There are two reasons why faith toward God is required:
IT IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION:
The first reason faith toward God is important is that you cannot be saved without it:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
For by grace are ye saved through faith… (Ephesians 2:8)
These by the wayside are they that hear, then cometh the Devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)
YOU CANNOT PLEASE GOD WITHOUT FAITH:
The second reason faith is important is that you cannot please God without it:
Without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
LEVELS OF FAITH
The Bible reveals that there are various levels of faith. Jesus spoke of people who did not use their faith as being “faithless” (Matthew 17:17). He spoke of those with little faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; Luke 12:28) and of those with great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; Luke 7:9).
The Bible teaches that each person has a certain amount of faith which is given to him as a gift of God:
…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Each believer has some faith because it is through faith you are saved:
For by grace are ye saved, through faith… (Ephesians 2:8)
HOW TO INCREASE FAITH
Sanctifying faith enables you to live a holy life. Increased faith will help you go on to perfection. Defensive faith shields you from the attacks of the enemy, Satan. If you increase your faith you increase your spiritual defensive forces. The Bible tells how to increase faith:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
You increase faith toward God through hearing the Word of God. You must first hear the Word of God in order to repent of sin and receive Jesus as Savior. Saving faith comes by hearing God’s Word.
After you are saved, Biblical teaching and preaching will continue to increase your faith. The more you hear the Word of God, the more your faith will increase. The more faith increases the easier it will be to live a holy life and defend against the spiritual attacks of the enemy.
Just a small amount of faith is very powerful:
And Jesus said unto them…For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20)
Nothing is impossible if you have even a small amount of faith.
FAITH AND WORKS
Faith is a gift of God. It cannot be increased by works. By faith we mean “that which you believe.” By works we mean “that which you do.” The Bible teaches:
Now 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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Faith is the gift of God to believe. This does not mean that works [what you do] are not important. Faith comes first, as a gift of God. Works [what you do] are the test of whether or not your faith is real. James wrote:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith and have not works? can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food,
And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: Shew me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18)
Your works…how you live and react to the needs of those around you…are a test of the reality of your faith.
James sums up the connection between faith and works by the example of the relationship between man’s body and spirit. The Bible teaches that when a man dies, his spirit leaves his body. James says that…
…as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
Your actions should reflect the living faith within you:
For the just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11)
AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH
Hebrews chapter 11 lists the names of many people who were great examples of faith. But there is one man in the Bible who is called “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). His name is Abraham.
Christians are those who walk in the steps of faithful Abraham (Romans 4:12) and are spoken of as the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Because of his faith toward God, Abraham was justified:
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness… (James 2:23)
When Paul wanted to illustrate faith toward God, he used Abraham as an example:
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)
Paul said that the record of Abraham’s faith which resulted in justification was not kept just for him. The record was kept so that we also, by believing the Gospel message, could be justified.
The reasons Abraham was an example of faith are as follows:
HE HEARD THE WORD:
Abraham listened to the promises of God:
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
And being fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He was able also to perform. (Romans 4:13,21)
HE BELIEVED THE WORD:
He not only heard the promises of God, he believed:
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. (Romans 4:18)
Like Abraham, it is by believing that we receive the promises of God: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(I Peter 1:8-9)
HE TURNED FROM HIS HOPELESS CONDITION:
Hearing of the Word of God resulted in a change in Abraham’s life:
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. (Romans 4:18-19)
Just as men and women lost in sin, Abraham faced a hopeless condition in the natural world.
The promise to become the father of many nations could only come through God because Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children.
Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way you can receive the promise except by faith in His plan of salvation:
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith… (Ephesians 3:17)
HE ACCEPTED THE PROMISE AS A FACT:
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. (Romans 4:20)
This is faith toward God.
AN EXAMPLE FOR US
The faith toward God demonstrated by Abraham is an example for you to follow. You must:
-Hear the Word of God.
-Believe the Word of God.
-Turn from your hopeless condition (change through repentance from dead works).
-Accept God’s promise as fact. His promise is that you are justified by repentance and faith toward God through Jesus.