Today’s Scripture: Romans 10:17 – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
I have some practical jokesters in my family. You know, the kind that pulls chairs out from under unsuspecting victims. After having that happen to me a few times as a kid, I no longer believed that a chair would be there when I needed it. I began to learn the art of double-checking; (you could say my faith was shaped by what I knew.)
Everything in life is built on faith. We believe there will be air for our next breath. We believe in the law of gravity, and the law of harvest. We believe in the effects of pranks. But all these things are in the natural. What about faith to believe for things in the supernatural that you and I both need today? Things such as divine healing, deliverance from addiction, salvation for a loved one, financial provision – these things challenge our faith, and yet listen to the emphasis the Bible puts on faith:
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him [God],” says the Apostle (Hebrews 11:6)
(That sure raises the faith priority bar, doesn’t it?)
“We walk by faith and not by sight,” says the same Apostle (2 Corinthians 5:7).
(You mean I have to believe in things I can’t actually SEE?”)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith…” says the same Apostle (Ephesians 2:8)
(What? I need faith to be saved?! Paul, you’re on a slippery slope now, Brother!)
Sigh…okay, Paul, I hear you loud and clear: I need faith for EVERYTHING!
As we read the scriptures and begin to sense an urgency regarding the necessity of faith, we also find that God gives instructions on where to get it: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Let’s break it down:
Have you ever been listening to someone talk, but when they were finished you had no idea what they said? The message was “heard” but it sure wasn’t understood. Perhaps they spoke with an accent or different language; more often than not, though, our minds checked out and didn’t comprehend. The word “hearing” in Romans 10:17 is derived from the root word akouo which is more than just something audible, it means understanding. This is the first step of receiving faith – not hearing with your ears only, but also with your understanding. Now we know why Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear (understand, perceive)!” (Matthew11:15)
Logos and Rhema
So then…faith comes by understanding the word of God. But wait, let’s apply the principle of understanding to the word “word”. In Romans 10:17, the Greek word for “word” is rhema. In the New Testament, another Greek word for “word” is logos. It is vital that we understand the difference between the two, especially in the context of faith:
Rhema is the voice of God speaking to a specific person (or group) for a specific time. For example, in Matthew 14:29 Jesus told Peter to “come,” walk on the water to me. Although that is a specific word from God recorded in the scriptures, I can’t receive that for myself and try to walk on the river near my house. That was rhema to Peter, not to me. Rhema is a personal word from the Lord.
Logos is the word of God that is already revealed to mankind. In Philippians 2:16 Paul says he is “holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain…” The “word” here is logos – God’s statues, laws, instructions, and principles that He has revealed to man. The entire Bible is logos. Many times the Bible refers to Jesus Christ as logos because Christ was the revealed Word of God. However, when Christ spoke to people, He often spoke rhema.
If you need faith to believe God for something supernatural, you must get rhema, the voice of God speaking to you. Although we have the promises of the logos, rhema tells us God’s timing, God’s methods, and God’s perfect will. Rhema can come from anointed preaching, reading the Bible (logos), or prayer. Rhema will never contradict the logos, for God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He will never contradict His revealed word.
One day, as I was reading the Bible, the voice of God spoke rhema to my spirit and built faith in me to believe for a healing. Our teenage daughter, Brooke, had been in poor health since she was born, and was growing worse. Though we had accepted the negative doctors’ reports regarding her for 14 years, the scriptures I was reading came alive to me and I knew I had the “substance” of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). I had rhema.
I wrote out the scriptures I had been reading – some were on healing, but others were regarding the authority and dominion we have over sickness through Christ. Armed with this faith, we prayed powerful prayers, not asking but commanding the sickness to go. On January 9, 2015 God miraculously healed her and she is strong and healthy today. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word (logos), you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32).
Chili Con Carne
One life-changing revelation to me has been the meaning of the word “carnal.” Romans 8:7 says, “the carnal mind is enmity against God…” The ESV says it this way, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s laws, indeed, it cannot.” The word carnal means whatever is “flesh” and is where the dish “chili con carne” comes from – chili with meat. A carnal mind can only see with the fleshly senses – eyes, ears, hands, mouth and nose. A carnal mind has trouble with faith, because it has trouble believing that things exist outside of the natural. But we must go beyond this mindset because all of the things of God originate in the supernatural.
When you truly get an understanding of this principle in the Word, it will build your faith to believe God for the impossible. Romans 4:17 (ESV) says that God “…gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” Faith looks past what you see with the flesh and calls the supernatural into the natural. Even dead things can come back to life. “…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
So, what supernatural thing do you need faith for? Immerse yourself in the logos of God’s revealed word, pray for His voice to speak the rhema to you, look beyond what you see in the natural realm, and envision what is available to you in the heavenly realm. God is a God of tremendous blessings and has paid a high price to bring them to us. Ephesians 1:3 emphatically declares it, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”