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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two)

Don Stewart :: What Is the Gift of Faith?

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What Is the Gift of Faith?

The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two) – Question 9

The Bible says that the spiritual gifts include a gift of “faith.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this particular spiritual gift. He stated.

To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9 NRSV).

Thus, there is a gift of faith. In looking at this gift, we also discover that there are a number of things that the Bible has to say about faith. They include the following.

All Believers Have Some Faith

All believers have a certain amount of faith. Indeed, without faith none of us would be Christians.

The writer to the Hebrews defined faith as a firm conviction about something. He wrote.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

The author then wrote.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6 ESV).

According to this verse, we are not able to please God unless we have some amount of faith.

To the church at Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote about the measure of faith which believers have been given.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned (Romans 12:3 NRSV).

Therefore, the Bible says that all Christians have a certain amount of faith.

There Is a Gift of Faith

While all believers possess some amount of faith, there is a gift of faith which is a special ability to trust God beyond the limits of what we think is normally possible. Not every believer possesses this gift.

Indeed, Paul spoke symbolically of the ability of faith “to move mountains.” He wrote the following to the Corinthians about this.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 NIV).

While we cannot actually move mountains with our faith, the idea is that faith can cause things to happen.

The martyr Stephen was a man who was full of faith. The Book of Acts says the following about him.

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch (Acts 6:5 ESV).

Stephen’s faith was such that the Bible singled him out.

Faith Comes from Knowing God’s Word

Faith comes as a result of knowing God’s Word. Paul wrote the following to the Romans about the connection between knowing God’s Word and having faith.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

Before one can exercise biblical faith they must personally know the God of the Bible and be able to hear His voice. One way in which God communicates to His people is through His written Word. This is how He speaks to us. Our responsibility is to respond to Him.

We Are Not to Look down on Those Who Lack Faith

If a person has been given the gift of faith, then they should not look down upon those who lack faith. Not every Christian possesses this spiritual gift. God the Holy Spirit alone decides who will receive it. Rather than rebuke a person for lacking faith those with the gift should pray that God increase the faith of those who need it.

Faith Is Not Merely Getting Things from God

The gift of faith should not be equated with only getting things from God. Too often, the idea is that the more faith we have the more things God will give us. Many times the emphasis is wrongly on the material rather than the spiritual blessings. Exercising great faith does not mean that material possessions will follow.

The Gift of Faith Is Exercised through Prayer

Often this gift is exercised through praying on behalf of others. Consequently many who have this gift may not be very well-known among other believers. However those exercising the gift are absolutely indispensable for the work of the ministry.

An Example of Faith – George Muller

An example of an individual who has exercised the gift of faith is George Muller. Muller, who lived in nineteenth-century England, had a great desire to help orphans. He spent his life educating them and building orphanages. By exercising the gift of faith, he was able to raise money, time and time again, for the needs of the orphans. Without ever appealing to humans, Muller amazingly had his needs met.

The successful missionary William Carey said, “Attempt great things for God–expect great things from God.” Those with the gift of faith are able to do this.

Summary – Question 9
What Is the Gift of Faith?

Scripture says that all believers have some amount of faith. Indeed, a person could not believe in Jesus Christ unless they exercised some faith.

Our faith increases as we learn more about God through His Word. In fact, the more we know about Him, and the more we learn to trust Him, the more we find our faith growing. Consequently there is a connection between knowing God and having faith in Him. Simply stated, the better we know Him the more we will be able to trust Him.

While faith is something that all believers have to a certain degree there is a special gift of faith that God gives to some Christians. It is important that we understand what this gift of faith is and what it is not.

The gift of faith seems to be a special ability to trust God in all circumstances. Often this gift is exercised through prayer. Usually it consists of praying for others. The person with this gift of faith will spend time in prayer believing that the Lord will do certain things as well as claiming His promises.

This means that many people who have this gift are unknown to other Christians since they exercise their gift in the presence of the Lord and Him alone. We should certainly not underestimate this particular usage of the gift of faith. While those with the gift of faith are able to trust God for certain things, the gift of faith does not mean that the believer will be able to acquire abundant material possessions. Scripture emphasizes the spiritual, not the material.

Great faith, therefore, does not mean that material blessings will always follow. The granting of material blessings is ultimately up to the Lord; not the person who is exercising faith.

Indeed, the great things for God are always spiritual, never material. The material things will perish while the spiritual things are eternal. Those with the gift of faith, who properly exercise their gift, do so in the spiritual realm. This is where the battles are fought as well as where the victories are won.

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