Faith: The Effortless Connector to the Supernatural
Faith: The Effortless Connector to the Supernatural
In the past several years, there has been a tremendous realization of our supernatural inheritance all across the Body of Christ. In our own ministry, we have seen a most extraordinary display of miracles ... hundreds healed of tumors, cancers, deafness and blindness. And the more phenomenal displays such as people floating off the ground, rain falling inside buildings, huge sums of money appearing in pockets or supernatural weight loss of twenty, forty, even eighty pounds!
Nothing strange about it. Supernatural Christianity is normative. It’s the only kind.
There has been a great deal of teaching enforcing the reality that faith is our connector to the glory realm – that all things are possible for those who believe. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
Faith itself is concrete substance and connectivity to the divine. The Lord is bringing the church corporate into a fuller and fuller realization of our sonship and true identity in Him (moreover, His identity in us!). The more we see who we are – and what He’s done to bring us into divine union – the less we will preach faith in the coming days. We will preach the substance we are connected to ... not the connection itself! We will simply declare the gospel (Christ did it) and crazy stuff will happen.
Saved by Grace
There has been a subtle but massive shift over the centuries from preaching the gospel – the Good News that Christ saved you – to preaching the demands of our “human response.” Faith has somehow become something “we do” rather than it’s original Biblical definition. True faith is simply an effortless realization of the facts. Christ is the Fact. Faith doesn’t save you, the Fact did. You are not saved by faith. You are saved by free-gift grace. Faith is the simple recognition of the free gift that’s already been given to you.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
This goes far deeper than splitting hairs over semantics. In fact, it is not even your own faith that saves you! It’s the faith of Christ. I am incapable of generating faith on my own. I am incapable of self-generating the New Man. If self-effort is involved, it is not faith.
Unfortunately, in our modern Christian world, we have turned faith into the one “good work” by which we are saved. And this transfers to every other area of life, including the working of miracles, healing, financial provision and bettering of relationships. If you can only pump up enough faith, then you can do anything. But the true flavor of faith is not striving or hernia-popping. That is willpower. But it is not faith. The flavor of faith is rest.
Entering His Rest
Consider what the Apostle Paul says about the Israelites who failed to enter into the Promise Land in Hebrews 3 and 4. First, he calls them “disobedient.” But how did they disobey? Was it the complaining over quail? Was it the golden calf? What was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back? Paul goes on to tell us, “So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Heb. 3:19). It is clear that lack of faith was the one thing that precluded them from entering in. They didn’t trust the goodness of God to bless them. But what blessing did they miss out on? Paul continues ... “Now we who have believed enter that rest ...” (Heb. 4:3).
”There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his” (Heb. 4:9). Faith is the opposite of works. Yes, faith causes you to do some amazing works! But faith itself is effortless – it is the path of rest and ceasing from our labors. The best way to describe faith is that it means “trust.” The rest that exudes from faith is the ultimate manifestation of the supernatural. Francois Du Toit states the following in his notes to Hebrews 3 in the Mirror Translation:
You can experience God's supernatural provision and protection and yet remain outside his rest. The ultimate proof of faith is not experience of the supernatural, but entering into his rest. His rest celebrates his perfect work. ... He longs for you to discover your own completeness and perfection as seen from his point of view. His rest is sustained in you by what he sees, knows and says about you in reference to the finished work of Christ.
We do nothing to gain or generate faith. Faith looks like giving up! Retiring! Yet our desire to go and do marvelous things to bless the world ... these are fun byproducts of faith – the power of God working through us! You can work harder and accomplish more than all the people around you, yet still be rested and strife-free ... if you’re operating in faith. There’s a difference between works for righteousness and works of righteousness. When you do things to be loved, acceptance or approval – you’re still thinking like an orphan and working in your own strength. When you do things out of the overflow – knowing you’re already loved, accepted and cherished – not only is it fun and easy, but much more productive! The paradox is that when you kick out the performance-orientation, you actually perform better – life is no longer toil, but a labor of love. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).
Christ or Faith?
Jesus pointed to faith as the only thing the Lord ultimately calls us to do, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). That simplifies things quite a bit! But it is still impossible for you to even do this one work! It was actually Jesus’ own faith in the Father that saved you ... not your own faith. The faith of Christ has now been counted as your own.
