For business and trade, every nation employs an economic currency. In America, we use dollars; the euro is the choice of European Union member states; India has the rupee, China the renminbi (yuan) and Japan the yen. Economies have currencies.
In God’s Economy, the Cash is Faith
God invites those who have no money to come, buy, and eat (Is. 55:1). How can you buy if you don’t have any money? In God’s economy the cash is faith, and faith is not a work—it’s not monetary. Faith trusts God and God is true to His offer. In that sense though, faith is not “money” yet it can “buy” in God’s economy.
But you can’t buy what you don’t know is available; the Spirit must show you. The storehouse of God becomes apparent through the illumination of the Spirit. His illumination convinces you that such and such is available. It is God’s will. The Spirit is authoring faith (Heb. 12:2). God works in us to influence us to exercise our will in faith so that He can then bring His will into fruition (Phil. 2:13).
God chose this economy for man: God stirs, faith responds, God enables. For it is God who works (God stirs) in you both to will (faith responds) and to do (God enables) of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
God initiates as the Holy Spirit convinces you that a given matter is God’s will. This is divine initiation. Man will not choose rightly without God stirring him to a right choice. This “stirring” is the Spirit’s convincing work. God must first “work in you.” It is not a matter of unfettered choice. It is not a matter of “name it and claim it.” Right choices by man originate in God. First, God works in you. The Spirit illumines you and convinces you to trust Him. Faith comes by…the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Thus, God names it, and when He does, then you may claim it.
Faith responds as you depend on God for that which He has stirred you. You must exercise your will to take God at His word. Faith is not automatic or inevitable. It is man’s “response-ability,” but faith is not a work (cf. Romans 4:5 where scripture emphasizes that faith is counted for righteousness to him who does not work, but believes on God). The Bible states faith is the opposite of human works. On the one hand faith is something man “does” but on the other, faith is not a work. God says so. Faith is not a work; it is dependence on the worker, on God. Faith is not meritorious. Faith realizes “I can’t, but God can.” Therefore, faith excludes boasting because faith understands God is the one doing the work (Rom. 3:27).
Yet faith is not passive. It is active cooperation. It is the cooperation of depending on God as He stirs you to do so. Faith responds to God’s offer, His divine initiation. In this sense, faith is a gift—but only in this sense. Faith is not to be understood as an outside alien element entered into you. That would make faith inevitable instead of responsible. Faith is a gift in the sense that God convinces you He is trustworthy and can be trusted for a given matter. If a friend convinces you that a particular doctor could successfully treat a condition and you decide you could entrust your care to that doctor, then this depicts the sense of one giving you the gift of faith in the skill and ability of another (the doctor). This alone offers no cure, however. You are left to make a responsible choice. You can reject or receive (act according to) what you were told. So it is with faith.
The Spirit stirs through His illuminating convincing work. Faith responds.
Then God enables according to that for which He has stirred you to trust Him. God responds in turn to faith responses to Him. This is true in both salvation and every step of the Christian life.
God in His sovereignty chose the way of faith. The economy of faith is God’s divine plan. God stirs and God enables, but between God’s convincing work and God’s enabling work is man’s faith response—not unfettered choice (humanism), nor inevitable faith (fatalism), but responsible faith, the responsibility of a real faith response to God.
John Van Gelderen
Thank you for a clear & simple explanation of living faith. Bringing us into relationship with God himself. It is true, God is glorified when we freely choose to follow His lead.