I was listening to a sermon today on the radio by David Hocking. He was preaching from James chapter 3. I didn’t catch the whole message, maybe just 15 minutes or so while we were driving. The part that caught my attention was the part where James quotes Genesis:
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham Believed God
Abraham’s faith in God saved him, not just from a wasted life, foolishly following after earthly pleasures, but truly saved him from his sins and made him right with God.
This is the famous passage where James says that faith without works is dead, and he makes the argument that Abraham’s actions made his faith complete and proved his faith to be genuine. Pastor David then went on to talk about how seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that should give us a sense of peace and assurance that our faith is also genuine. If you have genuine faith in God, it will show in the way you live your life.
What Kind Of Belief Saves Us?
He related a story from years ago, when a woman came to his home witnessing for her church. She insisted — as her church taught — that if you simply read the little prayer that she had printed on a card, that your sins will be forgiven and you will be saved. The prayer was theologically sound; I mean, it said all the right things, but it was odd and humorous — yet appaling — that her church taught people that if they just read the words on the card that they would go to heaven.
And yet, there are apparently masses of people out there who believe that a shallow, half-hearted faith or belief system will save them. ”Just say this little prayer and go back to your life, and all will be well.” Ridiculous!
James didn’t teach that. Paul didn’t teach that. Jesus didn’t teach that. Moses didn’t teach that. Nowhere does the Bible teach that.
So that got me thinking about my own life…made me think about how I’m living and what my actions say about me.
Do I Believe God?
Apparently, I’m not saved.
Yeah. The truth is, I’m not the one who turned on the Christian radio station this morning. I haven’t intentionally listened to that stuff in years.
There was a time when I believed in God and acted like it, but over the past decade and a half, my faith was barely even noticeable. I wanted to believe in God. I wanted to believe my Bible. I used to believe, but I just didn’t anymore. I felt like God had abandoned me. Then of course, that led to me feeling angry at God. My depression (which had been with me since childhood) got worse. My anxiety got worse. I started hating God.
Then I realized that hating God was stupid, and I eventually realized that I just didn’t believe in God anymore. Not that I just didn’t believe His promises or His Word. No, I stopped believing in His existence entirely. I wanted to believe in God, but I couldn’t. I just wasn’t convinced that He was there.
So was I saved when I was younger and then lost my salvation? Or was I not really saved in the first place? I’ll let the know-it-alls take comfort in knowing the answers to those questions. As for me, I don’t know. I have an opinion, based on knowing my own thoughts and beliefs through the years and based on various scriptures, but ultimately, I don’t know for sure, and I’m okay with that.
But right now I believe again. That’s why I’m back on this blog again. If my faith is real, then my actions — my works — will prove it. But I’m not out to prove anything to anyone, not even to myself or to God. I just want to start walking with God again, start reading my Bible again, start praying again, start worshipping the Lord again, and start leading my family and pointing them to Jesus again.
That’s good enough for me.
So yeah, I believe in God. And I believe Him. His Word says that He’s there, that He cares for me, that He’s never abandoned me and never will, and that He has a plan and purpose for my life. I believe that.
I believe God again, and over time I suppose my life will prove that to be true.
How about you?
Do you believe God?