Do you have saving faith?

frankBishop Frank Retief preached a sermon entitled “Inadequate Faith” at our church on Sunday and challenged us to examine what kind of faith we have. The following is a brief summary.

We all have faith because we are all created in the image of God with the capacity, and indeed necessity, to believe in something.  The question is: in what or in who is your faith?  Faith is a much debated subject on the internet at the moment.  What is the true faith? Is there a true faith? How should faith impact my life?

John 2:23-25 says:

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Many people put their “faith” in Jesus during his earthly ministry, but John chapter two says that Jesus did not entrust himself to them.  Why not? They did not having saving faith, their faith was inadequate and not sufficient – like many people’s today.

Good impression

Rather than saving faith, many people had a good impression about Jesus as a miracle worker, a helper of those in need and as a “good man”.  But their good impressions never moved beyond that.  Many people have a good impression about Jesus and the church today, but that is not sufficient to save.

Good will

Rather than saving faith, many people had good will towards Jesus.  They would not oppose him or wish him harm, but admired the work he was doing as a man of God (cf. Nicodemus in John 3).  Many people today have good will toward Jesus, might even admire their Christian friends or give money to a Christian, medical charity.  Yet their good will is not sufficient to save.

Cultural faith

Rather than saving faith, many people went along with their friends, peer group and sub-culture to listen to Jesus.  They appreciated his teachings and good works.  They spoke well of him.  Yet, when the culture changed their thinking about Jesus and cried, “Crucify Him”, so did they.  Many people today have a view of Jesus informed by their culture and upbringing.  They acknowledge and ascent to the birth, life and death of Jesus, yet this cultural faith is not sufficient to save.

Saving faith

Saving faith is a deep trust in Jesus that he will save us from the coming judgment of God.  Saving faith is not trusting Jesus to save us from ill-health, bad circumstance or poverty, but trusting Jesus to save us from the coming wrath of God.   Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God the day of God’s Justice has loomed over us.  Jesus is the only one able to save us from God’s just judgment because he is the only one who could bear God’s judgment for us on the cross.  In a sense, Jesus has been to the judgment already, in our place.

Distractions

In our world of social media and millions of distractions, it’s vital that we take time out to consider what kind of faith we have.  We live in such an advanced technological age that we are not easily impressed anymore with anything.   We need to again be gripped and impressed by the glorious gospel – that Christ has borne the full wrath of Almighty God that we can be forgiven – and then pray that God in his grace would touch our hearts to embrace afresh this gospel. The alternate is too terrible to contemplate: an eternity separated from God.  Lost.  Abandoned.  Judged.  Hell.