“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:20-26).
After considering the Lord’s encounter with a barren fig tree the discovery is made of other lessons to be learned apart from the initial teaching of the danger of a pretentious religion.
We consider other great truths beginning with the importance of faith. “And Jesus answering saith unto them have faith in God.”
What might be added is what is implied, “Have faith in God—as I do.”
This implication is reflected in the words of Peter who remembered what Jesus had said the previous day about the fig tree (Mark 11:14) and in astonishment remarked, “Master, behold, the fig tree which thou curseth is withered away. Lord, you cursed it and the tree died so that no man can ever again eat of its fruit!”
Jesus heard these words and immediately turned attention away from himself to say, “Peter, James and John. Disciples all listen to me. I want you to have faith in God. That is why I can perform this miracle. I have faith in my Father”
What does it mean to have faith in God?
First, faith in God means that the heart believes in the one true God who exists. Hebrews 11:6 says “he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” In recent years a new religious movement within Christendom has arisen called the faith movement. There are many good elements about the faith movement but there is something fundamentally wrong with its core belief, which is rooted in faith rather than faith in God.
Once many tenants of the Word of Faith Movement are understood, it becomes clear that God has become a cosmic distributor of goods and services, not according to His own good pleasure, but according to fixed principles of “faith.”
These fixed principles are called “spiritual laws”, by which God must operate. The danger in all of this is subtle, but real. Attention is transferred from God to a particular doctrine of faith—and the results can be quite tragic. Larry and Alice Parker tell the story of their own misplaced faith in their heart-breaking book We Let Our Son Die (pub. 1979). Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”
Second, faith in God means to believe that He exists as He is revealed, not as someone imagines Him to be. For example, Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the false prophet who founded the Mormon Church, believed that God is merely an exalted man. He taught his followers the following concept.
“As man is, God once was;
as God is, man may become.”
Today, many Mormon men hold to a false hope that in the eternal state they will be exalted to the status of a godhead, and rule over their own universe. Mormons do not believe in the God of revelation, but in the God of a vain imagination.
Joseph Smith is not alone in misleading individuals from a belief in God that is genuine, and honoring, to a concept of God that is blasphemous. Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) and his successor Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942) united to mislead millions about God. A brief summary of their teachings may be noted.
God the Father is Almighty God, but He is not part of a Trinity for Jesus was only His direct creation.
The personal name of God is Jehovah, and so He should be addressed by that name alone, and not by any other name, not even Adoni or El Shaddai.
Prayer and worship should be directed to the Father who lives on the star Alcyone, in the Pleidaes constellation.
While this particular belief may no longer be held, it is part of the doctrinal error of the Jehovah Witnesses along with the idea that God limits his knowledge of the future so He is neither omniscient, nor omnipresent.
God reacts to circumstances as they occur which means He has not foreordained all that comes to pass, nor does He work all things according to the counsel of His own will.
Jesus said have faith in God—as He is revealed not as men would have Him to be.
Then third, faith in God means to rely upon Him for the strength and resources to do whatever needs to be done in life. Ultimate faith is not to be put in anything or anyone but God. The psalmist said, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psa. 20:7).
In recent days, millions of dollars have been lost in the stock market. Many who put their trust in money for security are now devastated. Jesus said have faith in God.
Years ago, a young woman was working as a waitress went to Los Vegas and won over $34 million dollars. She thought she was safe and secure. A week later a drunken driver hit the car she was in, killing her sister, and paralyzing her from the shoulders down.
Have faith in God.
Friends become disappointed and turn away.
Money can vanish in a day.
Physical strength can be taken in a single accident.
“Have faith in God.”
“Have faith in God as He is revealed.”
“Rely upon God above all else.”
Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered,
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the Lord, trust His Word and be patient,
Have faith in God. He’ll answer yet.
Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there.
Have faith in God though all else fail about you;
Have faith in God, He provides for His own:
He cannot fail though all kingdoms shall perish.
He rules. He reigns upon His throne.
Have faith in God, He’s on His throne,
Have faith in God, He watches over His own;
He cannot fail, He must prevail,
Have faith in God, Have faith in God.
~B. B. McKinney