I have recently returned from visiting the USA, where I had the privilege of addressing our annual Newfrontiers leaders and wives conference entitled Equipped for Mission.
Apart from heavy snow at St Louis, resulting in my having to stay overnight at Cincinnati on the way out, it was a very enjoyable experience. I always love being with so many of my dear friends in the presence of God. It was also good to meet a number of new faces, brothers looking in to Newfrontiers and trying to get a feel of who we are and where we are going.
One very enjoyable and unexpected development was that, after my first session in which I restated some of our key values, I was asked if I would teach on helping people to receive the Holy Spirit.
Although we looked at many Scriptures, I was particularly drawn to Galatians 3:2-5, where I am fascinated to see how the English Standard Version has retained the RSV translation of that passage, saying in verse 5, ‘Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?’ while the NIV introduces the word ‘God’ for ‘he’ which does not appear in the Greek text.
Interestingly, Galatians 3:5 is actually ambiguous, stating ‘he’ (not ‘God’) while the NASB goes for ‘He’. Of course, it could well be that Paul is referring to ‘God’.
In Romans 1:11, Paul simply states, ‘I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you,’ and Acts 19:6 says, ‘When Paul had laid his hands upon them the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.’
Arguably, even if it was Paul’s hands, the fact is that it is God who gives.
Hearing with faith
What was particularly encouraging to me was that, following my Biblical exposition, a number of people who were ‘hearing with faith’ as I spoke ‘received the Spirit’ and spoke with tongues.
On the following day I spoke about the Lord Jesus as a healer and some wonderful things happened as again the Scripture was fulfilled as people were healed and miracles were worked amongst us, once again ‘not by works of the law but by hearing with faith’ (Gal. 3:5). It is interesting to note in Acts 14:9, ‘This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet,” and he leapt up and began to walk’ (NASB).
Acts 14:7 says that Paul was ‘preaching the gospel’. One wonders what Paul’s gospel message was that inspired this man to ‘have faith to be made well’. Do we preach the same gospel message as Paul? – I wonder!
It thrills me to declare truth and watch what happens when people ‘hear with faith’.