Understanding True Faith
“Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned on the basis of grace, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him (Jesus) who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)
Reading that it seems like the world is flip flopped and upside down. Most people today believe that we have to work to gain God’s love. Notice that the first part of this Scripture mentions a person that does works to gain God’s favor and it does not say he has faith. Why? Because he does not have faith in the right object which is Jesus Christ. “…is not reckoned on the basis of grace, but as what is due.” God’s grace is a person and it is Jesus Christ, the fullness of God’s grace. The person who BELIEVES in Jesus, his faith is reckoned as Righteousness. A saved person has faith in God because they have Christ as the object of their faith. It is not faith in self righteousness and what WE do to gain God’s favor. It is faith in the grace of God and how Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the world.
“What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.'” (John 6:28)
That is Jesus being as straight and clear as possible in one quick sentence. If we believe that Jesus is the son of God (and is God as part of the Trinity of God). If we believe He became human through the virgin Mary, not born into sin. If we believe He came for the sole purpose of testifying to the truth and to die on the cross to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins and that He became separated from God as part of the punishment. That by doing so, we that believe have become the very righteousness of God, in Christ. This is what God wants us to do. This is what will please Him.
What Is Faith?
“…being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
It is by faith that Abraham left his home at the age of 75 and traveled to Canaan because God told him to.
“So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. ” (Genesis 12)
It is by faith that Abraham believed that God would provide him and Sarah with a son, even though he was very old and Sarah was too old to have another child. (Hebrew 11:11) Earlier in his life God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky. Here we see how God usually does not fulfill or answer prayers in a way or at a time we would expect.
By faith Moses’ mother hid him for 3 months even though the king of Egypt would certainly have them put to death. (Hebrews 11:23) By faith Moses’ mother placed the baby Moses in a floating reed and sent him down the river believing God would care for him (Exodus 2:5-10). God not only did so, he allowed Moses mother to nurse him while young and later hand him over to become Pharaoh’s son.
It is by faith that David defeated Goliath while the tough men of the Army of Israel were frightened. (1 Samuel 17)
It is by faith that Abraham did not hold back his only son when God commanded he be offered as a sacrifice. God stopped him of course. It was a test of faith and knowing God. On the way up the mountain his son asked what animal was to be sacrificed as they did not bring any with them and Abraham answered “God will provide one”. So Abraham used his faith knowing that God could not do such a thing. He remained faithful to the very last moment!
Faith in what? THAT is the question to answer!
The Object Of Our Faith; Jesus Christ
“Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22) and Jesus says to “…Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1) This is then what we must do TRUST IN GOD; have faith.
When you go to sit in a chair do you trust it will hold you? Yes, you have faith that it will hold you and so you sit. Faith is not something you do, it is something you trust. If you believe that God is with you, you can trust Him with your very life. You can have full faith in Him.
To have faith in God’s Word is to trust God’s promises.
Does Faith Save you?
But having faith alone is NOT what saves a person. You need to have faith in the right object, Jesus Christ. It is God’s Grace that saves a person. It is a person changing his mind about his sin (to Repent) and believe in the atonement for our sin provided and paid for by Jesus Christ. Believe Christ Is The Son of God and you shall be saved. Once you are saved you have faith because you TRUSTED in Christ to save you. This is what is meant by being “in the faith”. That is believing and trusting in the true object of faith.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
Salvation is a GIFT from God. God offers this gift to everyone. But to have a gift is to RECEIVE the gift. We receive God’s gift of Salvation by believing and trusting on Christ to save us. It is not a special prayer with specific words. That is, it is not just words that save a person. They need to understand the Gospel before they can believe it through faith.
You need to understand what the gift is and then receive it in belief. Have faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God, who is equal with God, and is God. So many times when Jesus healed people He would say ” YOUR FAITH has made you well”. Was it their faith that healed them? Is that what he was saying? No. It was God’s Grace that healed them but they trusted that Jesus would heal them by faith in Christ. Jesus tells us that it is not the size of your faith that gives the power. It is instead the object you have faith in.
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6)
A mustard seed is a very small seed! It is God’s Grace that saves us. It is by believing in Jesus Christ that we have faith. The simplicity of the Gospel and the power of the Gospel is wrapped in faith.
” I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:31-32)
This is so true. The pious and those “full of themselves”, those that claim they are a “good person”…. Their deeds are like filthy rags because they do not admit their sins to God so they could be forgiven. But those that know they do wrong can be convicted of their sin – they know they have done wrong and they ask God for forgiveness and mercy and God forgives them. And not only that, he gives them the power to be the very sons and daughters of God, filled with the very righteousness of God, in Christ. That is serious power.
All Have Sinned Against God
No one has kept the ten commandments in entirety. He who says he is without sin is a liar. (1 John 1:10) God has given you grace and that grace is a person; Jesus Christ, the Son Of God. Believe this and trust that the Word of God is true.
The Holy spirit has guided you to read this article. You are not here by coincidence. With the little faith you have why not invite Jesus into your life? Why not admit your sins to Jesus and ask for forgiveness. That is what He longs to do! He wants to forgive you and have fellowship with you for all eternity. What an amazing God we serve. Do not turn from the greatest gift God has given you. Accept Him and watch what He will do in your life!