Vol.XIX No.VIII Pg.1
October 1982

Improving Our Faith

Robert F. Turner

Faith is more than one's acceptance of testimony. This is certainly the beginning — the result of an objective consideration of God's word. But faith truly lodged in the heart affects the life, and indicates one's spiritual condition. Paul wrote the Thessalonians that Timothy was sent to "establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith" (1 Thes. 3:2).

He knew they would suffer tribulations, and wanted to "know your faith lest... the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain" (vs. 4-5). If they had given ground, drawn back, because of their trials, Paul would assign this to lack of faith.

But Timothy brought good tidings; re. their "faith and charity" (v.6), so Paul was comforted "by your faith" (v.7). He said, "We live (i.e., in joy and gratitude) "if ye stand fast in the Lord" (v.8). Yet, he prayed he might visit them and "perfect that which is lacking in your faith" (v.10).

Our faith needs constant improvement. Great amounts are needed for such things as forgiveness of one who repeatedly trespasses against us, and repeatedly asks forgiveness. In such a case even the apostles said, "Lord, increase our faith" (Lu. 17:3-5).

We need a better equipped faith — one to which has been added, or in which one has supplied virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-8). These characteristics can be realized to a God-pleasing extent only by one who has strong faith — who lives as a citizen of heaven, though still a sojourner on earth.

The heart is changed by faith, and thus the issues of life (Acts 15:9); so James can say the faith which is not applied (does not act) is dead — is no saving faith (Jas. 2:17-26).

So, brethren, we must increase our faith; strengthen and establish it. This is done by hungering for truth, prayer and fasting, associating with people of faith, exercising the faith we already have. It is a life-long process, demanding complete dedication. Nothing less can satisfy the God-imposed condition for salvation.