Christian Pilgrim


23. Faith

Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole / Saved Thee

In the teachings of Jesus, whenever we come across the phrase "Thy faith hath made thee whole" or "Thy faith hath saved thee" (they are botht the same in the Greek), it means that the person has been truly saved to eternal life, as well as being healed:

Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Luke 8:48 - The woman who touched Christ's garment.

Mark 10:52; Luke 18:42,43 - The blind man subsequently "followed" Christ. Mark says "Thy faith hath made thee whole," Luke says "Thy faith hath saved thee." These two phrases are equivalent.

Luke 7:50 - The woman who anointed Christ's feet with oil. Her "sins were forgiven" (v.49).

Luke 17:19 - Nine lepers were healed, but only one "made whole."

The Prayer of Faith

"The prayer of faith shall save the sick."

This is not about physical healing, because it goes on to say:

"...and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him."

We are clearly not talking about mere physical healing, but spiritual healing, which may even come through the death of the person prayed for.

No Faith / Unbelief

Hebrews 11:6 - "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

We must have some faith to please God at all. Most passages which talk about unbelief relate to unbelievers:

Matthew 13:58; John 5:44; Romans 3:3; 4:20; 11:20,23,30,32; 1 Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 3:12,19; 4:6,11

But some passages refer to believers:

Mark 4:40 - "And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" (Note the equivalent passage in Matthew 8:26 says "little faith.")

Mark 16:14 - "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."

John 20:27 - "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."

Little Faith

More passages refer to believers as having "little faith:"

Matthew 6:30 - "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

Luke 12:28 - "If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

Matthew 8:26 - "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."

Matthew 14:31 - "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Matthew 16:8 - "Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?"

Great Faith

Some believers are said to have "great faith:"

The centurion: Matthew 8:10 - "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

The Syrophenician woman: Matthew 15:28 - "Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."

Stephen: Acts 6:8 - "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

Barnabas: Acts 11:24 - "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord."

Abraham: Romans 4:20 - "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God."

All Faith

One passage talks about "all faith:"

1 Corinthians 13:2 - "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

This is in the middle of a list of impossible things. The contrast is between the spiritual gifts and love, the latter being far superior, even if we did have the gifts exaggerated here. So only "all faith," which none of us have, can remove mountains.

So when we come to a passage where Christ refers to "faith as a grain of mustard seed" making nothing impossible for us in prayer, he is referring to the fact that we don't even have that amount of faith, and never will have. This answers the disciples' request in Luke 17:5 to "Increase our faith." They wanted to boast about their faith. But our faith is only ever so small, it never even reaches the size of a mustard seed. That should stop us from boasting about it.

Matthew 17:19,20 - "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Luke 17:5,6 - "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."

Christ also mentioned faith that moves mountains after he withered the fig tree:

Matthew 21:21 - "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done."

Mark 11:23 - "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."

So all Christians have so little faith and are a mixture of little faith and a lot of unbelief:

Mark 9:24 - "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."