WHAT IS SAVING FAITH?
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ ” John 4:10
When studying the gospel of John, we discover that saving faith consists of three components:
1. Knowing the gift of God and the Giver of that gift. I cannot receive a gift until I know about that gift and the giver of that gift. This is why Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Before she could ask for the gift of God from the Giver of that gift, she needed to know what the gift was and the identity of the Giver. What is it that the apostle John wants a lost person to know about the gift of God?
a. The gift of God is eternal life (4:14a).
b. Eternal life is knowing God personally forever through Jesus Christ (17:3).
c. Eternal life cannot be lost because the believer can never thirst again for it (4:14b). How is this possible? When a person believes in Jesus, He digs a well in the human heart that continuously meets the needs of the one who drinks from it. But Jacob’s well was in the earth and the drinker of it must return again and again (4:12). Men dig wells in the earth, only Jesus Christ can dig a well in the human heart so that it gushes up into everlasting life. Jesus’ well never runs dry.
What is it that the apostle John wants a lost person to know about the Giver of the gift of God?
a. He is Jesus Christ (4:16-26).
b. He is fully God (John 1:1, 34, 49; 5:16-47; 6:69; 8:57-59; 11:27; 20:28)
c. He is fully man (John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 12:27; 19:28)
d. His death and resurrection (John 2:19, 22; 3:14-15; 12:23-24, 27-33; 10:11, 17; 19:1-21:25). Jesus’ death and resurrection are called the gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-8. His death and resurrection make it possible for Him to offer eternal life as a free gift.
2. A conviction about Christ’s Person and Work. The information received about Jesus must be accepted as true. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (John 11:25-27). Martha believed – she was convinced Jesus was speaking the truth. The most basic meaning of the Greek words translated “believe” (pisteuō) and “faith” (pistis) is “to accept something as being true” or “to be convinced of something.”
Many people have heard of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but they are not convinced that they really happened.
3. Trusting in Jesus alone for everlasting life. The two Greek words translated “believe”and “faith” include the idea of “trust.” The gospel of John emphasizes this often by placing a preposition after the word “believe.” For example:
Whoever believes “in” Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He who believes “in” the Son has everlasting life. John 3:36
Everyone who sees the Son and believes “in” Him may have everlasting life. John 6:40
He who believes “in” Me has everlasting life. John 6:47
Whoever lives and believes “in” Me shall never die. John 11:26
When an unsaved person understands that Christ died for his sins and rose from the dead and even accepts it as being true, yet still trusts in his good works to get him to Heaven, his faith is not saving. Saving faith understands that Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, is convinced that this is true, and personally chooses to believe or trust in Christ alone for the free gift of eternal life.
For example, I remember a woman, named, Michelle, in our church plant in Des Moines, Iowa, having her car break down during the summer on her way to work. It looked like she would be late for work. But then along came a lady from Missouri who offered her a ride. What did Michelle do? She was convinced this woman could get her to work, so she trusted that woman, a person, to get her to work. When Michelle offered to pay her, she refused to take her money. Michelle’s trip to work was free.
Likewise, God is asking us to trust a Person – His Son, Jesus Christ – to give us a free ride to heaven. It’s free to you and me, but it cost God the life of His Son. That’s what believe means. When you trust Jesus as your only way to heaven, you are telling God you are depending on His Son as your only hope of heaven.
John’s gospel demands a response to Jesus Christ. Will I trust Christ alone to get me to heaven or will I reject Him and spend eternity separated from God? To reject Christ is to turn from God Himself, the Creator of the world. To deny Christ is to continue in spiritual darkness and death. Only Jesus offers everlasting hope.
Do you have a personal relationship with the Creator God… the only One who guarantees eternal life to those who believe in Him? If not, why not begin a never-ending relationship with Him today? Simply take Christ at His Word when He says in John 5:24: “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” What does Jesus say you must do to obtain eternal life? “Hear …Believe.” Hear His promise of eternal life and believe Him to give it to you. You will never regret doing this.