11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Webster’s defines Faith as:
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty •lost faith in the company’s president
b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions •acted in good faith
a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
(2) : complete trust
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs •the Protestant faith
Paul advises in Romans 12:3, that God supplies every person a measure of faith. The key thing is it is up to us as to how this faith will either rest in the things of this world, OR whether it will be cultivated and spring up into eternal life.
So let’s take a look at the three levels of faith, and do a self-assessment of where each of us stands.
This is where individuals, such as Atheists and some Agnostics, find themselves. These folks profess to only have confidence in what they see and what can be scientifically proven. Their nonactive spiritual faith usually stems from one of three things:
1. Them being taught at an early age not to believe in God.
2. They were deceived or hurt by someone who professed to being a Christian, but who instead had a sinister agenda.
3. They prayed to God, and feel that their prayers were either not answered or were answered in a manner that they were not pleased with.
While I am sure many people with nonactive spiritual faith, may excel with their given professional career, and may even be well respected in their communities, the issue is how do they cope when the hardships of life strike? How do they work through the inner turmoil that plagues all of us at some point? Do they truly have peace in their heart? And with no sense of accountability to a Holy Creator, what hope do they truly have if they truly believe there is no life after natural death?
While sadly, some people will never move from this level, for those who do come to accept Christ as their personal Savior, their journey to faith can be initiated by a major life experience or an interaction with a sincere “born again” believer, which causes the unbeliever to consider the truth of God’s love for them and their need for redemption.
These are individuals who do acknowledge the things of God, but have not truly accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life. They may attend church on a regular basis, pray to God when issues arise that they can’t handle, and perform various good deeds in the community. While these individuals may believe all of the facts about Jesus, as the passage below explains, even the devil and his minions believe.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Many people flock to churches on Sundays, not to hear life changing sermons that will empower them to rely on the Holy Spirit to help them to resist sin , but instead they take in prosperity messages about how God wants to shower them with material things. Sadly, many people regard Jesus as a “cosmic sugardaddy” who must grant their every wish. It is when the Lord either doesn’t grant their requests fast enough or when His answer is, “No”, that their faith is shaken and they begin taking matters into their own hands to get what they want.
It is not enough to just believe in Jesus, but it is only when a person realizes that there is sin in their life which must be dealt with; and that they can’t overcome the hardships of life without the daily guidance of their Creator…that they are ready to move into the type of faith that will change their life for the best.
A person with saving faith has come to the realization that their open and/or hidden sinful ways are a threat to any happiness they can experience in this mortal life, and that they will be held accountable for their actions by their Creator eventually. They have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and now understand that God loved them enough to send His only Son to redeem them from the penalty of their sins, and to offer them eternal life. These persons have asked Jesus Christ into their heart, and now have a strong reliance on the Lord, to guide their decision making and to help them fulfill their life purpose.
Furthermore, people with saving faith recognize that their entrance into Heaven is not earned via good deeds, but instead upon their sincere confidence that God is who He said He is, and that He will fulfill every promise. They seek daily interaction and guidance with their Creator through: prayer, studying the Word of God, and interaction with other believers. They know that though good works don’t qualify them for Heaven, good works are a result of the Holy Spirit transforming their life day by day.
Like Job, from the Bible, though people with saving faith are appreciative of the material blessings given to them by God; their main focus is not on getting material things, but instead it is on deepening their relationship with Jesus, and living out their God ordained purpose. They do not serve the Lord just to avoid Hell, but instead they serve Him out of love and admiration of God’s character.
A person with saving faith DOES NOT love sin, but DOES love all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or any other demographic. They do not uphold people in their wrongdoing, but instead they encourage unbelievers that true victory over the hardships of life begins by accepting Jesus Christ into one’s heart.
Heavenly Father, I pray that as many people as possible will choose to have Saving Faith.