The Act of Faith Must First Be Activated
By Vivian Gordon
My husband recently bought himself a Trac phone. For a small amount of money, this little phone has a lot of options. It has a calendar, an alarm clock, voice mail, personal reminders, a calculator, and can be voice activated just to mention a few of its features. There are no contracts or leases to sign, there are no monthly bills. The only required thing for this little phone to work is a calling card which must be purchased every few months. The minutes will automatically roll over and will not be lost if not used. My husband felt this little phone would give him some added security on his long drive home from work. But, before he could use it, it had to be activated by adding a pin number. This allowed him to start accumulating the minutes for actual use.
This made me start thinking about faith. Just like this phone, we can say we have it, but unless it's activated it won't do us any good. Before my husband could put this phone into use, he had to become familiar with the directions. Just as it is for a Christian. Before we can put our faith into action, we must become familiar with God's directions. Since God doesn't use a Trac phone to call us, we must attain our faith by reading His Words and hearing His Words spoken through His anointed. The more we put it into action, the more confident we will be to rely upon it. This is where we have a choice. We can either choose to hear and believe the good news and live or we can choose to ignore it and die.
Paul wrote about this offer to heed the good news. The news is good because the one who receives it will have eternal life. This news is not just a gracious offer, but a commandment to believe it and repent of sins. This good news is to believe that Christ died in our place.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Romans 10:17
Hearing and believing the Word of the Lord is essential before faith can be activated. What will happen if you hear this and don't believe it? Well, to know this truth is to know the joy of the Lord in your life. This is where your strength to endure all the pressures of life come from. You will know that this world can not condemn you. Without faith, this world offers us doubts and fears. Unless we put this faith into action, it is considered a sin and impossible to please God.
"The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin." Romans 14:22,23
No Christian can take the liberty in assuming that since he is saved, he can do whatever he pleases. Unless we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to convict us, we can and will wander off the path of righteousness and this will result in harming ourselves and those around us. It is by example that people will believe in our salvation. If they don't see changes in us, we aren't much of a witness for Christ. God considers this to be a sin. What are you showing others in your life? Can they see Christ in you? In order for faith to be activated, we are expected to also have works that are in accordance to this faith. The two go hand in hand.
"But someone may well say, 'You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works'." James 2:18
James is saying that the only true evidence of faith is by the good works of the believer. Anyone can say they have faith, but unless they show it through works, will get them no where.
"But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" James 2:20
When faith is activated by good works it comes alive. Good works alone is dead. This is one of the most dangerous concepts that people are apt to believe. On a street survey, when people were asked if they will go to heaven, most answered with a whole-hearted 'yes'. Their reasoning is because they are a "good person". It's time to spread the truth of the gospel. An example to the faith and works is Abraham. When God ordered him to sacrifice Isaac, he was prepared to do it, no questions asked. This action of faith was working and perfected his faith.
"You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected." James 2:22
This act of faith resulted in bringing it into its fullness. Faith will not reach its perfection until it demonstrates itself in a righteous life. Therefore, anyone can do acts of good deeds, but unless they are living a righteous life to please God, it is a sin and sin will separate us from the love of Christ and any hope of ever reaching heaven. Think about that for a minute. Now ask yourself, "Am I going to heaven?"
Through faith, we are justified and will find peace with God through Christ. Just what does this mean? We must believe that Christ died for our sins. Not only was Christ just, but He was the only One Who could justify us before God. His sacrifice was the only thing God would accept. There is nothing any of us can offer God in exchange for eternal life except our faith in what His Son did for us upon that Cross. To be justified through Christ means "Just as if" you had never sinned. What other way could you possibly repay this offense worthy of death?
"Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1,2
This introduction is the believer's access to God through Jesus. Without Christ, all our works, no matter how wonderful they may be are considered as filthy rags.
How do we get this faith? It comes through righteousness which is given by God on the basis of our faith. Does God give everyone this faith? He offers it to anyone who will receive it. But not everyone will take it. For those that receive God's mercy, He will account to them faith. On the other hand, there will be some who will receive God's judgment. But God doesn't do anything to hurt anyone. Again, this is the choice of the individual. The judgment of God is due to a person's unwillingness to receive the gospel. This is a good time to examine your life. How is working for you? Have you attained faith through the righteousness of God? Is your faith truly activated through a relationship with Christ? If not, you can change it right now. God is a merciful God and will listen if you can humbly admit your sins against Him. He is faithful to forgive all of them when you confess with your heart that Christ died for you and rose again to sit at the right hand of His Father and will be your personal mediator before God. You must understand that because of your relationship with Christ as your Savior, your prayers can now be heard and answered! There just is no other way.
"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone..." Romans 9:30-32
Not even the chosen people of God could attain faith that was foolishly activated through their "good works". God gives this right to 'whosoever' will accept Christ. We must pursue Him! One day His chosen people will recognize their Messiah in the person of Jesus Christ. But until that day, Christ will be a stumbling block for them. Don't let Him be a stumbling block for you.
"Just as it is written, BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." Romans 9:33
God's promises that for those who believe in His Son will not be disappointed. I love that, don't you?
For faith to be activated, you must first turn on the "ACTIVATOR" which is Christ Jesus!
All Scripture is taken from the MacArthur Study Bible.
Vivian Gordon writes articles pertaining to God's instructions and the examples He has given us in order to grow on this Christian walk with Him. She hopes that they can inspire the Christian to grow spiritualy and maturely in their lives.
Supporting Christian Communication Online. A Christian based organization that seeks to encourage clergy and church leaders to identify the potential in developing an online church community. http://www.churchwebsitedesign.org.uk