#3. THE LAW OF FAITH (Romans 3:27)
This is a bible study explaining what the law of faith is. The apostle Paul said, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works?
No: but by the law of faith." (Romans 3:27). When we look at natural or scientific laws, like the law of gravity, or the law of aerodynamics,
or Newton's laws of motion, they are laws that work consistently every time without fail (assuming nothing supernatural intervenes). Faith also is a law which
when operated properly works every time without fail. By using the law of faith we can obtain any of the promises of God, including healing,
deliverance from sin, forgiveness of sins, justification, and salvation. It works on the same basis as natural laws such as the law of gravity work, and that is
that God ordains that it works, "upholding all things by the word of his power," (Hebrews 1:3). Faith is the means by which we can obtain any of the
promises of God, and there are some basic conditions for faith in God to work. These do not all apply in every case, but most of them will.
(1) We must base our faith on what God has said, or on what we know he will do.
(2) Sometimes we must ask God for it.
(3) Sometimes we must command it to happen.
(4) We must believe that we receive what we ask for or command to happen.
(5) We must confess what we believe.
(6) We must act upon what we believe and confess, by fulfilling any conditions which apply to the situation concerned.
(7) We must endure through any time period that God ordains before the manifestation of the promise.
In this bible study we will explain the scriptural basis for the law of faith to work for any Christian.
#3.1 Faith must be based upon what God has said
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? Or has he spoken
and shall he not make it good?
24 The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man who executes my council from a far country; yes, I
have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have
spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
25 For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more
prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, says the Lord GOD.
14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that which was desolate:
I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.
1 JOHN 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us;
15 And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we desired of him."
Note: Everyone has faith in something. If we go to catch a bus, we believe that it will come. We prepare our fare,
go to the bus stop before the expected time of arrival, and wait for it. We may look expectantly along the road in the direction we expect
the bus to come from, and when it comes it is not a surprise. We have faith that the driver knows how to drive, and he will not crash the bus. We have faith that
the bus has been serviced properly, and it will not crash because of mechanical failure of some sort. This kind of faith is based upon what we know about the
bus company; whether they keep to their timetables or not, that they regularly check the fitness and capability of the drivers, and employ well trained
mechanics to service the buses. This is natural faith, but when it comes to faith in God, we are not putting our trust in things we can see, but in an
invisible God, and what we believe he has said.
This is possible even in the natural realm. Imagine a man who opens a trap door in the floor of his house and goes down into the cellar. There is no light down
there apart from the light that comes through the trap door, and his small daughter comes and shouts to him, "Daddy, are you down there?"
He replies, "Yes, dear."
She asks, "Can I come down there to you?"
He replies, "Yes, dear, just sit on the edge of the trap door and jump, and I will catch you."
The little girl sits on the edge of the trap door and looks down. She sees nothing but darkness. She says, "Daddy, I cannot see you."
He replies, "No, dear, but I can see you, just jump and I will catch you."
Believing the words of her father, whom she cannot see, she jumps into the darkness, and lands safely in his arms.
She had faith in her father's words even though she could not see him, and this is how we need to be with God. The reason why we can base our faith on what
God has said is because, as the above scriptures show, he has promised to bring to pass what he has said. Therefore, if he has promised to do a certain thing
for us, then providing we fulfil the conditions that he has laid down, he will bring it to pass:
(Numbers 23:19) "God is not a man that he should lie;"
(Titus 1:2) "God ... cannot lie,"
If we base our faith on something other than God's word, such as man's word, or circumstances, or things we can see, then we could have a faulty base,
because these things can change. However, God has said, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." (Psalm 89:34), and
when we trust in what he has said, we have a sound base because, "he is faithful who promised." (Hebrews 10:23).
#3.2 Sometimes we must ask
MATTHEW 7:7-8 (Jesus)
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
8 For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering1. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For do not let that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Note 1: We do not have to ask for everything. Many people become believers in Jesus without
asking for it, some even get baptised in the Holy Spirit without asking for it, Cornelius and his household were examples of this (Acts 10:44-46). Abraham never
asked for his seed to become as numerous as the stars of heaven (Genesis 15:5), but God still promised it to him. Nevertheless, many times we do need to ask,
because not asking is often the reason why we do not receive anything from God:
(James 4:2) "you have not, because you ask not."
