The Gospel, although it is a teaching, is not activated just by nodding to it; faith is necessary. In one of the previous sections we explained that the Gospel is Doctrine, the Doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven; and we also explained, that doctrine in turn means teaching, which, for the purposes of learning it is necessary to “believe” it, for as we will be taught in something, or of something, if we do not believe in it; this point we can confirm in the words of the writer of the Gospel of Luke, who in his introduction to Theophilus, writes: it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. (Luke 1:3-4). Teaching is believed, it is the step that makes us followers of Jesus.
However, while it is necessary to believe it as true teaching with spiritual value, the teaching —the doctrine— requires that it be validated by faith. An example that helps us to understand this is the account in the book of Acts that describes the attitude that the believers of Berea adopted to the teachings of the Apostle Paul during his visit to the city: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11). The passage illustrates that after having believed the teaching, the next step is to activate the teaching through faith; otherwise, the teaching loses its spiritual value and becomes mere information for the person.
We have reached the point where we enter properly into the study of the meaning and value of the Gospel: in order to understand the Gospel, it is necessary to understand it through faith.
Faith is a person’s ability and willingness to follow instructions. I know that we are used to the definition given in the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, which defines faith as the substance of things hoped for, and the demonstration of things not seen; However, religious philosophy has made us see in this definition the intention —understanding the capacity to visualize things— of wanting to believe in what we do not see, but which we expect, as if it were a human capacity to “materialize” what we are believing will come, which is not what the apostolic and prophetic writers intended to define in their writings.
Faith is simply the willingness of a person to follow an instruction as he or she is asked to do, or as he or she is commanded to do; in other words, faith is the willingness in a person not to contravene the instruction, nor to inquire why necessarily so, or why not otherwise; faith is obedience. Surely the reader will have heard more than one old-time preacher say that God demands blind faith, now he can understand what they meant.
Faith is the ability to follow instructions, hence the reader will now be able to understand why when Jesus worked miracles among those who followed Him, He asked them to “do” something as a condition for operating the miracle among them. We have many examples, but let us quote a few: The healing of the blind man who sent to wash in the pool of Siloam, the ten lepers He sent to appear before the priest, and the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, an act which He performed on two occasions. The little faith of some consisted in their reluctance to do what He demanded of them.
So it’s clear to us, faith is the ability to follow instructions; now let’s take it a step further. The basic principle of faith is instruction by the Word that the Spirit of God imparts to the reader when he or she is exposed to the Word, or to the Spirit; this is because some instructions come from the Bible, while others come from the intervention of the Spirit’s move in the person. To support this definition we quote the following texts:
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20
The text of Isaiah presents us with the way God speaks to His people: by the Law, and by the testimony. The Law means all that is written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, while testimony means that which is not written explicitly but which comes by the testimony of the Spirit of prophecy; of the latter, the Words of Jesus confirm it,
14 He (the Holy Spirit, according with the context) shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:14-15
Faith is based on the person’s willingness to follow instructions, the instructions given by the Word and/or by the intervention of the Spirit of God; whoever is not willing to follow the instructions of the Gospel cannot grow in faith.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: 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
Faith is nourished and grows as we follow instructions, but stagnates as we interpret the instructions and/or alter them to our own convenience. Hence, as the apostle Paul rightly pointed out, there are many weakened believers and others sleeping, because they have rebelled against the Lord’s instructions.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1st. Corinthians 11:29-31
The Gospel is not based on arguments that question the veracity of the Word, or on hermeneutic methods of interpretation; the Gospel is God’s instruction to man to establish God’s Justice on earth, so that man/woman may walk according to His Will, who fall into the vice of interpreting the teachings of Jesus are far from being man/woman of faith.
The next step in the development of faith is not to accumulate information, but to do the Word; God entrusts the Word to us in order, first, to establish with each one a precedent of faith for the region we inhabit, as in the case of Abraham from whom we all took part;
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Romans 9:6-8
Second, to establish an act of Justice or judgment, as in the case of Peter when he declared that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, allowing darkness to be judged by the word,
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18
Or, like the case of Noah, who condemned his generation for the fulfillment of the instruction given by the Lord,
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
And third, simply so that we may grow as a community of faith in the midst of a nation of darkness.
that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1st. Peter 1:7
 John 9:7
 Luke 17:14
 Mathew 16:8-10
 Luke 24:44