The Need For Faith
How important is faith? According to Hebrews 11:6, it is the only way we can please God.
“But 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 diligently seek Him.”
In Hebrews 11:1, we read “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” As I look at that verse it seems to me there are two aspects to faith. One is the intellectual assent and the other is trust.
· Intellectual assent is believing something to be true.
· Trust is actually relying on the fact that the something is true.
I have a wonderful chair in my office that was purchased just for me. According to the literature that came with the chair, it is absolutely safe for someone weighing 200 + pounds to sit in it. I have the assurance that is true. I will demonstrate trust when I actually sit down.
The Bible gives us a lot of facts about Jesus Christ. Many people will intellectually agree that those facts are true. Biblical faith is more than believing that the facts are true. Biblical faith is acting on those facts and trusting them to be true. For example, in 1st John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I know personally that this promise is absolutely true. His forgiveness is given the moment we admit our need. It is given because He is a God of love, grace and mercy. It is not based on any merit of our own.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus is God incarnate (come in the flesh), and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. It also teaches that three days later He was resurrected. History supports those facts, but believing them to be true is not enough. Folks – even the demons believe those facts. In James 2:19 we read, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!” We must personally and fully rely/trust on the death of Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The faith that God requires of us for salvation is belief in what the Bible says about who Jesus is and what He accomplished and fully trusting in Him for that salvation. In Acts 16 we read about the Philippian jailor who fell down before Paul and Silas following an earthquake that rocked the prison. Visibly shaken he asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” In vs. 31 they said to him, “Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and you will be saved, and your household.” That very night that man and his family surrendered their lives to Christ and were baptized.
In order to be saved or born again spiritually, it calls for repentance. That’s more than just being sorry for our sins. Repentance comes from the Greek word METANOIA which is a changing of one’s mind, that results in a change in the way one lives. In 2nd Cor. 7:9-10 we read of Paul saying, “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation not to be regretted…” Listen also to the Apostle Peter in 2nd Peter 3:9, “The LORD is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Not only is faith required for salvation but faith in God and His word is essential for all of life.
· “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
· “For we walk/live by faith.” 2 Cor. 5:7
· “The just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4
· “We are to pursue faith.” 1 Tim. 6:11-12
· “Our faith and hope are to be in God.” 1 Peter 1:21
· “We are to trust in Him at all times.” Psalm 62:8
· “We are to trust in the LORD forever.” Isaiah 26:4
· “We are to put our confidence in God.” Psalm 78:7
· “The one who believes is blessed.” Psalm 40:4; 84:12; Prov. 16:20
· “This person will never thirst.” John 6:35
· “Such a person will not be disappointed.” Rom. 9:33; 10:11
· “This person will have their prayers heard.” 1 Chron. 5:20
· “This person will be delivered because he/she trusted in the LORD.” Jer. 39:18
· “A person of faith will be kept in perfect peace.” Isa. 26:3
I could go on and on listing the merits and blessings that come by faith, but I want to end this meditation on a different note. Wouldn’t it be great for the whole world – well even our neighbors – or our family members to witness our faith in action? Paul said to the believers in Rome, “…your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (1:8). To the Ephesians he wrote, “Therefore, I also, after I heard of your faith in the LORD JESUS and your love for all the saints, do not cease to make mention of you in my prayers.” (1:15-16).
My prayer is –
“O God, help me to grow a faith like Elijah, who called down fire from the heaven to consume his sacrifice and destroy the false prophets. (1 Kings 18). He stayed in the home of a widow who was destitute and saw God meet her needs. (1 Kings 17). He waited on God, and ravens brought him his food. (1 Kings 17).
May others be drawn to you as they see us living by faith.”
This is my prayer.
In His glory,