RECEIVING BY BELIEVING THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED
Now we have to see how we have to believe. In the Bible, faith has its own laws. In the whole New Testament, there is only one place that tells us the function of faith—Hebrews 11:1. At the same time, in the whole New Testament, there is only one place that tells us how to believe—Mark 11:24: "For this reason I say to you, All things that you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and you will have them." Here it tells us what it is to believe. What is faith? Faith is to believe in the Word of God. "Believe that you have received them." We have to pay attention to the word "received." It is in the past tense. If you meet a man today who says that he will receive, immediately you know that he does not have faith. If you ask someone if he has believed in the Lord Jesus and if he has been saved, and if he tells you that he hopes to be saved, then he surely is not saved. All those who say that they want to receive or that they hope to receive do not have faith. Mark 11:24 shows us clearly that faith is to believe that we have received. Faith is not to believe that we will receive. It is not to believe that we shall receive, are about to receive, or can receive. All these "wills," "cans," and "shalls" are not faith. Only the faith that believes that one has received is the faith that the Bible talks about.
Many times when I preached the gospel to someone, he would hear about the work of God and realize that all has been done. I would show him his corruption, his weakness, his sins, and his degradation. As a result, he would confess his sins and come to see the work of the Lord Jesus. After this we would kneel down to pray. First I would pray for him. Then he would pray himself. He would confess that he is a sinner and that he has committed many sins. He would ask for forgiveness and ask for the Lord to give him life. After he prayed in this way, I would ask, "Are your sins now forgiven?" If he said, "I believe that God will forgive my sins," I would say to myself, "Forget it. Here is another dead case." If he said, "I believe fully that God will forgive my sins," I would know immediately that he did not have faith.
When will a preacher rejoice over a listener? It is when such a one prays and says, perhaps in tears, that he is clear about everything now. You know that such a one has passed the gate and has obtained eternal life. He may say, "Thank the Lord, the problem of my sins has been solved," or he may say, "Thank the Lord, He has accepted me," or "Thank the Lord, God has forgiven all my sins on account of His Son." When you hear this, you know that such a one has believed and is saved. There is only one kind of faith in the Bible—the faith that believes that one has received. Everyone who says that he will receive, can receive, shall receive, and must receive, has not received.
My friends, this is the way to believe in all the facts in the Bible. With some people, after you pray with them, you know if they have passed from death to life and if they are saved. Many hope to be saved. This is not the real faith. Once I talked with a man who said that he fully believed that he would be saved. I said, "You had better change your wording a little. You should say, ``I fully hope’’ instead of "I fully believe." If you fully believe, then you have received it already. Hence, anyone who has not put the word "have" or "already" into the word of God has not believed. If you say that your sins have been forgiven, this shows that you have believed. If you say that you have overcome your sins, this also shows that you have believed. Or if you say that you have received, this again shows that you have believed. Whenever you can say that you have received, at that time you have truly received. My friends, the matter today is very simple. I will not lower the standard of the Bible. All of God’s works are accomplished. The Word of God has been preached to us. The Son of God has died. The Lord Jesus has resurrected. What should we say now? We should say, "Thank the Lord, I have received." This is good enough. Sometimes, when I attend revival meetings, I can almost cry. When the people there cry, I also cry. They cry for themselves, but I cry for God’s salvation. They plead to God saying, "Oh God, save me," as if by this begging, God would be touched to love them or to turn and save them.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 14, by Watchman Nee)