In my previous post we looked at examples of faith and how it is supported by evidence. Here we’ll see the importance of a faith lived out.
Exercising Biblical faith leads to action
We have a natural faith we use all the time. By natural faith you sat down today on chairs without giving it much thought. You had faith in the manufacturer and based on previous experience, you expressed that faith by sitting down. You could say you trusted in the workmanship of the chair. However, sometimes even fairly reliable things break; planes do sometimes crash; chairs do sometimes break. The object of our natural faith is not always reliable.
However, Biblical faith is a supernatural experience. Biblical faith begins when we place our trust in Jesus Christ. It continues as we live this faith out through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we place our faith in Jesus we trust something more real and someone more trustworthy than anything or anyone we could ever comprehend with our natural senses. It is supernatural because the object of our faith, God, is a supernatural being. Since we live in a natural world, evidence to support our belief is both natural and therefore testable and it is also supernatural, God working in us and through us.
Natural faith depends on the natural senses. Hebrews 11:1 speaks of a supernatural faith with an unshakeable assurance that is contrary to the natural man. This faith yields the conviction of things not seen. It is by faith we begin to experience God and without this faith we cannot even please Him.
Hebrews 11:6 “And 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.”
We exercise faith by…
1. Placing our trust in God – for he who comes to God must believe that He is
Biblical faith begins with believing in God. The Bible says we do that by placing our trust in His Son Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Heaven awaits only those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
We exercise faith by…
2. Producing actions that demonstrate that trust – He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Here we see Biblical faith doesn’t end with belief. You could say it just begins. Faith is lived out by those who actively seek God.
Biblical faith is belief that is demonstrated by deeds. Seeking after something is an action. This is what pleases God. The majority of the Hebrews 11 is about individuals who served as examples of “those who seek him.” Their faith was supported by their actions. In chapter 11 we see example after example of people who placed their faith in God and then lived out that faith. Here is a sampling of true saving faith in action.
- Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
Noah followed the command of God and built a large ark without an ocean nearby. He was mocked by the people. They thought he was a fool. He warned them of the impending judgment of God but they refused to listen. Through his faith his family was saved and all mankind perished. Noah acted by faith; by earnestly seeking God. When told by God to build an ark he obeyed. A second example of faith in action was Abraham.
- Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Abraham, soon to be the Father of the Hebrew people, was told by God to stop what he was doing, pack his bags and go. So what do we see? Genesis 12:4 “So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” Abraham was an old man and yet by trusting in God, Abraham acted upon that faith and left.
Faith is not just intellectual assent. It's not just acknowledging that certain facts about Jesus, the Bible, or the resurrection happen to be true. Faith is a trust lived out. It's taking your life and putting it on the line based on your confidence in those facts. To please God we must actively seek Him. Actively seeking him is to follow Him, is to produce actions that demonstrate a true faith.