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Jamie Johnson
December 3, 2019

Questions of faith

The following is a lesson I developed about faith, or more specifically, questions of faith:

Why do we eat?

We are designed to depend on something outside of us. And ultimately that is God. All people have faith in something, but some misplace their faith in idols or things that will fail.

So, what is faith?

Faith involves believing and trusting. Why do you sit on a chair without thinking about it? You believe the chair will hold you up and you trust the chair. You have faith in the chair.

Still, though, God is unseen. John 4:24 says, "God is Spirit." We cannot see Him and therefore faith is required. As Billy Graham once said, "Can you see God? You haven't seen him? I've never seen the wind. I see the effects of the wind, but I've never seen the wind. There's a mystery to it." Faith involves believing and trusting in God. We can see how He has changed lives and we can see the order of creation and the design thereof.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) says the following:

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

And it's important to remember what the Bible says about the unseen in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV):

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Now there are also historical things that have happened that some have not seen. You didn't see me come to Christ and I didn't see Jesus, but I believe in Him. There are many "Why" questions dealing with faith (I addressed in Why?) addressed below:

Why am I -- a Gentile -- a believer in Jesus Christ?

Ultimately because of the Holy Spirit. Historically, however, Paul's passion for sharing the Gospel was a factor. Yet, Paul the Apostle was once Saul of Tarsus, a murderer and persecutor of Christians. However, Saul became Paul.

Why was Saul changed to Paul?

He had met the Risen Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus! (See Acts 9:1-18)

Why is there a church?

The church was born on Pentecost. What was happening around Pentecost? Peter, who had denied Jesus not long before (See John 18:15-18 and John 18:25-27), turned around and preached to thousands, three thousand accepting the message and being baptized that day! (See Acts 2)

Why was Peter changed?

Or better phrased, Who changed Peter from denying Jesus to proclaiming Jesus to thousands? Peter had seen the Risen Lord! Why else would Peter preach boldly? He had seen the Lord Jesus Christ risen in victory! This means that Jesus really did die on the cross! And it means that Jesus really did rise again!

Why would Jesus die on the cross and even predict it (Matthew 16:21) - multiple times (also in Matthew 20:17-19)?

This is further proof Jesus is God, particularly when He resurrected from the dead. Think about the earlier questions we already answered about how Saul became Paul, Pentecost and how Peter preached boldly. These occurred because Jesus really did raise from the dead, proving He is God. So, when Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him, we can believe that.

While God is not seen, answering such questions encourages our faith as we see how He has impacted history and the lives of many. He is trustworthy.

So, why is faith important?

Well, Romans 14:23b indicates that anything done without faith is sin. And this is why we depend on the work of Christ as we fail. Ephesians 2:8-9 shows that we are saved by grace through faith. Think of the "5 solas":

  1. Sola scriptura: "Scripture alone"
  2. Sola fide: "faith alone"
  3. Sola gratia: "grace alone"
  4. Solo Christo: "Christ alone"
  5. Soli Deo gloria: "to the glory of God alone"

And notice that the second one is "faith alone." Think also of the word fide. It is from the Latin word for faith fidelis. And it is the root word of confident or confidential. It depicts trust and trustworthiness. We can be confident in Christ.

And you all know John 3:16 where Jesus Himself says, "whoever believes" in Him will have eternal life. Belief is faith. In fact the Greek word in that verse is (pisteuōn πιστεύων) which translates "to believe, entrust."

What are the fundamentals of our faith?

From earlier answers, we can see fundamentals of our faith: Jesus is God (and He is the Son in the Trinity -- our Holy Triune God -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- One in Three and Three in One) and He even let us know He is God in many ways through miracles, but also through what He has said (which we know is trustworthy) John 8:58 (NASB): "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.'" And if you are familiar with the Old Testament, the all-caps Lord is translated from "Yahweh" (Latinized as Jehovah), which means "I AM" and indicates God's eternal state even outside the confines of time. Jesus not only mentions being before Abraham was, but in doing so, again speaks the truth of His being God Incarnate. In John 10:30, Jesus says, "I and the Father are One." John 14:9 (NASB) has Jesus speaking:

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"

And there are other verses showing the deity of Christ. Being God in the flesh (God Incarnate), born of the Virgin Mary, Jesus lived a perfect life, died in our place on the cross, appeasing the wrath of God for our sins, offering His righteousness in exchange for our sins, was buried and rose again, giving us hope in His glorious resurrection. He was God in the flesh and is the only way to the father. He is trustworthy. And His Word -- the Bible -- is trustworthy. It contains verifiable history, writings by eye witnesses, fulfilled prophecies and a common thread across 66 books by 40 writers who wrote under the inspiration of the Author - the Holy Spirit. And the Bible answers our questions about how we live out our faith.

What about works? How do they go with faith? How do we live out our faith?

First the bad news. In and of ourselves, our works are filthy rags according to Isaiah 64:6. They won't get us into Heaven. Only the perfect work of Jesus will if we place faith in Him. Works don't save you. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)? It says the following:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Yet, there is a place for work -- not for salvation, but out of salvation. If someone makes a saw, what good is it if no one uses it to cut? Faith and works are similar. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Out of that comes works. We serve; we love; we live for Christ. We live differently from the world. In fact, the work comes out of the faith. Works are evidence of faith. Consider James 2:14-26 (NASB), which ends with "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." Good works are an expression of our faith. James 1:22, 27 (NASB) says the following:

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. … Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

And finally, 2 Peter 1:10 (NASB) states the following:

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble

So, we do work out of our faith and those works even encourage our faith and prove our faith, but at the root of it is faith.

What shall we say then?

You are a person. And all persons have faith in something. Many have faith in the wrong things. What about you? Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? Do you realize you are a sinner in need of His sacrifice for you on the cross, that He died freely on your behalf? Do you believe in the truth of His rising from the dead? Do you trust Him as your Lord -- as God? Do you trust His Word -- the Bible? These are the ultimate questions of faith.

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