The spiritual gift of faith – What is it?
The list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 mentions, "to another faith by the same Spirit" (verse 9), including faith as a spiritual gift. Every Christian has faith, especially since we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), yet Scripture also says some have faith as a gift. What is this spiritual gift of faith?
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First Corinthians 12:9 does not specifically define the gift of faith. Jesus, however, mentions the importance of having even a small amount of faith: "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20).
In another passage, Jesus shared the connection between faith and prayer, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith" (Matthew 21:21-22). James 1:5-8 also emphasizes the importance of faith in prayer.
As a result, many see the gift of faith as closely connected with prayer in some way. It has long been observed that there are some believers who naturally have a giftedness to pray in faith in ways other believers do not. Such prayers can "move mountains."
Hebrews 11 also emphasizes the importance of faith. It may be that many of those mentioned in this chapter were people gifted in faith. For example, Abraham followed God's call by faith to leave his land and people to travel to an unknown land God said he and his descendants would inherit. By faith, Joshua led the people of Israel around Jericho and Rahab believed by faith and was rescued from the city's destruction.
Noah's life serves as a clear example of one with great faith. God told Noah to build an ark to rescue his family from a giant flood. He acted in faith, resulting in much work, the construction of perhaps the largest boat of his time. His faith resulted in actions that pleased God and helped others.
As with other spiritual gifts, the gift of faith is for the encouragement of others. Those gifted in faith express their gift through faithful prayers for others and can help others to look to God in faith when they are in doubt.
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