What Pleases God? The Bible is very clear about faith being the only thing that pleases God. In fact it states that without faith it is impossible to please Him. Why is that? Faith in what? The answer is that it’s faith in Christ as the “Passover Lamb”. In the end of time Christ will come in Judgment bringing a swift end to all who trusted in their own good works as a means of salvation and to those who failed to depend on Him for His.
Trusting in Christ as the “Passover Lamb” is to believe that although you have never pleased God, and as a result of your sin deserve His wrath, Jesus’ perfect life and selfless obedience to the cross trumps that; therefore, if you apply His blood to your life through faith in His finished work your sins will be remitted and you will be saved. In our text we will learn what true saving faith is and how we can obtain it. Let’s read…
Luke 17:5-6 ESV .. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Faith, Where Does It Come From?
The disciples made a request to God that in itself was faith, for they went to Jesus and requested that He increase their faith. How was He to do that if He had not the power to increase a person’s faith on His own accord? Perhaps God has the power to increase faith? Or just maybe faith itself is literally a gift from God. I remember back in the day when my mom would be baking some delicious treats, as she often did, and so it happened on several occasions that she would run out of eggs, or something of that nature, and she would quickly ring up a neighbor to ask if she could borrow a few eggs. It would have been ridiculous for my mother to make a call and ask for eggs if she believed the neighbor had no eggs to lend her. The very act itself was faith that they could bail her out, or at very least she had hope that they could.
This is exactly what we see in the disciples. They are coming to Jesus with a request for increased faith. What they don’t see is that this very request itself shows impeccable faith simply because they truly believed that Jesus had the ability to increase their faith. The disciples did not ask each other for such a favor, and I doubt very much you would ask me to increase your faith, and you better believe that I wouldn’t ask you. You nor I have the ability to grant such a request, faith is a gift that only God can give out and the act of requesting for an increase of it is evidence that it’s already been granted to you.
So then, since the disciples already displayed faith simply by their request does that mean the faith came from their own doing? Romans 10:17 tells us that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God“. The disciples had been in the presence of the Word of God for a long time, they had been listing to His teachings, asking questions and hearing what he was saying, yet it still did not come from their own abilities. As Jesus told Peter in Mark 16:17 “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven“. Faith is clearly something that is given as a gift from God to those whom He chooses to grant it to, and this He does according to His own wisdom and council. One of the most important texts in scripture to reveal the origin of faith is Ephesians 2:8-9. Some may interpret this as, “we come to Christ through faith that we obtain in ourselves or that we acquire it on our own”, but that’s not what it says. Let’s read..
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV .. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
You might ask, is grace the gift or is faith the gift? The truth is that they are both the gift. “This is not of your own doing, it is a gift”, directly follows the instruction that faith is the only means by which one can be saved. If faith be the means and and grace be the pass and neither of them are of our own doing but are both granted to us, then we cannot take credit for it, nor can we lose it if we possess it. When people take credit for their faith in God pride sets in, this is the pride that you made the right choice. I’m thankful I was not left up to my own choice, for if I had been I would have rejected and despised God until the day I died. The Bible tells us that no one seeks Him and all who do come to Him are drawn to Christ by the Father. Faith is a gift granted by God and I am reduced to nothing at the thought that He who rules the universe granted it to me.
Size Doesn’t Matter:
When it comes to faith you don’t need very much, size has nothing to do with how much can be accomplished. Have you in your entire life ever witnessed someone telling a mulberry tree to uproot itself and cast itself into the sea, and it obeyed? I haven’t and please leave a comment if you have because I want to hear that story! For real, the size of faith Jesus is talking about here is microscopic, yet with it the impossible can be done. But wait! Was Jesus giving the disciples miracle ideas? Was He actually suggesting they try the bush and sea thing out, you know just to test where their faith level was at? I know some folks nowadays that had Jesus told them this in person they would gather the first crowd they saw, tried the trick out, then after it flopped likely do some leg healing routines then take up a huge offering. Jesus wasn’t suggesting they try that, He was telling them that the impossible can be done with the smallest measure of faith.
Faith in Christ for the salvation of wicked sinners who are in love with their sin, tell me what’s more impossible than that? Remember when the Rich Young Ruler walked away from Jesus and Jesus mentions that it’s harder for a Rich man to get to heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? Well there He goes again, stating the impossible that wasn’t a suggestion either. He’s driving the point home that the most impossible situation, the salvation of a sinning soul, is possible through Him and it doesn’t take much faith, in fact, all it takes is the very presence of faith however small it may be.
The disciples asked for more and Jesus literally told them they had enough. Why do you want more? All it takes is faith the size of a seed, you don’t need more than that. For guilty sinners Jesus is all we have, He’s our only hope, and faith is all we need to partake of Him. By faith the Israelites applied the blood of the Passover Lamb to their door posts and likewise by faith we apply the blood of Christ to the doorway of our sinful hearts. He is our living hope that on the day when death visits our doorway God’s wrath and punishment will see Christ’s blood instead of our sin and pass by.
Mr. Hugh Kennedy, an eminent Christian from Scotland, when he was dying called for a Bible, but finding his sight gone he said, “Turn me to the eighty of the Romans, and set my finger at these words, I am persuaded that neither death nor life….”. “Now,” said he, “is my finger upon them?” And, when they told him it was, without speaking any more, he said, “Now, God be with you, my children I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ this night ” and so departed.
Grace & Peace, Shane Martin
Preparing The Way