Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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            The importance of faith is no better stated than in Hebrews 11:6 where we are told it is impossible to please God without it.  Romans 10:17 and John 17:20 further explain that hearing the word of God is the origin and basis of our faith.  The absence of faith in anything we do results in transgression of God’s word.  Paul wrote to the Romans and explained this faithless transgression in chapter 14:23 by confirming that anything we do without faith is sin.  This further makes the point that whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord (Colossians 3:17); or in other words, by faith.  That includes how we live our lives, our service to God and our worship.


            Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as the substance, or assurance, of things hoped for; the evidence, realization, confirmation, proof of things unseen.  This really makes evident the importance of what Christ prayed for in John when he prayed, “...for them also which shall believe on me through their word;...” Because Christ is not with us now, faith is all about God’s word for us when it comes to our salvation and continued service to him.  We depend totally upon God’s word for our faith.  The word which was made perfect or complete and ended the days of old when the gifts of the Holy Spirit were still being displayed (1 Corinthians 13:10).  And that word is what our faith is established on and how the Spirit dwells within us today (John 6:63).


            Faith was clearly illustrated by Abel, Noah and Abraham, just to mention a few.  In the beginning, God gave man instruction and by that word Abel offered a sacrifice according to faith (Hebrews 11:4).  We know God’s word existed then because faith only comes from God’s word (Romans 10:17).  Noah was also moved with Godly fear and prepared an arc because of God’s word or warning.  By this faith he not only saved the creatures and his family from extinction but he became an heir of the righteousness which is only obtained according to faith (Hebrews 11:7).  Abraham displayed many illustrations of faith in his life.  His life long obedience was a result of his faith and is certainly worthy of his eternal record in God’s word (Hebrews 11:8).  We can easily recall his willingness to leave his home land, his sending Ishmael and Hagar away, his offering of Isaac, just to mention a few illustrations.  Faith caused him to act, to work, to be obedient, which in turn justified him (James 2:21).  We can easily see that faith without obedience and works is a dead faith (James 2:20).


            God only accepts those who obey their Godly faith.  1 John 2:3-5 tells us that we only know we are of God, if we keep his commandments.  That is a faith that requires us to do something.  It is not enough to just have faith, but it must move us unto obedience for salvation and to keep his commandments afterward.  James 2:19 reminds us that even the devils believe, and they tremble because they know the just reward that awaits them.  They know mere belief is not going to save them, because they did not allow their belief to develop into Godly faith which is manifested in obedience and works.  Instead, they shunned their belief and committed works that have condemned them and so they wait a just punishment.


            We all have been extended the opportunity to be children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.  But in order to accomplish this, Godly faith must cause us to obey unto salvation which is completed or perfected with baptism (Galatians 3:27).  This same faith will motivate us to obey God’s commandments throughout our lives so that we can know that we are in God as his children (1 John 2:3-5).  Yes, we can make our calling and election sure, and never fall (2 Peter 1:10).


Marc Hopkins