Faith

“Faith is very important to me…”

The word faith is tossed around a lot today. Ask anyone on the street, and you’ve got a good chance of finding someone to be a spiritual person, someone who has faith. As a pastor’s wife, I hear people talk about faith a lot. It’s very easy today to say something like, “Sure, I’ve got faith,” or “Yeah, faith is very important to me,” but these kinds of comments can mean so many things that they don’t mean much at all.

Don’t get me wrong. Faith is very important to me. I’m a spiritual person. But what does that tell you about me? Not much. I could be talking about my conviction that purple kangaroos live on the dark side of the moon (which I don’t believe) or my spiritual connection with Mickey Mouse (which I also don’t believe).

See what I mean? It’s an important question. What do you believe? Why do you believe it? And why is it important to you?

Here is my faith.

I have chosen to believe that the Bible is the written Word of God. I believe that all of it is true, every last word. I believe that God is Who He says He is in the Bible. The beauty and design in creation point to the loving, creative, powerful God of the Bible.

The Bible says that God created everything in six days. No evolution. No millions of years. God spoke, and it came to be. On the sixth day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). God made man special, in His own image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Because of this, every individual life has meaning and a purpose – to praise and glorify God.

For a short time, everything was perfect.

Sin came into the picture in Genesis 3. You probably know the story. A serpent tempted Eve, she ate of the fruit that God had told them not to eat, and Adam followed suit. They disobeyed God. They sinned. When they heard God walking through the Garden of Eden, they ran from Him and hid in fear. When God asked them what they had done, Adam pointed his finger at Eve, and Eve pointed her finger at the serpent. Do you see what happened here? Not only was fellowship between God and man broken, but fellowship between man and woman was also broken too. Sin had entered the world.

None of us are any better than Adam and Eve. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us have done things in disobedience to God. Think about it – little white lies and whoppers, bad attitudes and all-out rage, the worship of immaterial things like wealth and power and the worship of wooden or stone statues – all of these put us in the same position before God. We are sinners.

Here’s an illustration: Imagine you and I were going to have a rock throwing contest here in Iowa. Our target is the North Pole. Now you might throw your rock farther than mine, or I might throw my rock farther than yours (highly unlikely), but neither of us is going to hit the North Pole, right?

That’s what Romans 3:23 is talking about. We have sinned, and God’s glory is so great and holy and perfect, we could never gain access to His glory. It’s as impossible as my rock hitting the North Pole.

The news gets worse before it gets better. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” What is that verse talking about? Well, we all know what a wage is. Let’s say you hire me to do some work for you. I work hard, get the work done, and you pay me fifty dollars. The fifty dollars is my wage, my payment for the work I’ve done.

The payment for the sin we’ve done death. That’s what Romans 6:23 means. All of us have sinned, and we deserve our payment – death.

Unfortunately, that’s not just physical death, though that’s included. It’s spiritual death too, eternity in a place called hell. We will all die someday and face the holy God of the universe, and we will give an account of what we’ve done in our lives. God will see our disobedience and give us what we deserve.

This is where faith comes in. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Did you read that right? We are saved through faith!

Well, that’s wonderful. It really is! But faith in what? The Easter bunny? Leprechauns? Purple kangaroos on the dark side of the moon? What am I supposed to believe in? The Bible tells us that too.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake, He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God.”

Another illustration might help. I know it’s an awful thought, but let’s say you have cancer. The doctors say there’s no hope, no treatments. You’ve got months to live, and then it’s over. Then let’s say I come along and take your cancer from you. What’s going to happen to you? You’re going to live. What’s going to happen to me? I’m going to die.

God loved us so much, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth to take our sin cancer from us, so we could spend eternity with Him. We had earned death on a cross, and Jesus Christ took that payment so we could go free. To put it another way – for your sake, God made Jesus Christ, who had never sinned in his life, to be sin for you so in Him, you might become the righteousness of God.

God’s gift is like any other gift. If I offer my pen to you as a gift, when does it become yours? When you reach out and take it. When does God’s gift of salvation become yours? When you reach out and believe it. Repent of (turn away from) the sins you have committed, and believe that Jesus Christ paid penalty that you deserved to pay.

I have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as the salvation necessary to save me from my sins. My faith in Jesus Christ is very important to me. Through it, I am saved from my sins and able to have a personal relationship with God.

What about you? Do you have faith?