The School of Israel

of the New Covenant Church of God

18. Faith Toward God

1. Before we leave the elementary teaching about Christ and press on to maturity, what foundation must we have? (Hebrews 6:1-3)

a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
b. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
c. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
d. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
e. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
f. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Faith in God is the second principle of the elementary teachings about Christ that lead to a firm foundation in the Christian life. Without this foundation, it is impossible for a Christian to grow into that spiritual maturity that God desires to see in each one of His children. Faith makes the difference between defeat and victory in the Christian life.

Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6). By faith, the men of old gained approval from God. By faith, they conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war and put foreign armies to flight. They were stoned, sawn in two, put to death with the sword; they were destitute, afflicted and ill-treated. All these men gained approval through their faith. They believed God, and it was accounted to them as righteousness. It is our goal through these studies to build a strong foundation of truth in the believer's life so that each believer may show the same diligence as those great men of faith who went before them. As a result, the believer will not become sluggish but will be an imitator of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises and press on to maturity in God.

2. What does God demand that we have in order to please Him? (Hebrews 11:6) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. What is the relationship between faith and pleasing God? (Hebrews 11:6)

a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
b. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

We see, then, that "without faith it is impossible to please God". Therefore, if God demands that we have faith when it is impossible for us to have faith, then we have a right to challenge His justice. But if He places within our hands the means whereby faith can be produced, then the responsibility of whether we have faith or not rests on us.

God has told us that without faith, it is impossible to please Him; but He has also told us how to get faith. If we do not have faith, it is not God's fault. To blame God for any lack of faith is ignorance, for God has provided the way whereby everyone can have faith. Let us examine a few scriptures to discover the provision for faith that God has made.

4. What is the chief ingredient of salvation? (Ephesians 2:8) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. How do we get faith in order to be saved? (Romans 10:8-10,13-14,17) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. From studying the passage in Romans, what three steps does a person take in order to receive salvation? (Ibid.)

a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
b. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
c. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

7. God sent an angel to the house of Cornelius as he stood praying. The angel told him to send for Simon Peter. What was Peter supposed to tell Cornelius? (Acts 11:13-14) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cornelius had not yet heard the Gospel; he was not saved. Men and women are saved by hearing the message of salvation preached in words, the Words of God. The reason for this is that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God".

8. In the following passage, what three things did Paul do? (Acts 14:7-10)

a. (v.7) _______________________________________________________________________________
b. (v.9) _______________________________________________________________________________
c. (v.10) _______________________________________________________________________________

What three things did the man do?

a. (v.9) _______________________________________________________________________________
b. (v.9) _______________________________________________________________________________
c. (v.10) _______________________________________________________________________________

9. Where did the man get the faith to be healed? (Acts 14:9) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. What is faith? (Hebrews 11:1) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Moffatt's translation of this verse reads: "Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see." Many people want to receive something from God and then believe. However, Biblical faith is believing first, then receiving the visible manifestation of it. This is the kind of faith that God has.

11. How did God form the world? (Hebrews 11:3) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

We learn two important things from this passage: Firstly, that God creates by faith. The Authorised King James translation of Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as a "substance" -- tangible, though invisible; Secondly, that the invisible realms came into existence before the visible. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that visible physical matter was made out of invisible spiritual matter or substance: "...what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen" (Heb.11:3, TEV).

Behind every physical manifestation is a spiritual precursor or reality. The world was not, as is often taught, made ex nihilo or "out of nothing"; it was made out of a pre-existent substance, which New Covenant Christians call the Light of Christ (John 1).

The ex nihilo doctrine derives from semi-pagan Greek philosophy called neo-Platonism. It is nowhere found in the Protestant Bible but derives from an apocryphal book called 2 Maccabees written in about the second century B.C. between the Greek and Roman periods. It was originally written by a Hellenistic Jew called Jason of Cyrene in Greek, and then condensed by a later editor, and reflects much Greek thinking. It was never a part of the Jewish Canon and was removed from the Canon by the reformers. It remains in Catholic Bibles though its historicity is often questioned.

The concept of ex nihilo creation is enunciated in the text by a woman who was made to watch her seven sons tortured to death, one by one (2 Macc.7:23). It has found its way into modern "orthodox" teaching as a legacy of the Catholic Church and an apocryphal book of scripture no longer considered authoritative. It is not therefore accepted as a true doctrine by the New Covenant Church but one belonging only to speculative theology.

12. We see this faith of God (#11) outlined by Jesus. What principles are found in the following passage? (Mark 11:22-23)

a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
b. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
c. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
d. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

13. We see this kind of faith operating in the heart of God when He created the world through His Son. What did He do?

a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
b. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
c. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

This kind of faith is one of the deepest mysteries of the Gospel. Our own faith creates the conditions for the realisation of God's will in our lives. Through the faith-substance -- the Light of Christ -- within us (which is Christ's gift to all those who are born into this world) we become creators for good or evil -- for good, if we discern and execute God's will, or for evil if we follow blindly after the impulses of the flesh.

