James speaks of the well-having of faith, 5:15. This seems to mean that
in the matter of prayer, the faith of the one who is praying may have
the blessing sought, before the body or affairs have it. In other words,
faith may claim the answer to the prayer before the thing that is being
prayed for is manifested.
I render the expression, "the affirmation of faith", the faltering one
is under consideration. It appears that this person is without courage.
Evidently he is bothered with the thought of having committed sins. The
elders of the church are praying for him, but he is so much discouraged
with his sickness and his sins, that he cannot believe that there is any
good for him. What he needs is for his faith to lay hold of the promises
of God. Since he can do no better, let his belief take hold of the very
blessing that is being sought. Let him affirm that the blessing is his.
Jesus says that when we pray, if we believe that we have the blessing,
we shall have it. It is just a case of our faith getting the
graciousness of god and clinging to it while we wait for its
manifestation in our body and affairs.
This is really the time to believe. After our prayer has been answered,
we do not need faith in order to accept it. We then KNOW we have it. The
time that faith is the most beautiful, is when there has not been, as
yet, any manifestation of blessing. At that stage we have only the bare
word of God to rely on. We have not seen, yet we believe. How God is
pleased with such as this!
Prayer is a step toward well-having. Affirmation is faith asserting that
God has heard and answered, when, as yet, there is no visible answer.
ABOUT JAMES' EPISTLE?
is addressed to the twelve tribes in the dispersion. But is there
anything in it that WE may adopt? Does it contain no lesson for us?
There was a time when I pitted Paul against James, to the disadvantage
of the latter. But I find that, in the very beginning of this epistle,
James said what Paul said in Romans 5. He tells how endurance is
achieved. He says it is by the testing of faith through trials. Paul
says it is by afflictions.
James discusses the matter of being saved from a life of selfishness,
and says that faith, alone, cannot achieve this salvation. There must be
actual works---the actual giving of the necessities of life to those who
are in need. He never discusses the phase of salvation that Paul insists
on in Romans 5. He seeks to save the saints from a life of self-serving,
and undertakes to lead them into a career of doing things for others. It
is this phase of salvation that is dependent of faith and works. Paul,
too, teaches a phase of salvation that is to be obtained by doing, for
he says to Timothy, "Attend to yourself and to the teaching. Be
persisting in them, for in doing this you will save yourself as well as
those hearing you", I Tim. 4:16.
"Justification" has in it, the elements of righteousness. To be
righteous is to be right. The phase of justification that Paul discusses
refers to the work of God in making a person righteous. The phase to
which James refers is right living. This is a practical righteousness.
Paul also asks us to live right.
James and Paul have different formulas for the treatment of disease and
calamity. Paul refers to prayer, alone, II Cor. 1. James recommends
prayer by the elders of the church, and the use of olive oil. In both
there is need for faith---indeed, neither is of any value without it.
James says. "Is anyone suffering evil among you? Let him pray. Is anyone
cheerful? Let him play music. Is anyone sick among you? Let him call for
the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with
olive oil in the name of the Lord. And the affirmation of faith will be
saving the faltering and the Lord will be raising him up, and if he
should have done sins, it will be forgiven him. Then confess the sins to
one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed".
Paul's formula is stated in relating what actually took place. He says,
II Cor. 1:9-11, "_____ that we may be having no confidence in ourselves,
but in God, Who rouses the dead Who rescued us from a death of such
proportions, and will be rescuing, on whom we rely that He will still be
rescuing also; you also assisting by a petition for us in order that
from many faces He may be thanked by many in our behalf for the gracious
gift given to us". I usually use the formula of Paul---simple prayer and
faith. But I would not refuse to do as James recommends if a patient
should ask for it.
PARDON OR FORGIVENESS
These two English words are represented by one Greek word, which means,
"from letting". It is sometimes thought that there can be no forgiveness
when there is justification.
Pardon is exercised by whatever authority is violated. None of us who
are justified by faith can ever become guilty so far as our relationship
to salvation from sin is concerned. But there are certain requirements
and directions that we may violate, and in this case we need pardon.
This is not in order that we might be saved from sin, but in order that
we may have peace here. Pardon is merely, in the last analysis, becoming
conscious that God holds nothing against us. It never affects God, but
powerfully effects us.
