There can be no doubting that the Christian life is based upon faith, and that faith is a very simple kind. Our faith must be placed in the word of God and in Jesus Christ the Lord. We see this pointed out in Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” So Christian faith is based squarely upon what is said in the word of God, or the Bible.
While Judaism, from which Christianity sprang, is very complex with many laws, commandments and rituals, Christianity in its essence is quite simple. God made it this way so that we Gentiles, who were unlearned in the matters of God, could come into faith. The formula for our faith is given by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” It is that simple. We must believe with all our heart what the Bible says about Jesus and then begin confessing him openly with our mouths. The Bible assures us with these words: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom.10:13).
What does the Bible say about our Lord Jesus? It says he is God’s beloved Son; that he came to be born on the earth as a small baby in Bethlehem; that he lived a perfect life before humankind, but he nevertheless was put to death as a malefactor. He was buried in a rich man’s tomb but on the third day he arose from the dead through the power of God. Afterward he was seen by hundreds of people and spent some forty days giving final instructions to his disciples. Then he arose to heaven in a cloud and took his seat at the right hand of God on high. The Bible affirms that Jesus will come again in victory, power and great glory to reward his saints and to judge the unbelieving world. This is the gospel message in brief.
FAITH IS HARD FOR SOME
The word of God requires that we believe in God and that we put our absolute faith in his Son, Jesus. This has proved to be difficult for many people because it requires faith. The author of Hebrews defines faith in these words: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). So faith is putting our full confidence in, or being absolutely certain of that which we cannot see in the natural world. Some find this difficult.
Yet, how ironic it is that even the greatest unbelievers exercise faith every day. Everyone exercises faith by driving on the roads and freeways. We really exercise faith by glancing in the rearview mirror on our car. Actually, many of these mirrors even tell us they are lying to us by saying: “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” In spite of this warning, millions each day continue to make life and death decisions on the roads and freeways by a quick look in the mirror. We make hundreds of other faith decisions everyday of our lives. It certainly takes some faith to get on an airplane and even to be in large crowds in our day of worldwide terrorism.
GOD HELPS OUR UNBELIEF
In the Bible we have an account of a man who really wanted to believe in God but his faith was weak. He had brought his demon-possessed son to Christ to be healed. Jesus asked him if he believed and he replied, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mk. 9:24). It is interesting that Jesus did help this man and promptly delivered his son.
God knows that our faith is weak. He knows we are made out of clay. He knows we sometimes wobble around in doubt. God has therefore taken several steps to help our unbelief. He has given us his word and that word is always true. We can depend upon it at all times and in all situations. Isaiah 40:8 has this testimony concerning the word of God: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
God does some other things for us. He actually gives us the gift of faith and also increases our faith that we may receive his promise of salvation. In Ephesians 2:8 we read: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Imagine, even our saving faith is God’s gift. As we seek his salvation we should cry out just as the man did in Mark 9:24, “help me overcome my unbelief!”
The Lord has more help for us. At the moment of our new birth he places the Holy Spirit within us as a “helper.” The Spirit then intercedes for us: “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rom. 8:26). In addition to the Spirit’s prayers we see that the risen Christ also intercedes for us in heaven. The scripture says in Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
WE NEED TO TRUST GOD AND GIVE HIM A TRY
There it is – the simple faith of salvation. Millions have followed this simple path over the centuries and are eternally saved.
On one occasion Paul and Silas were arrested and thrown into prison because they had preached the word of God. In that prison they prayed and sang hymns to God, even unto the midnight hour. Soon God worked a miracle, sending a great earthquake and loosening everyone’s bonds. The bewildered jailer seeing all this came and fell at their feet asking what he could do to be saved. Paul and Silas at once explained this simple plan to the jailer: “They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household’” (Acts 16:31). The jailer believed and was gloriously saved that very night. He took Paul and Silas to his own home, washed their wounds and fed them. Then he and his whole household were baptized.
This is a very good picture of simple faith often spoken of in the Bible. But how do we know faith is real? How do we know that we really believe? We see an answer to this question in the story of this Philippian jailer. When we really believe we can immediately see signs of that faith in our lives. We immediately begin confessing God before others just as the jailer did. Also, we see that this official then dared to take Paul and Silas (who were criminals in the public eye) to his own home, wash their wounds and feed them. When we really believe we will have this kind of fruit appearing in our lives and it will appear immediately.
This is the simple faith of the Bible. We see that it is also a life changing faith, that it moves people out of darkness into light; out of time into eternity.
– Jim Gerrish
Publication date, 2004.