Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 28, 1961

Man's Greatest Need

Walter N. Henderson, Meridian, Miss.

The greatest need of, man today is implicit faith in God. A faith composed of confidence and trust, the fruit of a strong conviction that the word of God is dependable and altogether trustworthy. This faith comes by hearing of God's word. (Rom. 10:17) It cannot be obtained from any other source.

The faith of many rests in the wisdom of men, against which Paul warned, (1 Cor. 2:5) and is rank infidelity. Modernism attempts to strip Christ of His divinity by denying the virgin birth, rejecting the atoning power of His blood, and His resurrection. To modernists the Bible is not a God-breathed book; its inspiration is brought down to the level of Shakespeare.

The faith of many others is little better, being a semi-infidelity, based also upon the wisdom of man, the accumulation of theological ideas foreign to the word of God. They proclaim Jesus as the Son of God, but deny that sinners have to obey His word in order to be saved. They preach the virgin birth, the efficacy of His blood, His resurrection and ascension, while teaching that men can serve God acceptably without being added to the church for which He died, and of which He is the head, and to which He adds the saved. (Acts 2:47)

Sectarian preachers are largely responsible for the above-named conditions. Is it any wonder that so many render only lip-service to the Lord while their hearts are far from Him? We need to be undergirded with a faith that goes beyond the mere existence of God to the embracing veracity and power of His word.

The expression "believeth not" found in a number of passages of Scripture could be correctly translated "obeyeth not;" for example, Join 3:36 and Mark 16:16. In John 3:36 it is rendered "obeyeth not" in the Revised Version and the Revised Standard; many other versions render it "disobeys." If "believeth not" means "disobedience," surely "believeth" contains the idea of "obedience," being the exact opposite.

In the great commission Jesus required faith in His word as a condition of salvation, and the one that did not believe it would be damned. He said: "Preach the gospel ... He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mk. 16:15-16) That which is preached (the gospel) was the things to be believed or be damned. James Strong says the Greek word "apisteo" which is translated "believeth not" implies disobedience. So he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disobeys (believeth not) shall be damned.

To really believe God is to obey Him. Noah "by faith" prepared an ark to the saving of his house, being warned of God. (Heb. 11:7) "By faith" Abraham obeyed God. God spoke; they believed His word; they obeyed His word; and this is true of all men of faith. Hence, Paul speaks of the "obedience of faith." (Rom. 1:5; 16:26) This kind of faith would transform the lives of many who consider themselves believers. This is the faith we must have as we worship and serve God,