Faith is believing, but it is also more than that. It is a living
contact with the living God. There is a personal and vital element in
faith. It is not enough to merely believe in some creed, or to agree
with some theory of doctrine, however correct it may be. It should never
be forgotten that there is something living and moving about faith.
In Luke 8 is a beautiful story, told by one who had been a physician. A
woman with an issue of blood, who had suffered many years, approached
Jesus and touched His garment, and was healed. It is a fine illustration
of the saying of Jesus, that all is possible to those who believe.
The woman was helpless to heal herself. Physicians could not heal her.
Under their treatment she grew steadily worse. Luke, who evidently gave
up his "practice" after he became acquainted with the Lord, just stated
the fact, without either apologizing for, or berating, the doctors.
Let us notice the process of the faith and healing. First, she believed
that she would be healed. In the second place, she came and touched the
garment of Jesus. She was acting on her faith. She did something about
it. Thirdly, there was a consciousness of having received healing. She
felt that she was whole. She did not receive healing first, and believe
afterwards. Maybe that is one trouble. Perhaps we fail to believe until
we feel. She believed first.
The act of coming and touching His garment was a physical act, while the
believing was a physical act, while the believing was a spiritual one. I
was once giving a faith-vision treatments for a boy who was sick. After
his healing his mother told me that the lad would go into a quiet place,
usually outdoors, and for the most part, at night, and would look at the
stars in the heavens. This was a physical act on his part. It was the
counterpart of touching his garment. He believed that he would be
healed, and he was doing what seemed necessary to do in a physical way,
to contact God. Looking at the heavens with faith, was coming to God and
touching Him, as His mind reveled in the thought of the God of beauty
and power and love.
After the healing, the boy and other members of the family confessed it
and talked about it to others. How gladly they told me of it! So did the
woman in our Scripture lesson confess her healing. It is not right that
we should hold Christ's gifts and never acknowledge them. Many are too
reticent about these things. They appreciate what is done for them, but
they fear to confess it, for they reason that others might think them
boastful. This woman was sensitive. But Christ drew from her the
confession, which she was glad to make, when she learned that what He
had done for her was what He desired to do.
Think what she gained by that confession! Jesus said to her, "Be of good
courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you! Go into peace!" She was
told to have courage. She was not to fear a recurrence of the physical
trouble. She must not expect a relapse. That which had saved her, was
not some man-made remedy whose potency might fade away. The power that
had staunched the flow of blood was a living contact with he living God.
This contact would not soon become inoperative. Thus, she was assured
that she really WAS healed.
Even better than that, was Jesus' designation of her as "daughter". Here
was a statement of precious relationship. She was not a stranger to be
forgotten and left to shift for herself. As a daughter, she had the
right to expect His constant watchcare. She was in the family.
Best of all, were his words, "Go into peace". This is the correct
rendering. Not only was she to go IN peace. She was to go into the realm
of peace---into a new world to her---one whose boundaries she could
never encompass, and whose joys she could never exhaust.
Too often do we think of healing as an end within itself. It was not so
in this case. It was but a means to greater blessing than mere physical
healing could ever be. She found that she was a daughter. She was
saved---not merely from the flow of blood, but from everything that
could separate her from her good and from her God. She was to step onto
a shore that she had never seen before---the shore of peace, the
frontier of a country more grand and great than she had ever dreamed of.
It is striking to note that God makes no difference between what some
call "temporal" blessings, and what they call spiritual ones. We have
divided them in our thoughts, to our own hurt. But, as God is spirit,
and man is spirit, as to the man within, God sees no difference between
giving me a dollar and healing my cold. Neither does He distinguish
between making me happy in spirit, and making me glad because some pain
has been stopped. Abraham was believing God when He promised a son, and
he received a very great "spiritual" blessing---his faith was reckoned
to him for righteousness. Jacob wrestled for protection from Esau, and
received, not only that, but also the name, "Israel". Let us quit
dividing up God's dealings with us!
In Matthew 15 is another story that deserves notice. A woman of an alien
race followed Jesus and cried for the healing of her child. Here was one
seeking help and healing for a loved one, instead of for herself. I am
glad of such stories as this, for they show that we may apply for
blessing for others, as well as for our self.
It is not said that the child had faith. But the mother had it---in
large measure. This is heartening. It is good to know that our faith may
avail for another.
