Four Stages of Faith
It would seem that there are four stages of faith that every Christian
could find attainable. Two are gifts of God, one we must achieve on our
own and one we must obtain by our obedience.
Initially we must have the faith to believe that God exists, with a will
to do something about it. This is being righteous in ourselves.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted
unto him for righteousness.
Secondly, we are given a measure of faith when we become born again.
The third stage we have to work for.
The fourth is an outright gift of God, to be used by us for His glory
and only given when we have reached such a degree of responsible obedience
that we can handle it without misusing it.
The above statements seem pretty radical, not so, but only recently were
the relevant scriptures revealed, after months of contemplation of the
This is the faith that is given us by God, to open our spiritual eyes to
His Kingdom after that we have exercised righteousness.
Romans chapter ten is perhaps the best chapter on this subject:
1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they
might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the
man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not
in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ
down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again
from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and
in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same
Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and
how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall
they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How
beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring
glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who
hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all
the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you
to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish
nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought
me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands
unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Faith has to start somewhere; it must start with us.
It has to do with righteousness and humbleness or submission.
Jesus, when speaking to the proud Pharisees, said:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within
they are full of extortion and excess.
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and
wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify;
and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute
them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous
blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood
of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee
Looking at the first three verses of the above chapter again:
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they
might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but
not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God.
So, we must submit to the righteousness of God; we must repent of our unrighteousness.
Zeal and works are not enough.
Verses six and seven explains that it doesn’t help trying to do it any
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not
in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ
down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that
is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
This is confirmed:
If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments
and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou
turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from
thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou
shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us,
that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea,
that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it
unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very
nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same
is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them,
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid
them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever
shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter
What is it about four year olds that endear themselves to adults?
Their innocence and trust.
Let us be so to our loving heavenly Father.
What is it that we seek?
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and
in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For
with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession
is made unto salvation.
If we submit ourselves to the righteousness of God, repenting of our sins
(unrighteousness), accepting that there is so much of God's mystery that
we don't understand, trusting Him to protect us because He is so superior
to us, admitting that Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts (having
the faith) that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved and enter
into the Kingdom of God. We have taken that first step of faith and now
(and only now) does God the Holy Spirit enter into our physical bodies.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God:
Through believing, God, in His grace, has given us the gift of eternal
spiritual life with Him.
A Measure of Faith
The Lord Jehovah now lovingly gives us a measure of faith which we will
build on as we understand His supernatural power, righteousness, perfectness,
longsuffering, lovingkindness, mercy, grace.
Without this humbling of the pride in ourselves and our achievements,
we shall not be given that initial supernatural faith:
And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why
reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand?
have ye your heart yet hardened?
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is
your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through
the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of
himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according
as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is
God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Without this humbling, we shall be like those Pharisees who had the attention
of the common people, but because of the pride in themselves didn't have
the attention of God. They were not given a measure of faith by their Creator,
they could go nowhere spiritually.
So when you hear of a professing Christian boasting about how fast he travels
on the freeway, he is showing pride in himself, not so? Besides this, he
is also inadvertently confessing his lack of concern for the lives of others
and lack of respect for the law of the land. Do you think that he has been
dealt a measure of faith by God?
Someone once wrote:
We must not assume that we will be able fully to understand any passage
of Scripture unless we are willing to be changed by it.
Let's look at the example of Thomas:
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when
the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the
Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace
be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them
his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they
saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace
be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith
unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever
sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins
ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called
Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore
said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall
see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print
of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And
after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them:
then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and
said, Peace be unto you. 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. And Thomas answered and said
unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas,
because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they
that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Ten disciples received the Holy Spirit from the risen Christ because Thomas
Thomas doubted, but what did the Lord Jesus Christ say to him?
We see Thomas's reaction: "my Lord and my God".
He now understood some of the power of the Living God, humbling himself
and glorying in that power. He believed.
The Just Shall Live by Faith
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
As we reborn children study to show ourselves approved, we shall learn
of the supernatural, unwavering, deep love and righteousness of God, realising
our own shortcomings and shallowness; endeavouring, with the help of the
Holy Spirit, to become more like Him by the exercising of our will on a
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling.
There is another faith, a further faith, one that we must nurture, feed
and water. This is the faith that comes by doing: reading, hearing, talking
and believing about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
Faith that comes with familiarity, by being in constant contact with, faith
that grows like a mustard seed as we walk on the narrow road of distance
and time. Because we are in the temporal world we normally cannot see the
spiritual world and therefore the power of God. If we cannot see, we must
be like blind men feeling our way along the path, stone by stone lest we
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. But which of you, having a
servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he
is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say
unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me,
till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded
him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things
which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done
that which was our duty to do.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we
understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things
which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered
unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness
that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being
dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see
death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his
translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 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.
When we become born again, we receive that first measure of supernatural
faith and the Holy Spirit shall manifest Himself and comfort us by His
providence etc. The more we recognise and accept this as God's spiritual
power, the more He can show us as we search His living word, the Holy Bible,
and soon, like the mustard seed we shall have the ability to use this faith
in His service.
By the way, in Matthew 13:31-32, the parable of the mustard seed is not
described as of faith, but as an example of the Kingdom of God.
In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is inside us and
does not come by looking for it. Did He then mean that by experiencing
and practising acts of faith we shall obtain that Kingdom?
If we look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, it would
Gone incidentally, once again, is the belief of once born again always
born again, because on that day the Lord will see what we have done
with the talents that He has given us.
At a certain stage of our spiritual development, it would seem that further
faith is given to us by God through the Holy Spirit as an outright gift,
to be used for His glory.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he
it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father,
and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word
of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to
another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
(1 Corinthians 12:7-9)
I believe that this gift is given only to those who are worthy to use it
wisely, to be used for the furtherance of His kingdom and this faith
is that which causes fig trees to wither or mountains to be cast into the
sea. This talent is for the servant who received five.
The Lord Jehovah gives us certain gifts through the Holy Spirit as described
in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve.
Three of these gifts are "working" gifts, namely faith, miracles and
healing. I wonder if faith does not perhaps come first and the others then
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.
(1 Corinthians 13:2)