Sitting on a large branch seven feet in the air, a small boy looked down at his father’s raised arms. Calmly his father said, “Have faith in me.” For the lad to have faith in his dad, he would need to lower himself into his dad’s waiting arms.
An excited teenager proudly held up her new driver’s license for all to see. Smiling, she looked at her dad and said, “have faith in me.” To possess faith in his daughter demanded dropping the keys into her hand.
God commanded Noah to build an ark because He was sending a flood. For Noah to have faith in God, he would need to cut down trees and build that ark.
At the age of seventy-five, Abram was told by God to leave his country and his father’s house to go to a land God would show him. For Abram to exhibit faith, he would need to pack his bags and start walking down the road.
Although he was elderly and had no son of his own, God promised Abram that his descendants would be like the stars of the heavens. For Abram to have faith in God, he was required to believe God’s promise.
When a vast enemy army began advancing against Judah and her king Jehoshaphat, God’s message to His people was to march out against them. They were instructed to have faith in God because the battle belonged to God. For Judah to possess faith in God, they would have to march out to see God’s victory.
1) The details of how faith/ trust is expressed differs from one context to another.
2) The details regarding how people have been called to exhibit faith in God changes from one situation to another.
3) Whether someone possesses faith in someone or something is determined by how that situation calls for a person to respond with trust.
4) In order to have faith in an unconditional promise, a person must only believe. To possess faith in someone who issues a command or in a situation where activity is demanded, faith requires obedient action.
Having died for our sins and then raised to life, Jesus cries out through the gospel, “have faith in me.” How are we called to trust in Jesus that we might be saved and become members of God’s family? Do we only need to accept Jesus into our heart? Is it necessary for us to trust in Jesus by being baptized?
The biblical answer is determined by hearing the story, not by what I think it means to have faith in Jesus. Whether through the genre of letter, narrative (Acts) or Gospel, the New Testament message is consistent.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as were immersed into Christ have been clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
“But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being immersed, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12).
“So then, those who had received his word were immersed; and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
“…preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been immersed shall be saved; …” (Mark 16:15,16).
Whether someone has faith in Jesus is determined by the story, not by what that individual might think it means to have faith in Jesus. Whether baptism is essential for salvation is determined by whether the gospel calls us to trust in Jesus by being baptized. It does. It is.
Next article: “The Framework of Covenant & Baptism”