Biblical faith has three important objective elements: His Word, His Person, and His Cross. These three are in fact, one. The Word is the revelation of His Person. The Cross is the instrument of revelation. The Person of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of the Lord) actively administers both the Word and the Cross to us. We get into trouble when we try to separate these three from one another.
We’re pretty clear on the Word/promises of God part, but we’re not so clear on the rest. Biblical faith has a Living Lord. There is a Living Master who, by the Living Spirit, administrates His Living Word to us. His Word is not the heavenly shopping list of blessings we get to pick from in our time of crisis. His Word is the revelation of His Person. We do not present our crisis to the Scriptures first. We present our crisis to His Cross first, from which His Person (the Living Word), will speak through His written Word. Calvary is the frequency of all divine thought.
This is what some in the Faith Movement have missed and what the psychics, New Agers and other metaphysical spiritists do not want to deal with: the Lord and His Cross. Everyone is good to go on the reality of spiritual power (the “how to” techniques to get goodies from the spirit world.) But they’re not too keen on being told what they can and cannot do with it!
We cannot go to the Scriptures, find a promise that covers our issue, lay hold of it, and beat Jesus over the head with it until He relents, and gives us what we want, thereby creating something out of nothing by the power of our words. That’s a carnal corruption of the truth of positive confession and renewing of the mind. If you or I find our selves in a difficult situation, do you really think either of us will search the Scripture, and renew our minds by claiming and confessing all the tribulation and suffering verses? Of course not. We’re human and we want relief. The only verses that I can confess in a positive confession sense are those the Lord Himself gives me permission to confess as I engage Him in a living relationship. We do not speak to the Scriptures. They speak to us. That’s the crux of this issue.
Faith for healing doesn’t work because I am convinced of it in an intellectual way. That is, if I am really, really, serious, about it, and I really, really, believe hard; and if I really, really persevere and don’t waver, I will get my healing. The problem with this approach is the one believing this way is trying to earn healing by exercising spiritual disciplines. What is thought to be faith is actually works. Whatever isn’t of faith is sin, therefore my religious works are sin and God can have no part in/of them. Therefore, for those who experience results using this method, the question must be asked: “What spirit is answering your prayer?” Because it isn’t the Spirit of God. Normally this kind of thinking comes from someone who has not connected relationally with the Person of Christ. We do not exercise faith in faith. A faith-in-faith posture opens the door to legalism, witchcraft, and quid pro quo merit-based thinking. We must have faith in God and God alone.
What is Faith?
These three paradigms: intellectualism, a commodity view, and equating faith with feeling are reasons we don’t experience healings in our midst as we would like. They are false foundations. God doesn’t operate in falsehood.
Faith is not striving to please God. It ‘s love looking for expression. The extent to which we believe is the extent to which we experience His love and presence within. Even in the natural realm, the deciding factor in how involved we will get in a relationship depends on how much we invest in love. Faith does not produce intimacy. Rather, intimacy yields faith, as it’s love’s fruit.
Faith is a term of personal knowing, a deliberate commitment to a Person revealed in the Word of God. It’s the outcome of an act of surrender that brings us into harmony with God and His plan for our lives. Faith is the right attitude of the human spirit toward God. It’s the appropriate human response to His revelation of Himself. Faith is belief in action upheld by confidence. From personal knowing, actions are manifested that are upheld by the confidence in the One we know. The issue is one of trust. Redemption is designed to restore the relational trust between God and humanity that was lost in the garden.
Imagine you’re at Niagara Falls and the great daredevil, Mr. Zambini, is going to walk on a tight rope stretched across the falls. The hawker cries: “Do you believe he can do it?” The crowd cheers, and off he goes successfully to the roar of applause. Then the hawker says: “The Great Zambini will now ride a bicycle across the tight rope. Can he do it?” The crowd roars its affirmative excitement and off he goes again, successfully getting to the other side to the sound of thunderous applause. Then the hawker says: “Now the Great Zambini will take this wheel barrow across the high-wire. Do you believe he can do it?” Well, Zambini has proved he can and another roar arises from the crowd. Then the hawker says: “The Great Zambini is looking for a volunteer to go with him. Who will get in the wheel barrow?” The only sound to be heard is the roar of the falls and the chirping birds passing overhead.
This is the difference between intellectual assent, emotionalism, a commodity view of faith and relational biblical faith. Relational biblical faith participates in and with the object of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection. We place our lives into His wheel barrow, we don’t just agree that His wheelbarrow exists. Not grasping this distinction is another reason why we do not see healings in our churches. We do not posses the kind of faith that would result in healing. Jesus is not our heavenly helper who pops out of hiding to rescue us from our distresses like some genie in a bottle. Until all our life—spiritual, financial, physical—is in His hands, we will never experience true faith, healing, or any other kingdom virtue. If we’re not in the metaphorical wheelbarrow, we don’t possess biblical faith.
