How to Experience a Faith That Saves
As Christians, our faith should be the most important characteristic of who we are. Just a second. I think I need to be a little more specific than that. As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ needs to be the center and forefront of everything we are.
Lately, I have been spending time doing some reading in Romans, specifically chapters three, four, and five. For my Catholic friends reading along, don’t worry. This isn’t an article based on a Protestant’s faith being more significant than a Catholic’s works. I’ll save that for another day. For my fellow Protestant believers, pay attention. Not enough of us wanting to tell Catholics faith is more important than our works live out the faith we read concerning Abraham and other believers throughout the Scriptures.
I read something the other day that made me stop and think for a few minutes. It brought on some reflection that lasted through the better part of my morning. More than once, I had to stop and pray. There were a few times I would switch from Bible to commentary and back to God’s Word. For us Christians, Protestant or Catholic, what would it look like for us to have a faith like that of Abraham?
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring-not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Romans 4:16-17)
I know I know. That’s a big chunk of Scripture simply to take a subjective look at a comparison of our own faith and that of Abraham. There’s actually a ton I could write about with these two verses. For the sake of the article and how late it’s getting, I’ll stay focussed. As I mentioned earlier, as Christians, our faith should be the most dominant characteristic of who we are.
So, if you belong to the camp that believes because of your faith you’re free to live as you want, you couldn’t be further from the truth. In short, if the only way people know you’re a Christian is by a few of your social media posts, you’re doing this all wrong.
My goal with what remains in this message isn’t a guide for building a “better” faith, as if it is something you earn or a prize to be won. I want to focus on developing a more authentic faith, a faith like Abraham. If you are someone who would like to make the Christian faith a more significant part of who you are, here are some steps I have been taking the last few months that have brought me closer to God than I ever thought I would be.
What does faith mean to you?
I need you to be careful with this. The question isn’t what does the Bible or the doctrine of your church say faith is. If you’re wanting to develop more authentic faith, you need to be specific with exactly what faith is to you. To me, my faith in Jesus includes both love for and trust in Him. It means I am dependent on His Spirit to guide me throughout each day. Also, it means I am obedient to Jesus’ words and commands.
This obedience isn’t out of fear of going to hell or an attempt to win more of a prize. This obedience is out of love for Him. Because of my love for God, it’s important for me to do the best I can to live the life He wants me to live. For the record, I fail at this miserably. Every day. This doesn’t mean I don’t love Him enough. It means His love for me is far greater than anything I will ever know. What does faith mean to you?
How do you demonstrate your faith in daily life?
As I mentioned earlier, if you have to go out of your way to tell others you are a Christian, you’re doing this all wrong. If you truly live by faith, daily repentance should be a part of your life. If repentance is something you live out, then you should have something you put a lot of effort into as far as demonstrating your faith. Here’s a hint, this doesn’t include personal prayers or time with your nose in a Bible.
Yes, those are both significant parts of living out the Christian faith. That being said, the time you spend with God privately isn’t demonstrating to others that the Christian faith is important to you. I get it. There are a hundred ways you can halfheartedly justify that they do. Be real about this though. What do you make sure you are doing daily so others know you’re a Christian?
This is part of it for me. Writing about Jesus and God’s Word. I’m exhausted right now. I’m ready for bed and there’s getting ready to be a show started on Jordan and the Bulls I have been waiting to see. I have homework to finish and I need to get some notes ready for a video I have to make tomorrow morning. Still, writing this is an important part of how I go about demonstrating my faith. So, how about you? If you’re still reading, developing a more authentic faith is obviously important to you. How will you plan on demonstrating this to others?
How are you sharing your faith with others?
Now, I could take the easy way out and say again, writing this article is how I share my faith. For the record, yes, there’s a huge difference between demonstrating your faith and sharing it with someone else. In Gospel Grammar’s weekly Bible study, last week we discussed in chapter one of the Book of Acts that we are called to be Jesus’ witnesses. No, this doesn’t mean we go witnessing. I’m not asking anyone to go door to door.
That being said, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, you need to be doing something that gives you an opportunity to be His witness. This isn’t about sharing what you can do for God. It’s sharing what He was already done for you. If you don’t have something definitive yet, what can you start doing to share your faith regularly with other people?
For now, maybe this is something as little as letting them know you’re praying for them. Or, maybe, you could start sending them the link to your church’s service this Sunday. I realize with everything going on in our country right now this might not look the same as it normally would. Still, there’s plenty you can be doing to share your faith with another person.
What do your prayers say about your faith?
Pastor Joby tells us all the time, “If your prayers aren’t intimidating to you, they’re insulting to God.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. If every one of your prayers from the last seven days was answered exactly how you wanted them to be, how would the world you live in be any different?
Did all of your meals nourish you? Did the person you are pursuing finally text or call you back? Did you arrive at your destination safe and out of harm’s way? Without even considering the virus, how many alcoholics or addicts did your prayers save from the grips of addiction? How many children were reunited with a mom or dad who left? Did anyone find a way to pay the bill that almost took away everything?
I don’t bring all that up to make you feel bad. I’m just asking. What do your prayers say about your faith? Maybe the most sincere prayer you could possibly pray right now is, please God, increase my faith in you.
Jeffrey has a degree in theology from Aidan University and is the founder of Gospel Grammar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His goal is to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.