I have never been skydiving, but if I do I want to ask a few questions first. Does my parachute work? Does the pilot know what he is doing? Does the company have a good safety record?
Before I leap out of the plane, I want to know my jump will end well. In the same way, you need to ask questions before you take a leap of faith.
Imagine a bumper sticker that says, “Got Faith?” or “Just Believe.” Some people think faith is the opposite of reason or logic. When you can’t make sense of your life, just believe.
But Biblical faith is not blind in this way. You may not see what you believe, but you can know it.
The Bible teaches that we need to be careful about what we believe. First John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.”
Jesus Christ is to be the content of real saving faith. John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Faith in anything else is misplaced faith.
Christian faith begins with knowledge of Jesus Christ, but genuine faith is not merely acceptance of fact. In the Bible, Nicodemus began his conversation with Jesus this way: “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God…” (John 3:2). Nicodemus had knowledge of Jesus, yet Jesus went on to challenge Nicodemus about real faith.
What was lacking was personal trust. Saving faith involves right knowledge about Jesus and a decision of personal trust. Have you trusted Jesus Christ? You will not be saved until you place your full confidence in Him.
Is there something more to be added to saving faith? Do good works help? Human beings are naturally proud of their achievements. We like to be rewarded for good things we’ve done and for our hard work.
The Bible is clear: good works have no part in salvation. They are the result of salvation, but not the reason for it. Romans 3:27-28 says, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Today there are people that pride themselves in their religious upbringing, their religious relatives, their baptism, their simple lifestyle, and their sacraments. Abandon all trust in these efforts. They cannot be trusted for salvation.
The great hymn writer, Isaac Watts, understood the right attitude of true saving faith when he wrote these words: “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”
Pastor Stephen Howard is from Morrow Bible Church.