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What kind of faith saves us?

Faith in Jesus  
God's Word in Scripture says:
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.... ...And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:1-3, & 6)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)

It was Jesus Himself who said, "Have faith in God." And then He went on to talk about moving whole mountains and about how to have our prayers answered (see Mark 11:22-26).

But what is real faith in God?

What does it mean to have faith in God? Can anyone do it?

What about a faith that is mostly shaped by a person's own desires and wishes? Is that really having faith in God? Or is that simply the common human ability to believe in the things we make up along the way? After all, paganism and all false religions come from some place within the human heart, and not from the reality and revelation of God.

But I know that I believe!

Let's face it, everyone has the ability to believe, to exercise some kind of faith. There is a common ability to believe in things we do not see or know much about, a faith that anyone can have. But that is not the "saving faith" talked about in the Bible. That's not what Noah had, or Abraham, or David, or Joseph or Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. The Bible talks about believing what God Himself is saying not simply believing in what we might want to think or feel.

Biblical faith is more than a bland hope or a merely subjective expectation of "something good" out there.  Genuine Christian faith goes beyond saying "God is a nice person" and beyond the silly idea that any kind of belief/religion is just as valid as any other kind. The faith that transforms sinners into children of God is itself a gift of God. Saving faith enables us to see beyond mere flesh and blood, beyond the physical realm.

Saving faith is much more than simply believing that there is a God. It's believing God believing what God Himself has to say. By faith, we're able to trust what God has said, what He's revealed to the world supernaturally by His Holy Spirit, and by His own Son, Jesus Christ.

Instead of just believing in the supernatural, or merely believing that there is a God, we actually believe God. It's real faith in God, and not just a common faith that says that some kind of God must exist.

Don't get me wrong, we all start out with lots of our own ideas, things we picked up along the way, and with a faith that is less than powerful. But as God works in our lives, and as He communicates to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to trust in Him, and to place our faith in His truth.

What must I do to receive eternal life?

We need the kind of faith that issues forth from the very being of God Himself, the confidence given to all who will listen and see Jesus Christ for who He is and what He has to say. You and I do not start out knowing how to get this kind of faith. We don't even know that there is such a thing out there, or that we need it. But God helps us, if we're willing to learn from Him. He even helps us when we're not willing to learn.

Why is Jesus so important, if I just want to believe in God?

Jesus is more than just a nice guy who lived a long time ago and said lots of great things. He's greater than all human beings. He is the very Son of God who came to be with us, to speak to us, and to die for us. While God has used lots of people, such as prophets and apostles and preachers to convey His message to the world, Jesus is unique in that He actually came down from heaven to communicate and to accomplish God's will among us.

Jesus reveals to us the true and living God -- the God who really is, just as He says in Matthew 11:27. But we won't come to faith in the Lord Jesus unless the Father speaks to us and instructs us, as the Lord Jesus also says in John 6:44,45. Everyone who will see and listen, who will trust God, placing their faith in what He reveals about Himself in the Bible, will be taught by the Holy Spirit everything we need to know about Jesus Christ, as Jesus Himself promised the early disciples in John 16:6-15.

The truth about who God is and what He's really like can't be known except as God chooses to make Himself known to each of us. This does not mean that God is hiding somewhere. The Bible says that the heavens and all creation reveals some aspects of God's glorious nature. And Paul writes in the New Testament book of Romans that we therefore have no excuse for our ignorance. Yet while the whole universe praises God and shows off His glory, it is clearly evident that human beings are universally blind and deaf to spiritual things except as God helps us along. We no longer have an instinctively accurate understanding of the true and living God from within.

Thankfully, God has spoken and has revealed eternal truths about Himself through the prophets and others who wrote the Scriptures that we now call the Holy Bible. God continues to speak to the minds and hearts of mortal men, women, and children. And whoever is willing to approach God with the heart of a child, whoever is willing to listen to God's voice, will discover what God has to say. In the pages of the Holy Bible all the truth we will ever need is revealed for all generations to come.

Genuine faith leads us to the fountain of all wisdom, righteousness and joy to life itself.

True faith in God brings not just a sliver of wisdom (enabling us to finally begin thinking a few true thoughts about the incomprehensible God), but it also overwhelms us with joy, and it inspires us ever onward. It even lifts us up and carries us forward to godly obedience and to fresh hope each day. Faith teaches us the truth about God's love for us, and it also trains us in how to truly love Him back.

With Jesus as our ultimate teacher, our one true shepherd, our highest example in all things, how can we ever fail? In Christ Jesus we cannot fail, for we're lifted up ever higher each day to walk in the light of God's love and wisdom. The reality of life in Christ surpasses all human imaginations of what a "heavenly" life must be like. The reality of Christ Jesus surpasses every human dream of fulfillment, accomplishment, peace and happiness.

If it sounds otherworldly, it is. If it sounds too good to be true, it remains true nonetheless.

Sure, Christians stumble and fall in many different ways. But then we were never told to have faith in our own ability, our own wisdom, or in our own human goodness. The call of God on every human heart is to look up. Look up, look up into the face of One who knows us very well and yet still loves us truly and forever.

Mere pity on the human race did not bring Jesus to this earth. Love did. And love led the Lord Jesus all the way to the cross, and beyond. And God's grace at work in all who believe in Jesus makes us free to simply love Him back. We've finally found one who will never turn away those who hope in Him. Because Jesus is willing to accept us, embrace us, and keep us, we are saved.

An anchor for our faith.

Saving faith is based on nothing less than Jesus' love and righteousness. The result of God's grace in Jesus Christ is that we can finally have real faith, a solid hope, and eternal love for the God who made all things and who also promises to make all things new.

On the night before Jesus died on the cross, He said this to the first disciples: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house there is plenty of room for everyone; if it were not so, I would've told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to make a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself; so that where I am, there you may be also. ... I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (from John 14:1-6)

Jesus gives that same message to everyone willing to place their faith in Him. He is the reason for the faith that we have. Without Jesus Christ there would be no real reason to hope for God's mercy. But now we have a reason and a real hope. Now we have a faith that remains strong even when things around us are falling apart. It's a faith that saves us. It's a faith that remains to eternal life.


For help in surrendering your life to Jesus Christ, click here.