Mark 9:23


This is a case in which the revisers have introduced a dramatic play of expression into what has seemed a merely conditional statement; and apparently with the authority of the best manuscripts. The words of Christ are seen to be those of surprise and expostulation. He sends back the qualification which the man had uttered, and asserts the virtual omnipotence of faith, and, at the same time, the dauntlessness of its spirit.

I. The SPIRIT WHICH CHARACTERIZES THE BELIEVER.

1. Confidence and fearlessness. The true believer will never say, "If thou canst." The greatest difficulties will not seem insuperable, and the testimony of sight and ordinary experience will be distrusted. Inward weakness and uncertainty will be conquered. The one thing of consequence will be, "Is this promised?" "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15; cf. Habakkuk 2:17).

2. It is to be distinguished from self-confidence. There is no immediate reference to self in such a conviction; it bases itself upon the unseen and eternal, the laws and promises of God. Hence we may speak of the humility of faith.

3. It is exceptional and divinely produced. Most men are guided by their ordinary experience. When that experience is deliberately set aside or ignored, it must be because of some fact or truth not visible to the natural mind. But such a discovery would be equivalent to a Divine communication. The faith which proceeds upon this must, therefore, be supernaturally inspired. It cannot exist save in one conscious of God, and of a peculiar relation to him.

II. THE POSSIBILITIES OF FAITH. If not wholly dependent upon the actual experience of the power of faith, the confidence of the believer is nevertheless greatly sustained and strengthened by it. Resting in the first instance upon the consciousness of One mighty to save, whose help is promised and assured, and concerning whom it may be said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" the man of faith will also prize every indication that God has been with man. For he is assured from within and from without that the possibilities of faith are:

1. Unlimited - because it identifies itself with the power of God. Faith is the union of the spirit of the believer with him in whom he trusts. It ensures nothing less than his interest and help. The weakest child of God can secure his aid. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

2. Unlimited - save that it subjects itself to the will of God. Just as God is omnipotent and yet incapable of unrighteousness, so the faith of the believer will only avail for things pleasing to his heavenly Father. But, then, it never desires any other. The promises of God, however, declare the direction in which Divine help may be certainly expected; and there are countless instances in which the believer can plainly discern the lawfulness and propriety of the objects for which he pleads.

(1) The work of faith is ever blessed.

(2) The prayer of faith is never denied; for if the answer do not assume the form expected, it will nevertheless prove to be substantially, and under the best form, the blessing that is required. And fervent, earnest, repeated prayer is unmistakably encouraged by the teaching of Christ. It is for Christians not to pray less, but more and more importunately, only leaving the particular mode in which the answer is to come to the wisdom and love of God.

3. Unlimited - as illustrated ia Scripture and the biographies of godly men. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a magnificent confirmation of the promises of the Lord; and them can be no better exercise than the study of the answers to prayer recorded in the Word of God and the lives of saints. - M.









If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
I. The NATURE of faith. "Taking God at His Word," is perhaps one of the best definitions ever given. The truths connected with salvation, which require to be cordially believed, may be stated in the following manner.

1. That all have sinned.

2. I am a guilty sinner, and exposed to the just punishment of sin.

3. That Jesus having died for all, is the Saviour of all that truly believe on Him.

II. The PROVISIONS for faith. You are authorized to believe. God has made rich provision that you might believe. That you cannot believe in Christ without being saved is evident —

1. From the character of God.

2. From the Word of God.

3. From the assurance God has given to attest His word.

4. From the promises of God.

5. From the covenant of God (Hebrews 6:13, 18).

6. From the experience of His people in all ages.

III. The EXERCISE of faith. Includes —

1. Attention to the great objects of faith.

2. Knowledge (Matthew 13:16; Acts 27:27).

3. Reason.

4. Memory (1 Corinthians 15:1, 4).

5. The affections.

6. The will — the determined exercise of the affections, aided by the understanding. What shall hinder the exercise of faith? Answer objections.

IV. The MIGHTY POWER of faith. Examples — Abraham, three Hebrew children, Daniel, the man with the withered hand, the dying thief, etc.

1. Let every impenitent sinner believe that he is on the very brink of ruin, etc.

2. Let every penitent believe the record God has given of His Son, and apply it to himself.

3. Let every child of God in distress, etc., "trust, not be afraid."

4. Let the Christian who is seeking full salvation, believe, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanseth from all sin." Be it unto thee according to thy faith. Believe now. Continue to believe.

(A. Weston.)

I. ALL REAL GOODNESS IS TO BE ATTAINED BY THE EXERCISE OF FAITH IN CHRIST. This implies the absence of

(1)distrust;

(2)presumption;

(3)indifference.

II. FAITH MUST ALWAYS BE LIMITED BY THE PROMISES OF GOD.

III. FAITH MUST HAVE REFERENCE TO THE PARTICULAR BLESSING SOUGHT. We must therefore be well versed in

(1)the particular promises God has given, and in

(2)the method in which God bestows them.

(B. Noel.)

