By Don Wright
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). These are the famous words of the Hebrew writer that reveal the importance of faith. Without faith there is no pleasing God. As Paul said in Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith.” But it must be realized that there are certain degrees of faith, and not all degrees of faith save. James tells us that even the devils believe and tremble, but who would think that they are saved. The faith that saves is an active faith that causes one to obey God. Now, because not all faith saves, we should all strive to be sure that we have the proper kind of faith. In this article we want to observe a few things that will put our faith to the test.
Not all of the commands of God are difficult, but some certainly are. For example, when God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, that was a hard command. By faith Abraham passed the test. He had the kind of faith that pleases God, i.e., an obedient faith. Now while we have not, as far as I can see, received any commands as difficult as that, there are some hard commands that we must keep. Consider two such commands.
1. Loving our enemies. We are commanded to love our husbands, our wives, our children, etc., but that is not very difficult. Loving those who love us back is natural. But to love our enemies is much more difficult. The concept is not hard to grasp, the hardness is in the application. You see we must love, not only in word, but in deed (Matt. 5:43, 44). A good definition of love is that love always acts in the best interest of whatever it is that is loved. Do you always act in the best interest of your enemies? This is a true test of faith, and whether or not we pass this test is an indicator of whether or not we have truly been converted.
2. Forgiving those who sin against us. The greater the sin, the harder this command becomes. Yet we are everywhere told that we must forgive one another regardless of the extent of our pain. But when we instead hold grudges and refuse to forgive, we fail the test of our faith.
Just because we are God’s children does not mean that we will not be touched by trials and tribulations. They will come! How we handle them is another test of our faith (Job 1:6-22). If we give up because of persecution, it is because we have not the proper kind of faith (Rev. 2:10).
What We Are Willing To Do
What we are willing to do is a result of how much faith we have. If we have saving faith, we will be willing to go the extra mile in our service unto God. It is sad to me to hear Christians who say things like, “I do not attend Bible class because it is not commanded.” Personally, I think Bible class, whether on Sunday morning, or sometime during the week, must be attended. I believe that Hebrews 10:25 covers those assemblies as well as Sunday morning worship service. But for the sake of argument, let us say that they are not commanded. Should we not assemble with the saints whenever possible? A person who says, “I am not going to Bible class because it is not commanded,” is a person who is trying to do as little as possible in serving God, and that says something about that person’s faith. Our attitude should not be let us see how little we can do for God, but rather let us see how much we can do for God.
Let us put our faith to the test, our salvation is at stake.
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