“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” — Luke 5:20
So far as we know no one had spoken a word to Jesus about the sick man, but there really was no need for words. The pains at which the friends had been to get this poor sufferer into the presence of Christ told of a very strong faith. The best evidence of faith is the effort we make to obtain faith’s prize.
Abraham proved his faith first of all when he promptly obeyed God’s call and left his own home and country to go out he knew not whither, simply following where God might lead. He proved his faith again when he was bidden to offer his only son as a burnt offering, and without a question or remonstrance obeyed. It was after this that God said, “Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” There is no need of words or protestations of faith when there are such acts of faith to attest it.
God can see faith. He can see it in the heart where it is exercised, even before there has been any expression of it in word or act; but here the emphasis lies on the fact that he sees it in act. He is pleased when we show our faith by our works. There are many prayers without words, and God sees them when he does not hear them. There is in the Bible at least one instance of God forbidding spoken prayer and commanding action instead. At the edge of the Red Sea he said to Moses, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” So we should learn to put our faith into instant act. There are times when we should stop praying, get up from our knees, and hasten out to duty. Praying for a friend in trouble is well, but it is a cheap and selfish way of showing our love if he has needs that we can supply. Praying for missions is right, but it is no acceptable substitute for giving if we are holding the Lord’s money in our hands. God wants to see our faith.–J R Miller