The book of Hebrews describes faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Following that description is a series of illustrations depicting what genuine faith looks like. In all cases faith is believing the Word of God to be true and acting according to God’s direction. Faith is the conviction of truth that changes how a person thinks and behaves. Saving faith is the conviction of the truths of the Bible about sin and the inability of a man to save himself. Saving faith is the conviction that Jesus is God, who died for sin, was restored to life and taken bodily up to heaven where He lives and reigns. Saving faith is the conviction that Jesus is God who did everything necessary for your own salvation. Saving faith believes the truths of the Bible and it responds to those truths as the Bible instructs us to respond.
Faith that brings salvation is far more than agreement with a set of facts. Faith that bring salvation is more than a realization that you have a spiritual problem and that you need help. Faith that brings salvation is more than the realization that you are guilty before God and deserve eternal punishment. All of these things are true, and must be agreed with. However, faith does not only agree with truth. Faith believes those truths apply directly to yourself and then applies the truths and promises to your own heart.
You may believe that Bill Gates is the most generous man in the nation. You may realize that you have a huge a financial need. You may even have a written promise from Mr. Gates that assures you he will give to you whatever is necessary to fully meet your financial need. Believing all those things will not supply your financial need. You must make your request to Mr. Gates, asking him to supply your need.
Saving faith does not just believe, it seeks God. Salvation is freely given to those who ask God for salvation according to the way He has provided. What is that way? God has commanded the sinner come to Him rejecting all efforts to save himself. God has commanded the sinner come to Him rejecting all other gods and beliefs. God has commanded the sinner come trusting in no one and no thing but Jesus. God has commanded the sinner come to Him turning away from all other attempts at salvation, false religions and false gods.
Genuine, saving faith accepts the truths of the Bible as truth, believes them as true about one’s self and then complies with God’s Word by responding exactly as God has instructed. Real faith does not just say it believes. Real faith does not only agree with a fact presented. Genuine faith complies to the instructions that God has given. Saving faith obeys God by calling out to Jesus for forgiveness. Saving faith obeys God by repenting of false worship, human effort and rejection of Jesus. Saving faith obeys God by relying only upon Jesus for salvation, without the addition of any personal effort. Faith believes God and that belief changes a person’s thinking and action to produce a right response to God.