Twenty years ago, when I began seeking faith, I wrote the church’s Senior Pastor a letter asking: “What is faith?” Unfortunately, he didn’t respond to the letter. But he might have answered my question in his sermons and teachings. I still ask the question to myself sometimes. Some people quote Hebrews 1:1 as if it answers the question. True, but not completely. The scripture gives us the essential feature of faith. But it is not a complete answer. For example, it doesn’t give us the idea of the content of faith, that is, “things hoped for” or “unseen.”
Furthermore, the verse primarily concerns the mental attitude, “assurance,” and “conviction.” Therefore, we need a holistic answer, even though the answer from Hebrews 11:1 is always significant. We can attempt a holistic answer from the book of John because the book’s purpose is faith (John 20:31).
Jesus teaches His disciples to abide in Him – e.g., John 6:56; 1 John 2:6; 2 John 1:2. Abiding in Him means living His life in our body (cf. Galatians 2:20). It means that as disciples and followers of Him, we use our bodies and life to live His will (cf. Romans 12:2).
Abiding in Jesus is not possible except through faith. Jesus’ first mention of abiding in Him occurs in the context of teaching about faith in Him (John chapter 6, esp. verses 27-29 and 56). Abiding in Him is to feed His flesh and drink His blood (v. 56), which means to work for eternal food, and working for eternal food means believing in Jesus (vs. 27-29).
Then, how to abide in Him and do His will with the body? This answer is to believe in Jesus, as we saw above. So then, this is the faith that Jesus teaches. What is that? How can one abide in Him, and He in the one? What should happen to the person?
We must surrender ourselves to Jesus (cf. James 4:7a). We must offer our body as a living sacrifice to God and do His will with our body (cf. Romans 12:2). We no longer reserve any claim on our life for ourselves, but we put our whole lives at God’s fingers’ ends. We empty our pride, plan, will, self-esteem, and even desire but get filled with the teachings of the Word of God and the Spirit of Jesus Christ. So, it is no longer I who live in the body, but Jesus Christ who died for me to purchase me to accomplish God’s purpose (cf. Galatians 2:20). This is the faith that Jesus teaches. The book of John is all about this faith.
Did you surrender yourself to God? If you say, I believe in Jesus,” and still have worldly desires, what kind of faith do you claim? Have you truly surrendered yourselves to Jesus, who died for you? Truly, true faith in Jesus is to surrender ourselves entirely to Him.
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