(March 2004 TG Entry: Faith, BD Faith)
The Bible Dictionary tells us that “Faith is a principle of action and of power” (BD Faith). Notice from the following scriptural references the action faith provoked, and the blessing that resulted.
I Savior’s Miracles
Notice the actions taken in each of the following stories, and the resulting phrase from the Savior.
I.A Woman with an Issue
Her thoughts and actions:
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Mark 5:34 (also in Matt. 9:22, and Luke 8:48😉
I.B Blind Man
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Mark 10:52 (also in Luke 18:42)
Sometimes the initial action is not enough, and a greater effort is needed.
I.C Ten Lepers
But even among those who have faith, there are different levels of faith. Ten have a certain level of faith.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
One had greater faith than his companions.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
What did the Savior mean when he said “made whole”. Clearly all ten had been physically healed, but only one was made “whole.” The story of a woman, a sinner sheds light on that.
I.D Woman that Anointed
Her actions (and his host’s inactions)
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Clearly there are those who do have faith, and those who have no faith. Those that have faith, that make an extra effort, are made whole spiritually. Their sins are forgiven them.
II Faith Leads to Works
Faith is a principle of power because it inevitably leads to works.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
III Faith In Jesus Christ
We can have faith in a great many things. When we enter a room we turn on the light because we have faith that electricity will light the room. A farmer plants seeds with faith that they will grow into plants. Our lives a based upon faith, faith that some action will bring about some result.
But the first principle of the Gospel is not just faith. It is “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
That first principle leads to the other principles. It is a principle of action and power.
IV Enos’s Effort, A Mighty Effort
Listen to the words of effort in this scripture.
1 BEHOLD, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
Enos first heard the doctrine. He had to be taught first before he could have faith.
2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
Enos’s faith, and effort, did not end there as you know.
9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.
11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.
The power of our faith is evidenced in the effort we give.
V I Am Clean
So what is the ultimate result of having Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Listen to this quote from Elder packer in April 1997 Conference.
You need not know everything before the power of the Atonement will work for you. Have faith in Christ; it begins to work the day you ask!
President Joseph F. Smith was six years old when his father, Hyrum, was killed in Carthage Jail. Joseph crossed the plains with his widowed mother. At age 15 he was called on a mission to Hawaii. He felt lost and alone and said: “I was very much oppressed. … I was almost naked and entirely friendless, except the friendship of a poor, benighted … people. I felt as if I was so debased in my condition of poverty, lack of intelligence and knowledge, just a boy, that I hardly dared look [anyone] in the face.”
While pondering his plight, the young elder had a dream, “a literal thing; … a reality.” He dreamed he was on a journey rushing as fast as he possibly could.
He carried a small bundle. Finally he came to a wonderful mansion, his destination. As he approached, he saw a notice, “Bath.” He turned aside quickly, went in, and washed himself clean. He opened his little bundle and found clean, white clothing—“a thing,” he said, “I had not seen for a long time.” He put them on and rushed to the door of the mansion.
“I knocked,” he said, “and the door opened, and the man who stood there was the Prophet Joseph Smith. He looked at me a little reprovingly, and the first words he said [were]: ‘Joseph, you are late.’ … I took confidence and said:
“ ‘Yes, but I am clean—I am clean!’ ” And so it can be with you. (Boyd K. Packer, “Washed Clean,” Ensign, May 1997, page 10)
To be made whole is to be made clean.