Another reason why sometimes we do not receive from God is because there is sin in our lives:
(Psalm 66:18) "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me:
(Isaiah 59:2) "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
Note 2: The word translated wavering1 (Gr. διακρινόμενος,
Gtr. diakrinomenos) is from the same verb διακρίνω (Gtr. diakrino) which is translated "doubt" (Matthew 21:21), and "shall ... doubt"
(Mark 11:23). It comes from two words, διὰ (Gtr. dia) which means "through", and κρίνω (Gtr.
krino) which means, "I judge", and so means "through judging, or contending in the mind", and therefore
to doubt (See #2.2). When we ask we must therefore ask in faith,
with nothing doubting (Mark 11:23; James 1:6-7), and in accordance with God's will (1 John 5:14-15), for God to guarantee us an answer. As far as our salvation
is concerned, our whole life, from the moment we first believe in Jesus until we die, is like a petition to God for our salvation, which will be revealed
when Jesus comes again (See #1.1 Note).
#3.3 Sometimes we must command
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for amen I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain,
Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
21 However this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.
23 For amen I say to you, That whoever shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but
shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he says.
Note: Here we see a different use of faith. There are times, such as when we cast demons out of people, that we should command, rather than ask, using the authority that Jesus gave us:
(Matthew 10:1 RPT) "And when he had called his twelve disciples to him, he gave them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out,
and to heal every sickness and every disease."
(Luke 9:1) "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases."
(Luke 10:19 RPT) "Behold, I give you the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy,"
However, it seems obvious that prayer should precede the commanding for it to work, because Jesus sometimes prayed all night (Luke 6:12) before he went out to
do these works. When the disciples could not cast a certain demon out (Matthew 17:19), Jesus told them that it was because of their unbelief (Matthew 17:20), and
they needed to pray and fast (Matthew 17:21). Peter knelt down and prayed before he commanded the dead Tabitha (Dorcas) to arise (Acts 9:40). There are other reasons why sometimes it will not work:
(1) Sin in our lives. If we live in sin then we allow the devil to have authority over us, and therefore he does not necessarily have to obey our words:
(Proverbs 22:12) "The LORD ... he overthrows the words of the transgressor."
(Hosea 14:9) "The ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall in them."
(2) Disobedience to God's word. If we do not honour and obey God's word, then we show that it does not have authority
in our lives, and if we do not obey it, why should we expect the devil to obey it?
(3) Failure to honour our own words. If we say that we are going to do certain things, and then do not do them, and
we show no respect or obedience to our own words, then why should we expect the devil to obey them?
#3.4 Believe that we are receiving when we pray or command
22 And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.
23 For amen I say to you, That whoever shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe
that those things which he says shall come to pass1; he shall have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive2 them, and you shall have them.
Note 1: There are two things that these scriptures tell us that we need to believe:
(1) That what we say shall come to pass (Mark 11:23).
If we pray and believe that God has answered our prayer, then we should confess what we believe is about to happen (See #3.5). The word translated
shall come to pass1 (Gr. γίνεται, Gtr. ginetai) is present tense
in the Greek, although it has been translated as a future in English. If we translated this word in a "present continuous" sense, it would literally read
as, "are coming into being", or "are coming to pass", or "are happening". (The verb is actually singular in number in the Greek, but is
translated as a plural in English with neuter plural subjects.) If we take it in a "present simple" sense, then it could also be translated as "come
into being", or "come to pass", or "happen". Also the present tense is sometimes used in Greek to express a future event with either
immediacy or certainty. Some examples are:
(Matthew 27:49) "Let us see if Elias will come to save him."
(Matthew 28:20) " I am with you always, until the end of the age."
(Luke 3:16) "one mightier than I comes,"
(1 Corinthians 16:5) " I do pass through Macedonia."
(Revelation 22:20) " I come quickly."
Therefore we need to believe that the manifestation of what we say either happens, or is happening, or is a certainty, because if we believe it, God has
said that he will bring our words to pass (See #3.5 Note).
(2) That we receive what we ask for when we pray (Mark 11:24).
