What Faith Is
If asked, “Do you have faith in Christ?” how would you answer? Some of you would answer “yes”. Others might answer, “I’m not sure that I have any faith.” Still others would respond by saying, “Is it possible to know if one has faith in Christ? What is faith anyway?”
The question about faith in Christ is of the utmost importance because the Bible says that, “Nor is their salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” [Acts 4:12. The Living Bible]. God has appointed one man, the man Christ Jesus in who we must be saved. There is no other name or revelation that God has given mankind that will save us from the judgment to come or give life full meaning.
Gabriel, the Angel of the Annunciation, told the Virgin Mary that the child to be conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit was to be called Jesus, which means -- “God is Help,” or more succinctly, “Captain of our Salvation.” [Patriots and Prophets pg.251] Jesus is the beginning and the end of our salvation. He is, in himself, the guarantee that we shall be saved if we believe in Him. “That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” [Romans 10:9. The Contemporary English Bible].
What does it mean to have faith or believe? That’s a question that many have wrestled with.
The word “believe” in today’s language has changed and does not fully convey its full meaning of “trust” as it did a century or two ago. To “believe” actually means “to commit oneself to,” “to trust,” “cling to,” or “rely on.” [Roget’s The New Thesaurus] Today, in this latter part of the 20th century, you may “believe” something to be true, but not necessarily act upon that belief. Two examples of this are as follows:
We all know that if a person stands in the middle of a busy highway that he will be hit by oncoming traffic if he doesn’t move. We all believe that to be a true statement of fact. However, the person may not act upon that belief and remove himself from harm. In that case, we all know what will happen. It is possible to believe something to be true but yet not act upon its truth.
A second example is of a person who is sick and will die if the right medicine isn’t administered. If that medicine is available, the patient may “believe” that the medicine will save, him, but he must also act and take the medicine to be healed. There has to be an act to decide to take the medicine. The same holds true in the spiritual realm. The “medicine of salvation” has been provided in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One can be saved if one responds in faith to Christ’s invitation to believe on Him.
The story was told of a missionary who was translating the Bible into the language of a certain tribe. He couldn’t seem to find just the right word to describe what it means to “believe” on Christ. One day, as he was struggling to translate...