The Three Tenses of Faith

The Three Tenses of Faith

“But I know, that even now…God will give it thee.” Jn 11:22

When their brother Lazarus died, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. Notice the three tenses of faith at work in this story: (1) Past tense. Heartbroken, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (Jn 11:21 NKJV). That’s called “if only” faith. We say things like “If only I’d lived in the days of Jesus,” or “If only I could be prayed for by a certain person.” “If only” faith plans for a funeral, not a resurrection. (2) Future tense.When Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would live again, she replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (Jn 11:24 NKJV). This is called “some day” faith. People who have it tend to sing, “In the sweet by and by.” With them, everything belongs to the future. But you need to know your rights, your privileges and your authority as a believer in Christ—right now. When you do, your outlook will begin to change. (3) Present tense. Martha said, “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You” (Jn 11:22 NKJV). This is “even now” faith. In spite of all you’ve been through, God has the power to raise you up again. You may have been divorced; lost your job or your home; be struggling with stubborn habits; be living with a sense of failure. It doesn’t matter. “Even now,” by God’s grace and power you can come out of this experience and live again. You can fulfill your hopes and dreams. All you have to do is pray and invite Jesus into your situation.

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