Faith For Achievement
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Uttered in connection with the healing of a demoniac.
“Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). For the resurrection of a dead child.
“Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). For the stilling of a tempest.
“If ye have faith, as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20). For moving mountains and anything else desired.
“Again, I say unto you that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). For just anything.
“He that believeth on me, the works that I do, shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12). For casting out demons, turning water to wine, healing sick, raising the dead, stilling tempests, multiplying loaves and fishes, etc., and then greater things.
We desire that our readers shall hold carefully in mind the contentions of this book, namely, that faith is a law, and that if its conditions are fulfilled, it will always produce the same results under the same circumstances. Also that it is a literal connection between man and God, over which medium the divine power operates. In the case of regeneration, we have seen that though confession, and repentance, and restitution may be needed to bring the seeker up onto believing ground, or into the atmosphere where the faith faculty can perfect itself, yet there is no forgiveness of sin, nor regeneration of the heart, till the faith connection is made, and then immediately and automatically there is released from the divine storehouse the necessary power to forgive, justify and regenerate that soul.
In the case of the salvation of one’s own soul, the faith-cable is lifted to God, for the release of His power upon the seeker himself. But after the soul is converted and sanctified wholly, then it is possible to take a further step, and begin believing for the release of God upon other souls, or upon various projects around us. This is what we call “achieving faith.” Faith for one’s own salvation is called “salvation faith.” This has just been discussed in chapter four. Now we desire to consider the matter of accomplishing things by faith.
Let the reader remember that one of the characteristics of faith is that you receive just what you believe for. “According to your faith, be it unto you,” said the Master, enunciating the law of faith. Again He repeats it, when He said: “Go thy way, as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” Referring to the same law, He said one time: “If his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” intimating that if an earthly father would give the thing that was asked, and not something else, then the heavenly Father would do the same. He reiterates this, when He says: “And shall believe in his heart that those things which he saith, shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith”; not something else, but the thing that he had asked for.
This goes to show that one can believe for justification, and not have any faith for sanctification. And, until he gets light on the latter, he can stay beautifully justified, but not have any faith for the second work of grace. It also throws light on the fact that one can be both converted and sanctified, and not have any faith for the second coming of Jesus. Later on, when he gets light on the wonderful advent of our Lord, and begins to believe it, he gets another illumination from the skies, and rejoices in another great vision that faith has brought to him from God. In the very same manner a person can be genuinely converted, and gloriously sanctified, and yet fail to believe God for the accomplishing of very much. That is, he can have a fine faith for his own salvation and yet have little or no faith for the salvation of others. In a thousand communities, in this land of ours, there are little bands of devoted people who have gotten the light on salvation, and are rejoicing in the possession of both works of grace, that is, are both converted and sanctified, and yet when it comes to believing for a genuine awakening in their own village, or town, they have no faith at all, or at least comparatively little. Put it to the test. Ask people who you know are converted and sanctified wholly, and who will testify with shining faces that they are living the holy life, as to the prospects of a revival campaign in their home town, and there will be, in literally hundreds of cases a reply something like this: “A revival in this town? Oh, brother, this is the worst town in the state. You do not realize how dead and sodden in sin and rejection this town is. We have tried here, and tried again. We do not believe that you can have a meeting here. Oh, you can, no doubt, secure a soul or two, but as for any real sweeping work of grace, it is an impossibility here!” In this very statement they have given the reason why no awakening can be had. “I don’t believe!” That is the reason. They have a real faith for their own Salvation, but they have no faith for achievement. Consequently they are, themselves, well saved, but when it comes to getting things done for God, there is no faith there. Inasmuch as we are contending here that faith is a literal cord or cable that connects the soul with God, over which He operates to deliver His power upon the believer, for the very thing for which his faith stands, the reader can see in an instant, how the situation stands, in such a community as we have just now been considering. The person speaking above, had a channel up and open between his heart and God, over which the life of salvation and holiness was streaming, constantly keeping him a sanctified child of God. But he had no faith channel up for the salvation of others, and consequently was not releasing any of God’s power and conviction on anyone else. But suppose that he had gone to believing — faithfully, patiently — asking, seeking, knocking at the door of heaven, and had agreed with one or two others to do this, and had persistently believed “in his heart that those things which he said should come to pass,” he either would have received, and precipitated an awakening, or else, there is no truth in the Book of God. Either God would have to respond over such a faith, or else Christianity is a “cunningly devised fable.” It is a faith like this, releasing God upon objects and projects outside of one’s own salvation, that we term “achieving faith.”
