God's Word in
"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
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
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,