we do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. but our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. [2 corinthians 10:15-16]
“our hope is that as your faith increases” – do you realize that God longs for your faith to increase?
what does this mean and how does this happen? great questions.
1-what does this mean – “God longs for my faith to increase”?
the word faith in the new testament greek is the word pisteos. it means to entrust, to put oneself in another’s hands. in the new testament, this word is always used in context of a call to entrust our self to the gospel of Jesus Christ. and here in this passage, paul even references the advancement of the gospel as the fruit of their increasing faith. however, paul is not talking to unbelievers. he is not asking for their faith in the gospel to begin, or to become true. he is asking for their faith in the gospel – “to increase”. what does this mean?
for i am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the jew first and also to the greek. for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “the righteous shall live by faith.” (romans 1:16-17)
the word “believes” and the word “faith” are the same word “pisteos.” in this passage, we see two things. 1) salvation comes by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. this is how we are made right before God and “saved” from his punishment against sin. 2) as his saved followers, we are to live by faith. those right with God must live by faith in the gospel. that is – what saves us is what continues to grow us. It continues to grow our love, our trust, our hope, our peace – our very life with God in Christ.
paul wanted the corinthians faith in the gospel to grow. he wanted their trust that Jesus and his work alone was their salvation, and their hope, and their peace, and their rest, and their acceptance, their identity, – everything! as our faith in the gospel increases, everything about who we are changes – becomes as Jesus is.
2-how does this happen?
right here. it happens as you sit in the presence of the Lord, asking him to grow your faith in all of the implications, truths, and life altering realities of the gospel. it happens as you sit believing you are in his presence solely by his work on the cross. it happens as you tell him you believe, “but help my unbelief.” it happens as you pray, sit in his presence, read his living word, and beg him to grow you in the grace that has been given through Christ alone, by faith alone. it happens right here in moments like this.
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [2 peter 3:18]
~ john ryan