The fact that James speaks of pardon does not put him out of line with
Paul, for HE, too, mentions it. He says that we are in the kingdom of
the Son of God's love, Col. 1:13. This is the kingdom of love. How often
we violate its principle! So often we act and think in an unloving way!
We need pardon for this. Paul says we are having it.
There are certain privileges we have in this kingdom, and Paul prays
that we shall enjoy and exercise them. He wants us to be filled full
with the realization of God's will, in all wisdom and spiritual
understanding to walk worthily of the Lord for all pleasing, that we may
be bearing fruit in every work and growing in the realization of God;
that we shall be endued with all power in accord with the might of His
glory, for all endurance with patience with joy; and that we shall give
thanks to God Who has taken us out of the jurisdiction of darkness and
transported us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. What privileges
these are! I wonder if the reader has ever tried, for one day, to live
in accord with the principles of this kingdom.
It is possible, in Christ, to so live. Is our heart and mind full of the
realization of God's will? Do we regard this subject with wisdom and
spiritual understanding? It is so easy to lie down on the job and think
that whatever happens to us is the carrying out of the will of God. He
does not will us bad. His will, Paul says, is good and mature and
well-pleasing. Yet we malign God by imagining that He wills suffering
and heartaches for us. It is only as we wisely and with spiritual
understanding regard the will of God, that we can walk in a way that is
pleasing to Him. This kind of walk is the bearing of fruit in every good
work. This is the way to be growing in the realization of God.
This kind of life and service is the method of which we are endued with
power that is in accord with the might of His glory. Instead of being
poor, weak things that can so easily be blown about by evil, we are
supposed to be powerful beings, exercising a power that is in accord
with His own. Thus endurance and patience will come to us, and we will
have joy. Also we will be thankful saints---thanking God for His grace
that puts us in this kingdom.
If we do not do this, we violate the principles of the kingdom and daily
need to be pardoned.
MATTER OF DIAGNOSIS
only One Who can unerringly diagnose all cases of sickness, has no need
to do so. He can heal one disease as easily as another. This is also
true of those who serve Him and humanity by faith treatment. The man of
faith does not have to know what is the matter with a sick person.
Even specialists disagree on the matter of diagnosis. One with a great
reputation will pronounce an ailment one thing, and another, equally
skilled will declare that it is something else. Often the country doctor
who makes no claim to being a specialist can "hit the nail on the head"
better than can a specialist. When the public becomes aware of this, if
this ever takes place, there will be not such fees for specialists.
I am reminded of a story. A lady was reprimanding a physician for wrong
diagnosis. "Why", she said, "often a doctor will be treating a man for
pneumonia, and the patient will die of typhoid fever" "That is not so in
my case", replied the medical man. "When I treat you for pneumonia, you
will die of pneumonia".
scriptures are pretty well filled up with instruction concerning the
treatment and healing of disease through faith. Is it not astonishing
that there should be so much teaching on this line, and yet, saint and
sinner will think first, not of God, but of doctor? Those who depend on
God to heal are so few that most of them are afraid to let their faith
be known, because of ridicule.
think that Paul's affliction produced for him a great eonian weight of
glory. Not so, Paul said that the Momentary Lightness of the affliction
is what produced this glory. His afflictions were not heavy, neither
were they long-lasting. Prayer and faith on his part and on the part of
the saints caused healing, so that his life was not a continual
experience of affliction which he characterized as light. The
afflictions that he suffered were brief and light. I repeat, it was this
that produced the glory.
We are not to think that Paul was speaking of a glory to be had later.
He said that it was produced while he was noting, not that which is
seen, but that which is not seen. To be noting is to be noticing. That
which held his attention was not affliction, but the unseen powers of
God that cancelled sickness and made him well again.
That which is seen is temporary. Visible means of healing are of short
duration in their effects. The unseen powers are eonian. They have been
here from the beginning of the first eon, and will be here while they
your faith has the blessing for which you are praying, stop struggling
for it. The affirmation of faith is your faith saying. "I believe I have
it. There is no manifestation of it as yet, but I believe there will
When you reach this point where you can say this, assume that God has
actually done what you have requested, and wait patiently for Him to
manifest it to you.
You can do much harm to yourself and to others by spending time
pining for the blessing to be manifested. If it is your own health or
affairs that you are praying about, or if it is someone else and his
affairs, much harm is done to you and to him, by being in a state of
constant tension and impatience, wanting the manifestation to take
When the scripture says, "Wait on the Lord", it means just that.