Living By Faith Blog

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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

What is Faith?

The best definition I’ve heard is that faith means “trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus” (John Piper).

There are three parts:

Faith means trusting.

Many people think faith means agreeing to certain truths.  But saving faith means more.

We know this because James says demons agree to the truth of God (James 2:19); but it’s obvious that they don’t have saving faith.

What are the demons lacking?  Trust.  Demons agree that God exists, but they are not trusting God.  They are relying on Satan, not God, to secure a satisfying future for them.

So the question is not just — what truths do I agree with?  The question is — who or what am I trusting to secure a satisfying future for me?

Faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us.

Since faith means trusting God, we have to ask — trust God to do what?  The answer is: what God promises in His Word.

Throughout the Bible Abraham is held up as a model of true faith, and his faith focused on God´s promises (Rom 4:20-21).

So faith needs to focus on specific biblical promises, like God’s promise to satisfy your heart in Christ (John 4:13-14), forgive your sins (1John 1:9), or give you wisdom (James 1:5).

This is crucial, because if you try to have faith without focusing on specific promises from God’s Word, your faith will be weak or vague at best.

The Bible says the shield of faith will extinguish every flaming dart from the evil one (Eph 6:16).  But since faith focuses on God’s promises, your shield will only be as big as the number of promises you know.

Why go into battle with a tiny shield?

Faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

We have all sinned against God and deserve punishment from Him.  So if we deserve punishment, how can God fulfill His amazing promises to us?

There’s only one way — through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  In astonishing love and mercy God made a way for our sins to be punished in Jesus as He died in our place on the Cross.

So the moment we turn from sin and trust Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Treasure — everything changes.

  • All our sins are punished in Jesus, so we no longer face punishment (Rom 8:1).
  • God forgives all our sins — past, present, and future (1 John 1:9).
  • God clothes us with Jesus’ perfect righteousness — so even though we are not perfect He sees us as having Jesus’ perfect moral goodness (2 Cor 5:21).

That’s why Paul says that all of God’s promises are “yes” for us in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20 — the “him” in this verse is Jesus Christ).

So it makes no difference how unspiritual you feel, how far you are from God, or how badly you have sinned.

When you turn and trust Jesus you can be assured that God passionately loves you and will fulfill all His promises to you — not because of how good you are but because of what Jesus did.

So that’s the biblical definition of faith — trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ Jesus.

The next question is — What are the promises of God?

Thoughts?  Comments?  Feedback?

I’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture by iprole used with permission of stock.xchng.)

14 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    trust…sounds so simple…but what if your issue IS trust? what if you have been burned so many times you just can’t seem to trust?
    yeah, i get that God is not people, that He is different. but i can’t seem to make the transition. i can’t separate. i don’t know what to do and nothing seems to help.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Gary.

      I’m sorry for the pain you’ve had being burned so many times. That must make faith feel impossible.

      But I’m convinced that God is committed to doing whatever we need in order to trust Him — which in your case means He will help you with your trust issues.

      So please don’t take this as a simplistic answer. But I really believe God will help you if you try this (if you already have — let me know and I’ll do some more thinking).

      Take time every day and pray Mark 9:24, asking Him to strengthen your faith through Jesus Christ.

      Then pray over Old Testament stories of God’s faithfulness to His people, and passages like Joshua 21:45 and Joshua 23:14.

      Also pray over whatever promises you need for that particular day, trusting Rom 10:17 that faith comes from hearing God’s Word.

      See if you don’t have times when you feel the Holy Spirit change your heart, give you a feeling-sense of the truth of the promise, and give you a taste of Jesus’ glory.

      Let me know what happens. I will be praying.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

      • Hughes Chuba says:

        Dear steve,

        Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ.

        ‘See if you don’t have times when you feel the Holy Spirit change your heart, give you a feeling-sense of the truth of the promise, and give you a taste of Jesus’ glory.Let me know what happens.i will be praying.’ Brother Steve i quot this because it is the center of my reply. I have struggled to live a christian life and much more to be changed entirely by the Holy Spirit. however, it has been a sin confess sin confess kind of life. I have tried all i can but it seems the more i make a decision of living for God the more i become the enemy’s target and the greater the fall. What can i do?

        • Steve Fuller says:

          Dear Hughes,

          It sounds like you have a fervent love for the Lord, and a deep desire to obey and glorify him. That is deeply encouraging.

          And while it’s important to make a decision to live for God, it’s also crucial to learn how to live by faith, and fight the fight of faith.

          To help you with this I would encourage you to read blog-posts on this site under the category of “overcoming sin and temptation.”

          Read those, and responds with any questions you might have.

          In Christ,

          Steve

    • Melinda says:

      I too have faith, but I place too much on ‘feelings’ instead of blind faith. So i always question my own faith. I want to believe my belief more than anything.

