Faith Abuse

By Don Wright

Any claim of faith in something that has not been revealed in the word of God is a false faith.

Faith is required of all those who would please God (Heb. 11:6). To have faith is to believe in something that you cannot see with the physical eye (Heb. 11:1).

While faith is indeed important and crucial for the salvation of the soul, some have abused the idea of faith which has led to some erroneous and harmful conclusions. You see faith must be based on the word of God. Paul said, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Any claim of faith in something that has not been revealed in the word of God is a false faith. Allow me to give you a few examples:

1. Faith and healing the sick. There have been some tragic stories of parents who have watched their children die, not willing to give them proper medication because of their belief that God would heal them miraculously. That misplaced faith comes from not understanding the scriptural teaching on miracles. The Bible affirms that miracles were set forth for specific reasons, the primary one being to confirm the word of God (Mark 16:19, 20; Heb. 2:3, 4). That was very necessary before the perfect revelation of God was delivered in written form; but once the Bible was complete, miracles ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-13). The Bible does not affirm that miracles were to be permanent. Instead it affirms, in the passage cited above, that they would cease sometime before hope and faith would vanish. In this way hope and faith are superior to miraculous gifts. Now since hope and faith will exist until this world ends, miracles must cease sometime before that point. Again, that time was with the completion of God’s perfect revelation. So, when one stands by, in the name of faith, and watches one die of some physical illness when it can be prevented, it is certainly an abuse of faith.

2. Faith and God’s providential care. Certainly God provides for his children. Jesus taught us not to worry about the future and what we should eat and with what we should be clothed (Matt. 6:25-34). God does take care of us providentially. But we must remember God’s will on providing for ourselves too. We cannot in the name of faith just sit back and wait for God to feed and clothe us. Paul said, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess.3:10). In many passages of Scripture we are commanded to work. For a man not to work and then say, “But don’t worry God will take care of us,” is to have faith in something that God has not revealed. That is faith abuse!

3. Faith and salvation. Some people abuse the idea of faith when it comes down to salvation. If one obeys the gospel as set forth in the Scriptures, he has the right to have confidence in the fact that his past sins have been forgiven by God. Obeying God’s plan of salvation results in obtain- ing the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). But when one follows the doctrine of man, i.e., some plan that originated with man and cannot be found in the Bible, he has no right to hope for salvation. He might say, “I am sure about my salvation because I have faith in God.” But did not James remind us that even the devils believe and tremble (Jas. 2:19)? It is not everyone who believes that is going to be saved, but everyone who does the will of God (Matt. 7:21-23). When one has not followed the instructions of the Spirit as revealed in the word of God, but believes he is saved nevertheless, it is a misplaced faith. Jesus is only the author of salvation to those who obey him (Heb. 5:8, 9).

Don’t abuse faith. Don’t have a misplaced faith. We can only have real faith in those things that are revealed in the Bible. When one thinks that God is impressed with a faith that has no scriptural foundation, he is sadly mistaken. For again, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”