How to Grow in Faith

Carefully note what this statement affirms.

A person cannot please God without faith. 

1)  Christians too frequently fall victim to the deceitful notion that God can be pleased in many ways.

2)  You can please God with generosity, or sacrifice, or unusual forms of obedience, or unusual commitment in service.

3)  It is true that when those things are done because of faith, God is pleased.

4)  He is pleased because those things express faith.

5)  However, if those things are done for their own merit, and on their merit the person seeks to please God, God finds no pleasure in them.

6)  No matter what a person does, if he does it meritoriously, not to express faith, it gives God no pleasure.

To come to God, a person must place confidence in that fact that God exists. 

1)  To be certain, there are different levels of confidence.

2)  No person is in position to pass judgment on another person’s level of confidence in God’s existence.

3)  But a person cannot come to God without a measure of confidence in the fact that God is there.

To come to God, a person must place confidence in the fact that God rewards seekers. 

1)  God will not reject the person who seeks Him in the confidence that He exists and that He rewards the seeker.

2)  God is interactive in the process of the seeker coming to  God.

3)  God will respond to the seeker–He will not ignore the seeker; He will not spurn the seeker.

4)  God, the promise keeper, will honor His promises.

The critical element that the individual supplies in the process of seeking and coming to God is faith–it cannot happen without faith.

Faith is the basis on which God chooses to interact with people. 

1. Incredible blessings exist right this moment; these blessings are “right now” realities.

2. These blessing have been “right now” realities since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These incredible blessing are: 

Propitiation (1 John 2:2)- “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

–God accepts Jesus’ death in place of our eternal death as payment for the evil that we have done.

Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption”

–God frees us from our slavery under Satan by buying us back from evil, by paying the price in full through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Atonement (Romans 3:24,25)

24* being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25* whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

–God uses the blood Jesus’ offered in his death to satisfy justice in paying for the evil we commit.

Forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7)

7* In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

–God actually destroys the sin, the evil we have committed and thereby removes and destroys our guilt.

Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption”

–God enables us to stand before Him as holy individuals because we are the forgiven.

Purification (Titus 2:13,14)

13* looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

14* who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

–God enables us to stand before Him as the pure through the cleansing of the blood of Jesus.

All of these blessings exist this very moment as “right now” blessings available to me, to you, and to every person on earth. 

However, none of these blessings can exist in my life, or your life, or anyone’s life without faith.

Though these blessings exist, they cannot exist in a person’s life who does not have faith.

God’s mercy and compassion exist; they are reality; they have always existed. 

1. God’s mercy and compassion are free to express themselves perfectly, and they have been free to do so since the resurrection of Jesus.

2. God’s mercy and compassion can respond perfectly to every person, to every evil situation, to every evil circumstance–without restriction, they can address every evil that exists.

3. But God’s mercy and compassion can express themselves without restriction only when the person has faith.

4. Even though mercy and compassion exist, they can be received and function only if the person has faith.

SO THE QUESTION BECOMES – Faith in whom or what? That is not only a good question, it is an essential question. 

We must be very careful when we answer that question.

It is very easy for Christians to answer that question by affirming what they consider to be  important.

It is very easy to affirm what we think is  important and fail to affirm what the Bible stresses.

The Bible stresses four essentials in which we must have faith. 

There are many other things in which we place conviction and confidence as we spiritually grow and mature.

But without these four, we cannot even begin spiritual existence–these four are the absolute basics.

1)  I must place faith in God. 

  • I place confidence in His existence.
  • I place confidence in the fact that He sent Jesus to enable seekers to come to God and receive God’s rewards.
  • I place confidence in the fact that He will keep every promise He has made–and that He will do that through Jesus Christ.

2) I must place faith in Jesus.

  • I place confidence in the fact that He is God’s Son.
  • I place confidence in His ministry and His teaching.
  • I place confidence in the fact and the meaning of His sacrificial death.
  • I place confidence in the fact and the meaning of His resurrection.

3) I place faith in the Jesus’ crucifixion. 

  • I place confidence in the fact that his crucifixion is my propitiation, and I place confidence in the benefits of that propitiation.
  • I place confidence in the fact that his crucifixion created myatonement, and confidence in the benefits of that atonement.
  • I place confidence in the in the fact that his crucifixion is the price of my redemption, and confidence in the benefits of that redemption.
  • I place confidence in the fact that his crucifixion produced my forgiveness, and confidence in the benefits of that forgiveness.

4) I place faith in the resurrection of Jesus. 

  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection, understanding that God has the power to keep every promise through the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection to continually forgive me of my mistakes and failures.
  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection to sanctify me.
  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection to purify me.
  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection to keep me alive in Jesus Christ.
  • I place confidence in the power of the resurrection to resurrect me to eternal life with God.

I must have faith in God, Jesus, the crucifixion, and the resurrection to begin spiritual existence. 

Faith in those four things will increase and mature as I spiritually grow and mature.

One of the key concepts of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is this: “the righteous shall live by faith.”

Rom. 1:16,17

16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Hab. 2:4

4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Simply for the purpose of focusing you, of challenging you to develop a deeper understanding, I want to contrast what that statement does not say with what it does say

What it does not say is obvious–and I am not trying to insult your  intelligence by pointing it out.

I just want you to think about it.

“The righteous shall live by faith” does not say: 

  • The righteous shall live by obedience.
  • The righteous shall live by worship.
  • The righteous shall live by sacrificial generosity. 
  • The righteous shall live by commitment.

The statement does say that the righteous shall live by faith. 

  • The righteous person is obedient, but he lives by faith–faith in God, not faith in his obedience. 
  • The righteous person does worship, but he lives by faith–faith in God, not faith in the fact that he worships. 
  • The righteous person is sacrificial in his generosity, but he lives by faith–faith in God, not faith in his acts of generosity. 
  • The righteous person is committed, but he lives by faith–faith in God, not faith in his commitment.

When I, as a Christian, place my confidence, my sense of security, my sense of salvation in my obedience,  or in my worship,  or in my sacrificial generosity,   or in my commitment,  at that very moment I place my faith in me, not in God.

My confidence is in the what I am or what I am doing; it is not in the God who gave me Jesus.

I want to continue to examine this thought – “The righteous man shall live by faith.”

(thanks to David Chadwell for the adapted notes above – Thanks David!)

Comments are closed.