FAITH AND GRACE
King Solomon possessed all
material riches and great wisdom, but he declared that all is vanity (Ecc 1:1-2). In the
first chapter of Ecclesiastes, he spoke of the word "vanity" more
than thirty times, because he was aware that all his possession would eventually perish. Indeed, all the riches he had were just
temporary, for they pertain to physical life.
If material abundance could not satisfy us, then what do we have to
possess so that our life would be more meaningful than Solomon's?
In the Bible, Jesus has given us a
definite answer. He told us to look at
the lilies of the field and think about the everlasting kingdom and
righteousness of God. Just as people in
the world today are hungry in the soul, we must acquire spiritual food, that
is, the Word of God, and seek the Lord with all our heart. God has chosen those who are poor and made
them rich in faith (Jas 2:5). Faith is
the key to open the treasure of God and is the bridge which leads us to
God requires us to believe in two
things: First, we must believe that He exists; second, He will answer all our
prayers (Heb 11:6). In Mark 5:25-34 we
read about the woman who suffered from the issue of blood for twelve years. Although she had never seen Jesus before, she
had heard of His great miracles. Her
faith urged her to go and seek Jesus for help.
When she approached Jesus, she was ashamed to admit her sickness. She believed in her heart that if only she
could touch His garment, she would be healed.
The moment she touched the garment of Jesus, power went of Jesus and she
was healed instantly. We now understand
how important the outstretched hand of faith is.
There is a woman in Taiwan
who had suffered from an unknown stomach illness for three years before she came
to the Lord with faith. She was in
constant pain and always wore heavy coat, because she felt cold even during
summer. A sister from True Jesus Church
talked to her about the grace of God.
Through faith this sister urged the sick woman to get up and joined her
prayer for the blessing of the Lord.
During the prayer the sick woman felt a warm flow running through her
body. She felt power had come from
above. She was then able to remove her
heavy coat and the agonizing pain also had left her. Because of faith she was baptized for the
remission of sins and soon received the Holy Spirit. The Lord has blessed her.
Another case of miraculous healing
through faith. A man called Liangkuan Chen in Taipei,
recently pronounced incurable for his multiple problems of kidney, stomach , and liver, in addition to lung cancer. Out of despair he got in contact with True
Jesus Church hoping for a miracle. After
he had demonstrated his great faith in the Lord and was willing to separate
himself from his oxygen tank, he was carried down the HsintienRiver for baptism on May 14, 1978. While other church members were praying on
the river bank, a sister in a vision saw a large white cloth coming down from
heaven. It stopped halfway near the
surface of the water and then from it poured out something resembling blood to
the baptism spot. Meanwhile, Chen's
older daughter was taking a snapshot.
What amazed all the brethren is in this subsequently developed picture a
beam of supernatural light shining from above upon the water where Chen was
being baptized. The grace of God was
shown to Chen even after his baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus. On the same day he was taken back on the
stretcher to the Church for the sacrament of Footwashing
and Holy Communion. He was praying with
other church members. After church
ministers had laid hand on him, the power of God shook his stretcher. To the surprise of many people, Chen received
the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
Two weeks afterward, all his ailments including lung cancer were healed
completely. The deliverance of the
helpless and the sinful is made possible by the grace of God and inevitably by
the faith of man.
In addition to faith, love is able
to inspire most people to love God and humanity. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul stresses
how the love of God would dwell in the believers through faith (Eph 3:17). Before his conversion, Paul persecuted many
Christians (Acts 22:4-5), and yet in the twenty-second chapter of Acts we learn
how Paul recognized his own sins after he was called by the abundant love and
grace of Jesus Christ. Paul accepted
Jesus' blood for remission of his sins and moreover, he took Jesus and his love
as something more endearing than the gain of the world.
At the crucifixion, John, beloved
of the Lord, stayed with Jesus until the very end. After Jesus gave up His spirit to God, a
soldier pierced His side and there came forth "blood and water" (Jn 5: 6-8). John
explained in I John 5:6-8 that the Holy Spirit operates in the water and the
blood of Jesus was present there. In
other words, those who believe and are baptized in the name of Jesus will have
their sins washed away by the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16). This cleansing blood of Jesus made John fully
aware of the great love of God. This is
the reason why he emphasizes in his letters the love of God as the prime force
of Christian life and hope.
The receiving of the Holy Spirit
is vitally related to one's salvation, since without the Spirit of Christ one
does not belong to Christ (Rom 8:8-9).
Before we receive the heavenly inheritance in the future, the Spirit
constantly provides us with power so as to renew us and sanctify us. The case of Simon Peter is a good example as
to how the Holy Spirit changed him into a man of extraordinary spiritual
power. On the eve of Jesus' betrayal,
Peter denied Jesus three times, and yet in Jerusalem,
at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple
he healed a lame man in the Name of the Lord Jesus. This is because Peter received the Holy
Spirit on the Pentecost and became a person full of faith and spiritual power
(Acts 3: 1-9).
After they had received the Holy
Spirit, apostles including Peter himself went out boldly to witness for Christ
(Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-6, 19:1-8). The Holy
Spirit is the key to the change of a person's life and to the strengthening of
his faith and spiritual life.
The Holy Spirit not only changes a
person but also is a sustaining force of life.
Jesus said, "Anyone who thirst, let him come to me and drink"
(Jn 7: 37).
One receives the Spirit of Jesus for an endless source of
happiness. We have a cloud of witnesses
who have enjoyed spiritual fullness and clarity, because they receive the
Spirit and eternal consolation from God.
I remember a sister with breast cancer in Taiwan. For years she was in misery, aware that she
would not live long. After she had come
to the church praying for the mercy of God, she received the gift of the Holy
Spirit during an evening service at the church.
She was not only healed instantly but also gained a source of spiritual
joy. She is now leading a happy and
thankful life. To her, the tears of
agony and misery have been completely substituted by the everlasting gladness
in the Spirit.
All the preceding pages indicate
one thing: all spiritual riches derive from the bountiful God and the faithful
people. May God give us all blessing in
the Word of God, in faith, and spiritual growth so that some day we would be
able to enter the kingdom
of God and enjoy the
eternal felicity in the bosom of the heavenly Father.