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As we look at this passage in Matthew, a man came to Yahshua (Jesus) asking for mercy for his son, his son had an evil spirit within him, and he told Yahshua (Jesus) that he brought him to his disciples, and they were unable to cure him and Yahshua (Jesus) rebuked the devil and it left his son. Then as they were alone, the disciples asked Yahshua (Jesus), why they could not cast out the demon and in the following verse is when Yahshua (Jesus) made the comment about the mustard seed.
I have heard many people speak about this passage of Scripture where Yahshua (Jesus) was talking to his disciples about the mustard seed and faith, and they have used this as a proof text as to how little faith. It actually takes to do something in hopes of trying to encourage people to have faith, just a little faith because it does not take a lot of faith to accomplish something. However, when we look closely at this passage of Scripture. It is not an encouragement to try and have within yourself a little faith of your own. For Yahshua (Jesus) says in verse 17, in reference to them, "O faithless and perverse generation."
Yahshua (Jesus) uses the word faithless; that is having no faith at all. Then in verse 19, the disciples came to Yahshua (Jesus) privately and ask him why they could not cast the evil spirit out, and this is when Yahshua (Jesus) gave his response in verse 20, the first thing that Yahshua (Jesus) said is, "because of your unbelief" and Yahshua (Jesus) followed that up with the statement about the mustard seed as he said, "if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Yahshua (Jesus) was not using this statement to encourage them to have a little faith within themselves of their own, Yahshua (Jesus) was showing how if someone had faith as a grain of mustard seed what they could accomplish. Yahshua (Jesus) was telling them, in effect that you do not even have the faith the size of a mustard seed, because as of yet they have no faith at all.
Very much the same with anyone before they become saved. They have no faith. In order for them to be saved Elohim (God) must give them both his grace and faith.
There is another passage of Scripture in the gospel of Luke, where Yahshua (Jesus) is talking to his apostles, and speaking to them about forgiveness and saying, if someone wrongs you and comes back to you asking you to forgive them. Yahshua (Jesus) says to forgive them. And in response, the apostles asked Yahshua (Jesus) to increase their faith.
Luke 17:5-6 5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
After being asked by the apostles to increase their faith. Yahshua (Jesus) said, "if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say unto this sycamore tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you." This time, instead of using a mountain as an example, he is using a sycamore tree. As an example, that they would be able to pluck that sycamore tree up and cast it into the sea, if they even had the faith as a grain of mustard seed. Therefore, again, Yahshua (Jesus) is in effect telling them they have no faith at all. So how can Yahshua (Jesus) increase something they do not have?
A Biblical Look at Salvation.
Salvation is the entire message of the Bible. This is the reason that the Bible has been written, to teach people about the need of salvation and bring them unto salvation. We want to take a biblical look at salvation and how someone comes to know Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah as their Master (Lord) and Savior.
A good place to begin would be to take a look in the gospel of John.
John 6:44 44 No man can come to me, [Yahshua (Jesus)] except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In (John 6:44), Yahshua (Jesus) is speaking and says, "no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." We see anyone coming to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah must be drawn to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah by the Father. Elohim (God) begins to work in the life of a person and draws that person to Yahshua (Jesus) the Messiah, after they are drawn to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah, the Holy Spirit brings them to life through The Messiah.
John 6:63 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The word quickeneth means to bring to life. Now, as this verse says the flash profits nothing through our flash we can do nothing as far as bringing our souls to life the Holy Spirit does this through Yahshua (Jesus).
John 6:65 65 And he [Yahshua (Jesus)] said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
We see again in this verse it is only possible for someone to come to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah by the Father. When we were looking earlier at Romans chapter 3, there was none righteous, there was none who understands there is none who seeks after Elohim (God). This is the description of all mankind. Absolutely no one of their own accord or of their own free will would ever come to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah. Therefore, our only hope of salvation lies in the hands of the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Father intervenes in our life brings us to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah and the Spirit makes us alive through Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah.
For someone to think that they can come to salvation on their own and choose Yahshua (Jesus) of their own free will would completely be in contradiction with Romans chapter 3 and verse 10 and following.
John 10:1-3 1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
We find a warning in verse 1, that anyone not entering by the door, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. The door is Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah. The only way we can come to Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah is if the Father draws us to Him, and Yahshua (Jesus) calls us by name. Yahshua (Jesus) knows the name of each and every person He has come to save. As Yahshua (Jesus) calls us by name the Holy Spirit brings us to life through The Messiah.
Elohim (God) has his people whom He has chosen for Himself and these whom He has chosen for Himself, He is going to save. This is what Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah has come to do, to seek out every person that He has per-ordained to salvation and Yahshua (Jesus) knows who they are.
John 10:14-16 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
In verse 16, Yahshua (Jesus) is saying He has other sheep, He must bring them also, they will hear His voice. Here is a group of people who are not saved. In fact, most of them are not even born yet, and Yahshua (Jesus) refers to them as His sheep, belonging to Him while they are not yet saved, but they are His people.
