Last week we looked at the whole subject of repentance. As they fit so easily together, this week we are going to look at Faith. They are like two sides of a coin and make up the basis of God’s great salvation which many of us enjoy.
Faith is a great theme throughout the bible. In Hebrews chapter 11 you will find a list of men and women throughout bible times who did great exploits and were commended for their faith. In fact this chapter starts with a really good definition of what faith is “….faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
Any dealings we have with God by definition are by faith as we cannot see Him, touch Him or hear Him.
God makes it clear throughout the bible that He loves faith. In fact it says in verse 6 of Hebrews chapter 11 “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him”.
Faith, like repentance is a gift from God.
In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”.
Many people today understand faith as ‘blind faith’. They refer to a ‘leap of faith’, a vague hope that things will turn out alright. This is not biblical faith. Biblical faith is built on the evidence of the bible and how God has revealed himself. It is a reasonable faith.
There are 3 points I want to make about faith:
(1) We are saved by faith
One of the most well known passages of the entire bible is John 3:16 which says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
We believe that Jesus has died for us, we put our trust in Him to save us from our sins and we receive, by faith, God’s forgiveness.
(2) We are justified by faith
Justification is a picture taken from the law courts. God first of all declares us guilty, every last one of us has sinned and the just judgement is death (Romans 3:23). The wonder of justification is that God then declares us righteous because of what Jesus does in our place. He takes our punishment, paying the debt that we should pay. We receive all of this by faith. This is wonderfully summed up in the following passage:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11)
(3) We walk by faith
The Christian life is a life of faith. The apostle Paul demonstrates this life of faith through the example of Abraham in Romans 4:13-21. We can take a number of points from Abraham’s life:
- He heard the word of God and believed (v 13 and 21)
- He placed his hope in that promise (v18)
- He didn’t consider his own limitations or let them weaken his faith (v19)
- He did not waver in his commitment to God’s word (v20)
- He gave glory to God even before he received the promise (v20-21)
We would do well to imitate Abraham’s faith and gain faith by reading the bible:
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
In what areas can you step out in faith this week?
I have found that there is a direct correlation between my faith in God and how often I read the bible. The more I read it, the more I believe that God can do in my life what He does throughout the pages of scripture.
“A true faith in Jesus Christ will not suffer us to be idle. No, it is an active, lively, restless principle; it fills the heart, so that it cannot be easy till it is doing something for Jesus Christ.” (George Whitfield)