Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Is Saving Faith

What does it mean to have faith in Christ for our salvation? People have funny ideas about faith. Some see faith as believing what you know to be untrue. Others see faith as some kind of a leap in the dark against reason. Still others see it as simply affirming a series of facts. (This is the kind of faith even the demons have; see James 2:19.) Real faith is trusting in the promises of God. In Romans 4:17-21 it gives the example of Abraham, who in spite of the physical impossibility of having a son, nonetheless trusted God, and God fulfilled His promise. You see, the real enemy of faith is not reason but sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We may be able to believe intellectually that God can accomplish something; it is another thing to genuinely trust Him to do it. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for faith is related to the word for pillar. The underlying meaning is “to be firm.” A pillar is firm to hold the roof up. We must regard a building’s pillars as being firm (have faith in them) before we will enter it. In the same way we must regard the promises of God as being firm in order to have faith in them. Or to use a modern example, an individual may be absolutely convinced an airplane can fly but be afraid to actually get in the airplane and fly in it.

God says that when Jesus died on the cross, it paid the whole price necessary to redeem us from sin (Romans 3:24). God also says that if we will have faith in what Christ has done, we will be declared righteous in the courtroom of God. (“Righteous” or “justified” are judicial terms; they refer to the verdict of a court; see Deuteronomy 25:1.) This results in our possessing eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). The problem is we do not now see any of these things. Now I am convinced, though I am not going to cover it here, that there are good reasons for believing this is true. But the issue is: Can I rely on this being true, even though I do not now possess it? God comes to us and says, “I will give you forgiveness of everything you have ever done wrong, eternal life in My presence, fullness of joy forever, but there is one catch. You need to trust Me for it.” It is not enough to simply affirm that such things are theoretically true; we must genuinely stake our eternal destiny on God’s promises. Not on what we can do, but on what Christ has done. And for those of us who have done this, we need to be willing to trust God with the rest of our lives. It seems ironic that we can trust God with our eternal destiny, but we may not trust Him to provide the money tomorrow to pay the bills. But I know from my own experience it is so.


  1. I like what Paul writes in Romans 10:9-10.

    "f you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

    Saving faith is an issue of the heart that manifested in the way that we speak and act. Apart from the New Birth the most a person can be is religious.

    1. I certainly would not disagree with that. Do you see that as in some way contrary to what I have written?

    2. Not sure Mike. Do you see saving faith to be the same as trusting God for a child your in a person's old age? Seems like they are different. But I may be misunderstanding. Do you think that a person can trust God before they are saved?

    3. I do see more involved in Abraham's faith then simply faith for a son. But I use it here primarily as an illustration. Faith is believing in the promise of God although we do not currently see it. As Abraham was to believe God for the promised son so we are to believe God that Christ has conquered sin and death and hell. That is my primary point here.

  2. Perhaps I am making this a bit too simplistic. My thinking is that saving faith is, as Paul answered the Philippian jailer, simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. In a sense Abraham's saving faith was first seen when he responded to God's call to leave Ur. After that he was working out his salvation.

    All said, probably not worth further discussion as I wholly agree with you that faith is believing what God has promised. Now what He has promised? Perhaps we can discuss that another time. ツ