As we continue through the gospel of John, we find another other group of people that are not saved
and Yahshua (Jesus) says that they do not belong to Him:
John 10:24-27 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Messiah, tell us plainly.
25 Yahshua (Jesus) answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
The gospel of John speaks of two different groups of people who are not saved. One group Yahshua (Jesus) refers to as belonging to Him. The other group Yahshua (Jesus) refers to as not belonging to Him, they are not his sheep. Yet both groups are not saved, and I repeat, he says of one group, they are my sheep and the other group. He says they are not of my sheep. Yahshua (Jesus) knows each and every person who belong to Him, and who He has come to save; from the foundation of the world to the end. He has come to save His people.
We see this same truth being taught at the birth of The Messiah. Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married and before they had come together. Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, being a just man was not willing to make a public spectacle of her and was going to put her away privately, but while he thought about this, the angel of the Master (Lord) appeared to Joseph in a dream
and said to him:
Matthew 1:21 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YAHSHUA (JESUS): for he shall save his people from their sins.
The people that (Matthew 1:21) tells us Yahshua (Jesus) has come to save are his people. If I were to randomly ask people who has Yahshua (Jesus) come to save? I have no doubt that I would get such responses as everyone that accepts Yahshua (Jesus). In that line of thinking they would not become his people until after they have accepted Yahshua (Jesus) as their Savior. However, we are told in (Matthew 1:21), that he shall save his people (future tense), from their sin. We see that there are a people of Elohim (God) who Yahshua (Jesus) has come to save, and we also have seen this when we looked at John chapter 10.
I grew up going to church, and while I was going to church through my childhood, my teens and into my very young adulthood. I was taught the doctrine of free will and that you accept Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah by your own free will in order to be saved. At a fairly young age, about 12 years old, I indicated to my father that I wanted to be a Christian, he took me over to the minister's house. The minister spoke with me for a while then we had a prayer together, where he led me in what is known as the sinner’s prayer, from that point on I looked at myself as being a Christian. I grew up also, reading parts of the Bible and being taught the Bible through church. When I would read, I would read mostly from the New Testament, but it appeared to be fragmented Scripture. Nothing really clicked together for me, as I said, it was only a book of fragmented parts to me. As far as my life, there was no change in my life and I followed the same road as a lot of my non-Christian friends through my teens and into my young adulthood. As I got into my young adulthood, I began to question the existence of Elohim (God). Then as I reached near my mid-20s I began to convince myself that there were many inaccuracies in the Bible. After I spoke with one of my friends about it, I was determined that I was going to find these inaccuracies and point them out. The only way I could really do this was to really spend time reading the Bible comprehensively. I started from Genesis and going through reading the Bible book by book, but I wasn't reading it speedily because I was searching for the inaccuracies so I had to try and retain what I was reading in order to find them.
As I read through the book of Job. I was fascinated by his faith, and thought that he had strong faith through all he has gone through and yet did not reject Elohim (God). I was astonished by what I was reading. By this time I had forgotten the reason I started reading the Bible and was finding it very interesting. By the time I began the book of Psalms. I was beginning to believe what I was reading with my mind.
As I was reading through the Psalms. It was talking about the evil men of the world. As I continue to read, I began to believe what I was reading with my heart and all of a sudden I could understand what the Bible was talking about. I could understand how Elohim (God) held everything together. I knew that he had created the world and the whole universe, and I knew that he could squash me out as simple as I would put a thumb on an ant and squash it. Then the thought came to me that these evil men, it's talking about in the world is me and I was gripped with fear, fear like I have never felt before, then Elohim (God) brought to my remembrance why I started reading the Bible in the first place and I was gripped with even more fear. Before I could snap my finger. I was on the floor, on my knees, tears streaming down my face, the only thing I could think of to say at that moment was how stupid could I have been! And I just repeated that over and over how stupid could I have been! And Elohim (God) by means of the Holy Spirit reached down and save me through Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah. I just thanked Elohim (God) for his salvation that he has showered upon me.
From that day forth, my life has never been the same. Elohim (God) has changed my thinking. He has changed my heart he has created within me a clean heart and my life has changed for the good ever sense. Now when someone asks me, when were you saved? I don't say when I was a child, about 12 years old. I say in my mid-20s Elohim (God) found me and save me through his son Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah.
After that, when I would read the Bible. It wasn't fragmented parts. It follows a thread all the way.
From Genesis through Revelation. It follows the same thread of salvation through Yahshua (Jesus) The Messiah.
Through the years, I not only would read the Bible, but I would study it very carefully and as I did I understood more and more how Elohim (God) has chosen us onto his salvation. I prefer to speak of it as election that he has elected us unto salvation.
As time went on in my early 30s I became a minister and was pastor of a church, or churches for about 25 years. I knew the different beliefs between election and free will. But in my early days in the ministry. I really didn't see any great harm to it. I just continued to believe the way I learned through close examination of the Bible that it is Elohim (God) who has chosen us to salvation and not us that has chosen Elohim (God).