This is where the subtle problem comes in. Rather than faith effortlessly working through us, we have tried to work for faith. We’ve even trusted in our own self-generated faith to save us! We are called to have faith in Christ – not faith in faith. The majority of preachers will proclaim that Jesus died to save you. But in their very next breath, they say, “Now if you believe in Jesus you will be saved.”
Does that sound innocuous? Well it’s actually the most common form of legalism around. Salvation comes in the first half of the equation, “Jesus died to save you.” If you stop right there, you have preached the gospel successfully. You can leave it alone, and let the message do its work. Perhaps they will believe. However, once you add on the second part, “It’s up to you to believe,” the gospel has been lost in a human attempt to generate a subjective experience.
Yes, faith is important! You will never see the kingdom with out faith. But faith does not have a salvific sense in and of itself. Faith is just a recognition that you're already saved by Christ. A recognition that He’s already objectively healed your physical body as well. Faith is necessary to bring the objective reality into subjective experience. But let’s put faith in its proper place. Otherwise, people are not putting their trust in Jesus Christ. Instead, they are trusting their belief in Jesus Christ!
Anyone who is wondering, “Do I have enough faith?” is barking up the wrong tree.
Again, this runs deeper than splitting hairs. Many people are in bondage banking their salvation on their own "response" or their "decision" for Christ.
"I chose Him,” they say. No, He chose you. Salvation is not about believing that you are a believer. How do you even know you're a believer? If you're looking to your own subjective experience or an encounter – who’s to say you didn't misinterpret your conversion experience, or that it didn't go deep enough? You’ll go headlong into an endless spiral of navel-gazing. There may be a valid moment of encounter, but you can't bank on that. And if you are banking on it, you're still having faith in your own experience.
The only thing you can bank on is that Christ was crucified to save you. Done deal – you’re in!
Christ is Enough
You can stop trying to prove to God that you believe enough – or trying to conjure up enough faith to get special favors from Him. You start to do things because you are already a loved child of favor – instead of doing things to become a loved child of favor.
Trusting in your own ability or decision to believe causes you to look within your own heart. As long as we're looking at our own faith in this way, we're looking at our works. Faith in Christ looks away from the heart to the person of Christ. It's not about your accepting, your decision for Christ, etc. it's about the truth (Jesus finished the job).
Faith does not mean asking, “Do I really believe?” or “Have I really accepted Christ?” Instead, faith is asking "Is he really the Son of God who was crucified for my salvation?"
Faith does not say, “Do I believe?” but rather, “Christ is Savior.” Faith does not look at itself but at Christ. Otherwise, this "so-called" faith becomes a self-work. Law is about what we are to do. The Gospel is about what Christ did. Outward works doesn’t overly confuse most Christians. We know that refraining from pork, observation of the Sabbath or wearing a suit to church has little to do with salvation. Such legalisms are easy to spot when they are external. But the worst kind of works are the internal ones ... striving in our hearts to work something up.
The prevalence of non-grace, non-gospel teaching has bound up most of the church into endless spirals of internal works. When you tell people they have to believe in Christ, you're actually preaching Law, not Gospel. But when you tell them Christ died for them, then you're preaching the Gospel. You're preaching Christ crucified.
Now how does this carry over to experiencing the supernatural? For one, faith does not take away your sinful nature. Faith recognizes that it already died with Him on His cross. In the recognition of our death to the old, we manifest the new. In my recognition that I have already been healed by his stripes, I effortlessly manifest healing. In the simple recognition that I am a son, I effortlessly manifest my sonship. I am not trying to become a son. I was born from above. I am not trying to manifest my sonship. I simply am who I am ... a son. Done deal. The more this sinks in, the more I will shine. But it’s not up to me to “make it sink in!” Faith just comes from hearing the word: the fact is ... I am a son!
Faith is Recognition
Faith is not an end in itself. It is a recognition of what He has done. Your altar call moment did not save you. You were saved because Jesus responded to the altar call!
This makes people mad because it is too easy. The scandal of the gospel has always been the fact that it is too good, too greasy a freebie to be true. Everybody is worked up about "What is my part? Jesus finished the job, but I still have a response to make!”
