What is a Saving Type of Faith?
What is a Saving Type of Faith?
It is evident from the Bible that not every type of faith is a saving faith. For example, the Bible records that even the demons believe (From the Greek word pistis which is used interchangeably for faith), yet we know the demons are lost and their faith only evokes trembling (James 2:19). Throughout the Bible, there have been people who had faith, but it was not a saving kind of faith. For example, the Israelites were God’s people during the times of Moses and Joshua, yet because of a lack of true faith (i.e., they believed in God), they perished (Heb. 3:7ff). What is a saving type of faith really like?
In Scripture, Faith is correctly defined as obedient trust in God. At the beginning and end of the Book of Romans, the Holy Spirit defines faith as the “obedience of faith” which saves (Rom. 1:5, 16:26). It is not simply enough to say that we believe in Jesus Christ. Belief must be backed up by action (James 2:14-26). Jesus said that it was not everyone who said: “Lord, Lord” that was going to go to Heaven but those who do the will of the Father in Heaven (Matt. 7:21). In fact, Jesus used belief/faith synonymously with obedience. The Lord said “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36, ESV). Another example of faith being obedient trust can be seen from the great man of faith, Abraham. Scripture records that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6; Gal. 3:6). What does the Scripture mean when it says, “Abraham believed God”? In Genesis 26:5, we learn what it means. To describe Abraham’s faith, God said, “Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Gen. 26:5). Remember that in the Bible faith and obedience go hand in hand.
A saving type of faith has complete trust in God. The woman with the flow of blood trusted the Lord so much that if she could just touch the Lord’s garment she knew she would be well. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (Mk. 5:34). Another example is the Centurion in Matthew 8. In this account, the Centurion’s son was sick and Jesus is called to heal him. Yet, the Centurion feels unworthy that the Lord should come under his roof. He trusts the Lord so completely that if Jesus will just say the word, his son will be healed. Of this faith, Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matt. 8:10). Having a trusting faith means that I believe God to the extent that whatever He says I am willing to do it. Abraham illustrates this fact perfectly because he was willing to kill his only son of promise simply because God told him to (Read Gen. 22).
A saving faith is a working faith. To have the kind of faith God approves of, our faith must be active. Imagine this scenario: A man comes to worship this Sunday and has no clothes to wear and hasn’t eaten in a long time. As a Christian, you then turn to this man in desperate need and say, “God bless you and we hope you find something to wear and eat.” Have you had a saving type of faith? According to James 2, you have not. James clearly teaches that you cannot say you are a Christian without doing the things God commands, like being benevolent (James 2:18). If you told someone you were a Christian, how would they know you were unless they could see a picture of your life in the Scriptures?
After studying these passages and principles, each of us must now look inward (2 Cor. 13:5) and see if we have the correct type of faith. Is your trust in God complete? Does your faith get out and do anything for Christ? If you cannot answer yes to these questions, your faith needs changing into biblical faith—obedient trust. May our aim be to live in faith so that one day we can have the crown of life (Rev. 2:10)!