Faith is kind of a big deal in Christianity. We’re saved through faith, we live by faith, we walk by faith, by faith we remove mountains.
Since faith is so vital to Christianity, you should know that faith is counterfeited. Satan wants everyone in the world to think they “have faith in God.” If we’re saved through faith, and you believe you have faith, you can go to hell firmly secure in your supposed faith. Satan wins.
Faith is listening to God, and listening means doing what He says. It’s no more complicated than that. Whatever is not of faith is sin.
When we don’t do what God says–it’s sin;
When we do what God says–it’s faith.
There are a number of fake faiths out there, here are a few top ones that trip up people.
1. Doing what you told yourself to do.
Lots of people prove their faith by showing how well they listened to their own rules. Another word for this is “legalism.” Although God never said to avoid all alcohol, we think we demonstrate faith by avoiding all alcohol. Although God never said to have daily quiet time, we think we have faith because we haven’t missed a day in 15 years! These things may be fine for you to do, but they aren’t faith since God never actually said to do it.
2. Doing what some other guy told you to do.
Since hearing God implies reading the Bible, and reading the Bible is so hard, it’s easier to listen to other people who told you they have read the Bible. Because we judge that person to have faith, we do what they do assuming it will be counted as faith for us too. Many will place blind faith in a human leader, always doing what he or she says, and then assume that they have faith in God. In reality you just joined a cult.
3. Doing half of what God said.
This is where the Old Covenant Jews fell. Yes they brought sacrifices, but they were diseased animals. Yes they measured out mint and cumin for tithing, but they skipped righteousness. Yes they circumcised their baby boys, but their hearts were cold toward God. They did half of what God said. Usually its the half that requires you to do something once and then you’re done.
4. Doing stuff God told other people to do.
Hebrews 11 contains a whole list of people who by faith did what God told them. Note that God told each of them to do a different thing. If you go out and kill your son this afternoon for God, sorry, that’s not faith. If you go out and spend 120 years building an ark, that’s not faith, that’s doing what God told Noah. You do not show faith by obeying orders never given to you.
5. Doing nothing and assuming words are enough.
A growing portion of Christianity thinks that doing something is somehow foreign to faith. They think doing something is legalism, relying on works righteousness rather than grace. This is asinine and foreign to any common sense, literal reading of Scripture. But many people think that as long as they say the right words, quote the right seven verses, have said the sinner’s prayer, have spoken kind, lovely things about God that they have faith. Nope, sorry. Faith always leads your body to do things. Your mouth is part of your body, this is true, but so is the rest of your body!
6. Doing what your group does.
Conformity is a tool of the world. All the world’s rebels do the same things and usually look and talk the same. Christianity is about transformation. It’s unique. Although it brings us to unity, it keeps us individuals. Unfortunately, the visible church is very uncomfortable with individualism. It’s much safer to have conformity. Many think they have faith because they look and act like all those in their church. We follow Christ; not a group.
Faith is lonely and somewhat terrifying. No one else may be doing what you’re doing, but you’re listening to God and that’s enough for you. It’s Noah plugging away on his ark project for 120 years. No one else on earth was doing this. It looked ridiculous and felt ridiculous, no doubt.
People with faith don’t need approval from people, they seek approval from God and that’s it. Faith appears to make little sense, which is why people fall for the counterfeits listed above. We don’t like to be alone and feeling weird.
The faiths above won’t get you to heaven; only the faith that hears the Savior gets people to heaven. Count on it and act accordingly.