Lesson 3: True Faith
Instructions: Read the lesson. Make sure that you check the Scriptural references (don’t just skip it). Then answer the questions below. Do your best to answer them without looking at the lesson. You can close your eyes while you’re trying to answer the question. This will show whether you have actually understood the lesson or not. If you cannot really answer the question, then go back to the lesson to find the right answer. If you were able to answer, check if it’s correct by going back to the lesson.
Once a person hears and understands the Gospel, he needs to respond in faith (Acts 2:36-39). Faith has two sides: repentance and trust. Both are necessary for faith to be real or genuine. It is not enough to simply believe that there is a God, because even demons believe that and they shudder (James 2:19).
First, a person must truly repent. What does it mean to repent? Biblically, it means to change one’s mind. But, specifically, to repent is to stop rebelling against God. Rebellion can be seen both in our attitudes as well as in our actions. Rebellion is an act of dishonoring or disregarding someone who is in authority. It is despising his right to rule. When applied to God, sin is despising His authority or right to rule. The Bible calls this act of rebellion as “sin”. Sin is lawlessness or not being under God’s rule (see 1 John 3:4), which means you are not under the authority of God. When you refuse to be subject to God, you are in fact rebelling against Him. You may do this either in your mind or in your thoughts, or you may do this in your behavior or actions, by actually disobeying Him. His will is revealed through His laws, and when we disregard His laws, we disregard His will. We disregard His will in two ways: 1) by doing what He prohibits, or 2) by not doing what He commands. The former is called “sins of commission” while the latter is called “sins of ommission”. Repentance is acknowledging that this is in fact what we have done and have been doing ever since we were born (Psalm 51:5) — we have been dishonoring Him — and we must be truly sorry for doing this, from our hearts, and we must be willing to stop doing it, again from our hearts. Repentance, therefore, is a heart issue, and a promise, even before it becomes a behavioral issue (what we actually say or do). In other words, it is a promise backed up by our sincerity, even though we know we are not perfect. Later on, the fruit of repentance will be seen in our actions (Luke 3:8), as God changes our hearts. Our actions will either confirm our sincerity or it will reveal our insincerity (James 2:18). But the key to genuine repentance is to repent (or change our minds) from our hearts.
The other side of faith is trust. Obviously, we must trust God. But when it comes to salvation, we must trust God more specifically. First, we must trust that He indeed has the right to rule our lives (1 Tim 6:15-16). Second, we must trust in what He says in His word (1 Thess 2:13). The Bible is the word of God, fully inspired, and without errors (2 Timothy 3:16-17). To trust is to trust God’s word, the Bible. We must not elevate our feelings or our thoughts above the word of God (Mark 7:6-8). Third, we must trust that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who is the Savior of all mankind (John 20:31). We must trust in Him as our Savior and Lord. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all written to reveal to us who Jesus Christ really is. We must believe in these testimonies rather than in man-made stories about Him. We must not create our own gods, so to speak, for they are just “idols” (1 John 5:18-21). Fourth, we must trust that only Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). He is Savior and Lord, and there is no other. He must have exclusive rights in our lives. He alone has the right to rule (Matthew 28:19-20). Finally, we must trust that only Jesus can ultimately save us, not ourselves (2 Timothy 2:11-13). We cannot trust in our own righteousness. We must depend on Him completely from beginning to end (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:1-5). This is what it means to really trust God for our salvation.
Together, true repentance and true trust is what true faith is all about. They need to complement each other. If we have faith, we will repent, and turn away from our rebellious ways. If we have faith, we will trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the Messiah. One cannot happen without the other. This is how we must respond to the Gospel, once we hear and understand it: we must repent and we must trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
- What does a person need to do once he hears and understands the Gospel?
- What are the two sides of faith?
- What is the meaning of repentance?
- What is the meaning of trust?
- How does repentance and trust complement each other when it comes to real faith?
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