By John C. Carpenter
Since we have established that faith means we believe what God says is true and will come to pass, what does "believe" mean? Is "believing" the same thing as "faith?" I believe the answer is generally yes, with one minor exception. Paul initially said to those in Rome, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? (Rom 10:14), then later summarizes his point by saying, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). Here, the apostle Paul apparently teaches that believing and faith are synonymous and interchangeable. The concordance definition of "believe" tends to verify this. "Believe" is the Greek word "pisteuo," which means "to have faith in, to entrust one's spiritual well being, to commit to trust." Pisteuo is derived from the Greek word pistis [faith]. When preparing for this issue, I noticed a very interesting difference between faith and believing that I feel is worth mentioning. Faith, as we have seen, is related to what God says is true and will come to pass. When "believing" is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, it is most often related to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Son of God. Although this is a slight difference in semantics, it is an important difference if we want to properly interpret and understand the Holy Scriptures. Let me verify this with some scriptures. In the book of Mark, the Lord told us to believe the gospel [Greek is euaggelizo; i.e., good news] (Mark 1:15). So, if we are to believe the gospel, what is the "gospel," or good news? Angels of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Christ saying, And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [Greek is euaggelizo; i.e., good news, the gospel] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11). Jesus instructed us to "believe" the gospel that Christ the Lord had been born in the city of David. Simon Peter said to the LordLord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God (John 6:68-69). Peter clarified that what the disciples "believed" is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus angrily told some Jews, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he [the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God], ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24). What these Jews did not believe was that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus also said to some Jews, If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not (John 10:37). What was Jesus referring to when He claimed they did not believe Him? The answer was given in the previous verse when the Lord said, Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:36). Again, the Jews did not "believe" that Jesus was the Son of God. Just before He raised Lazarus from the dead, the Lord said to Martha I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26). Mary responded Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world (John 11:27). Martha "believed" that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. After washing His disciple's feet, the Lord told them before it happened that Christ would be betrayed by one of His own disciples. The Lord then said to them, Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he (John 13:19). The Lord wanted to insure that His own disciples "believed" that He was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus told Judas and the other disciples that the Holy Spirit would reprove [convict] the world of sin because sinners did not believe on Him as the Christ and Son of God (John 16:8-9). We are instructed that the scriptures were written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:31). After Philip told an Ethiopian eunuch, If thou believest [that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God] with all thine heart, thou mayest [be baptized]. And he [the Ethiopian] answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37). It is apparent from these verses that faith and believing are synonymous, yet "believing" specifically means to have a knowledge and conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
There is some teaching in the church that physical healing is part of the atonement, that is, a believer is entitled to be completely physically, spiritually, and emotionally well all the time, and all he or she has to do is "claim" healing and believe [and even demand of God] that the healing will come to pass. Is the faith of believers related to physical healing? As some teach, are some believers not healed because they do not have enough faith? There is so much discussion and controversy surrounding physical healing, and although I know my answer is very controversial, my current understanding is that the Scriptures clearly teach that physical healing is not in the atonement. If faith were a prerequisite to physical healing, how do we explain the healing of individuals who are non-believers, or conversely the fact that those with great faith are most often not healed? Additionally, if healing is in the atonement and each believer can claim and have perfect health, why would Christ send His disciples to "heal the sick?" Those that teach and defend healing in the atonement often justify their ideas by claiming that individuals who were sick before Christ died and was resurrected did not yet have Christ's atoning blood to atone for and cure all sickness. Yet, we learn that the apostle Paul, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write almost half of the New Testament, told us ...Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick (2 Tim 4:20). Since scholars believe Paul was not converted to Christianity until A.D.37, Paul's meeting with Trophimus occurred after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Paul, this tremendously anointed man of God, had known that he could have just "claimed" a healing for Trophimus, or instructed Trophimus to claim healing for himself, why did Paul leave him sick at Miletum? The apostle Paul even tells us that he had a sickness that was allowed, if not engineered, by God the Father. Paul said, And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn [bodily annoyance or disability] in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet[chastise and humble] me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength [miraculous power] is made perfect [manifested, accomplished] in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory [rejoice] in my infirmities [disease, sickness, weakness], that the power [miraculous power] of Christ may rest [abide] upon me (2 Cor 12:9). Paul clarified that because of the number of revelations given to Him by God, he had been given a sickness that was designed to keep him humble. Paul prayed to God three times for healing of this malady, but God refused to heal Paul because God's miraculous power could be best manifested through Paul's sickness and weakness. Paul not only accepted, but even rejoiced, in having his disorder, which God apparently wanted Paul to have indefinitely. Likewise, if healing is automatically available to all believers, why did the apostle James, writing after the death of Christ, instruct his Jewish brethren to Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed [physically] (James 5:16). If believers can just receive complete physical health by claiming it, why then must believers pray for healing? In fact, Jesus personally healed some individuals who were not even believers. For example, in the book of Luke, we find And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law [Jews, who did not believe Jesus was the Christ] sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal [physically cure] them (Luke 5:17). The Lord also healed an unbeliever who had been born blind. The Scriptures tell us Jesus heard that they [the Jews] had cast him [the blind man] out; and when he [Jesus] had found him [the blind man], he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him (John 9:35-38). This blind man was not a believer in Christ at the time Jesus healed him. Only after being physically healed, and after talking with Jesus face to face, did the man say, "Lord, I believe." Jesus preached in a synagogue to Jews who did not believe Jesus was the Christ, and the scriptures then tell us And hedid not many mighty [miraculous] works there because of their unbelief (Mat 13:58). Although Jesus did not do "many" miracles there, He apparently did "some," in spite of their unbelief. It is obvious that faith and belief are not necessary for the Lord to heal or do mighty works. There is no doubt that some who have faith are miraculously healed, but their healing is not due to their faith. Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion when He said, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed [that I am the Christ, and what I say comes to pass], so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour (Mat 8:13). The servant was not healed because he "believed" or had faith that he would be healed. In fact, the servant was not present and probably did not even know about the discussion between his centurion master and Jesus Christ. The servant was healed because Jesus said the servant would be healed. A woman of Canaan who had great faith, had a daughter grievously vexed with a devil, sought the Lord for healing of her daughter. The Lord eventually responded O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour (Mat 15:28). Again in this example, the woman was not healed because she had "faith" to be healed, but because Christ had said, "be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
While preparing for this issue, I noticed something that I believe is very interesting: the Greek word "pistis" [faith] is almost never found in verses with Greek words that represent physical healing, and is almost exclusively paired with the Greek word "sozo" [saved]. Let me explain what I found. In the New Testament, there are three Greek words often associated with physical healing. The first is the Greek word "hugies," which means "healthy, well, sound, whole." Hugies implies that physical healing has already taken place and that the body has become healthy, well, sound or whole. The Lord had interacted with a man who had a withered hand. Scriptures tell us Then saith he [Jesus] to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole [hugies], like as the other (Mat 12:13). [For additional examples of hugies, see Luke 6:10, John 5:9, and John 5:15]. Only one time [in Mark 5:34] does the Greek word "pistis [faith]" appear in the same verse with the Greek word "hugies [wholeness]," which suggests that faith is not primarily connected with physical healing. A second Greek word, "therapeuo," means to "wait upon menially, to relieve, or to cure." Therapeuo is the Greek word from which we get the English word therapy. Therapeuo implies that an individual is physically cured or relieved of suffering through the menial efforts of the healer. Scriptures tell us that Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing [therapeuo] all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Mat 4:23). [For other examples of therapeuo, see Mat 15:30, Mark 6:13, and Acts 4:14]. The Greek word "pistis" does not occur in the same verse with the Greek word "therapeuo," which again suggests that faith is not primarily connected to "waiting upon menially, relieving, or curing." A third Greek word, "iaomai," means to "cure, heal, make whole." Scriptures tell us, And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [iaomai] them all (Luke 6:19) [For additional examples of iaomai, see Matt 8:8, Luke 9:2, and John 4:47]. In only one verse [Matt 15:28] is the Greek word "pistis" found with the Greek word "iaomai," which again suggests that faith is not connected