Summary: “Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Mat 15:28)
Theme: Great faith rewards
The introduction to the most widely read book in the world are the simple yet significant words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Everything begins with God. He is the Creator. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made”. (John 1:3) God created man on the sixth day after He had created everything that man would need and gave him power and authority to rule on earth as He did in heaven. Man’s power and authority was to be exercised by faith in God’s Word. The Scriptures define faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Heb. 11:1) A man of faith “trusts in the Lord with his whole heart and does not lean of his own understanding”. He believes the Word of God and trusts God to fulfil His Word even when there is no sign or evidence that it is being fulfilled. God’s appointed way of life for man to fulfil His divine purpose is a life of faith.
Step One: Faith is God’s appointed way of life
a) Faith believes Jesus Christ is God
Faith believes Jesus Christ is God. It believes God created man in His image and likeness with the choice to decide whether to trust and obey God or not. Man was deceived to disobey God and rely on himself rather than to trust God. Today many people are still being deceived in a similar manner and do not trust Jesus Christ to fulfil His promises. What answer would you give to the question Jesus Christ put to His disciples “who do you say that I am?” Is Jesus one of the prophets? Is He an angel? Or is He the Messiah, the Son of the living God?
b) Faith believes that Christ died for us
Faith not only believes that Jesus Christ is God but that He died for the forgiveness of sin. We all deserve to die for “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, (Rom 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death”. (Rom 6:23) But Christ took our place and endured the full judgement of God on sin for our forgiveness and redemption.
c) Faith believes we are blessed in Christ
Faith believes that God has blessed us in Christ. When Christ took our place on the cross he was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. Jesus was forsaken and rejected so that we might be accepted as God’s beloved children who can come to Him and call Him Father.
God created everything that man needed before He created man. In the same way God provided everything that the new man would need before He saved him. In the case of the first Adam, the life of faith depended on the obedience of Adam. In the case of the second Adam, the life of faith depended on the obedience of Christ. Where the first Adam failed through his disobedience, the second Adam succeeded through His perfect obedience. It is Christ’s obedience and not our obedience that gives us access to God’s provisions. We glorify God as we take hold of Christ’s provisions by faith. Jesus Christ describes two people in the gospels as having great faith, the Canaanite woman and the Roman Centurion. The only thing common to the two were that they were both Gentiles. Their great faith overcame all obstacles in their way. They did not belong to God’s chosen people and therefore could not lay claim to any of the privileges that the Jews laid claim to as descendants of Abraham. They did not lay claim to who they were or what they had done. The only thing they laid claim to was the mercy and grace of God and that is great faith.
Our salvation does not depend on who we are or on anything we have done but on who Christ is and on what He has done. “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8)
Step Two: The test of genuine faith
a) The test of trust
Faith will always be tested for “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”. (Heb. 11:6). Faith is tested by the level of our trust. This test serves to remove the hindrances and limitations that prevent believers from receiving the fullness of what the grace of God has made available. The test of trust brings us to the place where our actions testify that Jesus Christ is our Lord.