God deals the measure of faith to every man (Roman 12:3) and this measure of faith got us saved in the first place. The expectation of God’s heart is that we now go on and diligently add faith to faith, virtue to faith, knowledge to virtue and so on (2 Peter 1: 5-9), thus abounding in the fruits of righteousness, one of which is faith.
The fundamental reason why we need to live and walk in faith is that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and we are spirit beings existing for the present time within an earthen vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7) because we have to be able to relate with this physical world. There is probably no other portion of the scriptures where the logical reason for faith is better set forth than in Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 5:6-7.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight).
Here Paul begins by referring to the body as a tabernacle or house or clothing for the human spirit (the real you). And then he talks about the fact that we (the spirit man) are groaning or desiring, while in this limited and corruptible terrestrial body, to be clothed upon with our house or body that is from heaven (the incorruptible celestial body with which we shall be clothed at the appearing of Jesus Christ our Saviour). He also points to two potential locations of the human spirit – absent from the body and thus present with the Lord or at home in the body and thus absent from the Lord.
Faith's connection to God
Now the reality is this – that while we are present in this earthly body, we are absent from the Lord. However, the nourishment of the human spirit (which is the real man) is from the Lord, being an offspring of the Lord. How then can this human spirit stay connected to and nourished by his Lord seeing that he is absent from Him? The answer is by faith. That’s why Paul immediately says ‘for we walk by faith…’. In other words, walking by faith is the assumed natural course of daily living for the recreated human spirit. Living by faith is as natural for the recreated human spirit as breathing is for the flesh of man. The body was made out of the dust of the earth and breathes in oxygen to stay connected to that earth; likewise, the recreated human spirit is an offspring of God and lives by the faith of God to stay connected with that God. This recreated human spirit is encased in a body that makes it absent from the Lord and only by the faith walk can it stay in fellowship with the Lord. Therefore it goes without saying that any human spirit that is not connected by faith to God cannot live! That’s why it is absolutely impossible to please God without faith. God can only relate with us through the link of faith.
Love is an offspring of faith
Another important place of faith in the grand design of the Father can be found in 1 Timothy 1:5 –
Now the end of the commandment is charity (love) out of a pure heart and...….. of faith unfeigned.
Paul was saying here that the goal or purpose of the commandment of God as contained in scripture is love flowing from genuine faith. We know that faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) but this is interesting as it also suggests that love derives from faith! Love flows from faith and, in turn, sustains faith. Indeed, when we think about it, we see that this was what Peter meant when he talked about the elect and how they had not seen Jesus Christ but loved him (1 Peter 1:8). Their genuine love for Christ flowed out of their genuine faith in Him. They may have never seen him physically, but their faith touched Him and there was witness in their hearts that He is! Love is the greatest gift of God but it flows forth from faith in God. That is why we cannot exercise the capacity to love as God loves if we first do not put our faith in Him. But genuine faith will give expression to divine love. The father desires to express his love in us and through us by the faith of the son of God.
In Luke 17:1-5, Jesus had given a love challenge to the disciples by warning them against strife in very strong words! Mark’s gospel (chapter 9 verse 34) actually gives us a quick background to this warning that Jesus gave his folks. They had gotten into strife and argued amongst themselves who would be the greatest. When Jesus set out the task of walking in love for them, it was so great they knew they did not have the capacity to do it. They knew such a love feat could only be accomplished through faith and so, in the fifth verse of Luke 17, they cried out, “Lord, increase our faith!” Only genuine faith can birth such love.
God's power produces salvation through faith
Finally, in 1 Peter 1:5, Peter speaks of believers and says that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed. In other words, the power of God that produces salvation functions only through the channel of faith. Consider a room with one or two electric power sockets and the fact that to get an appliance to function, we need to connect it to one of those power sources. Without the connection, electric power, though present and available, cannot be accessed. The power of God may be present and available to us, but will not be released without that vital connection of faith that adapts the divine power and brings it to bear upon our circumstances, thus producing salvation. Genuine faith is an absolute necessity for a victorious new creation life.
In the 14th chapter of the book of Acts, Paul steadfastly looked at a crippled fellow who listened to him while he preached the Word of God. Having perceived that the crippled man had faith to be healed, Paul hollered out a command to him, “stand upright on your feet!” Paul did not need to lay hands on this guy; he did not need to pray for healing; he did not need to ask for a release of God’s power. The crippled man’s faith was a ‘live wire’ – it was actively connected to the power of God. Paul knew that there was a presence of faith and that God’s power was also available but he needed to teach that guy (or, as it appeared, command him) to plug his faith apparatus to the power of God. That power needed to flow through his faith to produce the salvation of healing. By belting out the command, Paul was simply showing the crippled man how to release his faith and make the connection live – by corresponding action!
For the new creation, the measure of saving faith is grown and multiplied through the ministry of the word of God. What we must learn is how to make that connection, release that faith and bring the power of God to bear on our circumstances. God helping, we shall come to know. - Kelechi E. Nnoaham