The Apostle Paul wrote, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’we also believe and therefore speak.” (2 Corinthians 4:13). It is important to understand who Paul is quoting when he says it is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke.” He is summarizing a Psalm that David wrote. The Psalm is about David being delivered from the fire of affliction.
In part the king wrote, “I was brought low, and He saved me…You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 116). David was sharing that God had saved his life, and because of this salvation he would speak of his deliverance from his enemies. Paul himself was then making a statement that since it was written in scripture that God delivers those who trust in him, he would confess his faith in that deliverance and testify of his own experience of being rescued by God.
It is important to understand a key part of faith is to confess, to agree with what is found in scripture. It is more than a mental assent, it is rather a belief that flows from the heart and then is vocalized in our confession. Faith comes by hearing, and we need to hear words of faith spoken from our own mouth into our own ears as much as we need to hear words of faith spoken by others.
In a sense Paul was saying “It is written, therefore I believe it, therefore I will confess it!” He is proclaiming a strength that refuses to surrender. Indeed, some of Paul’s worst critics were in Corinth where he wrote his letter. But Paul stood on a firm foundation that if God be for you, then who can be against you? Read the words of the lion of a preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who wrote well over a century ago:
“I could not have spoken thus if it had not been for my faith: I should never have spoken unto God in prayer, nor have been able now to speak to my fellow men in testimony if it had not been that faith kept me alive, and brought me a deliverance, whereof I have good reason to boast. Concerning the things of God no man should speak unless he believes; the speech of the waverer is mischievous, but the tongue of the believer is profitable; the most powerful speech which has ever been uttered by the lip of man has emanated from a heart fully persuaded of the truth of God. Not only the Psalmist, but such men as Luther, and Calvin, and other great witnesses for the faith could each one most heartily say, ‘I believed, therefore have I spoken.'”
Spurgeon, like David, experienced God’s hand of deliverance, and therefore he confessed his own faith loudly and with strength, knowing that his faith was a link in a chain of men and women who for centuries would also proclaim that God is faithful. Five hundred years ago Joseph Caryl wisely proclaimed, “The tongue should always be the heart’s interpreter, and the heart should always be the tongue’s suggester; what is spoken with the tongue should be first stamped upon the heart and wrought off from it.”
Faith burns in the heart, faith that is founded on truth, on testimony, especially the testimony of scripture. That testimony then is reflected in our own lives until we can say, “Yes, I read it, I lived it, I know it, therefore I confess it, God is faithful!”
Be sure to read a copy of the Book of Psalms at the Cleveland Library, then join us Sundays at Akron First to testify of your own experience that, “He is faithful.”