Faith matters. It matters to my blog because the purpose of this blog is to help you connect your faith to your life. But it’s more important than that. The Apostle Paul says, “By grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV). In order to find salvation in Christ, you must believe. But what does it mean to believe?
You’ve heard the phrase “take a leap of faith.” That’s how most people think of faith. It’s a step off the ledge into uncertainty. It’s not really reasonable. You can’t really prove it. There is no evidence. You just have to believe.
But is that what faith really is? Is that how the church has historically understood the nature of faith? I don’t think so.
Below you will find the three aspects of genuine faith.
Faith begins with knowledge. Paul writes, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV). Faith starts with understanding the message of the gospel. You can’t have faith in nothing. You can only have faith in something. For Christians, that something is the truth of the gospel. More specifically, it’s the someone of the gospel. It’s Jesus Christ.
In order to believe, you must hear the good news. Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, became a man and lived among us. He lived a perfect life (unlike you and me), and as a great act of grace and compassion, He laid down His life for us so that through Him we could find forgiveness and new life.
Faith starts with knowing the message of Jesus Christ.
The second aspect of faith is intellectual assent. Basically, that means that you must be persuaded that the message you have heard is in fact true. You must accept for yourself that Jesus really is the Son of God and that He really did become a man for the purpose of dying on a cross for your sins.
That’s intellectual assent. Taking the message and accepting it as true.
But simply accepting the message as true is not full fledged faith. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in his letter,
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder! (James 2:18, ESV)
Demons believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God who died on a cross for the sins of the world. But demons don’t believe in Jesus the way Christ followers do.
True faith is more than accepting a message as true. Which leads to the last aspect of faith, trust.
Genuine faith is life altering. It requires a response. It produces a change.
It’s not enough to simply accept the message of the gospel as true. You must live in light of it’s truth.
This is why repentance matters. The word repentance literally means “change of mind.” When we hear the gospel message, and accept it as true, it leads to a change in our hearts. We repent. We turn from our sinful, self-centered, destructive lifestyles and turn toward Jesus our savior.
We take our lives out of our own hands and entrust them solely to Jesus.
Genuine faith comes from hearing the message of Christ, accepting it as true and then responding by submitting to Jesus as the leader of our lives.
Question: Do you believe? How did you come to faith in Jesus? Join the conversation clicking here.