We have just begun a new study on Wednesday nights on the subject of faith.
We know that salvation comes by faith - "By grace are you saved, through faith ...," Eph 2:8. But faith goes far beyond just securing us a place in Heaven when we die.
It actually is to be our way of life while we are still here on Earth. Paul tells us that "The just shall live by faith'" Rom 1:17. We are more prone to read it that the just should live by faith rather than shall live by faith. The point is that we are going to live by faith, it is just a matter of faith in whom? Will it be faith in God or faith in man? When we think about whom God is - that he is loving, gracious, omnipotent God - it is amazing that we still want to rely upon our own wits and abilities.
Why is that? I think it is really very simple. Rom 10:17 tells us that "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." We don't have faith in God, because we don't know enough about him. A person is saved when he comes to the crisis situation in life that he realizes he is on his way to hell unless something is done about it and he can do nothing in and of himself. As a result, he hears the wonderful news of the Gospel and puts his faith in the finished work of Calvary rather than anything that he might be able to do.
It is the same kind of faith that God expects of us as we continue to live for him. Faith that God will protect us and provide for us. Faith that God will guide us and guard us. We have so many examples in the Bible of people who have lived by faith. Hebrews chapter 11 (which is the source of our study) has often been referred to as the Hall of Faith. What we learn is that faith plays an invaluable role in every area of life. I think of Daniel, who was willing to die rather than to disobey God and cease to pray. No doubt, when he was thrown into the lions' den, he slept better that night than the king did.
So, how do we live by faith? A simple definition of faith is "Taking God at His Word." Obeying God, regardless of what we perceive as the outcome. It has been said that we aren't ready to live until we are ready to die. The more we live "for" him on Earth, the more enjoyable it will be to live "with" him in Heaven.
- Jim Melrose is pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Tonganoxie.