One of the most profound statements in the Bible is found in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” What is the Lord driving at here? His skepticism at finding faith on earth can’t be a reference to the simple fact of faith — which always results in salvation — for when He returns for his church, uncountable millions will join him in the clouds to be with Him forever in their eternal home. Indeed, God himself has promised that Abraham’s seed would be as innumerable as the stars in the heavens. So what does the question mean, “Shall Christ find faith?”
Faith here must be understood in the sense of mature faith — faith like God intended for believers to have. In spirit, then, this lack of mature faith harmonizes with those passages that upbraid the disciples for their “little faith” (e.g. Matt. 6:30, 8:26, 16:8). Those who were addressed in these passages had enough faith to be saved, but not enough to enter as fully into the things of God as was their privilege and duty.
What was lacking in those who were addressed in these “little faith” passages? In Matthew 6 the lack was men not seeking the kingdom of heaven first because they were focused on looking after their temporal needs. In Matthew 8 the lack was worrying about threatening circumstances. And in Matthew 16 the lack was not entering into the truth that the religious world is dangerous and that we need to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. It is a humbling experience to meditate on what the Lord calls “little faith.” It seems to me that even the best among us are guilty of it to some degree.
Given the context of the “little faith” passages, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Lord’s fear in Luke 18:8 is that when he comes for his church, he will find his people guilty of such things as making decisions based on temporal considerations rather than eternal considerations, giving more weight to their fears than his protection, and failing to discern religious departure within Christendom. I shudder when I think on these failures. They are no small matters and they deeply color the entire evangelical movement.
So how do we turn things around for ourselves, for our local churches, and for our associations and circles? If a lack of faith is our problem, then an increase of faith is our solution. And to this end I have several suggestions. One, we need to spend more time in the Bible, not merely reading it, but soaking it in and meditating on it. As we read in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by spiritual hearing, and spiritual hearing comes by the Word of God.” Two, we need to pray that the Lord will increase our faith — pray with hunger and passion — with particular reference to the areas that seem the biggest challenge to us. And three, we need to implement what we learn. As we read, “To him that has, more shall be given.”
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard