The significance of faith is determined by its object. Everyone demonstrates faith every day by the way he or she lives. When you sit down in a chair, you have faith in that chair's ability to hold you up. When you drive in your car, you place your faith in its ability to get you to your destination safely. If you fly from one location to another, you are expressing faith in the plane and the pilot. Basically, our whole life is lived out by expressing faith in people and things to perform as expected. We place our trust in them. We believe in them. And when it comes to religion, the world is filled with believers; filled with individuals of faith. The problem is, in what or whom have they placed their faith?
As I mentioned yesterday, all religions are faith-based. Adherents believe what their religion teaches. All are based upon the principle that if one's good works outnumber their sins, they will be admitted to heaven. They believe, but their faith is based upon a lie. It is the same lie Satan told Adam and Eve, when he said that by doing something (eating of the forbidden tree), they could be like God (Gen. 3:1-5). If heaven is the domain of God, and we can be like God by doing something, then we simply have to find out what it is we are to do to qualify us. All religions offer a "formula" for achieving worthiness. "Do these things and avoid doing those things" and God will have to allow you into heaven. Unfortunately, all religions deceive their followers. They focus on correcting sinful behavior, but sin is not the greatest obstacle to salvation; the greatest obstacle is religion!
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jn. 14:6). In other words, if you want to go to heaven, you must have faith in Jesus. That brings us to the obvious question; if over a third of the world's population belongs to various forms of Christianity, does that mean they are saved? The answer is no! Every single one of those "forms" bases their faith upon an individual "qualifying for heaven." If you ask them in what they believe, they will answer, "I am a Catholic," or a member of another denomination such as the Church of Christ, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. They may even say, "I committed my life to Jesus." But notice, they all respond by saying what they have done. They are trusting in their actions, either at some point of time in the past, or by continuing to follow their denomination's "list of qualifications." Ultimately, they miss the message of the Gospel; salvation is "the gift of God" (Jn. 4:10; Rom. 5:15-17; 6:23; Eph. 2:8)!
John wrote that when one believes in Jesus, he becomes a child of God (Jn. 1:12). Paul wrote, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). In his first epistle, John wrote, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God..." (1 Jn. 3:2). Salvation, the "gift of God," is a relationship between God, our Father, and us. It comes from believing in Jesus (Jn. 3:16), the Jesus of the Bible.
To be continued, Lord willing.