For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9, NIV)
The only way for us to be forgiven for our sins and to be saved is to believe in Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your household will be saved,” which is the heart of the gospel, the merciful covenant of God toward us, and the promise of eternal happiness. By being saved from the fearful judgment of God, we can walk the path of blessing. It does not matter who we were and what sins we committed in the past. God’s passion to save us is much bigger and greater than our sin. With the passion for us, God has crucified His only begotten Son, Jesus, instead of us. Now, all we have to do is to believe in Jesus who died for us. By doing that, we can become the new self by being forgiven of our sins and saved. Then, our minds and all behaviors will also change.
First Peter 1:9 says that the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls.
Even though we could enjoy everything we want in the world, it is of no use if our souls are not saved. On the contrary, our lives will be successful if our souls are saved and we get eternal life, although we do not get what we want in the world.
Therefore, our goal must be to gain eternal life. There is no precious value in the future more than eternal life, which can only be obtained only through Jesus Christ. Some people may say that their good deeds will save them without faith in Jesus. However, their thought is to ignore Jesus’s crucifixion for us. God has never given us another way to salvation other than Jesus. No one can save him- or herself without following the way of the Lord, who judges our sin and has the authority to forgive it. Romans 5:1 makes it clear by saying, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore, we cannot come to the Lord just with our own good deeds or justice.
Figure 13. Real Value of Faith
Faith can also heal our illness. The most important works Jesus did during his three-year public life were preaching the gospel and healing people. In the meantime, the words that often appear in the Bible every time Jesus healed people are “saw their faith”. One officer of an army was introduced in Matthew 8. He had heard a rumor that Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom and healed the sick. One day, one of his servants was paralyzed, and he heard that Jesus was coming to the town where he was living. So, he immediately came to Jesus and he talked about his servant and asked Jesus for help. Jesus replied that He would go and heal the servant. Then, the officer felt he did not deserve to have the Most High Jesus come to his house to fix one of his servants. He said, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. Just say the word, and my servant will get better.” Hearing this, Jesus was astonished at his faith and praised him that Jesus had not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Jesus said to the officer in a gentle tone, “Go, and it will be done just as you believed it would.”
The behavior of the officer gives us the great lessons. First, he never saw Jesus until Jesus came to his town, but he believed that Jesus was the Most High Lord when he heard about Jesus. Second, he believed in Jesus’s power. The officer believed that his servant would recover with only Jesus’s one word. Third, he was humble before Jesus. He considerably lowered himself when he saw Jesus, and he confessed that Jesus was so high and noble that he did not even deserve to invite Him into his house. Finally, he came to Jesus and asked for help for the sickness of his servant, not for himself. He loved and served his subordinates and believed in the power of prayer for others. His great faith pleased Jesus. Thus, Jesus worked by his faith. Faith has the great power to please God and make Him work. In the Bible, many people showed various forms of faith like this officer did, and Jesus healed all their sicknesses following their faith.
The opposite story, however, is introduced in the early part of Mark 6. When Jesus returned to His hometown and preached the gospel, the local people rejected Jesus. So, Jesus could not perform any power there because they did not respond by faith. Jesus wondered about their lack of faith. The Lord works and does miracles according to our faith. The kind of disease is not important. Our faith is more important. James 5:15 says that the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them. Moreover, they will be forgiven if they have sinned. Therefore, faith brings about miracles of salvation, healing, and forgiveness.
Faith frees us infinitely.
It is like walking between one cliff and another. When you believe and step forward one step, although you cannot see anything with your eyes, one stepping stone appears, and again and again. In Matthew 21:21–22, Jesus said that if you have faith and do not doubt, you can say to the mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and it will be done. The phrase “throw the mountain into the sea” was a proverb at the time, which means there is nothing impossible by faith. God will surely respond with the best things to those who ask by faith.
Why is faith so important? It is like we finally found our father, long after we did not know who our father was. From the perspective of the Lord, it is like a shepherd found the sheep that he had lost. How happy will the father be when he finds the child he has lost? Jesus said in Luke 15:7 that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The Lord still loves His children, even when they do not know Him. He opens the way to salvation and awaits them.
To return to God by believing in Jesus also means the relationship recovery with the Father. Galatians 3:26 records that we are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. When God is our Father and we are His children, we can receive the care and blessings of God and inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Faith is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He was crucified on our behalf. By faith, we are called the righteous and become His children because our sins are forgiven. Then, the Lord is in us, and we are in Him. Believing in Jesus also means believing in God. In John 12:44, Jesus said that when you believe in Jesus, you do not believe in Him only, but in the one who sent Him. This leads us to believe that God created the world and all things.
Furthermore, faith means that we are conscious that God is alive and He is always with us. There is nothing to fear in the world when we know that the Almighty God is our Father and He walks with us and helps us. What can the world do to us if the mighty God is with us? We must be brave by knowing God is with us. We must be filled with the confidence that we can do anything in the Lord. Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith. Fear comes from less trusting in God. Let’s take an example. One student asked a well-known mathematical professor at a prestigious university to solve a problem at a high school level. However, the student doubted whether the professor could solve the problem because he thought that he could not solve it with his all efforts. The student soon left the professor in order to find another way, even before he heard the answer. How uncomfortable did the professor feel at the student’s attitude? From such a viewpoint, how disrespectful is our distrust of the Almighty Lord? Therefore, we must believe that God exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
We can please God by faith, and we receive His help. If so, how can we strengthen our faith? People’s faiths are all different, just as our faces are all different. The Bible tells us that we should not ignore him or be arrogant if someone else’s faith seems smaller than ours. Also, it advises that we do not overestimate our faith, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us. Therefore, it is of great value that we try to grow our faith so that we can benefit from all things and live confidently.
First, in order to grow our faith, we must read the Bible. Romans 10:17 states that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through Jesus’s words. The Bible is God-breathed, and it is living and active so that it is significantly beneficial to our spirit and hearts.
Second, we must ask the Lord for faith, He who abundantly supplies whatever it is. In Mark 9, one father brought his child to Jesus. The child was possessed by a demon and became dumb. He said, “Take pity on us and help us if you can do anything.” Jesus rebuked him for saying “if you can.” Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” He immediately cried out and asked to overcome his unbelief. At last, his son was healed. Like this, if we acknowledge the lack of our faith and ask for it, God will surely fill our faith in His way.
Finally, we can become stronger through the experiences the Lord has helped. It was not in a single day that David bravely confronted Goliath and knocked him down simply by throwing a stone. When David took care of his father’s sheep, a lion or a bear often came and carried off a sheep from the flock. David went after it and rescued the sheep from its mouth every time. When the beast turned on him, he seized it by its hair, struck and killed it. Fighting with those wild and fast beasts, David became not only nimble but also bolder. Also, every time he survived a battle with a beast, he realized that the Lord was with him. God knew what David would confront, so He made him prepare for it with hard training. David had experienced God’s protection from the beasts, so he firmly believed God would always be with him. Therefore, David did not consider the giant Goliath a fearful opponent, because he was already prepared through those experiences.