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CHRISTIAN LIFE - A SAVING FAITH Mark 4:35‑41

A SAVING FAITH

Mark 4:35‑41

 

One of the greatest things God has given us can't be bought with money.

 

We use this gift from Him continually, and the more we exercise it, the better we do with it. What is this great, precious, and powerful gift? It is faith—and God provides it to every person who is rightly related to Him through Jesus Christ. There is so much to learn about trusting our heavenly Father. We are not born knowing how to rely upon Him or understanding the importance of depending on His wisdom and strength. Therefore, we must discover how to do so as we mature spiritually.

 

To comprehend what it means to truly trust the Lord, we must first clarify the meaning of faith. Actually, we can classify faith in three types: intellectual faith, godly faith, and saving faith. It is crucial for us to understand the distinctions that separate them.

 

Intellectual faith is referred to as "natural faith." Both Christians and unbelievers can have this type of faith. It is defined as “believing something to be true without proof or commitment.” For example, a person can intellectually believe Jesus was a real person who walked the earth, helped others, and performed miracles but not accept the fact that He was both divine and human.

 

Godly faith is the confident conviction that whatever the Lord has promised to do, He will absolutely fulfill. He has never failed to keep His word, and that will never change.

 

Saving faith is defined as trusting in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the One who provides us with the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of everlasting life. This type of faith involves having a personal relationship with the Lord, renouncing sin, and turning our lives over to Him.

 

Because of the opposition and persecution they would face, it was important for the disciples to understand what true saving faith was so they could serve God and allow Christ to work through them. That's why Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching them what it meant to believe and trust in Him. The same is true for us.

 

Thankfully, we can study the different grades of faith Jesus identified to better understand where we are in our relationships with Him. Believers can have:

No faith.  In Mark 4:35‑41, we read about a storm that arose one evening as the disciples traveled on the sea. Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the ship, but the tempest was so terrible that the disciples woke Him and exclaimed, Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? The question revealed their lack of trust in God. Accordingly, Christ responded, Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? Like them, when we question whether or not God cares about us at all, we demonstrate our lack of faith.

 

Little faith. We see this weak trust in God demonstrated in Matthew 16:5‑10. The Pharisees and Sadducees had asked Jesus for signs. This is why He told the disciples, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The disciples thought He told them this because they had forgotten to bring food. Christ responded, You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Although the disciples had seen Jesus feed 5,000 people and then 4,000 more, they were still concerned about their physical provision. In other words, we have little faith when we are focused only on signs and earthly worries instead of learning the greater spiritual principles God wants to teach us.

 

Great faith.  An incident in Matthew 8:5‑8 became the perfect opportunity to teach the disciples about great faith. A centurion asked Christ to heal his paralyzed servant, and he trusted Jesus' word that it would be done. The centurion didn't need signs or evidence of Christ's power. This is the reason why Jesus said, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  Like him, when we take Christ at His word and trust Him so completely that we don't require proof that He will fulfill His promises to us, we exhibit great faith.

 

Failing faith. Unfortunately, all of us falter at one point or another. Jesus prophesied that even Simon Peter would experience a faith failure (Luke 22:31‑32).  Forces challenge our faith, and sometimes we will fail to trust God. But even when we do, we are welcome to return to the Lord and seek His forgiveness. Our heavenly Father will even allow us to teach others about His unfailing faithfulness.

 

The primary reason the Father wants us to have great faith is because we respond to Him in proportion to how much we trust Him. If we have strong faith, He can entrust us with assignments that will have a greater impact for His kingdom.

 

Saving faith must come first.  We cannot even begin the journeys God has in mind for us if we do not have saving faith. There is a terrible gap between intellectual belief and true trust in God, and that chasm can only be bridged by an intimate relationship with Jesus. When you receive Him as your personal Savior, from that moment, the Holy Spirit will direct and empower you.

 

Also, an individual does not exhibit saving faith if he or she refuses to repent. If a person truly believes that Jesus is his or her Savior, he or she will want to turn away from anything that is inconsistent with who Christ is and how a believer should live. Repentance and faith go hand in hand, and both acknowledge God is sovereign over all things and that He has the right to govern our conduct.

 

Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior and gained a saving faith, or is your trust in Him merely intellectual?

Have you truly repented of your sins and turned away from the actions and attitudes that do not fit who you are as a child of God?

If not, you can trust Jesus as your Savior right now.

 

THE INVITATION  

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

      Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.