Why We NEED Faith (And Why It's Not Enough)
We need faith because we cannot be saved without it. “And without faith, it is impossible to please Him (God)…” (Heb. 11:6) As the Apostle Thomas had doubted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Jesus stated, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”(John 20:29) The Gospel of John goes on to say that belief in Christ is what grants unto us salvation. (John 20:30-31). We need faith! We need faith because we are sinners (Romans 3:23), and sinners can’t be saved without faith! However, faith in and of itself, is not enough. Here are some reasons why.
We don’t just need “a” faith, but we need “the faith”. All faiths are not created equal. As was referenced in John 20:30-31, it is faith in Jesus Christ that is necessary for salvation; the Jesus Christ that was of the Bible. A Muslim faith or a Buddhist faith cannot save, because it is not built upon the foundation of the true Jesus. (I Cor. 3:11) A Jehovah’s Witness faith or a Mormon faith cannot save, because they have different false portrayals of Christ, contrary to the Christ of scripture. (II Jn. 1:9) Likewise, a generic faith (i.e. “I believe God exists, but to each his own”) cannot save, because it does not rely upon the truth of Christ as the Son of God, and as our Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” (Jn. 14:6) We see that put to the test when an Ethiopian Eunuch was on a journey and was having “Jesus” preached to him. He saw water and said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” To which the preacher said, “If you believe with all your heart you may.” Believe what with all his heart? The Eunuch responded, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”(Acts 8:36-38) The Eunuch understood what kind of faith saved; it’s “the” faith, not “a” faith! (Acts 16:5)
We need the faith that comes from the Bible. The source of a Christian’s faith is clear, it is to come from the word of God, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) The word of Christ in New Testament times was the teaching of the Apostles; however, today it is the Holy Bible. The Apostles were charged with preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15), and teaching all that Jesus had commanded them (Matt. 28:20), and they had all knowledge pertaining to life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3) that has now been communicated to us through the scriptures, and the scriptures alone. There is no other gospel that saves (Gal. 1:6-9). There is only one faith (Eph. 4:5), and that one faith is the one gospel found in the Holy Bible.
We need the faith that works. By “works” I simply mean “obedience”. “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him (Jesus) the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9) Faith in and of itself is not enough. We need obedience also. An illustration of such is given earlier in Hebrews 3:16-4:2; where the Holy Spirit demonstrates how God had taken the Israelites out of Egypt, but the Israelites didn’t take Egypt out of their hearts. The Israelites believed in God, they had faith, but that faith was not united with obedience. It was, therefore, useless. One’s faith… is only as good as one’s obedience. Faith is necessary for salvation, but it’s not enough in and of itself. The gospel is, “He who has believed and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16). If we have a faith that works, that means we have a faith that obeys.
We need the faith that is living. And this sort of continues along the theme of needing a faith that “works”. The difference is; however, that “living” gives the idea this is a perpetual (obedient) faith, rather than a faith that just did something one time; such as “confess Christ as your personal Savior”, and then you are saved for eternity. That is simply not a “biblical” faith. A biblical saving faith is one that is alive! It is known to be alive because it is observed to be alive through actions. Just like a body. A body with no action, no pulse, is dead. However, if we see someone up and walking around we can see they are alive. Faith without works is “dead”.(James 2:17) Faith without works is “useless”.(James 2:20) Faith without works is “imperfect” (lacking). (James 2:22) Faith without works does not “justify” (save). (James 2:24) Can you see why “faith” in and of itself is not enough? We need a faith that is living.
We need the faith that preserves the soul. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:36-39) The faith that preserves the soul is a bold and confident faith that endures and pushes on past trials, and temptations, and tribulations. It is a faith that leads one to love God, and keep His commandments, and to keep on keeping on… until the very end. (I Jn. 5:3)
We have to have faith, but a worldly defined faith is useless. It is not enough. We need a biblical faith. A biblical living faith saves. A biblical living faith preserves the soul. A biblical living faith is the type of faith that Jesus preached, and the type of faith that He died for. Any other faith is not pleasing to God. Any other faith… will not save.