“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal 4:28)
This is quite possibly one of my favorite passages in the Bible. As God’s covenant with Abraham was fulfilled by his faith -which God credited as righteousness -so are we saved by faith through grace. With the principals of holiness in the law (old covenant) now written on the hearts of believers (new covenant).
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:17-18)
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:24-29)
So what does that mean for Christian’s today? It means that we are able to come boldly before the throne of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That the same God who loved and nurtured the generations of Abraham, will in turn accept us. Such is His promise because we are heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus. And this is accomplished through grace and by faith.
Scripture teaches that even a small amount of faith can do great things. Faith as great as Abraham’s can move mountains. And it did, for God often refers to the nation of Israel as a mountain.
“Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)
In Genesis, Noah’s ark, the embodiment of the promise God made for salvation from the flood (built through great faith, for until the time that the floods came, no one had ever seen rain!) came to rest a top a mountain.
God leaves nothing to chance.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)
There are other biblical references to mountains as well. In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord calls Babylon a destroying mountain.
“Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.” (Jeremiah 51:25)
Jesus spoke to his disciples on more than one occasion about the faith needed to move mountains. Not because it was impossible, but because it was possible and even required!
The book of Matthew records a child under demonic possession being brought for deliverance, but the disciples fail in their attempt to heal him. The parent of the child comes to Jesus boldly declaring the failure. Jesus then rebukes them all in not so gentle terms.
“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.” (Matt. 17:15-21)
KJV uses the word structure “Because of your unbelief…” which is softer framing of the words used in other manuscripts saying…”Because of your little faith…”.
Lack of faith? Measure of faith? Faith the size of a mustard seed? How then, can faith be measured?
Most certainly the disciples had some measure of faith, for they had made a diligent effort to heal the child, however unsuccessful. I think any person of faith who has attempted to perform a miracle of any kind in Jesus’s name understands the frustration of this moment. We do receive a clue to the problem when Jesus addresses the man who comes to Him to report the failure of his disciples. (Matt 17:15-16)
In this passage, Jesus calls the assembly faithless, and perverse. By faithless, Jesus meant unbelief or too little faith. So that having too little faith can have the same effect as unbelief.
By perverse, He means showing a desire to remain obstinate. The multitude that followed Him during His miracle working missions failed to comprehend He was more than a prophet. That He was THE PROMISE. That the kingdom of heaven was present among them. And only for a short time. (Matt.17:17)
Because Jesus addresses, not just the disciples alone in this matter, but the generation as a whole, we can see how that applies to the assembly as well. Those present had come to see a man work miracles, but lacked the faith to accept that the kingdom of God was at hand and nothing was impossible for them that believed.
When the disciples ask Him why they were not able to cast the demon out, Jesus makes a brief explanation that this kind [of evil] can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. (Matt 17:21)
In short, Jesus’s rebuke was out of His frustration with their little faith and deliberate stubbornness to accept that all power in heaven and earth was being prepared to be given them.
If you believed that the Son of God was walking beside you in the streets to redeem the lost and cast out devils, would you not prepare for that great task? The disciples had not. And Jesus knew His time remaining on this earth to teach them was running short.
Abraham had the correct measure of faith. For when God told him of His promise with him, Abraham went straightway to carry out his part of the covenant. Even though he knew His promise would be with his generations, he wasted no time in preparing the way for that promise. He took action that very day. (Gen. 17:23-27)
After this failed attempt by the disciples to exorcise the child, Jesus comes to a barren fig tree. Because he hungered and found the tree barren, he spoke unto it that it should wither away. To contrast the matter of faith Jesus had just spoke to them concerning the child, Jesus then tells them also, “Have faith in God…
“Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain Be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you HAVE received it, and it will be yours…” (Mark 11:23)
Abraham believed the covenant would be received and acted as though he had already received it. The prophets of old had done more with less. Here God was walking among them, and they failed to muster the faith needed to relieve a child of his affliction. Faith isn’t abstract. For even the devils believe in God. (James 2:19) But Jesus does expect us to have faith like Abraham had faith. Faith that can move mountains. Faith that is obedient and not obstinate. Faith that is measurable (even the size of a mustard seed). For faith is the result of an absolute alignment of one’s heart, mind and soul with the word of God. He wants us to put our faith in the truth he has revealed. In the righteousness of his covenants.
What Jesus wanted them -and us- to know, is how to use faith to move mountains. How take ground from the enemy and how to uproot strongholds.
Mountain moving faith-measurable faith -is faith rooted in God’s promises.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17
Submitted by Christy Peers