We know about Gods’ predestination, His Divine election, God choosing us first rather than we choosing Him. Because of His permissive will and omniscience, God already knows who will accept Christ and who will reject Him. He has ways of inducing and bringing us into the realm of belief in His Son. Let us look at it from a natural human standpoint that we may get some spiritual applications.
Let us look at belief or believe. What is belief? The American Heritage Dictionary defines belief and believe as, (1) Mental acceptance of or conviction in the truth or actuality of something. (2) To accept as true or real. The Greek word for belief and believe is Pisteuo. Pisteuo means to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust (Vines dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). With these definitions, we can conclude that belief is when one has been mentally persuaded to accept something or someone as being true or real. So, in the Christian faith, belief has a far and deeper meaning than just confessing. Many have professed to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but how many have truly accepted Him? Acceptance comes from the heart.
(Romans 10:9-10) That if Thou confessed with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, Thou shalt be saved. V. 10, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made on to salvation.
When one accepts the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it comes from deep within. Their minds have been persuaded that Jesus Christ is true and real. That He is the only one who can atone or reconcile them back to God. We put much emphasis and celebration on the process of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, rather than on the one who died on the cross, (the Anointed One of God). He is the Son of God, the Anointed One of God and the Lamb of God, who shed his blood for the remission of sins. Once the mind has been persuaded or the heart convicted, and then a verbal expression of confession will be made public. There are many who have made a public confession of the heart but remained unchanged. The devil confessed and believed in God, but we know how his heart is.
(James 2:19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Then there are some who have truly accepted the plan of salvation, but who have not yet grown in faith with the Cross of Jesus as their roots. I called this saving faith. They have enough faith to be saved, but not enough faith to grow from that point. When one accepts Jesus Christ and the significance of His atonement, then everything in life bounces off of Calvary. Jesus often said to believe in Him. All He ever asked was to accept me for who I am the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and the Savior of the world. If you recall, Jesus, before He healed the blind man, He asked him a question. “Believe ye that I am able to do this (Matthew 9:28)? Before we believe in what Jesus can do for us, we have to believe in who He is. He did all of those miracles to establish the foundation that He was sent from God and that He was the Son of God. He died on the cross to establish the foundation for salvation. He came to show God's love for all of mankind.
(John 3:16-18) God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
We not only have to believe this, but also accept this with all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our souls. Once we believe and accept God’s gift to the world, our faith will grow with the significant of Calvary as our roots. We grow in faith with the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as our central focus.
So where do we go from here? What do we do if we have accepted the plan of salvation? Do we remain stagnant in our faith or do we seek to grow? Everybody grows in faith to some degree, some more than others. We start out with belief and acceptance in Jesus Christ, but at some point in life we should know Him as the Christ. This is where faith comes in. There is a slight difference in belief and faith.
What is faith? Faith as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” The Greek word for faith is Pistis. It is a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing. It is a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgment of God's revelation or truth. So we can conclude that faith is having trust and confidence in the invisible God and acknowledging Him for whom He is. It is a personal surrender to Him. Faith is having trust in God under all circumstances and in all situations.
(Psalms 118:8) It is better to trust in Lord than to put confidence in man.
The object of our faith should not rest on the promises of God, but on God himself. There so many people who when God makes promise began to seek after the promise rather than after the one who can fulfill the promise (God). God will fulfill the His promises to us in His own time. If one seeks after the promise, then there stand a great chance that that person is looking after material things and not God. We want the promise fulfill immediately. God is faithful to fulfill His promises.
Faith does not call for what God can do for us, but what can we do for God. Now days it is all about what God can do for us. Abraham believed God. Because of his belief in God, it was counted for righteousness. When Abraham went to offer up Isaac, which was an occasion that he exercised his faith. The question remains what have we do for God lately. Faith is an action word. It causes for action on our part. God isn’t going to do every thing for you. Whenever Jesus healed someone, He led him or her to exercise his or her faith or the recipient of the blessing took the initiative find Jesus. The Apostle James said;
Faith with out works is dead (James 2:20).
(Romans 4:17, 20-21) (As it is written, I have made the a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead and call those things, which be not as though they were. V.20 He staggered not at the promise of God through on unbelief; but was strong in faith, the giving glory to God; V.21 And of being fully persuaded that, he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Our faith rests in the living personage of Christ. Faith causes one to get to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. We worship and serve a living Savior, an all-powerful Lord, the supreme ruler of the universe. He said,
(John 16:33) …In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Our faith is in not Mary’s baby as I have heard some say, but in Christ. Our consolation in trouble times is Christ.
(Philippians 3:9-10) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. V.10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death;
Mature faith is tested faith. Christ isn’t concern with the amount of faith one pretends to have, but more so about the quality of faith. Jesus said
(Matthew 17:20) If ye have the faith AS a grain of mustard seed….
The mustard grain seed is the smallest of seeds, but when it is nurtured, it grows to be one of the largest trees. A novice or newly convert has not the gift of faith as such. Faith is nurtured and tried. This parable of Jesus doesn’t talks about the size of one’s faith, but the quality of their faith. How do we nurture our faith to grow? It is done through prayer and the Word of God.
(Romans 10:17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing the by the word of God.
Some many people have gotten into supernatural faith realm until they think that every time Satan raise havoc, they can put him under their feet. Well, it doesn’t always work like that. There are times that we can do rebuke him, but what about the times, we pray and rebuke but he is still around. I have five (5) words for you “Hold on to your Faith.” Tested faith builds character. We should learn something about ourselves and about God, when our faith is tested. When our faith is tested, the fruit of the Spirit is being built up. When our faith is tested, discipline and obedience are displayed. We grow spiritually. Some of us have that UNTIL faith. We trust God and until testing time come. When trouble comes knocking at our door, fear settles in or we began to seek other sources of help. God has a purpose and plan for every crisis that we go through.
(Romans 5:3-4) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience and experience, hope:
Once we get the understanding that our faith will be tested and what we should do while we are in our testing time, through it all, we can glory in it. We can praise God through it. Some people know that you are going through, but cannot understand how you can walk around with your head up, praising God. They may not know that God is your strength. When you know that weeping only endure for a night and joy comes in the morning, you can praise God. When know that your have heard from God and have an intimate relationship with Him, you can praise Him.