How to Build Your Faith
By Gerald Flurry • March 26
Matthew 13:58 is a shocking warning about faith: “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” When we lack faith, we prevent Jesus Christ Himself from performing miracles! The power of faith is one of the greatest lessons in the Bible.
“… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Here, Christ implies that He won’t find much faith anywhere at His Second Coming. We must learn about faith and how to apply it in our lives.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ commands us to live by His faith, not our own human belief! He will live in us if we let Him, performing mighty works through us.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3). Patience is better translated “staying power.” To learn how to stay with God and be deeply grounded in Christ, we face trials and tests of our faith.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (verse 4). God wants us to become perfect. Keeping this in mind can help us be joyful in trials. The Christian life is one of heeding God’s message, which leads to joy and abundance.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (verses 5-8). This is cosmic wisdom—straight from the universe, right out of God’s own throne! The lack of wisdom in this world is pathetic. God says if we faithfully ask for wisdom, He will give it to us. He doesn’t tolerate wavering back and forth. Believe and trust Him! Through the storms, we must hold fast.
“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways” (verses 9-11). There’s nothing wrong with being rich. Abraham was. David was. But God cares more about us being rich in faith. Just don’t put wealth ahead of faith! Life is short. Riches fade and wither. The reward God is offering lasts forever!
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (verse 12). Trials of our faith result in a crown of life—ruling with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years if we come out of the world and do God’s Work before the Second Coming. After that comes the universe!
Lucifer and the third of the angels under him on Earth should have been the ones to beautify and rule the universe. They failed, but they shouldn’t have. There’s no reason for rebellion! These perfect angelic beings twisted and perverted into Satan and the demons, and they are confined to the Earth right now! (Revelation 12:9, 12). Satan being cast down is a sign that Christ’s return is near.
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:14-17). Faith alone is meaningless, like saying you will pray for someone but doing nothing to help when you easily could. That’s faith without the works to back it up. Act on your faith.
Even those who don’t act on this message today will at least be warned. This message is a witness against them. Soon, all will have an opportunity to know God’s truth and enter His Family.
“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (verse 18). We show faith by our works. Action is proof of faith. Faith motivates us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s Word—to build the very character of God.
Faith is all about doing whatever God says to do! This requires courage. God told the Apostle James to proclaim the truth, James did so, and he was martyred for it in a.d. 62. The brother of Christ, martyred for speaking the truth. Imagine that. God’s truth usually isn’t received well by the world.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (verses 19-20). Simply believing that God exists is meaningless. Satan and the demons know God exists. They even fear Him. But they have no faith in God! Faith means believing every word of the Bible.
There are two kinds of faith. The first is blind faith, or dead faith—the kind of faith possessed by most so-called religious people in the world. The second is living faith—faith backed by works. Living faith is believing what God says and obeying Him! This kind of faith is necessary for salvation.
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (verses 21-22). In Abraham’s heart, Isaac was already dead. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, and Abraham was determined to follow through. God stopped him because He knew Abraham was faithful and obedient. Abraham proved it!
Abraham and Isaac typed God the Father sacrificing His Son to pay for our sins. Christ was beaten unmercifully and crucified for all of us. He was perfect, never even sinning once. One sin and He would have died forever, and all mankind would have lost our opportunity to be saved. Faithfully believe in this unfathomable sacrifice. This is the type of love all of us should be building the more we really understand and obey God.
“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (verse 23). Abraham didn’t just blindly obey God. He knew God’s promises. He realized that even if he did slay his son, God would have to resurrect him to fulfill His promises to Abraham through Isaac.
“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (verse 24). When God commands something that we don’t think makes any sense, or that we think we should never do, we should still obey. Make sure God said it—not just some man (Jeremiah 17:5)—then obey! It always works out according to His promises.
Abraham’s works were impressive, but notice what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “Then are we saved by works instead of faith? No, never! We are saved by faith! But faith functions with our works, and by works our faith is made perfect! That is living faith!” (What Is Faith?). Faith is made perfect by stepping out and doing what God tells us to do! We all need living faith.
“Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:25-26). Like Abraham, Rahab proved her faith by works. She hid the Israelite spies in Jericho and pledged to follow God for life after Jericho was destroyed.
Do what God says instead of just hearing it, or else you’re self-deceived (James 1:22). God tries our faith. We must trust Him to keep His promises, like the one about healing. Faith should be based not on feelings, but on God’s Word. We will be rewarded according to faith (Matthew 9:29).
In What Is Faith?, Mr. Armstrong quoted a man who said, “Faith is the assurance that the things which God said in His Word are true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God’s Word, this confidence, is faith!” God’s Work is built upon real faith like this.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:14-15). Being healed physically is a type of the resurrection from the dead. If we believe in one, we have to believe in the other!
James wrote about the first resurrection—the better resurrection. Only those who obey God in this life will be resurrected at Christ’s return to rule with Him as His Bride on David’s throne forever! We will be kings and priests (Revelation 1:6), teaching and bringing joy to the world until everyone who wants to be is converted. But all of this is only possible by living faith.Read More