Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Faith in Christ

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 29 Num. 10

According to the Holy Scriptures, FAITH is the saving response to the gospel. We all speak and hear a great deal about faith. Still, there are many who don’t seem to know what “saving faith” means. But if faith is necessary for our salvation, then it is vital that we know what it is and what it involves. Indeed, according to the Bible “without faith, it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).

In the New Testament, the Greek noun for “faith” means a person’s “conviction of the truth” (as in Acts 11:24; Rom. 3:28; Eph.2:8) or else refers to “the content of our belief” (as in Jude 3; Gal. 1:23; I Tim. 4:1). The Greek verb for the act of faith can emphasize “believing a thing to be true” (Matt 24:23), “accepting (acknowledging) a message from God’s messengers” (Acts 24:14), or “acknowledging Jesus to be the Messiah and trusting Him for salvation” (John 3:16).
A variety of word-pictures are employed in the New Testament to illustrate what it means for a person to have saving faith. Four of the most vivid examples are found in the Gospel of John. There, faith is described as “coming to Christ,” that is, turning from trust in self to trust in Christ (John 6:37). In John 6:51, faith is graphically depicted as “eating of Christ,” that is, gaining Spiritual nourishment from Christ. It is likened to “drinking of Christ” in John 4:14, that is, finding our Spiritual needs met in Christ. And our Lord speaks of it as “abiding in Christ” (John 15:5), that is, receiving our Strength from Him alone and finding our blessedness in fellowship with Him. It is evident from these passages that saving faith is much more than a momentary decision or something that we did in the past. Indeed, according to the Bible saving faith involves both acceptance of truth and personal trust. It is the instrument by which we lay hold of Christ in all His benefits.

We’ll continue exploring this theme next week. Until then, I trust that the Lord will find us all a people of faith.

Yours joyfully,

Ligon Duncan

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