You may ask, "How can I believe that I receive when I don't have it?" The answer is this. The word translated you receive2
(Gr. λαμβάνετέ, Gtr. lambanete) is present tense in the Greek, and as we have just seen this could means "you receive" in a
simple sense, or "you are receiving" in a continuous sense, or "you will receive" with immediacy or certainty. We should translate this
verb in the same way that we have chosen to translate "ginetai" (Mark 11:23), because they are related to each other. Therefore, "happen" (v23)
corresponds to "you receive" (v24), "are happening" (v23) corresponds to "you are receiving" (v24), and "will happen"
(v23) corresponds to "you will receive" (v24). Daniel sought the understanding of a vision he had had, and for three whole weeks he fasted and
prayed (Daniel 10:1-3). When the angel finally arrived with his answer (Daniel 10:10-14), he explained that God had answered his prayer on the first day that he
asked (v12). He said that he had been sent with the answer, but a wicked spirit in the heavens, called "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" (v13), had
hindered him until help came. Daniel's prayer was answered the first day, but he did not receive it for three weeks. Paul and the men on the ship with him in a
storm were fasting fourteen days before the angel came and told Paul about their deliverance (Acts 27:20-35). Jeremiah waited ten days for the word of the Lord to
come to him to answer the request of the captains of Israel (Jeremiah 42:1-7). Therefore, if we can believe that God answers our prayers when we pray, then by faith
we have the answer, because God is faithful to ensure its delivery:
(1 John 5:14-15) "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us;
And if we know that he hear, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we desired of him."
We can see the three different tenses working here like this:
(a) God answering the prayer goes with "happen" (v23) and "you receive" (v24). This is looking at it in a
spiritual sense, because we are looking at things which are not seen with the natural eye (See #1.2).
(b) The angel coming with the answer goes with "are happening" (v23) and "you are receiving" (v 24). This is also
looking at it in a spiritual sense, because again we are looking at things things which are not seen with the natural eye (See #1.2).
(c) The answer visibly arriving goes with "will happen" (v23) and "you will receive" (v24).
This is tending to look at it in a natural sense, and therefore is not the preferred interpretation, because faith looks at things which are not seen
and faith confesses the things which are not seen (See #3.5).
Note 2: Concerning our salvation, the word of God lists several things that we need to believe to be saved:
(1) Believe in (Gr. εἰς, Gtr. eis) Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 11:26).
(2) Believe on (Gr. ἐπὶ, Gtr. epi) the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).
(3) Believe in (Gr. εἰς) the name of the Son of God (John 1:12; 3:18).
(4) Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 4:24; 10:9).
(5) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:31; Acts 8:37).
(6) Believe the gospel (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2).
(7) Believe the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-13).
These scriptures all show how important belief is to our salvation.
#3.5 Confess what we believe
MATTHEW 10:32-33 (Jesus)
32 Whoever therefore shall confess1 me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in heaven.
33 But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for amen I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say
to this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
21 However this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.
21 Jesus answered and said to them, Amen I say to you, If You have faith and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also
if you shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And Jesus answering says unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For amen I say to you, That whoever shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart,
but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he says.
ROMANS 10:9-10 (Paul)
9 That if you shall confess1 with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised
him from the dead, you shall be saved.
10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:13 (Paul)
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore I have spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.
Note: Paul said that he spoke what he believed (2 Corinthians 4:13), but why is it so necessary to do this? The
mountains don't move by believing they will move, and just looking at them, do they? They also have to be spoken to (Matthew 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:23). Demons
don't come out by believing that they will, and just looking at the person oppressed, words have to be spoken (Luke 4:36; 8:29; 13:12; Acts 16:18). The reason is
that words are spirit, just as Jesus said, "the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63;
See #1.7 Note), and if we want the spirit of God to move in our
situation, then we must speak the word of God out of our mouths just as Jesus did. When we do this with a believing heart, God will bring to pass what we speak:
(Proverbs 12:6) "the mouth of the upright shall deliver them."
(Proverbs 12:18) "the tongue of the wise is health."
(Isaiah 57:19) "I create the fruit of the lips;"
(Mark 11:23) "he shall have whatever he says."
This inevitably involves us in "calling those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17), because we will be believing and confessing those
things which cannot be seen (See #1.2). As far as our salvation is concerned, we must confess what we believe (See #3.4 Note 2)
and also confess Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10). The word translated confess1 in these scriptures
(Gr. ὁμολογέω, Gtr. homologeo) comes from two words, ὁμος (Gtr. homos) which means "same",
and λέγω, (Gtr. lego), "I speak", and so means "to speak the same thing", or "to agree with".
To confess Jesus before men therefore means to speak the same as Jesus before men, and this means to speak the word of God as Jesus did (John 8:28; 12:49; 14:10).
