The Substance of Things Hoped For | Jay Fesperman (3/3)
The Lord told Solomon to ask for whatever his heart desired and He would grant it. Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave him great wisdom, but He also gave him all the wealth and riches for which he had not asked. God proved to be faithful to Solomon, and He proved to be faithful to me. Jesus said to His disciples, “Ask anything of the Father in My name, and He will grant it.” So, in the FAITH that is ours “in Christ”, we can ask the Lord God for anything “in the name of Jesus” and then we can expect the Lord to give it. But what is the KEY? It is the FAITH that we have, but we must be sure that we have it “IN CHRIST”. You see, as we have said, everybody has “faith”, because it is built into the system which makes us tick in every way. But to exercise that faith for the things of God, our FAITH must be “in Christ”.
When Peter, in the opening paragraphs of his second letter, tells us how to grow up into full maturity, he lists a lot of “add to” factors. But each one is built on the preceding one. He starts out with “Add to your FAITH, goodness, and to your goodness add knowledge” and so forth. But he started with faith, and he had not said “add your faith” to anything. WE START OFF WITH FAITH! That’s the only way you can come to the Lord – the first time, or the last time. We HAVE TO have the faith, and God knew that, so He gave us faith when He made us.
The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for. . .” I used to manufacture carpet. I could walk through the warehouse, add up the poundage on the many crates of yarn and tell how many rolls of carpet I could make. The yarn in those boxes was the main ingredient of the carpet we made. In other words, the yarn was the substance of the carpet we hoped to make. FAITH is the substance of your desires, your “things hoped for”. Faith is as essential to your fulfillment as that yarn is to carpet. Therefore, it is provided by God; it comes with the package. But having it doesn’t make it work! I had to get that yarn out of the boxes before I had any carpet to deliver; and we must put our FAITH into the “works” before we see the “substance” become hope’s fulfillment.
James said, “Faith without works is dead!” Yarn inside boxes will not carpet a floor. And FAITH, remaining down inside, will not grow up into anything. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Increase our FAITH”, He spoke of a seed, something to be planted which would “grow up”. And that is what Peter was saying: “Put FAITH to work, and it will grow up into goodness”, and on and on into all those Godly qualities which he listed.
When God made us He knew we needed blood, so He gave us blood; and when He made us He knew we needed that essential element called FAITH, so He put it in! Now, “This is the victory that overcomes the world; even our FAITH!”
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, Number 4, June/July 1985.