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Where Does FAITH Come from?

28/05/2016

Where Does FAITH Come from?

Text: Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

H/C 65. Q. Since then faith alone makes us share in Christ and all his benefits, where does this faith come from?

A. From the Holy Spirit, who works it in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and strengthens it by the use of the sacraments.
Faith (Saving faith) is a GIFT that God gives to us. Ephesians 2. So, let’s explore that idea a little more, by asking the question, ‘Where does faith come from, and what is the means by which God gives that faith to us?

1. Faith COMES.
We are not born with inherent faith. We do not inherit faith from our parents or our nationality or culture. We have NO faith in our unregenerate condition.
Faith comes ONLY as a gift. We cannot earn faith or, work it up, or deserve it.
Faith always COMES TO US, FROM OUTSIDE OURSELVES – note well the word used is passive, we do not pull it to us, – it is ‘pushed.’

2. Faith Comes by HEARING.
This is God’s ordained method of transmitting the gift of faith to the human heart. It’s how he does it. Rom 10:13, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
Faith does not come by feelings, amusement, group or social interactions, worship, training… Or by the sacraments alone. I need to be careful here, for our Heidelberg instructor reminds us that the sacraments do have a role to play! Not that they convey any faith in and of themselves, but in that rightly administered they become visual aids, to point us to Christ, and thus visually illustrate the gospel for us.

3. Hearing is by the Word of God.
So, what do we need to hear, to obtain this gift of faith? There is a very specific message, – it is only THE WORD OF GOD. But what do we mean by that phrase? I want to propose that the message that brings us faith is the declaration of Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer in and throughout all of the Scriptures, which are in inspired and inherent word of God. The Greek phrase in the oldest manuscripts here is not ‘o logos tou Qeu, ‘The Word of God’ but rather it is, ῥήματος Χριστοῦ. ‘The (verbal) word of Christ. Is this a discrepancy? No the AV is based on the TR, which is clearly ‘The Word of God.’ The answer lies in the word used for WORD – not the Logos, the written word, but Rhema, the verbal word – we might say, The preached Word, given v14-16. There is no contradiction at all here, the purpose of the preacher is to placard Christ in all the Bible! All the written word is ultimately about Jesus, and the verbal word that God uses to develop faith within us, is the preaching of Christ, his person and his purpose, and Christ alone can save! 1 Cor. 1:17-18, 23, 1 Cor. 2:1-5, 4:5, Acts 8:5.

4. Application. The effect of God’s gracious gift of faith, given to us through the hearing of the word, through Christ-centred preaching, is to convict us of our sins, as the Holy Spirit does his work, to dispose us to repent of them and to trust Christ, to TAKE Him as our Saviour.

Think about it…

  • Do we have any ‘inherited faith’ within us? If not, how can we obtain such faith, for without faith, it is impossible to please God. __________________________
  • What does Paul mean by ‘hearing?’ Consider Romans 10:14-16 before you answer_________________________
  • To properly ‘hear’ God speaking to us, which ONE of these do we need?
    A good worship leader.
    Great singers/singing.
    Prophetic voices.
    A vision.
    A Christ-centred sermon, given by a preacher.
    A gifted, inspirational speaker.
    An amazing testimony.
    Given your answer to the above, what quality should a church look for in a pastor?_____________________________
    How does the ‘Preaching of Christ’ relate to ‘The Word of God?’
  • When a sinner receives the gift of faith, what does that gift pre-dispose the sinner to do?______________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Read the Heidelberg Catechism Q/A65 and answer these questions:-

  1. Which member of the Trinity effectually works faith within our hearts? John 3:5
  2. How is the Good News (Gospel) presented to us? Rom 4:11, Acts 8:37
  3. How do the Sacraments (Baptism and Communion) act as visual aids to reinforce the Gospel message that we hear from the pulpit?

© Bob McEvoy

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