But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6.
When through repentance and faith we accept Christ as our Savior, the Lord pardons our sins and remits the penalty prescribed for the transgression of the law. The sinner then stands before God as a just person, is taken into favor with heaven, and through the Spirit has fellowship with the Father and the Son. Then there is yet another work to be accomplished, and this is of a progressive nature. The soul is to be sanctified through the truth. And this also is accomplished through faith. For it is only by the grace of Christ, which we receive through faith, that the character can be transformed.
It is important that we understand clearly the nature of faith. There are many who believe that Christ is the Savior of the world, that the gospel is true and reveals the plan of salvation, yet they do not possess saving faith. They are intellectually convinced of the truth, but this is not enough; in order to be justified, sinners must have that faith that appropriates the merits of Christ to their own soul. We read that the devils “believe, and tremble”; but their belief does not bring them justification, neither will the belief of those who give a merely intellectual assent to the truths of the Bible bring them the benefits of salvation. This belief fails of reaching the vital point, for the truth does not engage the heart or transform the character.
In genuine, saving faith, there is trust in God through the belief in the great atoning sacrifice made by the Son of God on Calvary. In Christ, the justified believers behold their only hope and deliverer. Belief may exist without trust, but confidence born of trust cannot exist without faith. All sinners brought to a knowledge of the saving power of Christ will make manifest this trust in greater degree as they advance in experience.
The words of the apostle shed light upon what constitutes genuine faith. He says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” To believe with the heart is more than conviction, more than assent to the truth. This faith is sincere, earnest, and engages the affections of the soul; it is the faith that works by love and purifies the heart.—Signs of the Times, November 3, 1890.