What is faith? You could answer this question several ways; however, one way to answer it is to say that faith is a means to an end. However, it is not just any old end, it is a glorious end. For it is through faith in Christ that we receive the riches of God's immeasurable grace. This grace includes Jesus' full payment for all of our sins, the righteousness of God imputed (given) to us, a declaration of not guilty by the Eternal Judge, adoption into the family of the Almighty God, and the inheritance that flows from the throne of our Sovereign King. This grace that we receive is beyond our comprehension, and it all depends on this thing called faith.
There is a lot resting upon the concept of faith. In fact, our eternity hangs in the balance. Faith determines if you receive eternal rewards or eternal punishment. If you have no faith in Christ, the wrath of God remains on you and therefore you will be sent to Hell.
So what is this thing called faith? Hebrews 11:1 says that biblical faith is, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Therefore, biblical faith is not something that is wishy-washy. Faith is assurance. Faith is conviction.
Biblical faith compelled Noah to spend 100 years building a boat. Biblical faith compelled Abraham to walk his son up the mountain to sacrifice him, at God’s request. (FYI...God intervened and provided a ram in place of Isaac, all according to plan). Biblical faith caused Moses to go up against the most powerful nation on the planet, Egypt, and demand the release of 1.5 million people. Biblical faith gave Paul the strength to endure beatings, imprisonment and persecutions for the preaching of the Gospel to the nations. The faith we see in the Bible is a faith that endures, a faith that is strong, a faith that perseveres. And it is this faith that is the means to the end.
So where does this kind of faith come from? Does this faith come from somewhere inside of us? Is this faith hidden inside our sinful hearts that one day comes out of hiding? Can I work really hard and try to muster up some of this faith?
What does the Bible say? The Bible says that biblical faith does not come from us, but that it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” The Bible says that this faith originates in Christ. Hebrews 12:2, “look to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith.” The Bibles says this faith comes from a revelation of God. Matthew 16:16-17, “Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven”
Why does this matter? It matters because if your faith in Christ comes from you, it will fail. It will not last. If it doesn't last, then your eternity is at risk. Remember, everything depends upon faith.
Before Christ comes into our life we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The faith of dead people is dead faith. In the book of James, chapter 2 we are given a picture of what dead faith looks like. It is worthless. It produces nothing. Dead faith will not build an ark for 100 years. Dead faith won’t walk up the mountain in obedience to God. Dead faith won’t endure the stoning and lashings from the enemies of Christ. Dead faith looks dead because it is dead. This faith won’t save us.
We need a living faith, an active faith, an enduring faith, a supernatural faith, a saving faith. This kind of faith does not originate from man. It originates from Christ. It comes from the throne room of God and with the power of God guards our hearts and guarantees our inheritance. “[W]ho by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:5.
So what faith do you have? Dead faith or Saving Faith? What guarantee do you have that when you wake up tomorrow you will still believe in Jesus? Will your faith in Christ endure to the end? A lot is riding on this question.
If you do not think you have a Biblical faith that comes from Christ, do not throw up your hands and give up. Instead, turn to Jesus and ask Him to give you faith. Ask Him to open up your eyes. Ask Him to captivate your heart. Ask Him to reveal himself to you in such a way that you have no other option but to cling to Him in every moment of your life, and then read the book that is all about Him.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6