“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Pertaining to personal salvation, there is no subject more necessary than faith. In Hebrews 11:6 it is written, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
The importance of faith is likely the most common feature of every religious group under the general umbrella of Christianity. From the most liberal to the ultra-conservative, faith is a predictable admonition heard from their pulpits and classes.
However, what distinguishes many of them is what they consider to be the source or means of procuring faith. How a person develops or receives faith often solicits a range of answers.
A very popular view, for instance, is that by coming to church and being around Christians faith can be built by it being transferred one to another. Others believe faith is a religious experience that one can construct by going to a mountain peak or ministering to the poor.
One view is that God mystically supplies faith to an individual. It is believed by many that the Holy Spirit pours out faith into the heart of the person God selects to be saved. It is accordingly taught that a person cannot pray for faith or act in any way to receive it. It is purely a choice of God as to who receives faith and who does not.
Another view is that faith happens when one seeks God and ultimately turns his heart over to Him. While there is some truth to this view, according to the above verse, it does not include the role of the “word of Christ” in the process.
“Faith comes from hearing” describes a process beginning with one’s capacity to learn. This reveals to us that producing faith is not a purely miraculous event done to the one God chooses for salvation. Rather, it is much like any area of learning where the knowledge does not come from personal experience but from what is heard and read. This is why in a few verses earlier it is written, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14)?
Does faith come from God? Yes, in as much as God’s word is from God. Without the Divine initiative to inspire men to write the Bible and the dedication of the church to spread it, there would be no faith. Do you want to impart faith to another? Teach the Bible.
Do you want to fortify your own faith? Study the Bible. It is just that simple.
Floyd Kaiser – Southwest church of Christ – Ada, OK