mankind from receiving what He has made available to man. What God promised man in the beginning is still in effect today. It is doubt and unbelief that stops us from receiving all that God has promised in His Word.

Had Adam and Eve believed what the LORD God had told them in Genesis 2:17, they would not have eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When the serpent got Eve to doubt what the LORD God said, she then ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then Eve gave also to Adam, and he did eat also. It was doubt that brought sin and death upon mankind.

Doubt and unbelief are opposite of believing. Doubt and unbelief operate from the minds of people. The mind operates from the soul of man. Being that man is a living soul, what man receives in his mind and believes in heart controls what man does.

All things are possible to them that believe. But, doubt and unbelief will prevent believing from operating. Doubt and unbelief can even stop faith from working. When the disciples of Jesus asked why they could not cast the spirit out of the child, in Matthew 17:20, it says, "Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief..." Their unbelief prevented them from casting that spirit out of the child. They had faith, but their unbelief prevented their faith from working. Jesus told them that to overcome the unbelief they needed to fast and pray (Matt. 17:21). Fasting and prayer will overcome unbelief.

For Christians today, fasting and praying in the Spirit will overcome doubt, and build up our faith to do the works of the ministry that we have been given. That is why the Apostles in Acts 6:4 said, "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."

Faith is a gift of God, given to every individual Christian (Gal. 5:22). Our faith is built up by prayer and fasting (Matt. 17:20; Jude 1:20). Being that faith operates from our spirit, and not from our mind, we need to spend a lot of time praying in the spirit. Jude 1:20 says, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost."

We also need to spend a lot of time in the Word. Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." It is when we are studying and meditating upon the Word of God, that we receive the faith we need to do the work of the ministry.

Faith only works one way. Either we have faith and exercise our faith or we do not have faith. There is no such things as un-faith, or negative faith. Faith comes from God and is always positive. God never gives anyone negative faith.

Believing works two ways. We can believe what God says and receive what God desires for us. Or we can believe what the Devil says and receive what the Devil desires for us. Believing starts with thoughts, and then manifests according to what we believe.

God sometimes puts thoughts in our minds and we believe those thoughts. When we believe the thoughts God puts in our minds, and act upon them, we receive what God wants us to have.

As an example, people become born again into the body of Christ by believing the thoughts that God gives them, and acting upon those thoughts. Jesus said in John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." As people think upon the thoughts that God puts in their minds, they respond and become born again.

Satan works the same way. Satan puts thoughts in our minds and when we believe them we end up doing what Satan wanted us to do. Believing can draw us to God or believing can pull us away from God.

In our natural life, we live according to what we believe. If we believe God we will gain what God has desired for us. If we believe the Devil we will obtain what the Devil desires for us.

In believing, we receive according to what we believe in our heart. Therefore, it is important that we learn "to live by faith," and not by simply believing. Believing can cause us to go in the wrong direction. But true faith will not fail, because faith comes from God and returns to God.

For more information on this subject, get all of the parts to this series of Mini-Books. For other help, you can also go to our Web sites on the Internet and download as many free books as you desire. Go to:

www.handsforjesus.cc

www.handsforjesus.org