The issue of faith is of supreme importance. The writer of Hebrews stated, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). To support this truth, the Hebrews writer used the people of old as examples. The bulk of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews recalls those of the past that lived by faith. Men like Noah, Abraham, Abel and Enoch demonstrated their faith by their obedience.
In like manner, the writer of Hebrews expressed the importance of faith to the Christian. He wrote, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
As we “look unto Jesus”, we live a life of faith. Not a single one of us has ever seen Jesus of Nazareth, but we certainly have sufficient evidence for our faith. It is written, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Take for instance, the entire book of John. Near the end of that book, John wrote, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). In other words, the book that John wrote is ample evidence for our faith. Yet, that is only one book of twenty-seven in the New Testament. The Christian truly has an abundance of evidence for his faith. So, with all of the evidence that exists, and since faith is essential to our salvation, how sure are you that Jesus is the Christ? That question should not be taken lightly. Jesus himself said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). None of us should want to die “in our sins”. If we do such, then we will not receive everlasting life (Matt. 25:31-46).
We must be absolutely convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. The eunuch from Ethiopia had the privilege of Philip preaching to him Jesus (Acts 8:35). After studying the Isaiah scroll, and listening to Philip’s preaching, the eunuch wanted to be baptized (Acts 8:36). The response that Philip gave is “…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (Acts 8:37). The eunuch was so firm in his belief at that point that he said, “…I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
Are we that sure that we would verbalize such at any given time? We should examine ourselves carefully before we answer. At one time, Peter was absolutely firm in his faith. Jesus told Peter and others, “…All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matt. 26:31-32). Peter’s confidence in Jesus was so strong that he asserted, “…Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matt. 26:33). Jesus, already knowing what would happen, told Peter, “…Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matt. 26:34). It was then that “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee…” (Matt. 26:35).
Sadly, Peter failed when the time came to declare his knowledge of Jesus (Luke 22:54-60). After the crowing of the rooster, “…the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61). A distraught “…Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). How sure are we that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Do we have the faith that will stand no matter what the situation? A reminder again, “…without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Heb. 11:6).