To release God in sufficient power so that He can convict another person, is, we believe, a greater exercise of faith than to believe Him for one’s own salvation. Then, to believe Him for the release of His power upon nature, so that He can readjust her laws in harmony with the petition and faith of the believing petitioner, is still a greater exercise of faith. At last, the believer has reached the realm of “achieving faith.”
The reader can thus readily see why it is that so little is being achieved in spiritual lines, in this age. It is because there is such a dearth of that degree of faith that can release God onto any given proposition, so that He can bring it to pass. With few exceptions, none of us were converted until we became desperate about the matter, and thus perfected our faith to that degree that God could be released in regenerating power. This is also true, with few exceptions, in regard to our being entirely sanctified. By careful observation, it will be found to be strikingly true with regard to securing the salvation of other people. Not many of us have ever gotten desperate about that lost son, or daughter, or husband, or neighbor, or Sunday school class, and consequently we have not perfected our faith to any great degree, and while we have released God’s power upon them for a degree of conviction, still we have failed to hold our faith channel through with a desperation, and the conviction that was upon these persons has subsided. Who cannot recall numberless instances where souls were “almost persuaded,” and yet failed to be brought in; and can we not see, now, that it was because of a lack of one more exercise of a desperate faith; if that had been offered they would have been reached. Perhaps to this, can also be traced, the speedy lapse of many souls. Who, among us has continued to believe for their walk with God, after they were led into salvation? Have not most of us let down in our own faith for him, as soon as the convert was landed? With the let down of our faith concerning him, has come a lapse of his own faith for himself, and the life and salvation of God was automatically cut off from him.
In the meanwhile, the hordes of sinful humanity swirl in awful currents and eddies about the church, their hearts “like muffled drums are beating funeral marches” to the pit! They are needy, but we are helpless to feed them. They are lost, but we are helpless to reach them. All the time the Infinite Dynamo is throbbing with spiritual ohms and amperes, more than sufficient to redeem, regenerate and sanctify wholly, the lost millions of human kind, and yet it is not released because there is no “power wire” of faith stretched skyward to connect with the resources of Almighty Compassion, over which the divine current can be precipitated upon a damned and death struck world! In the meanwhile the holiness people circle around and shout: “Saved, sanctified and kept,” the truth of which we do not deny, but nevertheless do we insist that the blame for the lost condition of the race, rests with us! We do not have to be wise, nor cultured, nor gifted, nor smart, nor in possession of office or position! No, all that the Bible declares to be needful is that we be pure-hearted believers! The more childlike and humble, the better. The more simple and unaffected, the more efficient! We have exercised faith for our own salvation, and obtained it. Why not then exercise faith for achievement, and release God upon the community, the town, the city, the state, the nation!
It is the profound conviction of this writer that there is a thousand times more in the atonement of Jesus Christ than any of us are getting out of it. Does not the blessed volume say that “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death” (1 john 5:15). Does this not, in the light of the law of faith, that we have been discussing, open up significances to which most of us have hitherto been blind? Does this not lay the salvation of at least our circle of acquaintances upon us? Are we not then responsible? Perhaps not to the degree that would exclude us from the kingdom in case we were derelict to this duty, but at least in the degree that will make a very uncomfortable judgment day for us? To a degree also that will tremendously affect the distribution of rewards, when our names are called? If a member of our family, a neighbor, or well known acquaintance dies in sin, and we have not done our best to pray the prayer of faith for his salvation, is it not recorded in the books of God as a demerit on our part, not, perhaps, as we have said, sufficient to exclude us from heaven, but sufficient at least to affect our rewards, and to become a matter of grievous regret on our part, when “the books are opened!”
Oh, church of God, awake, awake! Thou hast believed for thine own salvation, now put on the beautiful garments of achieving faith! The outside world is offering defiance to the God of holiness. They are challenging us to show that our God has power. They are saying: “Where is the Lord God of Elijah? You claim that He is all powerful, that He can deal mighty convicting blows upon us. We do not believe it. We defy Him. We fear Him not. Show us what He can do, and we will believe! We hold that He is impotent! We allege that He is nothing but an impersonal force! Some fire-mist! A bit of protoplasm! If He is what you holiness people claim He is, turn Him loose on us! We are not afraid!” And in the face of this challenge, we are helpless! God has laid His thunderbolts at our feet, and bidden us hurl them into the hearts of the King’s enemies. He has said: “And nothing shall be impossible unto you!” “He shall have whatsoever he saith!” “The works of my hands command ye me!” “It shall be done for them ‘,f my heavenly Father!” But we lift and pine, and sigh, and agonize, and wonder, and away down deep in our hearts, ourselves, echo the challenge of the enemy, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah!” And we fail to hurl the thunderbolts! The challenge of the enemy goes unaccepted! The enemy walks proudly! He talks boastfully! And God’s people, with faces in the dust, wonder why!