      • Steve Fuller says:

        Hi Melinda,

        You raise a really important question. I would encourage you to det your heart on the truth of who Jesus is as described in God’s Word. Look to Him, and trust Him. When you do that, you have genuine faith. Feelings can come and go depending on many factors. But what’s crucial is that we trust all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

        In Christ,

        Steve Fuller

  2. Given ngomane says:

    I’m also struggling with a trust issue,this stems from being black and despised for about 10 years in the predominantly a white workplace.
    What I’ve picked out graphically over the years was being labelled redundant and incompetent overriding any faith in christ and a lost of selfworth.
    I’m bitter about life in general which means friends and relatives get pushed away from me when they genuinely wanna help.
    I’m in this uemployment situation because of my faith.
    Now what I’m learning from you is that it is all well from joseph’s account.
    An eye opening to say there’s God’s plan for every minute of our employment.
    From now on I’ll try to give thanks each day for joseph’s account which turnf out magnificently.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Sorry for the delay in responding, Given. I totally lost track of this comment. Please forgive me.

      I am glad you found the reference to Joseph helpful. And what God did for Joseph, He does for all who trust His Son Jesus Christ.

      I will pray for you right now, and please keep us posted on what God does in your heart and life.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  3. Eric Farley says:

    As I have sifted through the articles on your site here I’ve grown increasingly more astonished at the simplicity and complexity of it all.

    At the root all of our problems is really a first commandment problem: we have other gods before the one True God. And this is more than just a forensic or detached concern, it is a deep relational divide. Is is a wonder that we have not broken the heart of God and driven Him away permanently.

    These thoughts are overwhelming. I feel exposed, like a climber at the peak. Our real problem is that we do not love God with all of our heart, soul, mind =, and strenght. Yet the promises of God, all of His extremely great and precious promises, are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ in Christ.

    What glory! Thank you Steve for sharing His glory, and exalting His love.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Eric. You put the issue so well — we have a First Commandment problem.

      So as I think about that some more — it seems that faith in Christ means trusting that He will forgive us for how we’ve broken the first commandment and turned from Him as our Treasure, trusting that Christ is our all-satisfying Treasure, and trusting Christ’s power to change our hearts so we experience Him as our greatest Treasure.

      May the Lord richly bless you, brother,

      Steve Fuller

  4. peace says:

    I love this page and as for the people that added to the definition God will surely bless you.

  5. Char says:

    I too have had serious issues with trust and I have tried. Lord knows I’ve tried. Yet I feel on an emotional roller coaster. I wasn’t saved at the ripe age of 12 as most people I know. I didn’t come from a good home. I was saved at the age of 45, after 3 divorces and in a mess. And rather than that mess getting any better, it has gotten steadily worse over the 3 years I’ve been saved. And the more I keep trying to build my faith up, the more I pray for God to strengthen my faith, the more I try to listen to Him and do what I feel He’s telling me, the more doubt keeps creeping back in from time-to-time and dragging me down in severe depression. Medication has helped, and yet I cannot even afford the medications I need and therefore cannot get them now. I try to tell myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, try keeping busy (not that hard being a single parent of a 7 year old hyperactive child when I’m nearing 50 now), I try to constantly keep in the Word and read self-help Christian books. And yet I continually struggle emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. I read a list of affirmations from God’s Word daily.

    I won’t say that it hasn’t gotten better in my mind. But as you can tell, I’ve taken another severe emotional hit and have been down in the dumps for 2 days now and I keep questioning just what you asked…what ARE God’s promises for me?

    God promises to give wisdom, yet as much as I’ve asked Him for it, I feel dumber than ever. He promises peace…I only wish I could have some semblance of it. He promises joy. And when I pray and listen, all I get is “It will come”. And I find myself unable to live on “will” and wonder if that is simply what I tell myself based on all I’ve read and heard.

    God said Abraham never waivered in his faith and yet I keep wondering what the deal was then with Hagar, if he wasn’t waivering? Elijah was depressed and yet my own church believes depression is a choice we make and if we can’t snap out of it, we get what we deserve. And yet when I pray on this, I feel God wants me to remain where I am. I moved to a location I felt God leading me to and it is the most loneliest and desolate place, now with a 7 yo son who has no playmates, no yard, and we barely sustain living in the middle of nowhere. I stay sick. No amount of trying to stop worrying, stops it indefinately. It comes and goes in spurts and keeps me on that emotional roller coaster that I so badly want off of. It keeps me going back to wondering if God truly will come through or if I’m just destined to fall flat. My life has been a series of disasters and I don’t see it changing. And I’m so tired, all the way through. Just tired.

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"AWESOME. Going to mangle this sin tonight with the Promises of God." (Alec)

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