Why does God require us to have faith? What is faith anyway? These are all great questions.
First, the Bible itself defines faith:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
This verse above does not indicate that faith is mere belief, or mere hope in blind chance. Instead, faith is a rock-solid guarantee in something we know will happen in the future. It’s like having a check written by a wealthy person. You know the money’s there, you just haven’t seen it until you cash the check.
Also, it is important to note that faith is not mere intellectual belief. Faith is more like trust. To believe on the Lord is not just to believe in Him, but to trust Him in all things. A lot of people can intellectually accept that Christ lived. Some may even accept that he rose from the dead. But only those who trust in Him have true faith.
Adrian Rogers used to put it this way:
Faith is belief with legs on it.
True faith is going to move you. It isn’t just believing, it’s believing and trusting and moving forward with a truth that changes everything.
As Christians, we must have faith in the risen Christ. The Bible tells us:
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Based on the verse above, you cannot please God in any way unless you have faith. Faith is a prerequisite to pleasing God. It is an absolute requirement. The saints, Old Testament and New, all had one characteristic in common: They all had faith in God.
The Bible also tells us that by faith we are made righteous. Abraham was not counted as righteous based on his works, but based on his faith. For the Word says:
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
When we place our faith and trust in the risen Christ, in the same way as Abraham, we are credited as righteous before God. God cleanses us of our sins when we confess them, and He credits us as righteous based on our faith in His son Jesus Christ. Our salvation is based on God’s grace through our faith, and not of our own works or good deeds.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…”
Why Does God Require Faith?
We all live by faith, whether we like to admit it or not. An atheist lives by faith, a Jew lives by faith, a Muslim lives by faith, an Agnostic person lives by faith, and the Christian lives by faith. We all are dependent on faith to even get by a single day. This is true not only with respect to God, but with respect to nearly all parts of life.
Think about it: When you made breakfast this morning, did you test it to make sure it had no toxic chemical in it? The way food companies are manufacturing food today, that may not be a bad idea! But the reality is that you probably did not test it. By faith, you ate the food, having faith it was healthy and acceptable to consume.
When you are driving 40 mph down the road, do you stop when going over a hill, and check so that you can ensure nothing is at the top that you may hit? Or do you keep driving, having faith nothing will be in the road on the other side?
Did you go to college? If so, did you know you’d even live long enough to graduate? Or that you’d be able to find a job afterwards? Or did you pay all of that tuition (or grants), spend all that time studying, and make the decision to attend by having faith it would work out?
Faith is inescapable. You cannot live in the world without faith. The question isn’t: “Should we live by faith?” The real question is, “Where should we place our faith?” We all have it, we just need to find the best place to put it.
You can place your faith in any number of false religions, whether it be Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or whatever. But those religions just give man an opportunity so serve a false God (Satan), and grasp on to whatever sin the false religion allows. False religion will leave you dead in your sins, and you’ll still die unsaved from the judgment of God.
You could place your faith in science, but science won’t save you. It doesn’t matter how many scientific discoveries happen, you’ll still die one day. No amount of chemotherapy, transplants, or preventative therapies will keep you alive forever. Besides, every day science is corrected with new discoveries. I read a year or two ago how scientists had long believed a certain rat to be extinct for 11 millions of years, only to find it alive and well (and unchanged). If you place your faith in science alone, you’re placing your faith in something that has a long track record of being wrong. Wouldn’t that be terrible on the day of judgment, to try to convince God of the theory of evolution? Only to realize…oops, science was wrong yet again.
There is only one type of faith that matters. Only one type of faith saves. What faith is it? Faith in the living and risen Christ. Christ defeated sin on the cross, was resurrected on the third day, and ascended to the Father’s right hand. He paid the penalty for your sins and for my sins.
Jesus gave us the ultimate proof that faith in Him is the type of faith we should all have. He defeated death, and He gave all of His followers that raw proof. This proof shook them up so much, they spent the rest of their days witnessing, even though most of them died horrendous deaths for it.
If you go to Mohammed’s grave, you’ll find a dead body inside. If you go to Buddha’s grave, you’ll find a dead body. But if you visit Jesus’ tomb, you’ll find He isn’t there. He crushed death. Oh death, where is your sting now that Jesus came and crushed you?
God requires us to have faith because by having faith, you prove you trust and love God. By faith, you show you have a true relationship with Him.
How Can I Develop Faith in God?
Are you struggling with your faith? I’ve struggled many times with my faith, but God has always been faithful to strengthen me when I need it.
The Bible tells us one way to increase our faith:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I cannot think of one single “faith builder” that is so easy to obtain than that of reading God’s holy word. When I open the pages of scriptures and read the accounts of the Bible, such as Joseph in Egypt ,or the crossing of the Red sea, my faith is boosted. When I read of Christ’s miracles, love, and resurrection–my faith is increased. When I read Revelation, and see how the world is going to end and how Christ will reign forever and ever, my faith is increased.
D.L. Moody, a great evangelist from days of old, was an uneducated man that God raised up and made one of the greatest evangelists of his time. He once said this about faith:
I prayed for faith and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.
In addition to growing your faith by reading the Word of God, you can also build faith by being obedient to God. As you are obedient, God will begin to move you in areas where you can experience His presence and power. Going to church to fellowship with other believers, reading the word, praying, and all of these things can be a great way to boost your faith.
Conclusion: How’s Your Faith?
Do you have faith in God? Do you trust in a risen Christ, or in science to save you? Do you trust in a false religion, or in the truth, the way, and the light (Jesus)?
If you haven’t placed your faith and trust in Christ, I beg you to do so. You may not have another day. Today is the day of salvation for you, if you simply put your faith into the true God.