Author: Ron Graham
The Influence of Faith
—Faith and obedience
The fourth influence that motivates us to obey God is a simple faith in God. Indeed we Christians hold that it is impossible to truly obey God without faith in Christ, or to truly have faith without obedience (Romans 1:5).
Now, as we shall notice later in this lesson, faith is based on the promises of God. However, when we examine the promises of God, we find that they are conditional. For example the promise of forgiveness of sins is conditional upon our repentance from sin (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19).
Now if we believe the promise, we will be motivated to obey the condition. We can hardly claim to have effectual faith in God if we won't do what he says. You see, therefore, that faith influences us to obey God.
1 Simple Faith in God Causes Us to Obey Him.
- Faith lodges in an honest and good heart. Take Nathanael for example (John 1:44-50).
- True faith is simple. "Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed" (John 20:26-29, 1Peter 1:8-9).
- True faith results in obedience. We already emphasized this fact when introducing this lesson. We saw that Paul, at the start of his letter to the Romans, speaks of "the obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5). So he also speaks at the end (Romans 16:26)
- True faith joins with love. That’s why it’s obedient. John says, "This is the victory... our faith". But before that, he shows that faith is based on the love of God, and he says, "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments" (1John 5:1-4).
2 Faith May Fail
- Faith can stray from simplicity. It is possible that our "minds may be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2Corinthians 11:3)
- Faith can neglect to obey God. James says that "faith without works is useless" and a person is justified by faith and obedience, "not by faith alone" (James 2:17,24)
- Faith can be unfruitful. The parable of the sower and the seed shows that the word of God fails to produce a fruitful faith unless it enters "an honest and good heart" (Luke 8:4-15).
3 Seeking a Living Faith
- The gospel is the source of true faith. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
- Encourage faith’s appetite. The beatitudes teach us that we must "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6).
- Base your faith on evidence. Faith is not groundless assumption. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen". (Hebrews 11:1). Faith cannot fail if it is firmly based on God’s promises, for they cannot fail.
- Base your faith on God's promises. Faith cannot fail if it is firmly based on God’s unfailing promises. As Paul put it, "The promises of God in Christ are yes and amen" (2Corinthians 1:20).
- Imitate the faith of others. When we find people whose faith is strong, we can "imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).
- Look unto Jesus. Our faith should not be in the people whose faith we imitate, but simply in Christ, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).