By Norman Grubb
We cannot get away from the conviction that the exercise of the authority of faith, as revealed and authorized in the Bible, is almost a lost secret in the church of Christ today. We all know that Christ always displayed this authority. It was constantly remarked upon as the characteristic of His teaching.
But more than that, it was the obvious driving force of His actions. Every miracle was the outcome of a command. “Be thou clean.” “Receive thy sight.” “Peace be still.” :Come out of him.” The centurion, through personal observation of this fact, summed it up in his message to the Master, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”
But it is at this point that we begin to stumble. We put a difference between Christ and ourselves (His disciples), which He most distinctly does not sanction. Concerning the source of His power, He makes it quite plain that it is the Father in Him, when He says, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10). Then concerning His disciples He says exactly the same thing. “It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matt. 10:20). Again He puts Himself and His brethren on exactly the same level so far as speaking the word of authority is concerned, and in several cases of actual miracles He showed that He was deeply disappointed that His disciples had not exercised it.
When feeding the 5,000, He told the disciples to give them to eat, needless to say not to impose an impossible test, but to see if the truth of their unlimited resources and the way to use them had yet dawned upon them. In casting out the demon from the lad, He cried out against the unbelief of His followers who had failed to effect the deliverance. In withering the fig tree by a word, He went on to tell them to have exactly the same quality of faith and to remove mountains by the word of command; and in sending out His disciples, He gave them “power and authority.”
Nothing could be clearer than this, and it was proved to be so after Pentecost by the authoritative attitudes of Peter when he said, “Such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus…walk” (Acts 3:6); and of Paul, “Thou child of the devil…thou shalt be blind” (Acts 13:10,11); and in many like instances.
Speak A Word Of Command
Our next error is, having made a division in our minds between the manifestation of power by the Christ of the gospels and the disciples of those days, we maintain that divided outlook today between the risen and indwelling Christ, and ourselves as His present-day followers. We regard the outflow of power through the word of authority as something altogether out of the reach or right of a “poor sinner, saved by grace.” and only the prerogative of the risen Christ Himself, who at best might only on very rare occasions move Himself within some special servant of His to speak forth some such commanding word.
Oh, this false sense of separation, how it ruins, and how it grieves the heart of our Father, who sent His Son expressly to “reconcile us unto Himself,” in order that we might know our oneness with Him. We are to understand, subject of course, to the condition that up to our light we are abiding in Him, that we have the mind of Christ, that He is unceasingly working in us “to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), that the Spirit of our Father is constantly speaking in us (not merely on the occasion of some tidal wave of emotion, but in the ordinary movings of our minds and direction of our desires).
Therefore, when we speak forth the word of faith concerning some aspect or challenge of our daily life, it is the very creative, authoritative, devil-destroying, Christ-upbuilding word of God spoken through us. What else could that word be which Christ says we are to say to a mountain and it will be removed? Can mere man’s word do this? But as we abide in Him, we are no longer “mere man.” We are “sons of God.” We are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). We already share the throne with Him (Eph. 2:6).
The Indwelling Christ
The basic necessity to the exercise of this authority of the Throne is–“not I (that live) but Christ (that) liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). If we slip here our foundations are destroyed and we become worse off than those who have never “known the way of righteousness.”
We must take literally the words of Christ the Saviour, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
This word must be received in faith, without emotion or feeling, and without any visible signs, by stating the things we desire and deliberately receiving them with thanks. The next step is to persistently declare we have them, and act as though they are ours.
Try it! “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee” (Job 22:28). Have you inner weakness? Declare persistently the word of God, “Christ is my life,” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Col 3:4; Phil. 4:13).
Declare on the basis of Mark 11:23: “This mountain ceases to be. Be thou…cast into the sea.” Do not try and see how these things will come to pass. Leave the “how” to God. God works in unexpected ways.
But persist in believing and in affirming your faith, and acting as one who has received–for it is said of the Author and Finisher of our faith that He “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).