It is because we have no faith! We do not mean for our own salvation, but for achievement! If we did but put genuine faith through to God, He would release Himself upon that graceless, godless company, and precipitate among them such a revival as the world has never seen! Either this is true, or the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ is an imposture! He always did it in Old Testament days. He has done it time and again through church history. God’s answer to every age of infidelity has been a revival! But everywhere that one has been found, there was found first a company of believing souls, over whose faith God was operating to bring to pass the thing for which they were believing! That is exactly the trouble today! No faith for achievement! If Luther and his coadjutors could release God over their faith and precipitate a reformation that struck the proud enemy a fearful blow in the very face, and if Wesley and his Holy Club could release Omnipotence upon the world over their faith so as to usher in the greatest revival that the world has seen since apostolic days, then what is the matter with us? Are we one whit less able than were the fathers to give God the faith over which He can change this age? We don’t have to change it ourselves. All that we need to do, is to give God a perfect faith, and He will do it!
“And now there breathes that haunted air, The sons of sires who conquered there; With arms to strike and souls to dare, As quick, as far as they!”
Oh, church of God! Oh, people, called the holy people! Shall we blanch in the midst of the greatest tempest that hell has ever brewed, and see the cause of God labor, wallowing in the waves of the most awful sea of unbelief that has ever lifted its slimy waves to swallow the church, when all it needs is faith? He doesn’t ask merely for labor, or gifts, or toil, or tears, but for FAITH! To be sure, real faith will bring all these others, but they are not alone what is needed now, it is the faith that we lack! Let us venture to believe Let us dare really to trust! Let us put through a genuine faith to God and see what happens! His mighty cloud of resources is swelling, swelling, swelling, just over our heads! In it is the greatest revival that earth has ever seen! Imprisoned there is the greatest Pentecost since the first one flooded the world! Not a. dribble, not a sprinkle, not a gentle shower, but a deluge of grace! Already one can hear the mutterings of the restrained lightning! Already the preliminary peltings of the rain can be distantly heard! But the storm does not break, its floods are not released, its fury against sin is not poured forth, why, why? It requires faith! Achieving faith! Unwavering faith! Faith that asks without a doubt! That knocks and knocks and knocks with tear-wet eyes. That calls frantically before the midnight-darkened house for the bread of revival! That refuses to let down, or cease, or hesitate, or abandon the divine door, till the storm of salvation is released! Oh, where is our faith?
If, at some general gathering of the church, there had been much prayer offered to God for a great revival, and, while men and women were on their faces calling on God, there should suddenly appear a real, bona fide angel from heaven in their midst, and, clothed with flowing garments of light, should walk majestically to the platform, while general officers and secretaries gave eager room, and an astounded audience lifted their heads and looked with amazed eyes on the visitor, or leaped to their feet and, spell-bound, beheld him with wondering glance, and he should lift dignified hand for silence, and, with face shining with heavenly beauty, and words touched with the resonance of golden bells ringing vesper chimes in the world beyond the sky, should speak and say: “Children, I am Gabriel! From the presence of God, I come! A message to the praying, believing church, I bear! Your prayers and alms have come up before God, as a sweet memorial. Your labors have all been noted in His book. Your petition for a nation-wide revival is heard, the answer is at hand. Just outside are a myriad of angels like unto me. They are waiting only till I have delivered unto you this message, and then they will scatter, to place under holy conviction for sin, a hundred and thirty millions of people! Rejoice, for the desire of your hearts, is accorded you!’ Give praise to the Eternal Son of God!” And should then ascend straight through the ceiling, disappearing from the amazed vision of an astounded church, WOULD WE NOT BELIEVE HIM? Would we not exclaim, with ecstasy of joy? Would we not embrace one another, with tears and hallowed laughter? Would we not march in solemn procession and sing with believing hearts, “A Mighty Revival Is Sweeping This Way”? Would we not send telegrams all over the church, and broadcast the fact on every radio obtainable, that the revival for which the fathers desired and believed, and for which all our labors had for years tended, was on hand? Did not the angel say so? Have we not the changeless word of Gabriel himself? Would we not launch campaigns by the thousands, and meetings by the tens of thousands, in full faith that amazing results would follow? There can be no manner of doubt but what we would, and also lay our last cent on the altar of such a sacrifice, and expend our last energy for its consummation!
But, you say, why all this recital? No angel has appeared in two thousand years, nor are we expecting any. Hence we have no angel’s word on which to launch out. Very true, friend, but we have something vastly better. In the New Testament we have the words of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, and He says: “Whatsoever things ye desire” (what does that include?) “when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them!” And again, “If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven!” And again, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth!” And again, “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God!”
Believest thou this?