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What is the Christian Faith?

May 24, 2019

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3) 

Peter is making an extraordinary claim in the verse above: In Jesus Christ you will find everything that you need for life! 

Whom is he writing to? Who receives this great blessing? In 2 Peter, Peter says right at the beginning that he is writing to those people who have “a faith as precious as ours” (v.1).   

This immediately raises the question: What kind of faith is that? Because it is only to those who have this kind of faith that the promise is given: You have everything you need for life. 

Christian Faith is Faith in Jesus Christ 

Notice three things that Peter affirms in 2 Peter 1: 

1. Jesus is God 

Our God … Jesus Christ. (v.1) 

If someone says: “Jesus is never referred to as “God” in the Bible,” show them 2 Peter, or John’s gospel where Thomas falls before the risen Lord Jesus and says, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). 

2. Jesus is Savior 

Our God and Savior Jesus Christ. (v.1) 

The world teaches you to have confidence in yourself. The Bible teaches you to have confidence in Jesus. 

I know that I will mess up in many ways through my life, but I am quite sure that Jesus Christ will not mess up on his work, which is to save me and on the last day present me before the Father without fault and with great joy.

3. Jesus is Lord  

The knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (v.2)  

Christian faith is confidence in Jesus Christ. It is confidence in his ability to bring you through every circumstance of life. I know that I will face many trials and many temptations and many circumstances of life that are too great for me. But I know that they are not too great for him. He is Lord over the darkest temptations and the strongest devils. 

He is Savior, Lord, and God. Jesus is with me and he is for me. Christian faith is confidence in Jesus Christ. That’s why we want him to be at the center of everything we do in worship. That’s why he’s at the center of the Bible.

Christian Faith is Apostolic 

We often speak about personal faith. That’s good, because you have to believe for yourself; nobody else can believe for you. But Christian faith is more than personal; it is apostolic. 

To be a Christian means that you share the same faith as the apostles. We often ask people, “Do you have a personal faith?” It might be better to ask, “Do you have an apostolic faith? Do you share the faith of the Apostles? Do you believe what they believed?” 

What matters is not that you have “a faith” (as if you had to make up your own), but that you hold to “the faith” (the apostolic faith), the faith that was “once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude v.3).  

The apostolic faith is the only one worth having! For the promises of the gospel belong to the people who share the same faith as the Apostles. 

Christian Faith is God’s Gift and His command 

…to those… who have received a faith as precious as ours. (2 Peter 1:1). 

You received this faith. You did not generate it. The apostle Paul said the same thing in different words in Ephesians 2:8. 

Faith is also a command that we obey: Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). That’s a command! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). That’s a command; God calls us to do this. Faith is God’s gift and his command. 

Have you ever thought about how strange it is when a preacher says to an unbeliever: “Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”? How can an unbeliever put his or her faith in Jesus? If you are an unbeliever, then by definition you do not believe. And if you do not believe, then you don’t have any faith to put in Jesus!

So how can anyone ever be saved? The disciples asked that question once, and Jesus said “With man it is impossible but … all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). God is able to create faith where it does not exist.  

It is a strange tension that faith is both a gift and a command. When Augustine understood this he said to God, “Command what you will, only give what you command!” 

If you are not yet a Christian, this is a great place to begin. You can come to God today as Augustine did. You can say: “You command me to have faith, and I don’t have it. So give me what I do not possess. Make me what I am not.” Jesus said:  

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7) 

Christian Faith Comes through Jesus’ Own Glory and Goodness 

Our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (v.3) 

What would make an unbelieving person want to follow Jesus today?  

The first reason is his goodness—the sheer excellence of his life, the abundance of his grace and kindness. The second reason is his glory—the total impact of all that he is. That’s how Jesus draws people—he calls us through his own glory and goodness. 

Think about how this relates to evangelism. If we want to see people follow Christ, we should make much of his glory and his goodness. Make him the focus of your Sunday school class, or small group. Keep him central when you share the gospel.  

Remember that the gospel is not about you and your faith. It is about Jesus and his glory. 

[This article was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Everything You Need for Life.”]

Photo Credit: Unsplash


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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