It seems obvious that for one to be a Christian, one must believe in God. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” But God has chosen to justify us – declare us just before him – based upon our faith. Romans 3:26 “To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” We do not “earn” this justification based upon any deeds of righteousness that we may do; we could never do enough deeds of righteousness to be declared just in the sight of God. Our justification is based upon our faith in Jesus.
Abraham is our great example of faith. Hebrews 11:8-10 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Again, in Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” And again in Genesis 15:5-6 “Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
Not only was Abraham’s faith accounted for righteousness, but it will be for us as well. Romans 4:22-24 “And therefore ‘It was accounted to Him for Righteousness.’ Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
So we are declared just before God based on our faith and when we live in faith, our faith is accounted as righteousness. It therefore seems important that we work to strengthen our faith. Faith in the existence of God. Faith that Jesus is God’s Son and that he came to this earth and died for us. Faith in the forgiveness of our sins. Faith in the promises of God. Faith that all things work together for our good if we love God (Romans 8:28). Faith in being led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). Faith that he hears and answers our prayers. Faith in our resurrection after this life. Let us seek to strengthen our faith. Lord, increase our faith (Luke 17:5)!