I know I should probably ask my pastor this question, and maybe I will, but I see a lot of
wisdom on Worship The Rock, so I'm putting this out there for you guys. Thanks in advance
for whatever help you can offer...
I know that we do not work our way into heaven, or earn our own salvation, and that we can never
be good enough on our own, and that we are saved only through our faith and belief in Jesus.
But my question is, how do we know that our faith or belief or trust is good enough? I mean,
that sounds kinda similar to the ol' striving to be good mentality. Does doubt negate our faith,
and how much doubt is ok? See what I mean? It's still sort of like ...how can I be good
enough, but now its, is my faith faithy enough?
I hope that make sense :)
So... you could check out the thoughts of NT Wright on this topic, though not all from the reformation tradition agree with him. He would say, on the basis of passages like Romans 2:5-16, that Paul does envisage a final judgement on the basis of how we live our lives (call that "works" if you want)! And he will judge what we build for what it is worth too (1 Corninthians 3:10-15). Roughly, according to Wright, justification by faith works like this:
I definitely prefer the word "faithful" rather than just "faith". We have reduced the word "faith" almost to an abstract belief in a set of proposals. But if we are "faithful" that means so much more, and includes our response to God in our actions and words.
And, I think, being "faithful" leaves room for doubt. I can have times of doubt, and yet still behave in a manner which is faithful to God, in keeping with the faith I profess when I am feeling more confident. Actually, I think a little bit of doubt is a good thing - it is the people who are superconfident and never appear to doubt who really scare me.
Thanks guys for your input. I especially like the concept of thinking in terms of "faithful" rather than "faith".
It was also helpful when someone pointed out that the object of our faith is more important than our amount
of faith i.e. Would an ice fisherman be better off with a lot of faith in thin ice, or a little faith on thick ice/
The way I look at this is God has said it and I'm going to believe it.
Faith is required when proof is not available.
If you believe the the Bible is the the word of God then Acts 2:21 states.
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Hebrews 11:1 states
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"
and then goes on to list a lot of faithful people and what they did by faith.
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul is talking about the Spiritual gifts and in verse 9
"To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;"
So if faith is a Spiritual gift from God and you think you lack it, it maybe a good idea to ask him for it.
Just pray something like "Lord Jesus please give me enough faith to be confident in you"
I just want you to know just how much of an excellent question you have posed here. This is something that is probably in the forefront of every mind at some point or another...and it really is the central question. It is actually in the forefront of my mind everyday, because I have very little strength.
Yes, we are saved by faith in believing on Jesus and what He has done for us. However, we are NOT saved by the AMOUNT of faith that we have. We can never supply enough without help. This is why Christ told Paul that 'my grace is sufficient for you'. In other words, you and me and everyone will ALWAYS struggle with something or another. And this something or another is more than enough to keep us from being perfect enough in God's eyes.
Doubt is something we will always have. No where can I find in scripture where doubt negates faith. Old Testament references tell us that doubt with decrease my reliance on God, for sure. But now I have a Savior to lean on when I doubt. I have a Savior in which to confide that I have doubt. My ability to act in the name of Jesus is found only in my daily collaboration with Jesus. It's not something I can do with my own strength. I can only do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paul tells us in Romans 7 how his flesh is always at war with the spirit of God that lives within him. We will always have this war. There is nothing we can do to build up our belief system or our amount of faith that can keep us from failing. However, we are CALLED to always strive to become better, to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. Our greatest act of faith is to surrender our war to Jesus, for He tells us that in our weakness He is strong. In other words, we are the best witnesses for Christ when we surrender our misgivings to Him in order to gain strength to do the works for which we are called.
In John 6:29, Jesus was asked a question:
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Diana, without every moment interaction with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I am nothing.
I agree with Steve, this is an excellent question that you have asked Diana, and yes, it makes perfect sense. The replies you have received are all very wise and I for one can fully relate to your question.
I don't think we can possibly tell if our faith and trust is ever good enough, but the 'not knowing' helps us to realise that we are dependent on Him and that is exactly what He wants from us.
We can look at passages that say "he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, wavering..." or Jesus' various "O ye of little faith!" exclamations, and the Mustard Seed faith episode, and feel like our own doubts are categorically bad, when it's really the character of doubting, the pernicious habit of cynicism, constantly questioning the value of being or doing good. Such habitual doubt is poisonous to our life as a Christian; but it is nothing like seeing the cancer patient dying in hospice and wondering why we don't just go up and lay hands on her and see her jump back into life, whole and healed. I suppose if God gives you a clear word on the lady in the hospice, then it's time to act on it (but remember, maybe she just needed to hear someone pray for her and that's all the Lord wanted!).
If you are worried by your own amount of doubt, then pray for your faith to grow! On the other hand, don't let other people pass a doubt guilt-trip on you. Enough bad stuff will happen in your life (and don't doubt it, Jesus said that will happen!) that if you feel guilty at every turn, your life will lose its joy before you know it.
Nice to be like the guy who said, "I believe - uh... can you help my unbelief?"
I'm not a theologian, but I though I'd contribute to this.
Firstly, when we believed and asked Jesus to forgive our sins. He did. Our sin has been dealt with at the cross. Jesus cried "It is finished" not "I'm finished" what was finished is that he paid the price that we could be friends with God. We now come before God washed clean, in church speak Justified. In sunday school we learnt this as meaning "Just as if I never sinned" This is summed up beautifully by the final verse of a lovely hymn recently redone as the song Cornerstone.
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne
It is us who stand dressed in his righteousness, saved by his grace.
Now where do we go what to we do. We are saved, what next? The simple answer is that it is all about Jesus and all from him. We cannot earn his grace. but it takes effort. Firstly, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. We need to learn to fix our eyes on Jesus the "author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him (That's you) endured the cross" As we spend time in the presence of God we change. "As we behold him we become like him" It's all about him. in Jude we are told that the grace of God has appeared to us that teaches us to say no to ungodliness.
In James 4 we are encouraged to draw near to God and he will draw near to us.
Lastly. talk to him. Jesus is not rude. if we talk to him, he talks to us. We just have to learn to recognise his voice. Get together with other believers and explore Jesus together. Read the word, pray and seek hi,. If you seek him he will be found, he is not hiding.
This response might be good for anyone to print and tape to their mirror. Beautiful, concise and full of truth.