We sometimes use the expression “keep the faith!” to encourage steadfast endurance.
How should we “keep the faith”?
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col 2:6).
Faith in salvation includes belief and trust. Belief denotes the idea of confidence in the truth, and trust denotes reliance upon the truth.
What do we need to believe for salvation?
1) All are sinners (Rom. 3:23)
2) The penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23)
3) Man cannot save himself (Rom. 3:19,20)
4) Christ, the sinless Son of God, died as our substitute to pay for sin, was buried, and rose again (John 1:1,14; 1 Cor. 15:3,4).
As the apostle Paul wrote,
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9,10)
Salvation also involves trusting Christ alone as Lord and Savior. We cannot trust in our good works or any other religious merit. As Titus 3:5-7 states,
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
So, to come to God for salvation from spiritual death we must believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that we have reviewed the basics, we ask, How is faith related to experiencing abundant life as a Christian? Didn’t Jesus promise us life that is full and meaningful? (John 10:10).
To enjoy abundant life in Christ also we need to believe in essential spiritual truths:
1) In our flesh still dwells “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18 )
2) The mind set on the flesh leads away from fellowship with God (Rom 8:6)
3) We cannot live the Christian life on our own, or even with some help from above (Rom. 7: 21-24)
4) At salvation we were spiritually united with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (Rom. 6:5-8; Eph. 2:4-7).
Paul was convinced of this liberating spiritual truth:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Does this mean that abundant life is only conditioned upon believing these spiritual facts? No, the doctrine of sanctification be only head knowledge unless we surrender our selfish control and fully trust in Christ as our Life! As Romans 5:10 puts it,
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Christ ‘s invitation to rest was not limited to our entrance into life; it is vital for a joyful, fruitful life of discipleship. Ponder again His promise to you:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt .11:28-30).
To trust in Christ as our source of living is to rest in Him. The writer of Hebrews drew upon the pattern of Israel’s entrance into Canaan as a type of abundant life:
“For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest … ” (Heb. 4:8-11).
Michael Wells observed how the apostle Paul depended upon God, as evidenced in the epistle to Philemon:
“Paul mentioned three times that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. What is the significance of these statements, given Paul’s situation? He did not see a Roman guard at the end of his chain, but instead saw Jesus Christ! The man of faith never sees bondage to anything but God Himself. You see, nothing comes into our lives without first passing through the loving hands of our Father in heaven. What do you see at the end of the chain that binds you? Do you see your mate, your job, your sin, your failures, your circumstance? Instead, would you be willing to see Jesus Christ as the author of it, which would allow you to rest, knowing the outcome will be for your ultimate benefit?”
A hymn gives this prayer of faith:
Jesus I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou canst make me whole.
Simply trusting Thee Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!
We began our relationship with Christ by faith. Let us believe these truths and depend fully on Christ as our life. Keep the faith!
 For more on the typology of entering Canaan rest, see Al Whittinghill’s series: gracenotebook.com/una-imagen-de-victoria-y-reposo-espiritual-primera-parte8232/
 Michael Wells, Sidetracked in the Wilderness, p.71. AbidingLife.com
 by Jean S. Pigott
Copyright 1999 by John B. Woodward. 2nd edition, 2014. Permission is granted to reprint this article for noncommercial use if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com
Quotations from The Holy Bible are in The New King James Version (Thomas Nelson).
Graphic courtesy of heartlight.org