June 4, 2017

Faith is . . .

Some say faith is a mystery, but trusting the unknown is quite common. For example, many people have gone to a doctor whose name they cannot pronounce and whose degrees they have never verified. He gives them a prescription they cannot read. They take it to a pharmacist whom they have never seen before and he gives them a chemical compound they do not understand. Then they go home and take the pills according to the instructions on the bottle. Is this not faith?

Well, sort of. Biblical faith is different from the above example in that the object of faith is the issue. The person with the prescription places a general trust in the medical and pharmaceutical profession, whereas biblical faith is placed in a God that has revealed Himself. In other words, biblical faith is not nearly as important as what or who is trusted.

B. B. Warfield said, “It is never on account of its formal nature as a psychic act that faith is conceived in Scripture to be saving. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or nature of faith, but in the object of faith.”
This is how the Word of God states it: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved . . . .” (Acts 16:31)

Sometimes biblical faith is said to be a blind faith, but blind faith is like the first example; the doctor and the pill company are trusted without any information at all. Biblical faith compares better to: “Believe in this doctor and do what he says” or “Believe in the power of ABC company to make good pills and take them to be made well.” Yet there is still a need to know something about the doctor, or the pills, or the pill company. God does not ask us to believe in Him blindly. He reveals His existence in creation . . .  

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1–3)
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19–20)

God also revealed Himself by becoming one of us, a visible human being . . .

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Jesus said, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:37–38)
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1–3)

This God, who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ, asks us to believe in Him, but not without some evidence of who He is and what He does. He created all things, He is holy and unlike us. He is patient and merciful even though He hates sin. He became flesh that we might see and know Him, but also that He could take our penalty for sin. As a man, He lived like no other man. He died in our place and rose again to give us new life. This is the One in whom we are to place our faith!

Jesus is far more than a physician; He is the great healer. He is far more than a pill; a pill wears off and must be replaced, but Jesus offered Himself once, and that offering is good for eternity. (see Hebrews 10:1–10)

The Word of God offers all the information and revelation anyone needs to be saved from the penalty and power of sin. Faith is the doorway into the kingdom of God, into life everlasting. Being informed is good, but even the demons believe and tremble. God’s revelation of Himself is also good, yet it must be welcomed and embraced. Faith is hearing God and saying ‘yes’ to what He says, this One who created us and came to save us from the consequences of rejecting Him.

Jesus, everyone who believes that You are the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves You too, and has the desire to obey You. You tell us that all who believe in the Son of God know what is true and those who do not believe You are basically saying God is a liar. You say that eternal life is ours when we believe in You, and this life is in You. You say that whoever has You has life and whoever does not have You does not have this precious and everlasting life. (1 John 5:1–13) I am eternally grateful for the gift of You, the gift of faith, and the gift of life. 

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