A Faith or The Faith

Commentary by Roger Oakland

Since September 11, 2001, we hear a lot about believing in God and faith. There are many people who are asking questions such as, what does the Muslim faith believe? Or others want to know how the Christian faith is different from the Muslim faith? Even people who profess to be Christians are divided on the answers to such questions. As you can see, the issue of faith can be very confusing.

There are many Scriptures we could examine to help answer these questions. We will only look at a few. Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus stated: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[1] So faith is a gift that comes from God and cannot be earned through good works or merit.

In the book of Romans, Paul explains that Christian faith is Bible-based: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”[2]

In Hebrews 12:2, Paul tells us that as believers we are, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” He also says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”[3] So Jesus Christ is to be the focus and subject of our faith.

Writing to Timothy, Paul warned that people, who once had faith, can fall away from the faith.[4] “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” The word apostate is a term used to describe a person, a church, or denomination that goes this route.

So while there are many faiths and many different views on faith, the Christian faith is unique. It is simply believing God and what God has said, then, acting accordingly. It seems to me that if God is the author of faith, God’s adversary would want to do all he could do to keep people confused or in complete darkness regarding this matter. A quick survey of some Christian and non-Christian groups will show this is the case.

For example, Mormons say they believe the Bible, but they also believe the book of Mormon equally as much, a supposed revelation given to Joseph Smith by an angel Moroni. Mormon’s will tell you their faith teaches they are “saved by grace,” but to them this means saved by being obedient to the teachings of Mormonism.

Catholics are taught they have the true faith. While Catholics do reverence the Bible, their faith adds additional requirements that are not found in the Bible. A good Catholic must have faith in Catholicism, which includes some man-made rules. Faith in who Jesus is and what He has done is not enough. In order to be saved, you must have faith and trust in the sacraments.

And we could examine the “faith” of the Muslim or the Buddhist or the Hindu, and we would find that each is void of the elements of the Christian faith mentioned in the Scriptures above (i.e., cannot be earned, comes from hearing the word of God, and is focused on the person of Jesus Christ).

So what does this all mean? You may even be asking: Do I have “a” faith, “the” faith, or have I fallen away? There is a simple answer. If you hold to “the” word, you will have “the” faith and you will believe in “the” gospel. Remember, Paul stated that Satan is the author and promoter of “another” gospel. Don’t be caught in his trap.

[1] Ephesians 2: 8-9
[2] Romans 10:17
[3] 1 Corinthians 15:17
[4] 1 Timothy 4: 1


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