A common belief about God is that if we can “do enough good things,” we earn His favor. Naturally, the next question becomes: How much is enough? When can we be sure we’ve done enough good things? Well, we can’t! But thankfully, such a concept isn’t found in the Bible. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
We might misunderstand this grace or have an incomplete grasp of what faith means, thinking that because of God’s grace, it doesn’t matter what we do. Or we may believe that once we put our faith in God, we must then live painstakingly cautious lives so that we never sin. Neither of these concepts has biblical support either.
Martin Luther looked for spiritual peace in a monastery. He didn’t find it until he understood Paul’s description of God’s offer of salvation. “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith” (Romans 1:17). To emphasize the point, Paul quoted the Old Testament prophet: “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4).
It’s easy to believe in God. Most people do. We stumble over believing God—simply taking Him at His Word.
The book of Hebrews reiterates this: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” The text continues, “Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation” (Hebrews 11:1-2). Through their faith!
Here’s the comforting conclusion. God is pleased by our faith in Him. We’re simply called to “believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
May we believe in Him and also believe Him by His grace.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 4:16-30
Read Hebrews 10:26-38 and see both the comfort and challenge found in those verses.
Do you believe God? Or do you merely believe in Him? How would you define the difference?