(Article for publication week of 9-18- AD 2014)
"And he saith unto them, 'why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?'..." (Matthew 8:26a). Note well, the Lord spoke these words to His Own disciples. We learn from this passage that true believers may be of "little faith". Faith in Christ saves, though it may be little and feeble and mixed with unbelief.
It is not our faith which actually saves us, but Christ the Object of our faith. Whenever the scriptures speak of being saved "by faith", the theological idea is that we are saved by the Object of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. Theologically, faith is the instrument or channel by which the saving benefits of Christ come to us. Thus the precise language of scripture is that we are saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:25, e.g.). It is good for your soul to keep in mind that it is not your faith that actually and vitally saves, but it is the Saviour Who saves.
Now true saving, or justifying faith, is not marked by its degree or strength, but by its Grand Object, which I repeat for emphasis is the Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in Christ (though it be small, weak and feeble) is the evidence of a gracious state, for no man has faith by nature (II Thessalonians 3:2). Faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and it is the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it follows after regeneration (John 1:13). So for Christ to call His disciples "little faith" is both a gentle rebuke, but also a sweet cordial, for he does not despise their faith, though small. You see, our Lord did not denounce them as being of "no faith", but rather rebukes them for being of "little faith."
Is it not comforting to read in this text how our Lord deals with us as little children? Though this is a rebuke, it is issued with gentleness and tenderness and compassion. The Lord does not cast away His children when they are feeble in their faith. Though our faith is often weak, He forever remains a Great Saviour, and that is where our salvation lies.
Observe further that though the disciples' faith was little, it did not prevent the Lord from saving them from the storm. They cried, "Lord save us: we perish"! The Lord heard their prayer though it was uttered in little faith. How many times has the Lord heard our cries though they were feeble and weak? Poor sinner, here is your encouragement to believe in Christ though your faith be small. Here is your holy incentive to lay hold on eternal life in Christ though it be with a weak and trembling hand of faith.
Dear Child of Grace, do not despair if you are of "little faith." Christ does not despise you, nor your faith, so neither should you. But I will encourage you to cry to the Giver of every good gift to increase your faith and help you to be of "great faith." Christ does not despise you for being of little faith, but He is pleased with great faith and is able to increase your faith. May he help us to grow in grace and in Knowledge of Himself.