By Lewis Willis
Defining the Christian Life is critical. We must know what God prescribed as the essence of that life, noting especially the defining features and attributes of each aspect of it. In this article we shall focus on A Life Of Faith.
Stay with me for just one moment as I attempt to explain something important on this matter.
The Bible sometimes uses faith in the sense of what I believe. This is the faith of Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” One cannot deny that faith is an essential part of the Christian Life. My faith must be properly placed, but I must have faith! In Hebrews 11:1, the writer explains: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I need some basis for living my life; I need something upon which to build my life; I need a foundation. That foundation is my faith in the faith of the Lord, and this all the evidence I need to make the choices I have to make in Christ. Paul explains, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
The Faith — The Gospel
The word faith is used in another sense — to refer to the doctrine of Christ. In Galatians 2:19-20, Paul wrote: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” How did Paul live before? He said he lived by the Law. “How do you live now, Paul?” He said, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” He is not telling us that he lived by what Jesus believed. He is saying he lived by the gospel, the faith of the Son of God.
Now, these two ideas — personal faith and the faith — are not mutually exclusive; they go together. When saying that the Christian Life is a Life of Faith, we simply mean that we must have personal faith in the doctrine of faith.
Occasionally we hear someone say that the Christian Life is faith-based. What this means is that faith is its foundation. You take personal faith out of your life and it is a shell. In like manner, when you take the gospel of faith out of it, it is even more useless. I don’t want that to happen to me because I know without faith I am lost! Thus, I must understand the importance of living A Life of Faith. How is this done? What is the nature of that Life of Faith?
The Meaning of a Faith-Based Life
The remainder of this article will identify some of the specific aspects of faith in the life of a Christian.
1. Children of God by Faith. Paul wrote, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Paul is not writing about what these Galatians believed. He is talking about this system of faith that he had preached to them, which came by Jesus Christ. By the direction of that system of faith — as an expression of their personal faith — they were baptized into Christ and became sons of God. Now what does sonship mean? What does it mean when the prayers of God’s children go up to him? Do you realize that there are people all over the world praying to God? But Peter says the eyes and ears of the Lord are only over the righteous (1 Pet. 3:12). Are they praying? Oh yes, they pray. But God only hears the prayers of his children; those who become children by faith in Christ Jesus!
2. The Household of Faith. In Galatians 6:10, Paul says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” The gospel and our mutually shared faith bring us together, framing and forming us into the household of faith. Furthermore, Paul explains that the household of faith is: “. . . the house of God, which is the church of the living God . . .” (1 Tim. 3:15). Many people think they are in the household of faith; the church, even though they do not know the truth about the church. They have been told that denominationalism is the household of faith. However, there is not a shred of evidence that the division, confusion, and hostility of denominationalism comprise the household of faith. We must trust the gospel enough to obey it, then God puts us into his family.
3. Established in Faith. Paul told the Colossian church of blessings awaiting it, “. . . if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . .” (Col. 1:23). He is not telling this church simply to continue in whatever they might believe, but to continue in the faith, the gospel. Christians must be grounded or settled in the faith. We must not allow ourselves to be moved away from the gospel. Perhaps the saddest things we deal with in the church are Christians who fall away from the faith. Let’s be honest, there are circumstances that test every ounce of our faith, and we will also be overthrown unless there is depth and root to our faith. We will only be as strong as our faith is strong! Our regard for the gospel of the Lord will determine whether or not we remain faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10).
4. We Must Stand in the Faith. Paul exhorted the Philippians to “. . . stand fast in one spirit, . . . striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). Are you in your place, standing where you are supposed to stand? Does the church stand as a mighty army, ready to take on the forces of evil? Or, are there breaches in the lines caused by wavering Christians with sinking courage?
5. We Must Contend for the Faith. Jude said, “. . . earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). I can remember a time in the church when an assault of error against truth would have been met with a ready band of Christians, contending for the faith. Brethren offered no apology when someone preached the truth, exposing false religion that will damn the soul.
But, today we are too nice for that! Why, we might offend someone! We need to put the fight back into faith. Paul told us to fight the good fight of faith; only by doing so will we lay hold on eternal life! (1 Tim. 6:12).
6. We Must Preach the Faith. It was said of Paul, “. . . he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed” (Gal. 1:23). Must preachers and Bible-class teachers preach or teach that gospel today? Oh yes! Could there be an obvious reason why we do not baptize people today as we used to? To baptize people, they must be taught (Matt. 28:19). The less teaching we do, the fewer we baptize. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
7. Faith Saves the Soul. The Hebrew writer said we must be among those “. . . that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:39). When personal faith in the gospel produces obedience, then we believe to the saving of our soul. It’s that simple, folks!
8. We are Kept by Faith. Paul said that he had “. . . kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). As a result, a crown of life was laid up for him, and for us, if we will also be kept by faith. Peter speaks of an incorruptible inheritance for those “. .
. who are kept by the power of God through faith” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). What does this mean? The meaning is, we are kept in safety; kept where we are supposed to be; kept in the sense of sustaining us in trial and tribulation. God keeps us! How does he do that? He keeps us through our personal faith in the faith, the gospel.
The Christian life is a life of faith; it is faith-based! Make no apology for your faith. You have nothing for which to apologize. Rejoice in your faith; share your faith; keep the faith, and God will keep you. That’s what he promised to do. I like the sound of that! I can pillow my head at night in blessed assurance, because of faith. Do you have that faith?