I. YOU WILL OBSERVE THE EXPRESSION, "If thou canst believe!" — not, if thou dost believe; — "If thou canst believe." Cannot, then, everyone believe? Is or is not a man responsible for the character of his faith, and its degree? I want to examine that a little carefully. I lay down two broad first principles. Every man — at least, every man who has not, by his own wilfulness, destroyed it — every man who has not made himself lower than a man, and so lost the position of our common humanity — every man has some faith. And secondly, every man who uses the faith he has, will increase its power, and acquire more. If you deny either of those two premises, I do not see how a man can be brought in accountable for his faith. But admit them, and observe what follows. Can everyone, at every moment, believe everything which he ought to believe? I think not; I think not at any moment. But then, had that man lived altogether as he ought to have lived, then he would, at that moment, have been able to believe a great deal more than he can believe now. The faith would have been in a stronger and clearer exercise. Probably, he would have been able to believe everything which at that particular time he was called upon to believe. And now, if that man will be true to his convictions, his faith will be sure to rise up to the level of believing what at that time he is unable to believe. For faith is progressive: faith must go to school, as patience must, or holiness must. Our Lord's words imply attainment — the difficulty of the attainment — and they sympathize with the difficulty of the attainment. But the power of believing is a moral thing, which a man holds in his own hands. We all know indeed, that there cannot be a believing thought, nor one true conception, or any spiritual thing, without the inworking of the Holy Ghost. But then, the Holy Ghost is always inworking. All that is contingent is our reception of the Holy Ghost.

II. THE OUTSIDE BOUNDARY LINE OF THE PROVINCE OF FAITH, PROPERLY SO CALLED, IS PROMISES. Faith is laying hold: I do not say of what God is, for God may be and is much which we cannot understand enough even to believe — but it is laying hold of what God has covenanted Himself to us — what God is to His people. The promises are what God is to His Church — therefore faith confines itself to promises.

III. I must not, and I need not, stop now, to show THAT WITHIN THAT CIRCUMFERENCE, THE RANGE OF GOD'S UNDERTAKINGS FOR US, IS LEFT ENOUGH, BECAUSE IT IS LEFT STILL INFINITE. But how to get this faith? "What is the road to it? First, be sure that you are living a good, moral life. Secondly, do God's will, whatever, in your conscience, you feel God's will is. Thirdly, cherish convictions, and obey the "still small voices." Fourth, act out the faith you have, and let it be a constant prayer, "More faith, Lord; more faith." Fifth, go up and down among the promises, and be conversant with the character and the attributes of God. Sixth, wrestle with some one promise in spirit every day, till you get it. Seventh, take large, loving views of Jesus, make experiments of His love, — and always sit and wait, with an open heart, to take in all that He most assuredly waits to give.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. SOME OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF FAITH.

1. We will consider faith in its relationship to guilt.

2. Let us also observe faith in the midst of those constant attacks of which the heir of heaven is the subject.

3. The obtaining of eminence in grace.

4. The power of faith in the service of God.

II. WHERE LIES, THEN, THE SECRET STRENGTH OF FAITH? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is — an emanation of Divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God. Faith thinketh Who gave this promise. She remembereth WHY the promise was given. She also considers the amazing WORK of Christ. She then looks back upon the PAST. She remembers that God never has failed her.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Faith is not only a grace of itself, but is steward and purveyor of all other graces, and its office is to make provision for them, while they are working; and therefore as a man's faith grows either stronger or weaker, so his work goes on more or less vigorously. There is no grace, nor supply, nor mercy, laid up in the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is all in the hands of a believer's faith; and he may take from thence whatsoever he needs, to supply the present wants and necessities of his soul.

(Bishop Hopkins.)

The expression does not mean, in this connection, "It is possible for the believer to do all things," but "It is possible for the believer to get all things." Omnipotence is, in a sense, at his disposal. But the universality of things contemplated by our Lord was not, as the nature of the case makes evident, the most absolute conceivable. We must descend in thought to the limited universality of things that would be of benefit to the believer. We must, indeed, descend still farther. We must consider the benefit of the believer not absolutely, or unconditionally, but relatively to his circumstances, thus relatively to the circumstances of the other beings with whom he is connected. With these limitations — inherent in the nature of the case — "all things" are possible for him that believeth. But why only for him that believeth? Because faith in the fact of Christ's Divine power or authority, or, at all events, in the propitiousness which is involved in that fact, is, in the nature of things, absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of the highest spiritual blessings. By making it a prerequisite for the obtaining of material blessings, Christ made His visible life a parable of high invisible realities, and flashed light on the inner by the reflective power of the outer. It was the perfection of symbolism.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

Links
Mark 9:23 NIV
Mark 9:23 NLT
Mark 9:23 ESV
Mark 9:23 NASB
Mark 9:23 KJV

Mark 9:23 Bible Apps
Mark 9:23 Parallel
Mark 9:23 Biblia Paralela
Mark 9:23 Chinese Bible
Mark 9:23 French Bible
Mark 9:23 German Bible

Mark 9:23 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Mark 9:22
Top of Page
Top of Page