The Third Great Awakening will involve the awakening to the fact and reality of the God-given faith. In Mk.11:22 the KJV, ESV, and many other versions render the phrase as, “have faith in God.” However, the form in the Greek is in the Genitive-Ablative case (if you use A.T. Roberson’s eight case declension of nouns and adjectives or the Genitive, if you don’t). The Genitive, of course, refers to the source of faith, that is, a faith that is from God or a God-given faith. Interestingly enough, I first encountered this in a center column reference in one of my KJV Bibles many years ago. As I checked it out in the Greek, I became convinced that that is the best rendering, that it tells us the kind of faith we are supposed to have, the faith that comes from God. A sermon which I have preached on the text bears the title, The Right Stuff.
This goes along with a number of other references in the Bible. We find Philippians 1:29 clearly sets forth the idea that believing is a God-given trust in Christ. And in Ephs.2:8, about which there is much controversy, we find that there is reason for asserting that faith is the gift of God. However, as a seminary president was once reported to have said, concrete nouns, the relative pronoun that is ordinarily feminine, whereas the abstract nouns like faith use neuter in the pronoun.. However, even a feminine concrete noun can use a relative neuter. Funny, thing is that even A.T. Robertson could have lapses, He asserted the neuter demonstrative that in Eph.2:8 does not refer to the noun faith. Dr. Gordon Clarke points out that in Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p704 , lists six exceptions to the common rule that adjectives agree in gender with their nouns. Interestingly enough, I Peter 2:19 had demonstrative neuter pronouns with feminine nouns (twice), a parallel to Ephs.2:8. (Biblical Predestination. Phillisburg, N.J.: Bible Presbyterian and Reformd Pub. co., 1969, p.103, fn.1).
In Mk.9:14-29 the father of the child admitted that he was unable to believe. He even cried out, 9:24, “help my unbelief.” In other words, help me over come my unbelief, my inability to believe. It is the neglect of the fact that God requires the impossible as our Lord clearly demanded in Mk.10:17-27, when He called for the rich young ruler to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow Him. That that was impossible is plainly stated by our Lord to Peter in 9:27. Our Lord plainly teaches the inability of man to produce what He requires, Jn.6:44, 65. When I was a child in elementary school, the teacher pointed out to me that the difference between can and may is the difference between ability and permission.
Why this demand for the impossible? It is to bring the sinner to the end of himself or herself so that the only thing left is to cast one’s self upon the mercy of God for help to do that which could not otherwise be done. For 42 years I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening, and one of the prerequisites to such a visitation is the realization that mankind’s only hope is the mercy and grace of God – not some act or decision or choice he or she can or might make. In other words, the sinner is brought to the feet of Christ begging for the mercy, the grace, to respond as the Lord desires and demands. In short, we invite the sinner to do the impossible, when we invite such to believe and to trust, to repent and turn, to cast one’s self upon God’s great mercy and grace for salvation. As Jonah said, “Salvation is of the Lord.”(Jonah 2:9). As one evangelist put it, salvation is of the Lord in its inception, application, continuation, consummation.