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  • Writer's picturePastor Brian Demers

Vibrant Faith

The Christian life--after a sinner has trusted in Jesus as Savior and as a result is justified--is at its very core a life of faith. There is a "type" of faith which pleases the Lord and a "type" of faith which the Bible declares sinful.

Before looking at the Bible's teaching about "types" of faith, it is important to understand the nature of faith and the phrase "the faith."

Faith is belief, the conviction that certain propositions are true. "Partial" faith, therefore, is an impossibility. There is either belief or unbelief; there cannot be anything in between. Take for example this proposition: "George Washington is the first president of the United States." A person either believes the statement is true or he does not. Can a person half or three-quarters believe this statement?

"The faith" is a term which refers to the content (propositions) of a persons belief system. When the Bible refers to "the faith," it is in reference to the truths contained in the Bible. Furthermore, God intends for the truths of the Bible to be the content of his children's faith. Jude 1:3 states, "to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (ESV). The reason for Jude writing an epistle about contending for the faith is because there were teachers propagating among the saints doctrines contrary to the Bible.

The "type" of faith which the Bible declares sinful is described by the term "dead" (James 2:26). The "type" of faith which pleases the Lord is described by the terms "live by faith," "work of [produced by] faith," and "perfect faith"--a vibrant, active faith (Romans 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; James 2:22).

The distinction between these two "types" of faith (dead and active) can be summed up with the words "possession" and "practice." A dead faith only possess knowledge; a vibrant faith possesses and practices knowledge.

Abraham is a good example of these two "types" of faith.

Early on in Abraham's life, his faith was dead because he did not practice the knowledge about God which he possessed. God had promised to Abraham that he and Sarah his wife would have a child through which He would fulfill His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6). When Abraham was afraid that a king would take Sarah from him, he lied about her being his wife. Abraham possessed the knowledge of God's promise and His ability to perform it, but did not practice it.

Later on in his life, Abraham's faith was vibrant because he possessed and practiced his knowledge about God. When God commanded Abraham to go to the top of a mountain and kill his son Isaac upon an altar, he immediately went. Abraham was determined to kill his son because he believed that God would raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham is extolled in James 2 and Hebrews 11 for a "perfect" (complete) faith because his beliefs translated into practice.

A Christian can be like Abraham. He can possess and believe Biblical truth but not practice it, or he can possess and believe Biblical truth and practice it.

The only faith which pleases the Lord is a vibrant faith. Abraham's vibrant faith pleased the Lord. How about you?


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