Some of the rulers of the Jews believed in Jesus, but would not confess him for fear of being thrown out of the synagogue (John 12:42): they did not have the faith
for salvation, for "with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Romans 10:10).
#3.6 Act upon what we believe and confess
17 Even so faith, if it does not have works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the demons also believe, and tremble.
20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.
24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Note: Acting upon what we believe and confess is a very important part of faith, and without
it our faith is dead (James 2:17; 20; 26), and will obtain us nothing (James 1:6-7). Look at these examples:
(1) Abraham was justified because he acted on his faith when he offered Isaac his son to God, believing that God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19; James 2:21).
(2) Rahab the harlot was justified because she acted on her faith, when she hid the spies and made a covenant with
them (Joshua 2:1-14; James 2:25), believing that God had given the land to Israel (v9). If she had not done this she would have died with the rest of them in Jericho.
(3) Naaman the Syrian was healed of his leprosy when he acted on his faith, by obeying Elisha's instruction (2 Kings 5:10), and dipped in the Jordan seven times (2 Kings 5:14). If he had not done this, he would not have been healed.
(4) The ten lepers were healed as they acted on their faith (Luke 17:19), and went to show themselves to the priests in obedience to Jesus (Luke 17:14). If they had not done this, they would not have been healed.
(5) The woman with the issue of blood was healed when she pressed through the crowd and touched the hem of Jesus' garment, believing that if she did this she would be made well (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-29). If she had not done it, she would not have been healed.
(6) Noah and his family were saved from the flood because Noah acted on his faith and built the ark (Hebrews 11:7). If he had not done this, he would have drowned with the rest of them.
(7) The walls of Jericho fell by faith, when Israel acted on their faith, and went round the city for seven days (Hebrews 11:30), in obedience to God's instructions (Joshua 6:3-5). If they had not done this, they would not have taken Jericho.
These examples all show that if we do not act according to what we say we believe, then our faith is dead, and we will get nothing from God. As far as our
salvation is concerned, we must not only confess what we believe (See #3.5 Note), but we must also act in accordance with what be believe and confess.
This means that we must obey the words of Jesus, because we cannot fulfil his commands to love (Matthew 22:36-40; 1 John 3:11) without doing it (John 14:21-24;
1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 6). Jesus' words will judge us on the last day (John 12:48), and salvation is only for those who obey him (Hebrews 5:9).
#3.7 Sometimes we must endure to the end
12 Therefore, you son of man, say to the children of your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his
transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall the
righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins.
13 When I say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commits iniquity,
all his righteousness shall not be remembered, but for his iniquity which he has committed, he shall die for it.
MATTHEW 24:13 (Jesus)
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Note: Sometimes miracles can happen instantaneously, and they require no endurance. Many of the miraculous healings of Jesus were like
this (Matthew 8:3; 20:34; Mark 2:12; Luke 1:64; 4:69; 13:13), and even those of the apostles (Acts 3:7; 9:18; 14:10), but these were done by men who were very mature
spiritually. With less mature Christians this does not always happen, because our faith has to be tested and tried in order to perfect us (James 1:2-4; 1:12;
1 Peter 1:7). As far as our salvation is concerned, go back to our example of a man going to a shop with the money to buy something
(See #1.1 Note). If he lost the money on the way, the shopkeeper
would not give him what he wanted to buy. Why? because he had lost the basis of exchange. This is the same with any promise of God. If we lose our faith for what we
have asked for, before God manifests it to our sight, then we will not receive it. As far as our salvation is concerned, we must endure to the end in order to be
saved (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13). When Jesus spoke to the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) he told them, "be faithful unto death, and I will give you a
crown of life." (v10). If they had not endured to the end, but denied him to escape the tribulation they were to go through, then they would have been lost
(Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9). The same day that a righteous man turns from his righteousness to sin, his past righteousness is forgotten (Ezekiel 33:12-13). If Daniel
had quit fasting and praying after 20 days (Daniel 10:1-14) the angel would not have got through. Paul and the men on the ship with him in a storm were fasting
fourteen days before the angel came and told Paul about their deliverance (Acts 27:20-35). Jeremiah waited ten days for the word of the Lord to come to him to answer
the request of the captains of Israel (Jeremiah 42:1-7). This is why the testing of our faith is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7), because it works patience
into us, and we need that patience to be perfected (James 1:2-4), and receive the promise of salvation (Hebrews 10:36; 1 Peter 1:9).
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