to physical healing. These three Greek words are very different, I believe, from a fourth Greek word, "sozo," which means "deliver, protect, preserve, heal, make whole, or do well." Although many teach that sozo means to "heal" physically, after studying the context of its' use, I believe "sozo" does not imply physical healing, but is primarily associated with spiritual salvation and eternal life, and is certainly distinguishable from hugies, therapeuo, or iaomai. For example, Paul told those in Rome, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved [sozo] (Rom 10:9), whereas Christ also said, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved [sozo] (John 3:17). Holy Scriptures tell us Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [other than Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved [sozo] (Acts 4:12), and For the Son of man is come to save [sozo] that which was lost (Mat 18:11). Sozo clearly refers to eternal salvation, and not physical healing. If God the Father meant for the faith of believers to be intimately connected to and leading to physical healing, we would expect the scriptures to offer numerous examples in which "pistis [faith]" is found in connection with "hugies," "therapeuo," or "iaomai." This is not the case. When examining the Greek, it appears the Holy Spirit associated the "faith" [pistis] of believers with "salvation and eternal life" [sozo], and not with physical healing. Let me offer several examples. A woman who was a sinner brought an alabaster box of ointment to anoint the Christ's feet. The woman's sins were forgiven by the Lord (Luke 7:48), and the Lord then said to the woman, Thy faith [pistis] hath saved [sozo] thee; go in peace (Luke 7:50). The apostle James said, the prayer of faith [pistis] shall save [sozo] the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:15). The apostle Paul told the Ephesians For by grace are ye saved[sozo] through faith [pistis]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). Occasionally the Greek word "sozo" is translated into the English word "whole." For example, a woman of Canaan said to Christ, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (Mat 15:22). After some discussion, Jesus eventually said to the mother, O woman, great is thy faith [pistis]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole [sozo; i.e., saved] from that very hour (Mat 15:28). Although the daughter was healed in this example, Christ clearly associated faith [pistis] with salvation [sozo]. The healing was not due to the daughter's faith [she was not even present], or the mother's faith, but due to the fact that the Lord had spoken words of healing for the daughter when He said, "be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Christ also said to blind Bartimaeus, Go thy way; thy faith [pistis] hath made thee whole [sozo; i.e., saved]. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way (Mark 10:52). Bartimaeus received his sight, but Christ clearly associated faith [pistis] with salvation [sozo], and not healing. While walking through Samaria and Galilee, Christ met ten lepers. The Lord said to them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:14). To the one leper who returned to give thanks for his healing, the Lord said, Arise, go thy way: thy faith [pistis] hath made thee whole [sozo; i.e., saved] (Luke 17:19). Although the lepers were healed, again Jesus Christ clearly associated faith with eternal salvation, and not physical healing. A certain woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years said to herself, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole [sozo; i.e., saved] (Mark 5:28). Scriptures immediately tell us And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague (Mark 5:29). Jesus Christ eventually said to her, Daughter, thy faith [pistis] hath made thee whole [sozo; i.e., saved]; go in peace, and be whole [hugies; i.e., physically healed] of thy plague (Mark 5:34). Notice the word "and" in verse 34. By mentioning "sozo" and "hugies" in the same discussion, the Lord showed us that these are two different concepts. In essence, the Lord said two things to this woman. First, Christ said her faith [pistis] had saved [sozo; i.e., brought her eternal life] her, and secondly He told her to be physically healed [hugies] of her plague [physical disease]. If sozo [saved] means to be eternally saved and physically healed, Christ would not have had to also tell the woman to be physically healed of her plague. In this example, Christ obviously distinguished eternal salvation from physical healing, and verified that faith is related to eternal salvation, and not physical healing. In a last example, the Greek word sozo is sometimes translated into the English word "heal." The scriptures tell a story involving the apostle Paul:And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith [pistis] to be healed [sozo; i.e., saved], Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked (Acts 14:8-10). The man was physically healed, but again Paul clearly associated faith with salvation. The physical healing was brought about by Paul's words echoing the will of God the Father through the Holy Spirit. I believe a more accurate translation should have read "Paul perceived that the man had faith to be saved [sozo]." Jesus Christ personally and clearly instructs us that the miracles and healing He performed were not due to the faith of those He ministered to, but to verify that He was the Son of God. In one clear example we read, And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house (Mat 9:2-6). The Lord performed this miraculous healing in the physical realm to verify that in fact He was the Son of Man and therefore had the authority to forgive sins in the spiritual realm, and not because of the sick man's faith. It should also be noted that when Jesus saw the "faith" of those around