Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.



October 2013



Do You Have Biblical Faith?

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Sea World Believe_mainMy family and I went to a theme park several years ago and after watching the killer whales do their thing we began to exit the aqua-theatre. As we left the facility, I noticed they had put the word “BELIEVE” on the large screen.  My first thoughts were, “What do they want us to believe? Believe in ourselves? Believe in belief? Believe in the power of whales? Believe what?”

After kicking these questions around in my mind, I concluded that the words “faith” and “believe” have been lost in our culture to a hundred conflicting and vague definitions.  With Jesus teaching that the greatest commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:37,38), the God we cannot see with our eyes (John 1:18; John 4:24), we better think seriously about a biblical understanding of what faith is.

When we read the Bible we find, like the theme park, there is an announcement to “BELIEVE.” However, the Scripture does not leave it open ended.  Within the Christian faith we are not allowed to custom design our belief system as if we were building a house where we pick and choose the colors, the fixtures, and the flooring.  The call to believe in the Bible is not a trip through the buffet line at the Piccadilly© where we pick and choose what we want. In fact the book of Jude gives an impassioned plea for followers of Jesus “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3) Jude was speaking of a fixed message about Jesus Christ that has come down to us and has been recorded for us.

When the Apostle Paul spoke to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, the jailer asked in a moment of spiritual trauma, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) The jailer wanted some answers about personal faith and salvation. Paul’s response is simple and powerful, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

What does it mean to “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” Well, biblical faith is not irrational as it possesses three components that rescue it from a “leap in the dark” understanding.

1.  Faith has content.  Biblical faith is anchored to foundational truths centered on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:3,4)  Christ really came. He really walked on this earth. He really lived a sinless life. He really taught and healed and suffered and bled and died. He really rose from the dead. He really commissioned his disciples to go global with the good news of what He accomplished, and we are talking about it now because they obeyed what he told them to do.  Biblical faith has specific content focused intensely upon Jesus Christ and his saving work. It is not a wax nose that can be molded and shaped into what we think is best.  However, that being said, there is more. Faith that leads to salvation is more than knowing or reciting the content.

2.  Faith includes agreement with the content. Namely, do you agree with the biblical record of who Jesus claimed to be and what he accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection? Does the good news of Jesus Christ resonate in your heart as true and right? Is there within you a resounding “yes” to this message?  While knowledge of Jesus and agreement with that message are critical, there is another very crucial component of biblical, saving faith.

3.  Faith is actual trust in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior. Content and agreement must lead to personal trust in Christ alone.  Biblical faith means a personal commitment or trust in Jesus Christ alone.  This faith relationship is not a belief in a religious icon, but upon a living Lord who “has all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

The Bible was written that you would believe this message (I John 5:13), that you would personally trust in Jesus Christ as your God and Savior. Biblical faith has historical content, agreement with that content, but must be received personally into one’s life. Your understanding of biblical faith is vital to the direction of your life and the foundation for everything you do. We read in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith “it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

One of the most popular hymns today, sung by Protestants and Catholics alike,  is “In Christ Alone” written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Some have predicted that this hymn will have an enduring legacy like John Newton’s “Amazing Grace”. Consider the bold declaration of a personal, biblical faith:

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

 May you cast your full trust upon the rock of Christ; all other ground is sinking sand.

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