By: Evang. Theophilus Izobofolo
GOD-KIND OF FAITH: DOES GOD TRULY NEED FAITH LIKE MAN?
The Word of Faith (WoF) teachers are in the habit of saying people should have God-kind of faith.
This is premised on the Greek rendering of Jesus’s statement in Mark 11:22b, “Have faith in God” (echō pistis theos). This can be fairly translated to “Have the faith of God” or “Have faith in God” but the WoF teachers translate it to “Have God-kind of faith.”
With this phrase, the WoF teachers say God exhibited faith at creation when He spoke the world and its contents and the planetary bodies into existence (Gen 1:1-30). They also say He used this faith to give a child (Isaac) to Abraham in reference to Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.”
They say God used repetitive faith confessions to “call those things which are not as though they were.”
Does God truly need faith like man as these people claim?
We need to be aware that the Greek language is different from the English language in a variety of ways. In several places in the New Testament, there are no conjunctions like “of” or “in” between “faith” and “God” or “Christ” when these words are used together. It is usually the translators that supply these conjunctions with discretion. This is why many modern English Bible translations now exchange “of” with “in” in such places in contrast to what obtains the old King James Bible.
Here are five examples to buttress our arguement:
“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the FAITH OF GOD (pistis theos) without effect?” (Rom 3:3)
“Even the righteousness of God which is by FAITH IN JESUS (pistis Iēsous ) Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” (Rom 3:22)
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the FAITH OF CHRIST (pistis christos), and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal 2:16)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH OF THE SON (pistis uihos) of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
“And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the FAITH OF CHRIST (pistis christos) , the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Phil 3:9)
So, in line with this thought, it is correct to translate Mark 11:22b to “Have faith in God” like we have it in most English translations of the Bible.
Christ was not telling the disciples to have God-kind of faith like the WoF teachers say, He was simply telling them to have faith in God as we have it. So, it is of no use making a doctrine of a mere grammatical issue.
Roman 4:17 can also not be used to teach that God was making faith confessions to Abraham like the WoF teachers say.
If we consider Romans 4:17 in conjunction with verses 18-22 of the same chapter, we would see clearly that God wasn’t making any faith confessions here. Rather, these scripture refers to the repetition of God’s promises to Abraham as we have it recorded in Genesis to reassure him that He would do as He promised. It was a reassurance thing and not a faith confession issue.
17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were. 18 WHO AGAINST HOPE BELIEVED IN HOPE, that he might become the father of many nations, ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN, So shall your seed be.19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Rom 4:17-22)
It was not God “who against hope believed in hope”. It was Abraham who did that.
Would it not have been ridiculous if God, who created the world by mere pronouncements of “let there be”, had to make repetitive faith confessions to make Sarah conceive a child?
This type of teaching results from lack of understanding of the nature of God and the use of words.
GOD-KIND OF FAITH: DOES GOD TRULY NEED FAITH LIKE MAN?
Man is finite but God is infinite. Faith is only needed when a person is limited either by knowledge or ability. For example, a Christian does need no faith to collect money he has in his bank account but he needs faith for provision when he is broke.
Unlike man who needs faith for tomorrow because of his limitations, God does not relate to time the way humans do. The past, present and future are the same with Him in terms of His knowledge. He is all-knowing. Not only is God all-knowing, He is also all-powerful. So, God doesn’t need any faith.
God is infinite. He is sovereign. “In him we live, move and have our being.” The Sovereign Lord needs no faith. It is finite beings like man that needs faith.
Again, faith does not exist in isolation. Faith is a relational word. It is the lesser being that exhibits faith in the higher being. We know God is the Highest. There is no one above Him.
If God needs faith indeed, in whom will He have it?