Faith for healing is not something I turn on from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM once a week. It’s the overflow of a relationally integrated life in Christ. I don’t need to learn techniques of how to release healing. I need to learn to get in the wheelbarrow and stay there. We’re not promised ease. We are promised tribulation, and His overcoming power. We’re promised a way of escape and His overcoming grace. Until our finances or our health face impossible adversity, and we have been delivered from it, through it, or in it, our faith is somewhat pretentious. All we have is a strong religious conviction about a doctrinal belief system. That will never heal the sick. We are no better than the New Agers and pagans. We just have a different belief system than they do.
This blog is an excerpt from our title: Healing: Hope or Hype? Why Legitimate Physical Healings are Rare in Local Churches, and What We Can do About it! It is available in all formats at www.stevecrosby.com.
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Wow that’s a lot of stuff..I will have to read that some more and contemplate..I’m sure it’s good stuff because everything you post is good. Thanks
Excellent, Steve. Simple trust in the One who pushes the wheel barrow is not an option if you don’t really know him well,
and much too risky, so we must complicate the issue and invent ways that puts us in control of what we call faith. We have just enough confidence in our self effort to think we have a chance to hit the jack pot, and if not, failure is still not as scary as falling.
Ok I contemplated on it and now I get it…I’m in the wheelbarrow.
Steve, So glad you & Rita made the trip down to our southern version of Alaska. It was refreshing to me to have some “new blood” in our community. After being among us, do you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions, words of wisdom, advise, words of prophecy, etc. for me, Jennie, or our brothers & sisters down here in Wheeler County, GA?? Harry
Harry & Jennie Stevenson P.O. Box 783 Alamo, Georgia 30411 (912)568-1854
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Hi Harry, thank you to yourself, your family and the saints for receiving us and making us feel like family. That to me, is always the main objective: extending the bonds of love in the kingdom family. Let me pray and wait on the Lord about your inquiry. Love to you all.
Hi Stephen, thanks for the wisdom. Could you elaborate a little more on how you see trust and faith working in the area of finance? What do you mean by finances being ‘in his hands’ exactly. For me, this is one of those areas where we are biblically instructed to ‘work’ for a living. Most Christians, I’m assuming, get their finance through offering a service and being ‘paid’ for their effort. Like a regular job or business. There’s an expectation that we are rewarded based on our effort. I see biblical examples of both miraculous provision and leaders being ‘paid’ by the Church for providing their ‘services’. One method seems so cerebral, whereas the other is more ‘spirit lead’. Is it all ‘sanctioned by God’? Is the one that receives financial provision through the Church, ministry, miraculous provision showing more faith than the one that works a ‘secular’ job? Scripture seems on the one hand to promote the thought….don’t be lazy, the one that doesn’t work, doesn’t eat. And yet, on the other hand scripture seems to promote the idea that ALL provision comes from God….”the birds of the air do not sow or reap or put away in barns yet your heavenly father feeds them. Is it a case of being led by the spirit as best you know how mixed with common sense and good work ethic??
Hello Anthony, I have addressed this issue, fully, and in detail in my book: Money and the Church: A Better way to Live and Give. It is available at http://www.stevecrosby.com. this post was dealing with healing not finances. There is nothing wrong with common sense and a good work ethic. Since my life comes from God, even my ability to work is from his hand in relational trust.
Hi Stephen, thanks for the reply. Sorry, didn’t mean to pull this off topic. Will check out the link. Anthony
Hi Anthony, no worries . . . just have to use a modicum of “electronic media discipline” or threads and topics just get out of control. I assure you, that I address your questions thoroughly in the book I recommended. I have received good reviews on the book.
I am really glad for these excerpts from your book. I read that book a couple of years ago and it was the best, most thorough, thing written on this subject I had ever seen (in my opinion). I, too, come from the charismatic, latter rain, etc., etc., movements. I am in my 60’s now. Still searching. I appreciate your website so much! Am hoping that you will bring out the section you wrote in this book about the need for ‘community’. Thank you so much!
Thank you for posting, Diane, and for your kind encouragement.
Thank you Steve for delivering me from this lie. Whilst in my study time the words ‘faith is a commodity’ came to mind, so I looked it up. I came across your website. I had heard these words from a pulpit and I believed it. But as I read your message I knew in my heart what you had written to be true. Thank you for exposing a lie. In setting captives free.