II HEBREWS 19
EXAMINE YOUR FAITH
In my last essay I emphasized the importance of believing that God is, and that that meant believing He is our Creator and has all of the characteristics which the word God implies. This makes us responsible to Him, for He made us for His purposes. Simply believing in His existence is not enough, but it seems to satisfy too many who count themselves as Christians.
I fear that one of our greatest problems in Christianity today is a lack of real faith. The reason it is a problem is that everyone thinks that they have faith but never stop to find out what the Bible means when it says we must walk by faith or what Christian faith really means. To assume that I have faith because I believe in a Creator, the History of the Bible and the story of Jesus Christ revealed in the New Testament, is a bad mistake. Having these things stored in my accepted memory bank does not make me a Christian. Stored there they do not change my life. They may make me go to church and carry out all the religious rituals, but they do not affect my spiritual self. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth”. To worship God in Spirit I must accept Him as my Father and let Him change my life. That means to change my spiritual self. That spiritual self governs what I love and what I do not, what kind of morals I have and how I treat my fellowman, whether I am self-centered or concerned about others. It goes with me when I go to church and when I leave. It is the way I live my life.
I have a book of poetry that I read. I believe these poems were written by Shakespeare. I believe he was a great poet, that he lived in a certain century and died on a certain date. All of these facts I have in my accepted memory bank. But they do not change my life. They may give me a reputation of being a reader of the classics, but my personality and the way I treat others or behave morally is still the same.
Believing in God the Creator is one thing…believing in Him as my
Father is quite different. Believing in Jesus as an amazing historical character, who was crucified and rose again, is fine, but believing in Him as my Savior is so different that if I really have faith in that, I believe He is with me all the time, I talk to Him often, and I let Him
be the Lord of my life. Being conscious of, or having faith in Him as my Savior makes me behave differently, because I am always in His presence. I depend on Him to forgive my foolish mistakes and keep me acceptable for Heaven, in spite of my mistakes and sins. It changes my life.
If I say I have faith in my automobile, I mean I trust all its mechanisms to take me where I want to go. I move on the dangerous freeways with confidence in my ability to control and its ability to do what I wish. But that does not make me more honest, or more loving to my fellowman, or more moral and sincere in the mind of my Creator and my King. Simply believing in the existence of God and the beauty of His Creation, or in Jesus and the history of His miraculous life, death and resurrection does not make my spiritual self any different or any better. It is only when I have faith in His personal relationship with me, and that changes me from doing what I want to do to behaving as He wants me to do and be. That is what the Bible means when it says we must “walk by faith”. That is the kind of faith it is talking about. If you do not have that kind of faith then you are not really a “Christianos”, i.e., follower of Christ, no matter how correct your religious rituals may be.