14. When we pray for something, what are the conditions for receiving an answer to our prayer? (Mark 11:24) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jesus was simply saying that you have to believe it before you can receive it. Faith says: "I have it even though I cannot see it." It exists on the spiritual plane because God has willed it and is simply waiting to be incarnated in the visible realm. We must believe it because God's Word says it -- then it materialises. Stand firm on God's Word, and results will be forthcoming. If, instead, we sit around and groan, sigh, gripe and complain -- waiting until we see the manifestation of the promise -- we will never get very far. "For faith is...the evidence of things not seen."

We will now examine two types of faith:

15. Why did Thomas find it hard to believe that Jesus was alive? (John 20:24-25) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

16. At what point did Thomas believe? (John 20:26-29) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

17. What exhortation did Jesus give him? (John 20:29) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Abraham is an example of a man who did not see yet believed. He had that heart kind of faith. Abraham was 100 years old when God gave him the promise of a son. His wife was 90 -- well past the years of child-bearing. He believed the promise because God said it was true.

18. Describe Abraham's heart faith (Romans 4:17-21)

a. (v.17) _______________________________________________________________________________
b. (v.18) _______________________________________________________________________________
c. (v.19) _______________________________________________________________________________
d. (v.20) _______________________________________________________________________________
e. (v.21) _______________________________________________________________________________

Do you think this means that we can, or ought, to continue in faith even when we have no hope? Can you think of any apparently hopeless situations in your life which have worked themselves out because of faith? Have you ever placed hope before faith? What is the correct order that God requires? (1 Cor.13:13) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

19. According to the passage in #18 above, if Abraham did not consider physical knowledge or feelings, what did he consider? (Romans 4:17-21) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Notice that Abraham did not consider his body. Many people desiring healing, for example, look for symptoms of sickness or healing. Abraham did not consider his body; he looked only to the promise of God.

20. How do we put our faith in God's Word? (1 John 5:9) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

John tells us that if we receive the words of our friends as truth, how much more should we receive the Words of God. Faith is simply receiving God's Words as true because their substance already exists in the invisible, spiritual world, and are simply waiting for our faith to manifest in our physical dimension. This is the most crucial and important principle of faith. "If we receive the words of men, the Words of God are greater." The following stories demonstrate the truth of this scripture.

Anna went shopping on Monday morning.In one of the shops, she met a friend whom she had not met for three years. Anna asked the girl to come to her home for dinner that evening. The friend accepted. Anna did some last minute grocery shopping and spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the visit. She did not worry and fret all afternoon as to whether her friend would arrive or not; she did not worry whether her friend would keep her word. Instead, she looked forward with great anticipation to the meeting that they were going to have together. At 19:00 everything was ready, and she was expectantly awaiting her guest with joy in her heart.

Anna received the witness of a friend. Her actions for the rest of the day were based upon that word.

Anna is also a Christian. She read in Matthew 6 that she should not be anxious for what she will eat or drink or for her clothing, for God knows she needs all these things. She knows that if she seeks the Kingdom of God first and His righteousness, all these needs will be taken care of by God.

This promise seemed too good to be true. The mailman came and Anna went to the door to get her mail. She received three bills in the mail, a total of which was $300 more than she had to pay. Anna spent the rest of the day worrying and fretting about whether God would really meet her need. Was His Word to her really true? If only she could get enough faith to make the Word happen. She became so worried that she found her thoughts filled with the cares of this life and found it hard to think on the things of the Lord. Anna spent the rest of the day worrying about whether God would keep His Word to her. "If we receive the word of man, the Word of God is greater."

21. In light of God's Word, what should Anna have done? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From these examples, we see that Anna naturally acted in faith toward her friend's word yet failed to act in the same kind of way toward God's Word. Why do you think this is so? Was it because God's Word was written thousands of years ago? Was it because God did not seem so real to her as her friend? How can God become more real in a person's life so that true faith can be constantly on tap? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Write at least two illustrations from your own life where you have shown faith in the Word and experienced the blessings of God, and when you have not because of a lack of faith in God's Word: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Faith is not something that we try to make the Word happen. It is accepting the Word of God at face value, receiving it as we would the word of a trusted friend.

Lev-Tsiyon, the first Presiding Patriarch of the Holy Order in this dispensation, relates how in trusting in God's Word to provide clothing for him, has, with one or two exceptions, never been in a shop and purchased new clothes in his life, and yet God has supplied his need consistently.

22. What promise do we have regarding the validity of God's Word? (Numbers 23:19) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

23. Write down any prophecies made by prophets of the New Covenant Church of God that you can remember which have been fulfilled (see the Olive Branch)? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

24. Search the scriptures and discover promises made by God which you have never tested in your life. Write them down and resolve with the Lord, in prayer, that you will live a life of faith in these promises. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Write down and memorise the following Scripture: 1 John 5:9a


Suggested Reading:

Five Keys to Effective Prayer in the New Covenant Christian Witness, No.1, August 1992, pp.3-22

This page was created on 11 October 1997
Updated on 23 February 1998

Copyright © 1997 The New Covenant Church of God