“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” ( Heb. 11:6 ). So, I must have faith in God if I want to get to Heaven. Where, and how, do I get faith? “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” ( Rom. 10:17 ). Faith develops within me as I learn God’s word, believe it and properly apply His teachings to my life. OK, now what? Once I have faith,what do I do with it?
If I have the kind of faith through which I can stand in a saved relationship with God, I will love God with all my heart ( Matt. 22:36-38 ). I will love Him because He first loved me and abundantly demonstrated His love by sending Jesus to die on the cross on my behalf ( Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8 ). My love for God will also be reflected in my love for my brothers and sisters in Christ- God’s people, the church ( Jn. 13:34-35; 1 Jn. 4:9-10 ). Such love should be a common, natural feature of my Christian character, of my faith.
If I have faith that loves God with all my heart, I will naturally be obedient to His teachings communicated in scripture ( Jn. 14:15, 21, 23). Faith without obedience is empty, weak and ineffective ( Jn. 14:24 ). The apostle John put succinctly: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” ( 1 Jn. 5:2-3 ). Obedience is a fundamental evidence of true faith ( 1 Jn. 2:4-5 ). In effect, someone who claims to have strong faith, but is not living a lifestyle of obedience to God, is whistling in the wind!
If I have true faith in God, I will actively, consistently serve Him. I won’t serve Him just now and then, when I think about it or when I find it convenient. Serving God, living for Him, will be the focus of my life. I will live my life for Him ( 2 Cor. 5:15; Gal. 2:20 ).
I will strive diligently to glorify God through the way I live on a daily basis ( 1 Cor. 10:31 ). I will maintain my identity reflected in my given name, and that associated with my marriage and parenthood, but my overriding identity will be that of a Christian, one who belongs to God through Christ ( Col. 3:17 ). I will remain a citizen of the land in which I live while still on this earth, but my primary citizenship will be in Heaven ( Phlp. 3:20 ), and my faith will guide my life in that direction.
Real faith is not just a subjective feeling. True faith, by its very nature will not be passive. It will not be lethargic. It will not be benign or inactive. It will govern and direct my life. It will be alive, vital, visible in the way that I live my life. True, saving faith will not be just a part of my life. It will be my life, I will live my faith!
Gary L. Hutchens