For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8
In yesterday's post, we discussed grace. If you missed that post, you can
. Today, we'll go a little further into our key verse, Ephesians 2:8, and talk about faith. As with grace, I could give you a multitude of definitions from various sources, but fortunately, the Bible does an excellent job of defining it.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Seeing is believing." Well, with faith, it's the exact opposite: believing is seeing. Faith is belief in what cannot be seen or explained. Things such as God or His infinite love. We can't see them. We certainly don't understand them. But we can believe them. We can have faith, but God has made it a choice. We are allowed to choose whether or not we'll believe.
Without sounding too confusing, it is important that I point out there are two types of belief: head belief and heart belief. It is the latter of these that qualifies as saving faith. How do I know that? Because the Bible tells us in James 2:19,
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Did you catch that? The devils believe. Does that mean they're saved? Absolutely not--because they only believe with their heads, not with their hearts. They have the knowledge, but they do not trust in that knowledge. Christian author, speaker and comedian, Ken Davis, tells this compelling story to illustrate this principle:
In college I was asked to deliver a persuasive speech that would convince people to believe a propositional truth… The title of my talk was "The Law of the Pendulum." I spent twenty minutes carefully teaching the physical principles that govern a swinging pendulum. I taught that the pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, a swinging pendulum will fall short of its original position. Each time it swings it creates a shorter arc, until finally it is at rest…
I asked how many people in the room believed the law of the pendulum was true. All of my classmates raised their hands, and so did the professor…
Hanging from the steel ceiling beams in the middle of the room was a large crude but functional pendulum: 250 pounds of metal weights taped together and tied to four strands of 500-pound-test parachute cord. Sitting against the wall on one end of the room was a table with a chair on top of it. I invited the instructor to climb up on the table and sit in the chair with the back of his head against the cement wall. Then I brought the 250 pounds of metal up to his nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, I once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before.
"If the law of the pendulum is true," I said, "then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose and face will be in no danger." After that final restatement of this law, I looked him in the eye and asked, "Sir, do you believe this law is true?"
There was a long pause. Beads of sweat formed on his upper lip, and then weakly he nodded and whispered, "Yes."
I released the pendulum. It made a soft swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. I never saw a man move so fast in my life. The professor literally dived from the table. Deftly stepping around the still-swinging pendulum, I asked the class, "Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?"
The students unanimously answered, "No!"
He believed it intellectually, but he was unwilling to trust his nose to it.
There are many around the world who believe in a higher being of some form or another. There are many who claim to believe in the one and only God. But what kind of belief is it? Is it real faith, a faith that makes them willing to place their lives in God's hands, or is it the kind of faith that has them diving off the table whenever things look a little iffy? There is a difference, and that difference is what separates the saved from the unsaved.
By this point, you may be wondering what exactly you're supposed to have faith in. After all, you believe there is a God, so that's enough, right? To answer your question, let's see what the Bible has to say on this topic.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. - Acts 16:31
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. - Romans 10:9
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
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. - John 5:24
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. - John 3:36
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. - I John 5:12-13
Believing there is a God is great, but committing to make that God
God is what salvation is all about. It is about believing and accepting the gospel of Christ. What is the gospel? Let the apostle Paul tell you:
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, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, 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: (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
Salvation is believing that you're a sinner (Romans 3:23) and therefore deserve to face the penalty for your sins (Romans 6:23). It is also the belief that God loved you enough to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on an old, rugged cross to pay that sin debt and then to be raised again. By doing so, He offered you free passage into an eternal life with Him. You only have to accept it. You don't have to be in a church or on your knees to be saved. You only need to surrender your heart and life to the Lord.
God can become
God if you'll only accept the sacrifice He gave and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to Heaven (John 14:6). He's waiting for you with outstretched arms. He's eager for you to run to His embrace. He has so much to offer and asks for so little in return. He gave His life for you. Will you give your life to Him?
If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below, or if you would rather have your questions be less public, you can click the "Contact" button at the top of the page and e-mail me directly. I'd be thrilled to help you in any way I can.