For the largest part of my Christian life, I failed to understand faith. I tried everything I knew to have faith without a doubt. But, despite stirring myself up to pray in faith, read the Word, and make faith confessions, I always doubted the outcome of my prayers. I did not have the type of faith that can move mountains. I did not struggle with saving faith – the certainty of forgiveness and salvation I had for many years. I failed to understand the faith that can get something from God. I visited faith healers and Word of Faith speakers; I read books and worked through all the faith scriptures and fasted often. I spend time in prayer and study but to no avail! I still remember the place I sat during one of my fasting sessions when I picked up my Bible around 2 pm one afternoon and asked God again to help me understand faith better.
My Bible fell open on Mathew 28:18-20 where we read Jesus’ famous last words to the 500 disciples on the Mountain of Olives before ascending into heaven. 18 “ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Before reading this portion I still thought, “well, this has nothing to do with faith. The word ‘faith’ does not even appear in it.” But as soon as I started to read, I suddenly understood faith for the first time in my life!
This is what happened:
- Reading v18 I suddenly realized that all authority was given by the Father to Jesus! Christians never received any personal authority from God to do anything supernatural; all authority resides in Christ alone. I felt immense relief because I thought I was supposed to be so spiritual and grow in power so much that I would accumulate enough of “the anointing” to minister effectively. And if I couldn’t, it was only because I was deficient in faith, holiness, commitment and prayer.
- The second revelation I received, was: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing … 20 and teaching them to obey everything… And surely I am with you always…” I saw that even though I lack spiritual authority, the One with all authority commands me to go and do boldly whatever is needed. He backs me up every step of the way and through his presence, I have all the authority and power I would ever need to minister in power.
What a relief! I realized that faith and ministry have little to do with me. My responsibility is merely to go, pray, and speak while trusting in his all-powerful presence. I can minister to the sick and oppressed without anxiety and striving because, unlike in the past, my responsibilities no longer included accumulating enough anointing through my holiness and faith. I only had to trust in God for the outcome, something I can believe in without a doubt.
The fact that Jesus gave authority to the 12 and the 72 to go before Him into the towns and cities of Israel to heal the sick, etc., does not change anything (Luke 9:1, 10:19) because they still had no authority apart from Jesus. They never accumulated any spiritual authority or power in themselves, but merely operated under His Messianic anointing for that specific mission. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the same thing happened repeatedly with His apostles; and He does the same to this day. This authority is not to be confused with the Holy Spirit’s presence in Christians mentioned in 1 John 2:27,
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him.”
This anointing impacts each one of us personally. God’s abiding presence, the Spirit of ‘son’-ship, cries “Abba Father” possessed by all born-again believers. This is our Comforter, empowering and teaching us all we need to live Christian lives. The other Faith-related anointing impacts the people around us. So, why do you wait and doubt? You are free to go and conquer – the One with all authority is with you!
Keep an eye out for part two in December.
Until next time,
Dr. Jurie Vermeulen
FEBA Radio SA