Centennial News: What is Faith

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Dr. Michael Stovall Edit Editweb

Dr. Michael Stovall, Columnist

One of my good friends is not a Believer, yet. He and I have gotten to be pretty good friends over the last several years.

We have had all kinds of conversations about life. I have had multiple opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him and invite him to trust Christ as his Savior. At this point, he has not made a decision for Christ.

When I first met him five years ago he believed there might be a higher power in the universe, but he was not willing to identify such as God. Our conversations have continued.

He asks his questions and wants me to answer them with what I believe and what the Bible teaches. He now believes there is a God who is the Creator as the Bible teaches.

His biggest hang-up with believing the gospel and receiving God’s gift of salvation is that he says “everything about it presupposes faith.”

He feels there are aspects of Christianity and Christian doctrine that are not reasonable. He is stuck on the idea that faith and reason are incompatible. There is really only one underlying obstacle for a person to come to saving faith.

This obstacle is believing that God is real and trustworthy. Reason and logic are simply quantifiable ways to measure our faith. You have to have faith in the tool you are measuring all of your experiences against.

This means there is a baseline measurement that a person uses to measure what he sees, hears, experiences and perceives to determine whether or not he accepts it as true.

The person’s faith is in the baseline measurement. From a faith perspective, the baseline measurement is the existence of God.

The reality of an all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy God is the necessary baseline measurement for a person being able to understand and accept the gospel message. Apart from a belief that God is real and trustworthy, it is not reasonable to believe that God created everything out of nothing.

Nor is it reasonable to believe that He parted the waters of the Red Sea and the Israelites walked across on dry land. Nor is it reasonable to believe that His eternal Son, Jesus, was conceived in the womb of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, was buried and resurrected, and will one day return to take us to a real place called heaven. It is not reasonable because God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

The Bible also describes faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” – Hebrews 11:1. Faith means trust. It is an act of the moral intelligence directed at the object of our hope. God is the object of our faith. Belief is good, but it is insufficient for changing a person’s life.

Faith begins as an intellectual understanding of the existence of God and moves to a saving faith of trusting one’s entire life and salvation to God. Faith is knowing enough to act.

Faith apprehends the reality of God’s promises and brings the unseen objects of our hope into everyday life. Since God is real and trustworthy, you can place your faith in Him and trust Him for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Then you can continue to grow in your faith. Faith does not mean you have all of the answers. Rather, faith means knowing where to take your questions and trusting God to reveal and teach the truth you need to know and grow.

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