BY THE LATE ELDER B. E. ECHOLS
Many people have the wrong conception of faith. They think that we have to generate it ourselves. All faith comes from God. The marginal rendering of Mark 11:22 reads: “Have the faith OF God,” or “The faith which God GIVES.” Peter did not claim the originality of the faith that healed the lame man. He said, “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is BY Him (Jesus) hath given him (the lame man) this perfect soundness,” (Acts 3:16). The writer of Hebrews understood that we do not originate or generate faith. He said, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:2). If Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith we certainly do not generate or originate it.
Faith, Our Medium Of Purchase
Faith is to us for obtaining the things of God what our national currency is for the purchasing of material things it gives us purchasing power. See Mark 9:23; 11:22-24. Before we can obtain anything from “Gods Store House'” we must obtain some of His purchasing medium, FAITH. Our purchasing power with God depends upon the amount of faith we possess. If we have plenty of it we can obtain (purchase) anything we want.” Therefore I say unto you (Jesus speaking) What things soever ye desire when ye pray BELIEVE that ye receive them and ye SHALL HAVE them” (Mark 11:24). It is up to us today to obtain and produce the money if we want to buy something to eat or wear. The same is true when we go to God for anything we must first obtain His purchasing medium (faith) and then we can act what we want. People who are lingering around and trying to generate faith themselves for the things they need or want from God are like the man who makes counterfeit money with which to purchase a new car. The man may get by with his counterfeit money but we cannot get by God with counterfeit faith. We will have to product the real faith which God mints or generates or we will get nothing–God knows His faith when
He sees it (see Mark 2:3-5).
Only Three Ways To Obtain Faith
So far as we have been able to discover there are but THREE WAYS to obtain faith. We shall list and describe them separately in the following paragraphs. You will find by close study of these THREE means or ways of obtaining faith that one must meet certain conditions or come up to certain scriptural and spiritual standards in order to obtain it or he does not get any faith–consequently nothing from God when he prays (see James 1:57).
First Degree Faith
“So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God ” (Romans 10:17).
Paul informs us of the FIRST DEGREE or method of obtaining faith: “faith (which) COMETH BY HEARING and hearing BY the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). If it were not for this degree of faith a sinner could not be saved; neither could he obtain healing for his body from the Lord. While this is the LONE SOURCE for the unsaved to obtain faith and thus purchase salvation and healing it may also be drawn on by God’s children at any time, or all along during their Christian experience. So you see that the person who will listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word anti will accept its teachings (see John 7:37 38) will obtain faith from the Lord via this source to purchase many things he needs.
Ministers who conduct special “divine healing services” and require the sick folk to sit in the services for two or three days and listen to the teaching pertaining to the healing of the body for all manner of diseases (see Psalms 103:2,3) and to the testimonies of those who have been healed by the Lord at some time or other do so that they may obtain faith for their healing in this manner or degree. If such
ministers had the “gifts of healing” (see First Corinthians 12:9) they could not NECESSARILY have to require this of the sick folk who come to them to be prayed for (see Acts 3:1-7, 16; 9:32-34; 19:11-12; 28:7-9). However we thank God for those ministers and saints who can help the sick obtain “FIRST DEGREE FAITH” which comes by HEARING–we need more of this type of ministers and saints not less. Then it is not altogether out of order for one who might possess the gifts of healing, miracles or the gift of faith to recognize this FIRST DEGREE of faith and accept it when he sees the sick and unsaved possess it. Paul upon one occasion was moved to heal a lame man whom he perceived had “FIRST
DEGREE FAITH”–the faith which comes by hearing (see Acts 14:8-11).
Second Degree Faith
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Galatians 5:22).
This SECOND DEGREE FAITH is obtained by our receiving the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:38, 1-4, and then LIVING a Spirit FILLED life-AFTER being baptized with the Holy Ghost (see Galatians 5:22). Those who never go far enough in their Christian experience to receive the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking with other tongues, never advance beyond “FIRST DEGREE FAITH.” They never obtain any portion of the second and third degrees of faith. The more of God’s Spirit one has in his life,
the more of this SECOND DEGREE FAITH he will have. Getting faith by this method is like getting money from some kind of an “Old Age Pension,” or retirement fund–it just keeps coming as long as one stays Spirit-filled. God has a “Safety Valve” on this oil line, however, and when the pressure goes down in our soul, it automatically shuts off and we do not get any more of the SECOND DEGREE FAITH until we get prayed up and Spirit-filled again. This is why those who are weak spiritually and backslide do not have faith in God for the things they need–consequently they are unable to trust God for their healing,
protection, needs, etc.
One with sufficient amount of SECOND DEGREE FAITH should not HAVE TO SEND for the Elders of the Church to come pray for him every time he gets sick, or some of his family gets sick. He can obtain healing for himself and his family, if he will pray (see Isaiah 38:1-5: James 4:2; Mark 9:23). The Elders of the Church are only called to pray THE PRAYER OF FAITH, not to exercise the sick man’s faith, or heal him by the faith he possesses (see James 5:14,15).
Third Degree Faith
“To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit,” (First Corinthians 12:9).
This is what we call God’s HIGH VOLTAGE faith. God has only a few linemen who know how and can tap this line. It is dangerous for most Christians to tamper with this degree of faith. A man must be specially qualified and thoroughly isolated from all worldly elements, be sure he is not grounded to any thing that is earthly, before he makes contact with this line, else he would short out immediately (see Acts 19:13-17). This is one of the “Spiritual Gifts” which Paul lists in First Corinthians 12:8-10. Christians will have to attain to that “Highest Standard of Christian Living,” to that standard which is WELL PLEASING in God’s sight (Hebrews 13:21; 11:5,6; First John 3:22), before they will ever be permitted to be connected DIRECTLY with God’s “Faith Dynamo” on this HIGH VOLTAGE line,–this THIRD DEGREE FAITH.
Faith for great things, such as: commanding the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:12-14), raising the dead to life, stopping the mouths of lions (Hebrews 11:33), causing the lame to walk (Acts 3:1-7,16), etc.,
MUST PRECEDE and PREPARE the way for such miracles (Hebrews 11:6). Read First Kings 18:31-39 and see how Elijah, by faith, prepared for that great miracle he performed at Mount Carmel. One has to have lots of faith, THIRD DEGREE FAITH in addition to first and second, or we might say, all three degrees of faith, before he can believe God for the miraculous. That is why so many people cannot believe that God performs miracles today, they do not have THIRD DEGREE FAITH –the faith which
can believe for the miraculous with all ease. Do not fall out with them for that.
They cannot help it. Some of them to not even possess the first Degree–they are a lung way from the miraculous faith which removes mountains at a word (see Matthew 17:20,21).
Finally. A Little Reminder
In conclusion, we should like to remind you that as a child of God, or even one of the unsaved, it is your own fault if you do not have sufficient faith for ail your needs–this applies to gospel workers and
ministers as well. God generates enough faith every second to put the whole universe out of existence in a moment of time, if it could all be diverted to that source and for that purpose. No wonder that these
Pentecostal folk who seldom pray, read their Bible, and are indifferent concerning church attendance and the needs of missionaries, pastors and evangelists never have any faith to purchase any of their material and spiritual needs. We invite you to “God’s Faith Store Houses,” where you can obtain all the faith you want and need. All kinds of faith can be found in them (see Romans 10:17; Galatians 5:22 and First Corinthians 12:9).
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LATE ELDER B. E. ECHOLS. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.