Believing In The Living God
Content Of Our Faith
In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 19c of 83

“…. 23  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him; 24  but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25  who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:17-25).

[We saw in the previous two articles that such as is justified by grace through faith must believe God and everything that He has revealed, especially concerning Christ and His work. The para-church idea that we can be saved simply by believing in a few points of doctrine while disbelieving everything else is simply false. In this concluding instalment of our study, we must consider a fitting response —JJL]

3. What Should We Do
with This Truth?

a.   Do you have saving faith? Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit working in your heart. You cannot generate faith. But it is important for you ask: Do I believe? Do you believe in God?

Saving faith involves believing in all that God reveals about Himself. It involves also believing in Christ, that He suffered and died to reconcile us unto God, and rose again from the dead.

Let me ask you then: Do you believe all that He says about Himself? God has spoken in His Word Do you believe Him? Are you selective in what you believe; or are you wholehearted in what you believe? Are you interested to improve upon your knowledge of the Bible, or do you feel you know enough already? Do you feel you know enough already for your salvation? If this is how you think, I am afraid, your heart is not right.

Let me ask you, secondly: Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Do you believe that God justifies the ungodly in Him because of what He has done? Do you believe that Christ lived and died not only for others but for you too? Do you believe He is your Lord?

These two questions, you must realise, are closely inter-related. You cannot claim to believe Christ if you do not believe God; you cannot claim to believe God if you do not believe Christ. If you truly believe God, you will believe that you are ungodly, dead in sin, and helpless like Abraham. And you will believe that God has provided Christ for your salvation.

Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Christ? God has promised to save all sinners who come unto Him pleading forgiveness in Christ. Do you believe? If you do, you have God’s promise that you are righteous in His eyes.

Now, when you look at yourself, it is hard to believe isn’t it? Your conscience tells you that you are a sinner. Others assure you that you are a sinner. Your children, your wife, your husband, your friends, your parents, all collude to tell you, you are a sinner. Satan wants you to know that you are unrighteous. How then can you believe you are righteous in God’s sight? How, but by not looking to yourself, but looking at Christ and His promise!

Abraham considered not his own body now dead, but believed God’s promise, and it was counted unto Him for righteousness. This then is what you must do. Look away from yourself. Look no more on how righteous you can be. Look to Christ! It is written that God justifies the ungodly. Let us not doubt anymore.

b.   But what about the exercise of faith in other areas of our Christian life? Is your faith like that of Abraham? Paul says of Abraham:

And being not weak in faith, he considered not his body, now dead… He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom 4:19, 20-21).

Abraham lived by faith, not by sight. If he lived by sight, when he looked at his own body, he would not believe God’s promise. But he did not. He was strong in faith, considering not his own body.

Do you believe the way that Abraham believed? Can it be said that you stagger not at God’s promise through unbelief? Can it be said that you are fully persuaded that God is able to do what He has promised?

Perhaps you may be saying in your heart: “But God spoke to Abraham! If he speaks to me the way that he spoke to Abraham, I will also believe!”

But has he not spoken to you? You may not hear his voice, but has He not spoken to you? Has he not given you His Word? The Bible is His word! The apostle Peter tells us that we have “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet 1:19). Peter was comparing his experience on the mount of configuration, and he says that the written word is even more sure than that!

Oh beloved, do not yearn for the days of shadow again. Christ has come. He has proven God’s promise to be yea and amen. God has spoken in history and he has spoken in writing. Abraham did not have the privileges that you enjoy.

Do not anymore live in doubt. Do not any more allow your faith to waver. Live by faith not by sight. If you live by sight, you will have weak faith.

God has promised many things in His Word. He has promised you not only eternal life. He has promise you He would hear your prayer. He has promise you that what things so ever you need in this life, He will add unto you if you seek first His kingdom. Do you believe Him? If you do, how has your faith affected your decisions in life?  And how has it affected your attitude in life?

Think about it. Is there something you ought to backtrack and repent of? Is there a decision you made which you should not have made? But you made it because you look at the circumstance and you doubted God’s promise? Abraham considered not his own body, now dead. He believed God’s promise despite the circumstance. Will you not repent and do what is right?

Is there a circumstance in your life which is bringing you much sorrow and pain? Is it a problem at home? Is it at work? Is it in Church?  Whatever the problem may be: Do you believe that God will take care of it?

Remember: Believing in Christ is not just believing that Christ died for you. It is believing in the sovereign, living God. It is believing that Christ is your King, and that all He has said in His Word is true. He has promised to hear your prayers and He has promised all things will work together for them that love Him. Do you believe Him? Do you believe He is in absolute control in your life?

c.   But finally, let me say a word to you if you are struggling with your faith. You do believe in God, but you are often tempted to doubt. Now and then, a fleeting thought crosses your mind: What if God does not keep his promise? What if I do not belong to Christ? What if God does not exist? In your better moments, you are able to answer these questions clearly. But in the moments of grief or discouragement, you wonder.

What should you do? Well, first, I would encourage you not to despair. But secondly, I would urge you not to live according to doubt but to live according to faith. Thirdly, I would encourage you to pray that the Lord will strengthen your faith.

Faith mixed with elements of unbelief is still faith. Little faith is still faith. Do you realise that almost as soon as Abraham’s faith was counted unto him for righteousness, he asked the Lord: “Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (Gen 15:8). No, Abraham was not doubting God. Rather, as Calvin puts it, he feels the impediments of his flesh, and he is endeavouring to remove it. Abraham was asking God to strengthen his faith.

Now, then, if you feel doubts or impediments arising in your heart, do not despair. Go to the Lord and ask him to strengthen your faith. No, I am not saying that you should ask for a sign like Gideon or Hezekiah. No, no; Abraham did not even ask for a sign, though God gave him one. We should rather come to the Lord humbly acknowledging our doubts and weakness, and asking him to strengthen us. Cry unto the Lord: “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief” (Mk 9:24).

He has given you faith to believe in Him. Will He not strengthen your faith if you ask Him to?

—JJ Lim