It is also worthy of notice that the woman associated herself with the
ones for whom she was seeking help. This is rare privilege. I think that
there should be a genuine concern for those for whom we pray. The case
of the child became the case of the woman. She cried, "Be merciful to
me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is evilly demonized!
This woman had great faith, for she could not claim any rights on the
ground of race. That Jesus was specially interested in the Jews, she
indicated by her designation of Him as Son of David. Yet her conception
of Him told her that His sympathies were more than racial. Her faith
told her that He had blessing for her, also, even though she was of an
The advice of the disciples, "Dismiss her", was not hard-hearted
selfishness. They evidently meant for Jesus to give her what she was
asking for, and let her go. This seems to be shown by his reply to them,
"I was not commissioned, except for the lost sheep of the house of
Israel". She heard this remark, but her faith was undaunted by it. She
drew closer, and worshipped Him, and cried more earnestly, "Lord, help
me!" What faith! She did not see how she could get along without the
blessing she craved. She refused to believe that His compassions were
exhausted when Israel was helped. I cannot believe He is displeased when
we think of Him as having broad compassions.
He did not immediately show this widespread mercy. He answered the woman
and told her that it is not ideal to give children's bread to dogs. A
smaller faith that hers would have shrunk back, discouraged. Not so with
her. Here was additional ground for hope. Dogs could eat crumbs that
fall from the table, without depriving children. Her faith made this
argument. Jesus' acquiescence is one of the highlights of scripture. He
said, not grudgingly, but exultantly, "O, woman! Great is your faith!
Let it come to be with you as you will!" His gift was not to be
grudgingly. No one was ever gladder at the triumph of faith than He was
on this occasion. The account close with these words, "And healed was
her daughter from that hour". Who can imagine the woman's joy as she
found, not a sick daughter, but a well one, when she returned home?
Yet another case i will notice. A man came to Jesus and pleaded with
Him, after failing on his knees, "Lord, be merciful to my son, for he is
an epileptic, and is having evil". He went on to say, "I brought him to
thy disciples, and they could not cure him". The afflicted one often
fell into the fire, and into water.
Jesus first spoke to the disciples, and rebuked them for their lack of
faith. Instead of blaming the afflicted one, He censured those who ought
to have been able to do something about it. Then He said to the father,
"Bring him here to me". The boy was cured from that hour. Afterwards he
explained to the disciples, that their failure was due to lack of
faith---lack of that much-to-be-desired living contact with he living
God. The belief of the human race amounts to the absence of faith. Man
has believed that this living contact is not important. To them, God is
a Being separated from us by the distance of many millions of miles. His
presence has long been well nigh forgotten. materialism is the base of
humanity. Our thought is, God is only mildly interested in us, and
leaves us to row the boat alone. Millions go about their daily
activities with hardly a thought of Him. They decide what they want to
do, and go into failure of some kind every day.
The idea of God doing something for us without the intervention of human
means, is not to be tolerated, even by many of the saints I have long
since found conclusively that in the case of a very large per cent of
those who believe in Christ as their Savior, the very FIRST thing
thought of when sickness strikes, is a physician and medicine. These are
first resorted to. Even if prayer is later asked for, there is scarcely
any expectation of happy results. Their dependence is mainly on
In Paul's great "faith chapter"---fourth of Romans---we find that
1. Brings justification. Abraham is the example referred to. He believed
God. In the passage to which the apostle refers, God was not talking to
Abraham about anything that men would classify as "spiritual". The
promise was that he should have a son. Abraham believed GOD---otherwise,
he would not have believed what He said. To believe God, is to have a
living contact with Him. This faith brings, not merely what is promised
at that instant, but it also brings justification.
2. Brings material favors. Abraham, through his faith, became the
enjoyer of the allotment of the world. This meant houses and lands, and
all that go to make up a well-rounded life. God can as easily give to me
a dollar, or a thousand dollars, or their equivalent in other
possessions, as He can give me salvation and justification.
3. Brings physical vitality. It brought Abraham, when he was a century
old, the virility to become father of a son, and, later, the father of
several sons by his second wife, and it made Sarah fruitful when she was
More to be desired than much fine gold, is that living contact with the
FOURTH SUNDAY IN AUGUST
has been suggested that the Glennville Church hold special services on
the fourth Sunday in August, to celebrate my sixty-eighth birthday
anniversary, which occurs August 30. The fourth Sunday will occur on
August 24 but the meeting will be held on that day, because the fifth
Sunday is usually the time of the county singing convention.
I am sure many friends will attend on that day.