4416372357_7348991248_zThere is a lot of confusion about what it means to have faith in God. Some believe it means to believe in God without any good evidence. I’ve argued elsewhere that this is a misguided view of faith.

The best explanation of a biblical understanding of faith in God that I’m aware of comes from Paul Moser, who argues that faith is “entrusting oneself to God”. To paraphrase Genesis 15, then, “Abraham entrusted himself to the Lord, and the Lord counted this entrusting as a right relationship to himself.” The virtue of faith, then, includes belief, but goes well beyond it. It also includes a lived experience of entrusting one’s very self to God.

Such faith relates one to God, not merely  by believing or having faith that God exists. Rather, it is a deep, inward, and ongoing means of relating to God, who first loved us. Not only does this faith count as righteousness, it also includes a commitment to transformative obedience. This obedience is not merely external. It is an obedience that comes from the heart. As such, it includes not only the mind and the emotions, but also our desires and our will. The one who entrusts herself to God in this way commits to dying to her selfishness. She seeks to live out the unselfish and loving ways of God.

With this in mind, placing one’s faith in Christ is not just a one-time decision. This initial decision is a beginning, rather than an ending. A central part of the Christian life is to continue to cultivate and grow in faith, the kind of faith that expresses itself in love.

 

Photo by Jerry Worster, CCL.