For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
In last Thursday’s devotion, we considered what faith is and is not. We saw that, contrary to the common notion of faith as something contrary to reason, Christian faith is reasonable, even though it goes beyond reason. It is based on God’s self-revelation and involves a reasonable, rational response to who God is and what God has done.
Yet, sometimes Christians limit faith to a matter of belief. If I were to ask you, “Do you have faith in God?” you might assume that I am asking you “Do you believe that God exists?” Yes, faith in God can be thinking rightly about God. It is considering the evidence for God’s existence and coming to the correct conclusion. “I have faith in God” can mean “I believe there is a God.”
Now, to be sure, biblical faith includes believing certain truths about God. Paul refers to the “faith in the Lord Jesus” that the recipients of Ephesians demonstrated. They believed that Jesus was in fact the Lord, the one true God. They also believed the truths Paul summarized in the earlier portion of Ephesians 1, focusing on what God had done and was doing through Jesus the Lord, such as redeeming us and bringing all things to unity.
Biblical faith always has theological content. It is not just a feeling or a sense of something “other.” Yet, biblical faith is not simply giving assent to theological claims. Rather, biblical faith is going a step further. It is not simply believing that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Rather, it is also putting your trust in Jesus to be your Savior and your Lord. When you read the word “faith” in the New Testament, you should think of it in terms of trust that includes but goes beyond belief.
Biblical faith is similar to something I experienced several years ago when my friend Eric took me rock climbing. He was an experienced rock climber and instructor. It was my very first time out. Eric set up an elaborate rope system that was supposed to guarantee my safety. Now, I knew that Eric was experienced and wise. I had faith—the “believe it’s true” sense—in Eric’s ability to devise an excellent belaying system using strong ropes. Yet, I did not have faith in Eric in the biblical sense until I actually starting climbing up the rock face, putting my life in Eric’s hands. On the basis of what I believed about him and his equipment, I had faith in him. I trusted him. And I lived to tell the story.
Something to Think About:
I used the example of rock climbing with Eric as an illustration of biblical faith. When have you moved from believing certain facts about someone to trusting that person in a potentially costly way?
What helps you to go beyond merely believing the right things about God to putting your faith/trust in God?
Something to Do:
Is God asking you to trust him with something in your life, something that you might find hard to release to the Lord? As you reflect on God’s trustworthiness, tell him that you’ll trust him in a new way. You may even want to open your hands before the Lord as a gesture of trust.
Gracious God, it’s one thing to believe the right truths about you and quite another thing to actually entrust myself to you in light of those truths. Thank you for making yourself known to me so that I might believe in you. Thank you for being so utterly trustworthy that I might put my trust in you.
Help me, gracious God, to trust you more. When I am tempted to take back my life and run it myself, may I let go and allow you to truly be my Lord and Savior. By your grace, may I live each day relying on you, being confident in you, seeking you, trusting you. Amen.