What the Bible Says About Faith
FAITH: THE KEY TO HEAVEN
Faith is the key that opens the door to Heaven. You could have a key ring with many keys on it like this...They may even look somewhat alike. But, you go to the front door on my house and try all of these keys except the right one and they would not open that door. It does not matter how sincere you are in exercising belief that a different key will open the door. The fact is that only the right key will open the door.
The right key to Heaven is called faith, saving faith. That is what will open the door to Heaven. There is nothing else in the world that will open that door no matter how sincere you are in exercising the practice or belief of something other than saving faith to open the door to Heaven. What is saving faith?
WHAT IT IS NOT
First I would like to discuss what saving faith is not. Saving faith is not mere intellectual assent to certain historical facts.
Some people believe in Jesus Christ the same way they believe in Napoleon or George Washington. They believe that he actually lived, and He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now. THE DEVIL
The Bible says the devil believes in God. Did you know that? The Bible says, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble" (James 2:19). So believing in God is not what the Bible means by saving faith. The demons in the Gadarene demoniac said, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of god? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29) Even the demons believe in the deity of Christ! But they evidently weren't saved!
MERE TEMPORAL FAITH
Let me share with you one other thing that people mistake for saving faith. That is mere temporal faith. When you have trusted in the Lord for your finances, you could call that financial-faith. You may have prayed and trusted the Lord to take care of your family - you could call that family-faith. You may have prayed and trusted the Lord to give you a safe trip - you could call this traveling-faith. There is one thing all these have in common. They are of a temporary nature. They are temporal. Once your financial need is met, you no longer need to trust the Lord for your finances. Once you have safely reached your destination, you don't need to trust the Lord for traveling faith.
All the things of this world shall pass away. They are temporary. Now many people I find, trust the Lord for all these temporary matters. But saving faith is trusting Christ to save you - eternally.WHAT IT IS Again I ask, what is saving faith? Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. The Bible says, "and they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31).THE CHAIR You do believe this chair exists don't you? Do you believe this chair would support me if I were to sit on it? But it is not supporting me now for a very simple reason. I am not sitting on it. for the sake of making my point, let the chair where I am sitting represent me, and this empty chair represent Jesus Christ. For a long time I believed He existed and could help me. But I did not have eternal life because I was trusting my own good works to support me into Heaven.
Remember what you said you would say to God if He asked why He should let you into Heaven? You said, "(repeat to them their answer to Question 2)". Who was the only person referred to in your answer? Who were you trusting to get you to Heaven when you said that?
To receive eternal life I must transfer my trust from myself to Jesus Christ alone.
MOTIVE FOR GODLY LIVING
If I am trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, what is the motive for godly living?
A president of Princeton once said, "As a young man I accepted Christ and the gift of eternal life. All the rest of my life has been simply a P.S. to that day, saying, thank you Lord, for what you gave to me then."
The motive for Christian living is gratitude for the gift of eternal life. The Bible says, "The love of Christ constraineth us" (I Cor. 5:14).
Let's say that this pen in my right hand represents eternal life. There are only two relationships you can have to it. Either you have it, as my right hand does, or you don't have it as my left hand doesn't. If you don't have it and you believe it exists, you are going to want to get it. So you do the best you can; you love your neighbor, go to church, read the Bible, pray, give money, and then you say, "Lord here are all the things I've done. I hope I've done enough to get into Heaven."
But you see, in this case it becomes evident that everything that you've done has been for the motive of earning eternal life. There is this selfish motive underlying everything and so you couldn't possible get it.
We could never earn eternal life. The Bible says that God came to earth and on the cross in the person of his Son he paid for eternal life - an infinite price. By his graciousness he offers it to us freely as a gift. It is received by faith; and "Faith is the hand of a beggar reaching out to receive the gift of a King."
Many years ago, this beggar reached out an unworthy hand and received the gift of eternal life. I didn't deserve it then, I don't deserve it now - but I have it.