What is Faith?

Category: Questions & Answers

Tim: Bob, do you want to define faith for us?

Bob: It’s one of those words that’s almost too simple to define, but yet in another way it’s not that simple either. But I like a definition that I heard from somebody else, and that is: “Self-despairing look to Christ.” So faith has no merit because it’s self-despairing, it’s a self-despairing look to Christ. It’s looking away from yourself to another and saying “Lord, I am trusting you, I am trusting that you did die to pay my sin debt –past present and future, I am trusting you, I am relying on you, everything, entirely on you.”

Tim: Many people would say they believe. Many people could look at the basic facts. You say this is a “self-despairing look to Christ,” but many look at Christ and they would say “Well I believe what the bible says about Him. I’m trying to trust Him, but I just don’t feel saved, I mean, what’s wrong, is my faith defective?”

Bob: Time will tell. They better believe and keep on believing, they better come to Christ, they better keep on coming. They better press in and press on. You’re not saved by feeling, you’re saved by faith, faith alone. So if they want to make it to heaven they better believe and keep on believing.

Don’t turn back, don’t look anywhere else, keep on believing Christ. Not to the right, not to the left.

Tim: In this self-despairing look to Christ, and as you’re pressing this person to press on, press in, keep on. There are objective realities behind that, there must be some truths I need to believe, what’s that look like? What if a person hears that but they don’t. They say “A self-despairing look to Christ? I mean, here I am in this world and you’re telling me I need to have a self-despairing look for Christ, I can’t even see Christ, I can’t feel Christ. I mean I look out there and I see blue sky out the window and the top of green trees, I don’t see Christ there. I don’t see Him in this room. You know here I am and I have some concern over my soul and your saying. ‘A self-despairing look for Christ’ and I’m trying to analyze that. A self-despairing look… how despairing do I have to be, and a look to Christ? What does all of that look like?”

Bob: Faith, it always involves the invisible. And it always involves the future. You don’t see the Lord, you don’t see Him physically, no. “Whom having not seen we love, and whom now we see Him not, yet believe Him.” (1 Peter 1:8) We rejoice with joy unspeakable. God has set things up, He’s set things up so beautifully that were saved by faith. You know, even in the human realm people acknowledge that. You know if you slow down before you see the policeman coming up behind you, you’ve done it in good faith. And there’s something to be honored there.

And it comes to health insurance. Why if you take out insurance before you get sick, why you have done it in good faith and they honor that. You know, if you go to take that insurance out and you’ve already got this problem, why you know you’re not doing it in good faith and they don’t honor that. Even in human terms men acknowledge what good faith is, and so God has set things up where He expects us to take Him at His Word. Here the Word of God has given a description of what He’s like, what He requires to make it to heaven, to be right with Him. And so He expects us to take Him at His Word. And that’s a lot of what it is, it’s taking God at His Word and acting on it. Relying upon it, moving on it, making decisions based on His Word. Here’s a road map, I don’t see the roads, I don’t see the turns ahead but I see this map, so I am making decisions based on this map here. The Word of God is a map, it’s a road map to heaven. The Lord says “If anyone will come after me let him deny himself.” (Luke 9:23) And so in other words I am saying “Ok, It’s death to self, it’s all to Christ. I’m not looking to myself for anything, I realize I have no merit, I realize I have no qualifications, I have no performance, I have nothing in and of myself to please God or ever earn heaven.” “I’m turning my back on self, by faith, And I, by faith, am trusting that Christ did come from heaven and He did die on the Cross to pay the debt for sinners and I am trusting that He died to pay that sin debt for me, plus nothing else.”