Him, He said "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." Again, Jesus specifically associated faith with forgiveness of sins and the eternal salvation of the soul, and not physical healing. Speaking to a group of Jews who refused to believe He was the Christ, Jesus angrily said, If I do not the works [deeds, miracles] of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him (John 10:37-38). Jesus said here that He performed miracles and healed individuals, not because of the faith of those individuals, but because he wanted everyone around Him to see and know that He had been sent by God the Father, and was in fact the Son of God. Speaking to his heavenly Father, Christ prayed that the world may know that thou [God the Father] hast sent me [Christ], and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17:23). Jesus wanted the entire world to know that He was the Christ and had been sent to earth by God the Father. Speaking to a group of Jews, the Lord also said, But I have greater witness than that of John: forthe works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me (John 5:36). A Jewish leader named Nicodemus understood this concept when he said, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him (John 3:2). Nicodemus understood that if miracles were occurring, either God was doing them, or God was certainly with the man that was doing them, since no mortal man could perform such supernatural feats. This is not to say that God does not heal supernaturally in New Testament times. The evidence indicates that He periodically does. However, all of these verses [as well as personal experience] indicate that healing is not in the atonement and that a believer cannot automatically claim, expect, and have healing simply because he or she believes in Christ. Christ plainly told us that individuals are sick for numerous reasons. For example, Lazarus was sick for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby (John 11:4). Individuals are sometimes sick so that God can work His miracles and thereby be glorified and accomplish His purposes. We are told And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:1-3). Sometimes, believers are sick because of sin. At the pool of Bethesda, Christ met and healed a man who had an infirmity for 38 years. Christ later said to the man, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John 5:14). The scriptures teach that individuals are sick for numerous reasons, but not because they do not have enough faith. Time after time, Jesus Christ makes it clear that He displayed His supernatural powers by performing miraculous deeds and healings, not because of the faith of individuals involved, but to verify that He had been sent by God the Father, that He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Scriptures teach over and over again the purpose, as well as, the end result of faith. The apostle Peter said, Receiving the end [point, conclusion, result] of your faith, even thesalvation [rescue, safety, deliverance] of your souls (1 Pet 1:9). Notice that Peter specifically said the point and end result of your faith is the deliverance [from destruction] of your "soul," not healing of your physical body. Jesus Christ personally told us all the purpose of faith when He said, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him [as the Christ, Messiah, and Son of God] should not perish [be destroyed, die], but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Christ later said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47), as well as, He that believeth on him is not condemned [to death]: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18). The apostle Paul told those in Rome Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through [faith in] him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his [giving of His] life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (Rom 5:9-11), as well as, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom 10:9). In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk told us, ... the just shall live [eternally] by his faith (Hab 2:4), while the apostle Paul echoes those words in the New Testament saying, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live[eternally] by faith (Rom 1:17). Mark clarifies He that believeth [Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God] and is baptized shall be saved [eternally from death, destruction]; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16). Christ said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [from God]; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Finally, Paul told those in Ephesus, For by [because of God's] grace are ye saved [from God's wrath] through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [of keeping the law], lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9). Jesus clearly said to Martha, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (John 11:25-26). Faith is believing that God exists, that God rewards those that diligently seek Him, that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of The Living God, and that God's words are true, worthy of trust, and will come to pass. It also means believers can trust Jesus Christ to save their souls from destruction. When Christ returns to earth, if He finds this kind of faith, He shall be "gratified entirely." If you have this kind of faith, Jesus Christ instructs you to ...rejoice, because your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  AMEN.
TCH Mini-
                    A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
“Preach the word [of truth, the gospel message]; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables"
(2 Timothy 4:2-4).
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall
know them”
(Matthew 7:15-20).
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in
time of need”
(Hebrews 4:14-16).