Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.John 4:50-54
Did Jesus heal the nobleman’s son before or after the man believed?
We can clearly see that Jesus performed this awesome miracle despite the fact the nobleman was still abiding in unbelief. Even though the man did not have complete faith is Jesus, his son was saved. It was only after Jesus had healed his son and told the nobleman that he believed.
After the nobleman returns home and learns details of the time of his son’s healing, John records that the man believed and his whole house.
There are two interesting questions about this account.
1. Didn’t John record that the man already believed before he headed home?
2. How is it that the nobleman’s house believed?
Let’s consider the first question. From this we can easily see that belief/faith is not always a fixed amount or degree. Our level of belief can fluctuate with our experience and increased understanding of the power of God. All children of God have the same “seed of faith,” if you will. Paul calls this the “measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) All children of God have an inborn trust in God (given in the new birth), but it is only by experience and education in the power of God that the child of God can outwardly express faith and belief.
The second question is quite simple. The man told them what happened and they were able to believe that Jesus had the power to heal from great distances.
The answer may be simple but it is extremely profound. If the man had not told them, they could not have believed!
They, no doubt, had been born again or else they would not have been able to believe at all. But they were made able to outwardly show belief in the gospel when they were told what had happened.
Thus, gospel faith is dependent upon the presence of the “measure of faith” given in the new birth. But the faith given in the new birth is independent of our expressions of gospel faith.