When I was growing up there were a number of Biblical passages that made no sense to me, but as I have grown in the faith the Holy Spirit, the great teacher has opened my spiritual eyes so that I can see Gods truth. But I suspect that many believers do not graduate beyond their Sunday School understanding. These followers of Christ are still being feeding on spiritual milk when they should have moved onto the meat of God's word, as described by Paul in one of his letters.
One such verse that baffled me is found in all the synoptic gospels. I have chosen to quote from Mark as this gospel is simple and direct to the point. The particular quote was uttered by Jesus who said:-
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Matthew and Luke make it very plain that Jesus is speaking about one's faith. To my child like mind I could not picture how one could move a mountain; maybe with mechanical diggers it could be accomplished, but the verse suggests an instant removal.
Eminent Christians over the centuries have wrestled with their apparent lack of faith. To man's mind the obvious answer is to obtain more faith. In many ways this verse helped to establish the monastic movement in the Roman church, with their vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. It was reasoned that it one separated themselves from the world their faith and holiness would increase, for such would bring them closer to God.
Such thinking ended up with individuals sitting atop tall poles for weeks on end, or living in a cave by themselves, or extreme flagellation.
We may scoff at such nonsense but today there are many who believe the more devoted they are in service to God the stronger their faith will be. Such people are recognized as the stalwarts of a local church.
Or to quote a popular saying by people who should know better – 'If I cannot move the mountain I will go to the mountain.'
In all these instances the belief is 'if I do something related to my understanding of holiness I will have stronger faith.' Human effort cannot increase ones faith. Striving to be holy does not give a stronger faith.
Or we can say that Jesus was using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Or we can allegoristthis saying; in both cases we feel smugness for we have understood the scriptures and many will wax on along these lines.
This is how I see our faith working. When we are born again in a supernatural moment our life is no longer ours for in that instance the faith of Christ is made our righteousness. Along with his love, humility and character. We do not belong to ourselves for we have been purchased through the blood of the new covenant. His life has become our life.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:3
Hence the New Testament teachers this amazing truth; our faith is not ours for we have inherited Christ faith, a gift from God. I do not believe that many mull this over in their minds – we have Christ's faith given to us. Being born again is to be born with the Holy Spirit stamped into our hearts; we are sealed with the Spirit – can you seize the power and freedom this truth brings to our minds? O what unsearchable riches we have in Christ Jesus expressed in the kindness of God's grace.
My friends we have this treasure of power packed into our spirits ready to be released for the glory of God. Our spirits are full of Gods dynamite, which can move mountains. But it is all of Him and nothing of us.
It is not striving to build up faith, but the surrendering of self to release Christ's faith. We must let go of all that we hold dear and surrender our bodies as living sacrifices; we must let go and let God. We have died to sin and have been made alive in him to walk in newness of life – meaning we are to walk as Christ walked.
The only faith that is pleasing to God is his Sons faith – my friends we have this faith available to us. For it is not longer I that lives, but I live by the faith of the Son of God who lives in me. Can we grasp this truth? Or has the enemy robbed us of this power that raised Christ from the grave?
To release this power in our lives for his glory is to bring or will into line with the word of God. The 'will' is an essential element in God's creation of man, but sin has distorted this with a disposition that favours self.
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,13for it is God who works in youto will and to act according to his good purpose. Phil 2 12-13
We have to arouse our will and bring it into line by choosing to believe Gods word. This means that when we face a wall in our live we have to repeat to ourselves – I choose to believe that God will do this or that according to his word. Hence we could say I choose to believe that God has healed me for by his wounds I am healed,
Yes we can move mountains but only through the faith of Christ that has been poured into our hearts.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph 1
I pray that out of his glorious richeshe may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17so that Christ may dwell in your heartsthrough faith. And I pray that you, being rootedand established in love,18may have power, together with all the saints,to grasp how wide and long and high and deepis the love of Christ,19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filledto the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph 3