A friend tells me, “I have lots of faith.” I have no reason to doubt her. She probably does.
The televangelist tells the sick people, “If you have enough faith, you will be healed.” They believe they have enough, but they go home, still sick.
“His faith was important to him,” was said about a man who followed another religion.
“I am thankful for my faith in my God,” says a sportswoman member of a sect after she wins a contest.
What exactly is faith? The dictionary says it is “complete trust or confidence in someone or some thing.” The Bible defines it this way: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
There’s an old illustration that describes faith perfectly. A man shows a chair to another person. Let’s call this person “Steven.”
The man asks Steven, “Do you see this chair?”
Steven replies, “Yes.”
Man: “Do you believe it’s a good chair?”
Man: “Do you think it can hold me up?”
Man: “Do you believe it can hold you up?”
Man: “Then, sit in the chair.”
What Steven does after that proves or disproves his faith in the chair. Does he really believe it will hold him up? He proves his faith in the chair if he sits on it. If he doesn’t actually sit in the chair, he doesn’t really have faith in it. He only believes in his head. He hasn’t put his faith into action.
So, if you only believe, that’s not enough? Yes and no. It all depends what you believe in. We all believe in chairs, and we put our faith in them daily. Of course, chairs don’t make any difference for eternity.
- Some people are believers in certain religions, and some are believers in other religions.
- Some people believe in energy, a force—or in several forces.
- Some believe in gods, and some believe in God.
Many people think, like Steven before he sat down, that simply believing is enough. They have faith in what they believe in.
To believe in God, isn’t that enough? The Bible says, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2:19). Even demons believe in God!
People place their faith in religions, gods, images, good works, and forces. Don’t all roads lead to heaven—as long as your faith is sincere? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Jesus thinks otherwise. He says He’s the only way.
So, if the only way to heaven is through Jesus, how does one actually put his faith in Him?
Let’s read what the Bible says about faith. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:20-27).
Biblical faith is trusting in Jesus substituting His death on the cross to pay for one’s sins. It’s to completely acknowledge His payment of our debt to God. It’s putting all our faith in Jesus. Salvation can’t be by works, since no one is perfect—good enough. It can only be through Jesus. He is the only perfect One, and He paid for each person’s sins by dying a horrible death on the cross.
But, that’s not all. We need to trust that He is alive. The Apostle Paul defined the gospel this way: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved . . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
One of my favorite passages after Jesus’ resurrection is this one: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen (Luke 24:5-6a).
Have you plopped yourself into the chair?
Have you completely trusted Christ for your salvation? Have you been born again?
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life (John 3:16).