Spirit of Faith

Sunrise

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Paul wrote this verse as he told the Corinthians of the ministry he had been given, the hardships he faced for it, and the hope he had for eternal life. He quoted from Psalm 116 – a psalm of deliverance – in which the psalmist expressed his faith and trust in God even in the face of severe trials.

We are to have the same spirit of faith that Paul had. Having this spirit of faith, we will do certain things.

We Will Believe in God

The starting point for faith is a belief in the existence of God. God has given us various proofs in His creation to show us that He exists (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20). Believing in the fact that God created the universe will lead us to believe other things as well. First, we must believe that He is the source of all physical blessings (James 1:17). Second, we must believe that He gives us hope spiritually through Christ (2 Thessalonians 4:14; Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20). Paul said in the next verse, “Knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

We Will Believe What God Has Said

Paul spoke at the first part of this chapter of the ministry he was given in preaching the gospel. He was also persecuted severely and suffered hardship for his preaching (2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 11:23-27). Yet he continued to preach. This indicates his absolute faith in God’s word.

God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). His word is the truth (John 17:17). If we have the spirit of faith that Paul had, then when God’s word says something we will believe it no matter what it is. People today question many things that the Bible teaches (seven-day Creation, global flood, some or all miracles, etc.). What kind of faith do we have if we do not believe what is written in the Bible? If we say we are going to believe one passage but not another, how do we decide what is believable and what is not? We must have an attitude of faith that accepts everything that God’s word says, just as the psalmist wrote, “The sum of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).

We Will Speak What God Has Said

Again, Paul was given this ministry. He spoke the word of God regardless of the consequences: “We also believe, therefore we also speak.

We must understand that the word of God is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). It is the only means by which God calls men to Himself (2 Thessalonians 2:14). We are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1) and “sons of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26). This faith “comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The word of God “is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). Do we believe these things? All of these show the importance of teaching the word – to Christians and non-Christians. Do we have faith? If so, we must be ready to share the gospel with others (1 Peter 3:15).

We Will Do What God Has Said

A saving faith is an obedient faith. James wrote, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). In this context, James plainly showed us the relationship between faith and works. Many in religion reject works or obedience as being necessary for salvation, affirming instead that we are saved by faith alone. But James bluntly said, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).

Our works (obedience) demonstrate our faith. James said, “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Using the example of Abraham, he showed how faith and works go together: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (James 2:21-22). We cannot separate faith from works. If we have faith, the works will naturally follow. If we do not do the works, how can we say we have faith?

It is not enough to simply believe in the existence of God. James wrote, “The demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). It is not enough to merely believe what God has said: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). It is not enough to call Jesus “Lord.” Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21). If we have the spirit of faith, we will obey what God has said.

We Will Look Forward to Heaven

As Paul developed this point, he reminded the brethren that “the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We are looking forward to “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). No matter what we have to face here, we have a great and lasting reward waiting for us. By faith, we are assured of this (cf. Hebrews 11:1).

Therefore, we must not get too attached to this world. Paul contrasted the temporary nature of this life with the eternal nature of heaven when he compared our “earthly tent” with “a building from God” (2 Corinthians 5:1). This world is not our home. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Therefore, let us keep our focus on the goal (Philippians 3:14; Colossians 3:1-2) and conduct our lives with a spirit of faith – believing, speaking, and doing what God has said – so that we might receive the reward of heaven.


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