In my last post we gave thought to why faith was necessary. I hope it spoke to you, you’re always welcome to ask questions. But the aim of this post is to think about whether just any faith will do. I’ve heard plenty of armchair theologians confidently declare that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something. Is that true? And if it’s not, what kind of faith makes a difference?
First, our faith needs to be in the God that the Bible (the Hebrew and Christian scriptures) speaks about. Why?
The God of the Bible is the God. Faith in another god is faith in nothingness.
How do we know that the God of the Bible is the God? He is the source of the all prophecies found in the Bible, all of which have been fulfilled. A 100% fulfillment record cannot be said for the gods of the other so-called sacred scriptures. Here is why 100% accuracy matters: a simple, common sense test given by God Himself for the true scripture (and therefore the true God): “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21, 22). Absolutely every prophecy made in the Bible came to pass — every one; therefore the Author of that book is God. Not so with the Koran, Veda, book of Mormon, etc.; they are shot through with prophecies that were downright wrong and others that never came to pass. The God of the Bible; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of Moses, Joshua, David, and the Old Testament prophets is the one true God. His name is YHWH, there is no other, and we must believe in Him.
And we need to have faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the object of many of those biblical prophecies just mentioned above. He proved His identity as the Son of God by 1) fulfilling all the prophecies made of the Messiah, 2) miracles and healings witnessed by thousands, and 3) His resurrection from the dead and appearance to as many as 500 witnesses at one time. One of His appearances is especially convincing, since it was to a man who was in vigorous opposition to Jesus and His followers, Saul of Tarsus. On the road to Damascus (Acts 9) Saul met the resurrected Jesus, spoke with Him, believed, and was baptized 3 days later. Saul went from being an adamant enemy of Christ to a dedicated evangelist of the the good news of Jesus in a virtual turn-on-a-dime moment. No, it wasn’t a psychotic break (his writings are too rational), and it wasn’t a hoax (no one suffers and dies for a lie, and he died for what he believed). In 2 Corinthians 4:13 Paul said, “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe therefore we also speak.” And we should believe in Jesus, too.
But lastly, when we ask the question, “Will any sort of faith do?”, we need to realize that our faith needs to do things. Some people believe that faith is something that happens strictly between the ears, but the Bible would disagree wholeheartedly. Bible faith, real faith, acts in accordance with its belief — this is also known as obedience to God’s commands.
The story goes that over a hundred years ago daredevils would string cable across Niagara Falls and perform high wire acts. As a crowd wildly applauded one such daredevil, he asked one of his more zealous admirers, “Do you think I can push this wheelbarrow across the falls?” “Well, of course,” the man responded enthusiastically. “Do you believe I could push a man in a wheelbarrow across the falls?” the daredevil asked again. “Why, yes, I believe you can do anything!” the fan replied. “Well, then climb into the wheelbarrow, Mister, and let’s go for a walk,” the daredevil invited. The fan declined. No faith. You see, faith without deeds is really just an opinion. Indeed, James 2:14ff teaches us that faith without words is dead!
Is it true that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something? No, not at all. It does matter; it matters greatly. Getting to Heaven and avoiding Hell starts with faith in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a narrow road, but that’s just exactly what Jesus said it would be (Matt 7:13,14).
But there’s more. Check me out next time.
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