Without Faith We Cannot Trust and Obey
We Trust and Obey Because We Believe
When I was a child we used to sing the old hymn “Trust and Obey.” The words declared, “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” As much as I still love that old song, the words are lacking. Something is missing. Trust and obedience alone make for a worn out and weary follower of Christ.
The missing component here is faith. Throughout this training we have defined faith as “believing the truth with the heart with absolute certainty.” We can only have this faith because God has granted it. When He persuades us of the truth within our hearts, we believe. Heart belief in the truth removes all doubt, it goes beyond hope to the “assurance of things hoped for” and is not blind obedience, but rather the “conviction of things NOT seen.” (Heb 11:1)
People typically limit their understanding of faith as a verb, that is, as something they choose to do, such as, “putting their faith in God” or as the song states, “Just trust and obey.” The problem here is that trying hard to “trust and obey” without faith is laborious, wearisome, and lifeless. Genuinely trusting God is only possible because we already possess faith. Trust follows as an out come of this faith. It is only because God has put His faith (persuasion of the truth) in us, that we are able to trust Him. If I did not already believe in my heart God to be trustworthy, then I could not really trust Him.
Trusting God is an expression or fruit of our faith, but it is not faith itself. Our faith is what we believe in our hearts as an outcome of being persuaded of it by God. If we limit our definition of faith as a verb and something that we do, then the idea of God granting us faith, may seem strange. Faith is not what we do, but what we possess. It is because we possess the gift of faith (being persuaded of the truth) that we are able to do what we do; that is, trust and obey.
Faith and Works
James the Apostle said it this way, “… I will show you my faith by my works” (Jam. 2:18). It was because of the faith that he possessed that his works followed. His works were evidence of the faith that he possessed. Again, this is where the fruit of the Spirit comes in. Because God has persuaded me of the truth and I believe it with absolute certainty, the fruit is present. The fruit are manifested through the “good works” that we were destined to live out because of what God has done. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
It is because of God granting us His truth that we are able to do the “good works” that we do. The Apostle Paul prayed that we would be “…filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, SO THAT [we would] walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” (Col. 1:9-10) “He granted” SO THAT “we might.”
Because trust is an outcome of belief, I am fearful that many people who have assumed they are Christians may in fact not be. Well meaning evangelist have led people to believe that by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and choosing to trust in Jesus that they are saved. Salvation begins with belief in the heart “…for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness”(Rom. 10:10), and not in deciding to believe. Salvation is initiated by God and completed by God. No part of it is “…a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:9) When God persuaded us of the truth of the Gospel we believed. “For God…made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). It was because of this that we believed resulting in our salvation.
It is because we believe that we trust. No one decides to believe anything that they believe. Someone or source of information presents the information in question and if we are convinced that it is true, we believe. We do not believe because we decide to believe, but only because we are persuaded that what is being offered is true. We enter into God’s salvation because He convinces us of the truth. When we are persuaded, we believe. Because we believe we can trust and obey.