I have found that everything concerning faith, works in pairs. Two seems to be the number of faith. Faith needs to be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth. Faith says, "If any two shall agree on earth" (Matthew 18:19). "If one can put 1,000 to flight, two can put 10,000 to flight" (Deuteronomy 32:30).
Faith always works in combination with something. Faith works in combination with love. The Bible says that faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). The opposite force of faith is fear. Fear and faith cannot go together because they are opposite forces. What is it that casts out fear? Perfect love. Faith needs to work in conjunction with love, because love keeps fear away. Also, patience works with faith. Hebrews 6:12 says, "That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
I want to teach you on another area, and that is the combination of faith and hope. I looked in a concordance one day and found there was just about as much on hope as there was on faith.
Hope is Not Wishing
The Word of God is filled with hope. We have had the wrong impression of hope for too long. I have laid hands on people for healing and asked them if they were healed, they have replied that they hope so. That is not even hope; that is wishful thinking. Hope is not wishing.
Wishing and hoping don't even go together. They are not the same thing. I want to teach you just what hope is, and how it works with faith.
Romans 4:17 and 18 says, "As it is written, (here we have a quote from Genesis 17:4 and 5) 'I have made you a father of many nations.' in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
Verses 17 and 18 go in conjunction with each other. They express the idea that faith and hope work together. Verse 17 is discussing faith. "in the presence of Him whom he believed - God..." The word "believe" means "faith in action." You have faith inside you, but to put it into action you must believe. You received the measure of faith when you were born again. But whether you ever get your needs met is totally up to you. You need to believe the Lord, and believe the Word. "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matthew 21:22).
Romans 4:17 continues, "who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did." The inner man calls those things which be not as though they were, because the inner man is born after God. Everything produces after its own kind. Cats produce cats, dogs produce dogs, and people produce people. It is always that way. Monkeys never produce anything but monkeys (Monkeys don't produce people). Wheat produces wheat, love produces love, finances produce finances, and time produces time.
Faith is an Attribute of God
Everything also has characteristics. Dogs have tails, cats have whiskers, elephants have trunks, and people have hands and legs. When we were born of God we received all of His attributes - every one of them. We received faith because faith is an attribute of God. We didn't have to work to get faith, we had it from the very beginning. Did you know that I didn't have to grow up and beg the doctor to give me hands when I finally got to be four years old? I don't have to grow up to a certain point and beg God for faith. I already have it. I had hands when I was born in the natural; I received faith when I was born in the spiritual.
Everything that is born after its own kind has a voice. Cats meow, and dogs bark, and babies cry. The inner man is patterned after its creator, God, and the voice of the inner man calls those things which be not as though they were.
It is just as natural for your inner man to, "calls those things which do not exist as though they did," as it is for a dog to bark and a cat to meow and a baby to cry. This is what Abraham learned. Abraham patterned himself after God, the Father. "God..called those things which do not exist as though they did."
Whereas verse 17 discusses faith; verse 18 talks about hope. Notice what it says in verse 17, "as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations." Is "I have made you..." past, present, or future tense? Past tense. Faith is always based on something past. You were born again because Jesus already went to the cross and bore your sins. You were filled with the spirit because the Holy Spirit has already been poured out. You were healed because Jesus already bore the stripes for your healing.
Verse 18, "who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
Hope is Always Future
The first part of this verse says, "who, contrary to hope, in hope believed so that he became (might become) the father of many nations..." Is that past, present, or future? Future. Hope is always future. It is not wrong to talk about the future. It is not wrong to express or speak your hope, if, as this verse says, it is "according to what was spoken."
Some people think it is wrong to confess when the prayer of faith is going to manifest. But hope looks down the line and sees when it is going to come, as verse 18 says, "So shall your descendants be."
The rapture of the church is called the "great hope" of the church. If it is wrong to talk about our hope, we could never talk about the rapture. We could only say that we are seated with Him in heavenly places in Christ. That is our faith speaking. But one of these days our hope will take on substance because of what we believe right now; our bodies will be in heaven with our spirits, seated with Jesus on the right hand of the Majesty on High.
Two Types of Faith, Two Types of Hope
Did you know that there are two types of faith? There is a natural, human faith and a supernatural faith. Everybody has a natural, human faith. When you walk into a church you don't ask the ushers if the seat will hold you up. You would be surprised if it fell through when you sat down.
When you were born again you received God's measure of faith in you. So you now have the ability to believe for supernatural things. Why do we believe for natural things so much faster than we believe for spiritual things? Spiritual things are more real than natural. You will never sit on God's seat of faith and fall through. Yet we are surprised when our prayers work.
It is the same with hope. In verse 18, hope is mentioned twice, "who, contrary to hope, in hope believed..." There are two types of hope; a natural human hope, and a supernatural hope. Verse 18 is saying that against all natural hope Abraham found a supernatural hope. IN the natural there was no way for him and Sarah to have a child, but God gave him a new hope. There is a limit to man's hope, but never God's.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). The New English Bible actually renders this verse this way, "Now faith is giving substance to hope." Faith must give substance to hope because in and of itself hope has no substance. Hope is a lot like a dream. Have you ever had a dream that was so real that your were sweating when you woke up? You have to come to the conclusion that the dream had no substance, even though it seems like it does.
The Bible says that faith gives substance to hope. Add faith to hope and it will begin to take on substance. I was reading Mark 11:24, " What things soever ye desire...." (KJV). and the Lord stopped me with the word "desire" and said, "your desire is your hope." What things soever you hope for when you pray, believe. Your believing will give your desires substance. A desire has no substance; it is just a picture of what you want. I heard it put this way one time, "faith feeds hope and gives it substance." But if you ever give up hope, faith has nothing to feed. You can have all the faith in the world and nothing will happen.
Faith and Hope are Products of the Inner Man
Can the devil get to your faith? Yes, indirectly. Faith is a product of the spirit; it is inbred in the spirit. If you are born of God, the devil can't get to your spirit because your spirit is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Now the devil can get to other parts of you, but he can't get to your spirit. However, faith needs to cooperate with other powers to operate. The devil can get to your hope, and if he does you will not function. "Hope deferred (put away) makes the heart sick (weak)" (Proverbs 13:12).
The devil begins to work on your hope. How can he do that? 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation." Faith and love are products of the spirit because they are called the breastplate, but notice what hope is called. Hope is called the helmet. The helmet is the hope of salvation and the helmet covers the head, the mind. Faith is produced out of the spirit; hope is produced from the mind.
The devil can get to your hope because he can get to your mind and play havoc with it. That's why the Bible says to "cast down imaginations and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3). Therefore, we see the importance of keeping your mind on the Word of God, because your hope is in your mind.
The Word says without a vision the people perish. Your vision is your hope, Don't give up hope. Hebrews 10:23 in the Greek says, "Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering." Constantly keep a new picture of what your are shooting for. Keep painting new pictures and setting new goals.
The gateway into the spirit is the mind. You have to hear the Word of God first to receive faith. The Word comes through the natural ear, into the mind, and then into your spirit. The Word comes into your mind first and produces hope. However, then it must go down into your spirit to produce faith. This is being a hearer of the Word (Romans 10:17). Hearing is when the Word comes in, producing hope in faith.
But doing is when the Word comes back out. Substance is produced as the Word comes out of your heart; that substance is given to your hope as the Word comes out of your mind. It is the confession of your faith, which gives your new hope substance. It is the Word going in (hearer) and the Word going out (doer) that builds the results we desire in our lives.