Inspiration – Understanding faith

Pastor Keith Williams,
High Prairie Bethel Baptist Church

The Bible uses the two words “believe” and “faith” in relation to being saved.

Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Faith is not an action on your part, it is a gift. It is part of the gift of being saved. You cannot believe without understanding, and understanding comes from God, by His grace.

Ephesians 2:8 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Faith is not a one-time occurrence; it is living and needs to be nourished. Faith may start out as an acknowledgement of the existence of God, and an acknowledgment that Jesus was a real person who died for your sins.

However, that level of faith needs to grow. Stating that there is a “big guy up there someplace that looks after you” may signify that you recognize some type of God, but it is significantly lacking when compared to “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.

Believing that there is a God, that Jesus is real and lived and died some 2,000 years ago, is faith in its infancy. Satan knows with certainty that God and Jesus are real and that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, yet it is of no value to him.

When I was a young man I was told a story that describes mature faith. This story will help you see that faith is something more than just believing the facts.

A young man who lived in Niagara Falls heard that a tightrope artist was coming to walk a tight rope over the mouth of the falls. He arrived early the day of the event and was standing right next to the platform where the tight rope originated. After the usual preliminaries the tight rope artist mounted the platform and with his balancing pole prepared to walk across the falls.

Just before he started he noticed this young man staring intently at him. He asked the young man, “Do you believe I can walk across the falls on this tight rope?”

“Oh, yes” the young man answered. “I am sure you would not try it if you could not do it.”

So away the tight rope artist went, performing numerous feats of daring as he walked the tight rope and then returned to the podium. Next, he gets out a bicycle and states he will ride it across the tight rope.

Once again he asks the young man, “Do you believe I can ride this bicycle across the falls on this tight rope?”

“Oh, yes” the young man answered. “I am sure you would not try it if you could not do it.”

So away the tight rope artist went, easily riding the bicycle across the tight rope and returning to the podium.

Next, he gets out a wheelbarrow and states he is going to push the wheelbarrow across the falls on the tightrope. Once again just before starting out he asks the young man, “Do you really, really believe I can push this wheelbarrow across the tightrope?”

“Oh, yes” the young man starts to reply.

“Then come up here and get in the wheelbarrow,” the tightrope artist tells the young man.

Believing allowed the young man to state, “I am sure you would not try it if you could not do it.”

Faith would let him get in the wheelbarrow.

The difference is trust. So mature faith in Jesus is more than believing the facts, it is believing and trusting in all that Jesus accomplished by His life, death and resurrection. Not just believing it for everyone, but believing and trusting it for yourself personally.

The faith described above is mature faith. It would be very rare for a non-Christian to suddenly have the level of faith described above.

So, typically, faith starts out much like an infant. With time it grows.

So how does faith grow? Romans 10:17 says consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ [the Bible]

2 Peter 2:2,3 says like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. [Pure spiritual milk is the Bible.]

When we read the Bible or portions of it, it creates faith within us. God has caused His holy words, spoken through others; to be gathered together in a book we call the Bible. It is a very reliable book. Both the apostles Peter and Paul testify that the authors of the different books in the Bible were inspired by God as they wrote.

2 Peter 1: 20, 21 says above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

So by hearing and reading the Bible, the very words of God, your faith will grow and mature. Reading or hearing the Bible is absolutely essential for all Christians.

Personal reading, personal Bible study, Bible studies at church, and the scripture readings on Sunday are all vital ingredients to maturing our faith.

Blessings!

 

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