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 (Living Waters 1979 Volume 1)
Faith and Grace
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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 spiritual abundance.

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, Taiwan was 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.