For any human being, the most important thing in this life is to get to know the purpose for which we were created. It is extremely important to know why it is required to repent, deny ourselves, and believe the Word of Christ!
The Scripture shows that in His plan of restoring man, God included these three aspects, which are integral parts of the process of salvation.
As far as faith is concerned, we note with great sadness that it is nowadays misunderstood by more and more people.
One of the convictions we regularly hear is as follows: believe that Lord Jesus is your personal Savior, believe in His sacrifice/believe that He died for the forgiveness of your sins, that He has risen from death… and you are saved. The gospel of Christ is often reduced to the good news of the Lord’s sacrifice and resurrection.
Let us ask ourselves: Is the sole belief in this good news enough?
Was Lord Jesus referring to this “gospel” when he commanded it to be preached to every human being? (…preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Mark 16:15-16)
Does faith in the Lord’s sacrifice and resurrection save me, even if this faith does not work with my acts/deeds? (Brothers, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith, and yet he has no works? Shall this faith save him? James 2:14)
The Scripture tells us that there is such a thing as dead faith; this is the faith of the devils. (You believe that God is one, and you are not mistaken, but so do the devils… and they are horrified! Similarly with faith: if it does not work, it is dead. James 2:17-19)
If the Scripture tells us that even the devils have faith, then there must be a faith that they do not have; namely, a faith that would be pleasing to God.
On a day-to-day basis, there is a very close connection between what we hear, what we believe, and what we do. To show this link we will use an illustration:
- I read about natural disasters. I find out many details about storms and hurricanes which wreak havoc, devastate everything in their path, bring floods, and cause hundreds or thousands of casualties. If such a situation were to arise, in order to save myself, I would have to stop working and take refuge in a shelter. Such disasters usually do not occur in my area, but rather thousands of miles away from where I live.
Each one of us has the ability of believing or not believing information. God has placed in all of us the ability to believe, by which man may or may not believe the information he/she receives. At this passive stage, when you are strictly being informed, this type of faith would not require you to act.
- I am in town to solve an urgent problem that cannot suffer any further delay. I am passing through an area where the representatives of the city authorities are warning the population about the approach of a large hurricane which is going to hit the city. They provide the necessary instructions to myself by reaching a protective shelter.
However, after checking the weather prognosis, I have no reason to believe in such a tragedy. Having heard this incredible news about the disaster that is yet to come, I find myself in the situation of having to decide. To not believe the warning given by the authorities, or to believe it and act.
If I will choose not to believe the news, the information won’t help me. However, if I choose to believe it, this belief/faith will be forced to work; I will have to act and use the instructions of the authorities in order to save myself.
In a hurricane scenario, my capacity to believe can be manifested through:
- Unfaithfulness/unbelief – when I do not think that such a catastrophe can happen; I look forward to my initial task and do nothing to protect my life.
- Dead faith – I believe the news and I am grateful to the person who informed me. However, I postpone it in order to solve the urgent problems I initially had, disregarding the message that was brought unto me. I disregard the rescue instructions and do not proceed to take refuge in a shelter just as it had been indicated. I decide that I can also take shelter somewhere else, in another protected place, but not in the protected shelter that was designated by the authorities.
- Authentic Faith – when this information gets to me, I believe it to be true and it forces me to act. I leave everything that I initially had to do, I decide to act, I involve my will, and I do everything that is necessary in such a situation. I accept the authorities’ rescue plan and put it into action.
My rescue will depend on being present in the designated shelter. But to get to the indicated safe place, I will have to do a couple of things. To trust the representatives and to believe that the warning is real. I must accept the rescue plan instructions as drawn up by the authorities and put them into practice.
The connection between what I hear, what I believe, and what I do is thus very clear. Even if I will be grateful and thank the person that notified me of my life being in danger, and yet decide to do nothing after hearing it, I will be lost.
However, when the salvation of our souls is concerned, more and more people nowadays say that in order to be saved, believing in Christ’s work on the cross and being thankful to Him is enough.
This booklet appears as a response to these growing inclinations toward a light gospel that does not force us to do anything.
In the following pages, we will highlight, by the Word of God, the inseparable connection between faith and obedience/the acts of faith, a part of responsibility that belongs to the one who enters into a covenant with God.
(the storm = God’s wrath, shelter = Christ, authorities’ instructions = Christ’s teachings)