When the gospel is presented to you, an effortless, ecstatic response comes forth. You need not focus on that – it was your focus on Jesus that caused it. The gospel is not about your human response. Jesus Christ is our human response to the Father.
Jesus Christ the God-Man became our full response to God. He fulfilled our side of the covenant relationship. Nothing is dependent upon you. God never intended that you should fulfill your side of the covenant relationship. This is the "good news" – this is the gospel.
What is "my part" to play? Your part is nothing. And therefore, your part is everything. Since Jesus stepped in and died for you, as you ... He carried the full responsibility for your salvation, healing, deliverance and prosperity. And since He took your place ... that means you have been replaced! Your entire life is now a response to God, because you’ve been “replaced” and woven into the very life of Christ! There is no more Jesus plus me. It is Jesus, therefore all of me! We are one.
You don't stop responding to God because of the Gospel message. Just the opposite – the gospel is the revelation that our whole life has been consumed! You’ve been absorbed into God, like it or not. It is no longer I, but Christ (Gal. 2:20).
Jesus swept humanity up into Himself, acted on our behalf, and now He is our vicarious representative to the Father. This does not exclude you from participation – it makes you fully involved in the divine life. None of which is self-effort or striving for acceptance.
Robert Capon tells the following parable of faith. A man is in a hospital bed in traction, his arms and legs motionless in casts. Meanwhile, he hears that his house is falling apart. As he lay in the hospital, he is helpless to do anything about it. Later, his friend comes along and tells him, “I have just paid off the contractor I engaged to repair your house. It’s all fixed – a gift from me to you.” The man’s friend has repaired his house. All the man can do is either believe or disbelieve his friend’s good news. He can trust that his friend’s word is true. But his belief does not “change” the truth. The facts are the facts. All his faith accomplishes is the enjoyment of the facts. Capon writes:
“Look at it another way. Suppose I had decided, while staring at the hospital ceiling, that if only I could work up enough faith, you would undertake to repair my house. And suppose further that I had grunted and groaned through every waking hour trying to get my faith meter up to red hot. What good would that have done unless you had decided, as a gift to me in response to no activity on my part whatsoever, to do the job for me? No good, that’s what. Faith doesn’t fix houses – carpenters and painters do. And faith doesn’t pay bills, either. Faith, therefore, is not a gadget by which I can work wonders. It is just trust in a person who actually can work them – and who has promised me he already has” (The Astonished Heart, p. 41).
Christ the miracle worker has already done it all. It’s only an issue of the revealing of what He’s done so we can wake up to reality. Right now, the earth is groaning for the revealing of the sons of God. For us to manifest an already existing reality. I am convinced as ever before that we are about to see a major outpouring of the supernatural like never before. But it will not come from groaning and pushing and trying to “make ourselves” manifest the kingdom. It is coming through a revelation of our identity – that we have already arrived. Our arrival is not a future point (when the manifestation occurs). Our arrival has happened – it is Him. You are a source of endless possibilities. Your identity is in Him, and your actions are an outflow of that. The problem has been our attempt at creating identity by carrying the responsibility for evangelism, miracles, kingdom advancement, etc. on our own. Those things will happen. But it’s about being over doing. And doing out of being. But never doing to become. It all starts with realizing our identity.
You are not going to pump up the faith to shine forth your sonship in the realm of unusual miracles – no more than you pumped up your own salvation. You see, the gospel was never about your faith – it was always about the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
The Faith of Christ
Ever since the reformation – and especially in the past 60 years – scholars and theologians have come to the overwhelming conclusion that so many verses that supposedly teach about our "faith in Jesus" should really be translated as the "faith of Jesus."
It has always been about His faith and His faithfulness.
“... even the righteousness of God which comes through the faith/faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction” (Rom. 3:22).
“... for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).
“... nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith of Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16).
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith/faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
“But the Scripture has shut up all me under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal. 3:22).
“... in whom we have boldness and confident access through His faith/faithfulness” (Eph. 3:12).
“... and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9).
At every point it has always been about Jesus and his faithfulness in the work of the cross. We are about to see an unveiling of His Glory and power like never before. But it is simply an unveiling of an already existent union with God that He had fully secured all along.