A friend of mine likes to say, “Salvation is not a plan, it’s a man.”
Our faith is not to be in something Jesus has done, but in Jesus himself, the Savior of the world.
But what does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith and Obedience
Jesus once said:
Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it didn’t fall because it was built upon a rock. (Matt. 7:24-25)
Apparently, Jesus—the one in whom we are to have faith—thinks that having faith in him is listening to and obeying what he has to say.
Now I know we shouldn’t have to corroborate the words of Jesus. He is, after all, the Lord and Creator of everything and everyone.
But since Christians today seem to prefer other voices than that of the great Shepherd of the Sheep himself—Jesus doesn’t always seem to grasp or agree with our ideas about faith alone—let me point out that the writer of Hebrews entirely concurs with Jesus.
He has become the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him. (Heb. 5:9)
To whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest except to those that did not obey (Gr. apeitheo: to refuse to be persuaded or comply)? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Gr. apistia: unbelief). (Heb. 3:18-19)
And Paul warns us about people who would trick us into not believing that faith has nothing to do with obedience to Christ:
For you know this: No sexually immoral or unclean person, nor a greedy man—who is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty sayings, for it’s because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. So don’t be their companions in crime. (Eph. 5:5-6)
In fact, so does the apostle John:
Little children, don’t let anyone deceive you. The one that does righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. (1 Jn. 3:7)
Jesus Speaks on Obedience Again
Jesus makes his concern about obedience even more clear a few verses before his comment about who is building his house on a solid foundation:
Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)
So Jesus is concerned about obedience. To Jesus, faith is obedience.
But what does he want us to obey?
The Three Most Important Chapters in the Bible
Both passages from Matthew (above) are part of the Sermon on the Mount. Chapters five, six, and seven of the Gospel of Matthew are about the most concise description of how God wants you to live that you could ever hope for.
You could spend the rest of your life living out those three chapters and learning what they mean by obedience to them.
And according to Jesus, you’d be wise if you did.