(Part 10–Your Relationship with God)
There are different kinds of faith mentioned in the Bible. We will look at three ways to understand faith.
First of all, the Bible talks about saving faith. This faith is not in a set of do’s and don’ts. It is not a a philosophy. Instead it is putting your trust in a person. It is equal to saying that my salvation is fully dependent on one person-Jesus Christ. And what He did for me on the cross. He died for me by shedding His precious blood. He died where I should have died and took my punishment upon Himself. When you believe this with all your heart and soul, and mind and strength, then the faith you have is saving faith.
In saving faith, you have no other role than to look to Jesus and putting your trust in Him. Nothing else is required for your salvation. Without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God.
The Bible then talks about practical faith. This is dealt with very simply in the Book of James. The idea is that if you see a person in need-in need of food, clothing, shelter or medicines or whatever it be, you just wish him well and do nothing about his needs; then that lack of action is evidence of lack of faith. Faith without actions is dead. In other words, our faith in God ought to work out in practical caring towards those in need. For that we need to spend our time, energy and resources.
Now we need to note that doing good works in no way helps us to get salvation. Because saving faith is simply putting one’s trust in Jesus Christ. And nothing else.
But practical faith means that you do good things to help people who are believers as well as those who need to know God (through saving faith). Without doing good deeds to help others, any faith that we claim to have is selfish. That kind of faith has only motive-to get blessings from God. We always need to note that God has helped us to know Him so that He can bless others through us. So let your faith in God express itself though kind deeds.
Then there is another kind of faith. Let me take the freedom to call it the gift of faith. When is this kind of faith needed? This kind of faith is the faith that believes in moving mountains claiming God’s promises as one’s own. The best example of a failure in this kind of faith is the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land. God had already given the land to them. They simply needed to go and conquer the people of the land. Yet the people did not show faith in the promises of God nor did they trust God in this matter. So almost all of them, six hundred thousand men (except Caleb and Joshua who had faith in God) perished in the desert. This was because they did not combine what they heard from God with faith.
When you have the gift of faith, you take God at His Word. You act in your life and do great and mighty deeds for God by stepping out into the unknown simply trusting in God’s promises. We need to note that such kinds of action based on the gift of faith are God-initiated. It is He who puts the faith in our hearts. It is He who gives the command to us to act it out. We simply obey. But many people hesitate even when God clearly shows them what they are to do in faith. Then they fail to get God’s blessings.
Perhaps, we often highlight the great achievements of faith especially listed out in Hebrews 11. But even then we don’t like to remember what is said in the last part of that chapter. There it lists out great acts of suffering that people went through for their faith in God. So enduring suffering and persecution are also expressions of this gift of faith.