The Word of FAITH
Arthur Pink, 1943
"The Word of Faith that we preach." Romans 10:8
We shall not here attempt an exposition of that interesting passage—but rather deal with this expression topically, suggesting different reasons why the Word of God is so termed.
First, because faith is the PRINCIPAL thing required by the Word.Being a Divine revelation, nothing less than our hearty acceptance of it is its manifest due. Being the Word of Him that cannot lie—it is fully entitled to our credence. It is not a mark of wisdom or superior mental acumen—but of spiritual imbecility, to discredit and disdain this celestial communication, "O fools and slow of heart—to believe all that the Prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25). The Scriptures are "worthy of all acceptance." Faith in its simplest form is receiving "the witness of God" (1 John 5:9). God has spoken, and faith cannot doubt or question what He has said. The soul that reverently and confidently accepts the Divine testimony "has set to his seal that God is true" (John 3:33), and until he does so, his skepticism makes out God to be a liar (1 John 5:10). Faith, then, is its legitimate demand.
Second, because it is the FOUNDATION on which faith rests.However black may be my record, however vile I appear in my own eyes or those of my fellows, when faith appropriates that word "Him that comes to Me—I will never cast out" (John 6:37) it has firm ground to stand upon. Faith rests upon the promise of the faithful and immutable God. Faith builds upon His sure Word, knowing that He will never alter one thing which has gone forth from His mouth. Said David, "And now, O Lord God, You are that God and Your words be true, and You have promised this goodness unto Your servant" (2 Sam 7:28), he knew that such a one would neither deceive nor fail him. "Whoever believes on Him, shall not be confounded" (Rom 9:33). When God has promised a thing—it is infallibly certain of accomplishment, and we may rest thereon, in the greatest perplexities and extremities. When faith "lays hold of the hope set before us" it becomes "as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast" (Heb 6:18,19).
Third, because it is the sphere in which faith OPERATES.Faith has nothing to do with feelings, impulses, or the dictates of carnal reason—the Word of God is the realm in which it lives, moves, and has its being. Faith soars high above the opinions of the world, or "the voice of the Church"—it moves within the circle of Divine revelation. It recognizes no duty—except what Holy Writ enjoins. It nourishes no desires—except those which the Divine Oracles inspire. It realizes that to act without an express "thus says the Lord" is to act either presumptuously or in blind credulity. In prayer its language is "Remember the word unto Your servant upon which You have caused me to hope" (Psalm 119:49), concerning which Matthew Henry pertinently said, "Those that make God's promises their portion—may with humble boldness make them their plea." However opposed its dictates to human wisdom, the language of faith is, "nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5). When God speaks—that is enough; where He is silent—faith refuses to move.
Fourth, because it is the means by which faith is INFORMED.Faith is not self-sufficient—but dependent upon God. It is like a dutiful but ignorant child, who desires to please his father—yet knows not how, until his will is made known. If we had not the Word of God in our hand—faith would be completely at a loss—like a mariner without chart or compass. This is not sufficiently realized. It is true that unless the Word is mixed with faith—it profits us not; it is equally true that faith cannot function aright—unless informed by the Word. Faith is the eye of the soul—but something more than sight is needed. Light is equally essential, for the keenest vision is useless in a darkened room. Hence the Psalmist declares "The entrance of Your Words gives light—it gives understanding unto the simple" (119:130), that is, to the one who receives them with childlike simplicity, which is exactly what faith does. The Scriptures, then, are the Word of Faith because they instruct it. "For the Commandment is a lamp and the Law is light" (Prov 6:23); "the Commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Psalm 19:8).
Fifth, because it is the food by which faith is NOURISHED.Faith is a creature, or at any rate a part of the new creation, and like every other creature it stands in need of that which will minister to its maintenance. Since God is its Object, His words are what it feeds upon. Said one of the prophets, "Your Words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer 15:16). That was not only the language of faith—but it describes both the means and the process by which faith is nourished. Faith makes a personal appropriation, taking unto itself what God has said. Faith proceeds to a mastication of what is placed before it. God's Word is made up of words, and on them faith ruminates and meditates. Faith issues in assimilation, so that the Word is actually taken up into the soul, and strength and energy is supplied thereby. Thus will faith aver, "I have esteemed the words of His mouth—more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). And thus also do we read of being "nourished up in the words of faith" (1 Tim 4:6).
Sixth, because it is the RULE by which it is directed.Though this approximates closely to what was considered under our fourth point—yet it is to be distinguished from it. The Word of God is more than informative—it is authoritative, and therefore is it designated "The Faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), which they are exhorted to "earnestly contend for." The Word is the sole Rule which faith has to walk by. But is not the Christian also prompted and guided by the Spirit? Such a question manifests sad confusion of thought and much harm has been wrought among those giving place to it. How often we have heard different ones make the claim that the Spirit moved them to perform such and such an act—for example, a woman to preach, which is forbidden by 1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:34. The Spirit quickens and empowers—but He never prompts to anything contrary to Scripture. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches" (Rev 1:7) that is as it is recorded in the alone Rule of Faith.
Seventh, because faith is the KEY which opens the Scriptures.Yet how little is this realized. The chief hindrance to our lack of perception of spiritual things, is neither mental dullness nor lack of what the world terms "education." Proof of that is seen in the fact that men endowed with the keenest of intellect, and equipped by the highest standards of "modern scholarship" find the Word of God a sealed book to them. Many an illiterate rustic, possesses far more spiritual understanding of the things of God than do thousands of those who possess a 'Doctor of Divinity' degree. It is unbelief which prevents admittance into the Temple of Truth. The Word of God obtains no entrance into minds which are closed by self-conceit and prejudice; nor into hearts blocked by indifference or distrust. "The entrance of Your words gives light," and it is faith which opens the door to admit them. When faith receives the first three chapters of Genesis—it has more light upon creation and the course of human history than all the pseudo scientists and false philosophers put together! The miracles which stumble the skeptic—present no difficulty to the humble believer. "Lord, increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).