The Signs of the Times


October 25, 1899

The Touch of Faith


The Narrative—An Important Lesson—The True versus the Casual Touch—A Friend at Court—Dwarfed Spirituality

In answer to an earnest invitation, Christ was on His way to exercise His skill as a divine, compassionate Physician. As He went, the multitude pressed as closely as possible to Him, anxious to get near the center of attraction. In the throng there was a woman who had long been troubled with a painful malady. For twelve years she had suffered with this disease. She had spent all she had on physicians, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. She was told of Christ's power, but she did not think herself worthy of His notice. “If I may but touch His garment,” she thought, “I shall be whole.” She watched her opportunity, and Christ in His infinite love knowing her heart's desire, moved in her direction. By faith she put forth her hand, and, touching the hem of His garment, was instantly made whole. Her faith was not in the garment, but in the virtue which the garment covered. ST October 25, 1899, par. 1

Happiness now filled the woman's soul, and she was seeking to escape from the crowd and go quietly on her way, when Christ's voice was heard, saying plainly and distinctly, “Who touched Me?” It was a strange question to ask, and as He looked round to see who had touched Him, Peter and the other disciples said, “Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?” But Christ desired to teach a lesson which would sound down through the ages to our time, and He said, “Somebody hath touched Me; for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me.” “And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before Him, she declared unto Him before all the people for what cause she had touched Him, and how she was healed immediately.” “Daughter,” Christ said, “be of good cheer; thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” ST October 25, 1899, par. 2

We need to understand this lesson; for it has a deeper meaning than many realize. It is possible to be in Christ's presence, and even to press close to Him, and yet receive no blessing, because we touch Him only with the casual touch of the multitude. There are hundreds and thousands who think they have faith in Christ; but they do not touch Him with the faith manifested by the suffering woman. ST October 25, 1899, par. 3

Why do we not show more faith? We do not know what blessings we are losing because of our unbelief. To exercise faith it is not necessary to become worked up into an ecstasy of feeling. This is not at all essential. Exercising faith means taking God at His word, believing in His power to save to the uttermost all who come to Him, relying on His word because He is behind the promise and can do all things. If we come to Him in living faith, we shall receive of His fulness. “If ye ask anything in My name,” He says, “I will do it.” Then comes the condition: “If ye love Me, keep My commandments. “Obedience makes us witnesses for God. ST October 25, 1899, par. 4

We need to take in the real meaning of Christ's words. We may read them over and over again, and yet miss their true significance. In this way we lose the blessing of the promises here given. Do not be satisfied to follow Christ a great way off. Many today are doing this. They think that they are trusting in the Saviour, but their faith resembles that of the multitude, who touched Him with only a casual touch. ST October 25, 1899, par. 5

What a friend we have at court! After His resurrection Christ spoke to His disciples, saying: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” This promise is as surely given to the people of God in 1899 as it was to those in whose hearing Christ spoke. But do we not often forget this promise, and limit the Holy One of Israel? God can not honor indifference, neither can He honor unbelief. Why need any one be mystified? Why do human beings so often go to human beings with inquiries regarding their temptations and their desire to please God? Where is their faith?—It is centered in human instrumentalities, not in the One who “so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ST October 25, 1899, par. 6

“God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” Many are wearing continually the yoke of condemnation because they do not take the Word of God as yea and amen in Christ Jesus. They may have a casual faith in Christ as the Son of God, but this is of no avail. ST October 25, 1899, par. 7

“This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.” They will not come to the light, for fear their deeds will be reproved. This is the position taken by many. Their names are in the church books; they observe a round of ceremonies; but they do not love the truth. They have been satisfied to stand at the door. They do not press their way into Christ's presence, to share with Him the glory of His royal life. Their characters are not brought into harmony with the truth. They have not that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Evil speaking, evil surmising, dishonest actions, cast a dark shadow across their pathway. Their faith sinks into this shadow of shame, and they feel that they are separated from Christ. There is a sting in the conscience, a condemnation in the life. They feel a desire to hide away from God. Light has come into the world, but they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. ST October 25, 1899, par. 8

Is not this the reason of our dwarfed spirituality? Is not this the reason why we have so little faith? We live under a sense of condemnation. The time has come when it is for our eternal interest to believe in Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He says, “I will write My law in their hearts.” In those who come to Him in faith He will create a divine principle of holiness which will rule in the soul, enlightening the understanding and captivating the affections. ST October 25, 1899, par. 9

Why did God permit the children of Israel to be bitten by serpents in the wilderness?—It was because of their wicked unbelief and continual rebellion, their perversity and murmuring. They did not stop to think how much God was saving them from, how many evils He was holding in check. He had forbidden the poisonous serpents to touch them. He had restrained the wild beasts of the forest. He had saved His people from a thousand dangers. He sent them test and trial, to see whether they had learned the lesson of submission, and were prepared to receive the rich blessings He had in store for them. Thus He sought to correct their selfishness, that they might take their place in His divine theocracy as a representative people. It was His purpose that they should reveal His character and bear a living testimony to the world that God honors those who honor Him. He desired them to be a pure, holy, intelligent people, who could be used as light-bearers to the world. But instead of remembering that the Angel of the Lord was constantly guiding and protecting them, the children of Israel lost sight of God's merciful and wonderful dealing, and magnified the trials sent to prove them. God could not work with a people who continually lost sight of their advantages, and dishonored Him by unbelief. ST October 25, 1899, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White