Jim grew up in church and still believes most of what he learned there, but his life doesn’t look like you might expect. He cusses, drinks more than he should, has been known to sleep around on occasion, and hasn’t gone to church (or read the Bible) in well over a decade. But overall, he’s a good guy who tries to look after his friends as best he can. When Jim hears coworkers talking about religion, he often jumps in to offer the “Christian perspective.” He considers himself a Christian (although he’s quick to admit “I’m a bad Christian”).
While friends like Jim don’t really care what label you give them, it’s worth our time to figure out what’s going on when religious ideas seems to get confused as faith.
What is Faith?
The Bible defines faith this way,
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
Faith isn’t simply a “good idea.” It’s assurance and conviction in what is unseen. The visible is interpreted through the lens of the unseen – faith shapes life.
- Because God is holy – I live my life to worship and honor him
- Because God is merciful and gracious – I am accepted because of his provision, not my performance
- Because God is the judge – I live according to his law
- Because God is faithful – I will trust him even in the midst of suffering
- Because the Bible is God’s Word – I will read it, understand it to the best of my ability, and obey it as the very word of God