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What Is Faith?

As we begin day 3, I want to remind us of something we learned in Day 1, which is the definition of faith. Faith is “complete trust or confidence in something or someone.” Faith is required for anyone who has accepted Jesus as Savior. Apart from faith, it’s impossible to receive and experience the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Faith is also vital to any believer as they live each day. Let's look through some passages of scripture to develop our understanding of the concept of faith.
Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

First, we know that faith is a requirement for any believer because of Hebrews 11:6. Second, faith is the activating agent to accept Jesus Christ. We know this because of what Ephesians 2:8 says...

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast."

Since we cannot save ourselves, faith is the only responsibility we have in the process of salvation. Since we understand grace (the giving of something even though you don't deserve it), it presents salvation as a gift for us to accept. Just like when your family member or friend gives you a gift, the only part you play is receiving it. In the same likeness, it goes for salvation, through grace, Jesus hands us the eternal gift of salvation, we just have to receive that gift.

A common response to any gift by the recipient is the action of either playing with or using the gift to fulfill its intended purpose. This very simple action shows the gift giver that the gift you received brings you joy and/or is useful in your life, which in return feeds the giver's heart. The Christian life is very similar; now that we have received the gift of salvation, our expression towards God is one of faith. Faith brings joy to the Father because He knows you acknowledge what He has done for you.

What Is Genuine Faith?

When a gift matters to you, it does two things. First, It creates genuine meaning and thankfulness within your heart and mind. Second, that gift becomes a part of your life in some way. We as Christians need to examine our faith within the same standards of how the gift of the Father affects us.
- Does the gift of salvation and our new relationship genuinely matter to us?
- Do we truly feel a sense of gratitude or thankfulness? If so, has it impacted how we live our lives?
- Is this new-found faith in Jesus a nice thought, or a reality within us?

The reason I bring this up is because of a very powerful verse we find in James.

James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."

This verse points to the idea that belief by itself doesn't do much. James connects the thought that even demons believe there is a God, so what does that prove? Let's try to connect this verse back to the idea of "gifts" that we have been discussing. More than likely, you have at least received one gift in your life that you didn't like. Even though the gesture of the gift was thoughtful, you saw no value in it. I'm confident you still acknowledged that person by thanking them, but in the end, it didn't impact your life.
Using this analogy, the same goes for Christians who acknowledge God's existence, and even give God thanks, yet there is no real manifestation that the gift of salvation and new relationship ever made a genuine impact in their lives. You see, anyone can acknowledge that the gift giver existed, thank him, and they can even describe the gift, but the reality is, did you internalize it, and did the gift genuinely impact you?

I like to think of it like this, if you love someone, do you just tell them you love them? Of course not, you also show it through gifts, spending time, honoring them, and many other ways. Genuine faith is the same thing; it's not just talk or belief, it's walking out what you believe. Genuine faith produces a desire in us to have a holy fear of God, to be in a relationship with Him, to pursue His ways, and to live like Jesus.

1 John 2:3-6 "We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did."

Faith & Action (Deeds/Works)

It's important, as we discuss this topic, that we make something very clear. Neither your actions nor your deeds save you. Have you ever heard someone say, "I need to fix myself before I come to God"? Below is an illustration of how some view their relationship with God.

Figure: 6
It's not as if there's a scale, and God is measuring good and bad deeds. Some Christians actually believe that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds at the end of their life, that grants them access to heaven. That type of thinking is incorrect. Jesus has already completed the work of salvation; it is finished (John 19:30). Eternal life is yours; it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and nothing else is required from you outside your personal commitment to your faith in Jesus Christ. The proper way to understand this is demonstrated below.

Figure: 7
We must properly understand God's grace. The Tyndale Bible Dictionary states, "Grace enables God to confront human indifference and rebellion with an inexhaustible capacity to forgive and to bless." Understanding His grace is the connection that places the desire inside of us to 'do good works.' Many new or maturing believers feel like they 'have to' do good things, but when we properly understand His grace and mercy on our lives, it changes to 'we desire to' do good things because we want to honor and worship Him.

Galatians 2:16 "know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified."

Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

So within the same line of thinking, we must not abuse God's grace. Some might take this idea to mean that we are saved through faith, so we can just do whatever we want. We are still responsible for our actions (2 Corinthians 5:10), We don't just get a free pass to do whatever we like after salvation. I tell you this because the early church struggled with this understanding as well. The enemy and our sinful nature are tricky, and they will try to confuse us as believers. Paul even says this in Romans..."
Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?or we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that"
Therefore, as we reflect on this topic, we identify that faith and action accompany one another and cannot exist apart from each other as genuine believers in Jesus Christ. So practically, each morning when we wake up, we have two choices. Will we walk in faith, or will we walk in our own power and understanding?

Which will you choose each morning?

2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we live by faith, not by sight."


Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.



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