Faith is one of the great foundations of Christianity. Ephesians 2:8-9 boldly declares, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” The Old and New Testament declare, “The just shall live by Faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). As followers of Christ, it is our faith in Him that gives us access to His grace. We cannot be New Testament Christians without faith.
Far too often believers speak in a coded language that only makes sense within the confines of the church (and sometimes only their specific church). We say things like, “I’ll believe with you” and “I’ve got faith for that.” When we are facing challenges, obstacles or problems in our lives we say things like, “I’ve got to feed my faith” or “I’m standing on His promises”. When others are going through problems we’ll say things like, “Have faith in God,” or “Just trust in the Lord.” Sometimes we talk so much about faith that it can be confusing to a new believer or an unbeliever who really does not understand what faith is.
I want to share briefly the importance of biblical faith in our lives. My hope and prayer is that you will be provoked and encouraged to read, study and live the Bible.
Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words defines faith as, “a conviction based upon hearing.” The main elements in the word “faith” in its relation to the invisible God are as follows:
- A firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth
- A personal surrender to Him
- A conduct inspired by such surrender
Faith supersedes or extends beyond belief. When we have faith in God we go far beyond the acknowledgement of His existence or the agreeing that biblical events took place or, statements concerning God are true. Faith produces a firm conviction in our lives that leads to a change in our lives. This change involves both our world view as well as our actions. We are changed as a result of our faith.
Our faith defines us; it is the foundation upon which we build our lives. Faith in and of itself is far less important than who or what our faith is placed in. We may have great faith but, if our faith is not in the God of the Bible then our faith is not founded upon eternal truth. A.W. Tozer said, “What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.” Jesus Christ said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
It is vital that we understand that biblical faith transcends the act of believing and places the utmost of importance upon who/what is believed; Jesus is the both the substance and object of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is, “the author and perfecter of our faith”. Romans 10:17 tells us that, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Word of God is the foundation for our faith. I am writing this message to encourage you to make the Word of God the foundation for your life. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). The truth of God’s Word must be the bedrock of our worldview, it must shape our thinking and we must constantly renew our mind with its timeless truths.
Why the Bible?
As believers in Christ we need to honestly be able to tell others why we believe the Bible. There are many outside and inside of the church that speak against the authority and validity of the Bible as the only inspired revelation of God ever given to man. We live our lives in a culture that is hostile towards any person, ideology or theology that proclaims absolute truth. The foundation for our faith is solid, but it is important for us as believers to understand why we believe the Bible. How do we know that we have the Word of God?
There is no short answer to this question. Volumes have been written on this subject by men and women far more intelligent and wiser than I am. Here is a brief list of recommended books that will help you further in your study of scripture.
Help my Unbelief by Fleming Rutledge
Is the Bible True? by Jeffery L. Sheler
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig L. Blomberg
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Is the Bible True…Really? By Josh McDowell
The Scriptures must be loved, treasured and guarded by those who believe it to be God’s only truth for a lost and dying world. We must safeguard its doctrines by faithfully following its teaching, by proclaiming its saving message, by teaching it to all who believe and by defending it against those who would seek to distort or destroy its eternal truths.
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NLT)
The Bible is the Divine Library, consisting of sixty-six separate yet related books. It is the Book of books, priceless and incomparable. Its two divisions are the Old Testament, having thirty-nine books and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. Though it is a compilation of sixty-six books it is really one unified book. The Bible is the only authoritative written revelation of God.
Jesus Christ is the living Word, the Word made flesh and the Bible is the written Word. They are both the Word of God. The Living Word is revealed in the Written Word and the Written Word leads us to the Living Word. They are one. It is for this reason that our faith is built upon the Bible.
A Solid Foundation
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT)
As followers of Jesus our life is supposed to be built on His teachings. Jesus said building our lives upon His teachings is like building a house on a solid rock foundation. Please take notice that our Lord says, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it.”
We must study the Bible, but our faith must be much more than mere scholarship and study. We must put the Word into action in our lives for this is the greatest revelation of our faith. True faith and belief in the scriptures produces corresponding action in our lives. We follow the teachings of the scriptures because we believe they are the Word of God. This is the solid foundation that Jesus is speaking about.
It sounds very simplistic but much of our life as followers of Christ can be summed up in these three points:
- Believe that the Bible is true
- Read and study the Bible
- Do what the Bible says to do
We will lead lives that are filled with prayer, praise and worship if we do these three things. We will lead lives that display acts of compassion and mercy upon those who are poor and hurting if we do these three things. We will lead lives that are fulfilling the Great Commission if we will do these three things. We will lead lives that are sanctified and consecrated unto God if we will do these three things. We will display the love and character of Christ is we will do these three things. We will lead lives that are filled with the goodness of God if we will do these three things.
I think the old Sunday School song sums this up perfectly, “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me; I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”
Faith is not blind; faith is built upon truth. Our faith as followers of Christ is built upon the sure foundation of the Scriptures and it is for this reason that we are passionate about the Bible.
Obey the Word of God. If you hear only and do not act, you are only fooling yourself. Anyone who hears the Word of God and does not obey is like a man looking at his face in a mirror. After he sees himself and goes away, he forgets what he looks like. But the one who keeps looking into God’s perfect Law and does not forget it will do what it says and be happy as he does it. God’s Word makes men free. (James 1:22-25 NLV)