The Submission of Faith
Faith—by its very nature—is submissive. Perhaps I’m simple-minded, too childlike, or unable to see the deeper issues that others see in theological discussions, but I confess to having always been puzzled by the debate over whether or not saving faith must essentially bow to God’s authority. But each time I read Hebrews 11—the Hall of Faith—I come away more convinced than ever that true faith is essentially submissive by nature. To trust God is to submit to His good and holy character and believe He will work out His good plan. To obey God is to submit to Him as sovereign and trustworthy. To walk by faith is to submissively place one’s life and welfare into the hands of the One who sees all because He has planned all—both for our good and His glory.
For that reason, to feed my own soul and nurture my sometimes-feeble, not-yet-perfected faith, I spent an hour last evening meditating again on this great chapter of the Bible. Here are the notes I made concerning the abundant evidence that living faith does indeed work (James 2:17 ), and that this work of faith is characterized by humble submission of our mind and will to God.
Open your Bible and let God speak to you about the qualities of true faith. I discovered 30 evidences. Do you see any others?
- Faith submits the powers of human reason and observation to the Word of God (vv. 1-3).
- Faith produces obedience, which testifies of righteousness (v. 4).
- Faith pleases God (v. 5).
- Faith believes God is (v. 6).
- Faith believes God rewards diligent seekers (v. 6).
- Faith is wed to godly fear, which in turn produces obedience (v. 7).
- Faith obeys even when the details of the future cannot be seen or understood (v. 8).
- Faith embraces God’s promise as fact (v. 9).
- Faith possesses forward focus (v. 10).
- Faith judges God to be faithful to His promises (vv. 11-12).
- Faith clings tightly to promises though the fruit is not yet seen (v. 13a).
- Faith clings loosely to this temporal world (v. 13b).
- Faith desires heavenly reward above earthly security (vv. 14-16).
- Faith gives birth to a love for God that is greater than love for one’s children (v. 17)
- Faith concludes that God is able to defy all human impossibilities in order to keep His promise (vv. 18-19).
- Faith trusts in God’s sovereign election (vv. 20-21).
- Faith makes plans based upon God fulfilling His promises (v. 22).
- Faith fears God above evil men (v. 23).
- Faith chooses to suffer with the people of God over being comfortable with the pleasures of sin (vv. 24-25).
- Faith looks to heavenly reward, which results in esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than earthly riches (v. 26).
- Faith sees the invisible God, and trusts Him (v. 27).
- Faith keeps God’s command (v. 28).
- Faith triumphs over every human fear (v. 29).
- Faith follows God’s instructions even when they seem ridiculous (v. 30).
- Faith honors and protects God’s servants (v. 31).
- Faith trusts God to intervene so as to accomplish the impossible on behalf of His own (vv. 32-35a).
- Faith kills the fear of death by valuing the better resurrection (v. 35b).
- Faith willingly endures persecution from the world (vv. 36-38).
- Faith obtains a good testimony (v. 39).
- Faith obeys God even when the reality of His promise may not be seen by oneself in this short life, but rather experienced future generation (vv. 39-40).
True faith does not exist without submission to God and His Word. And without faith it is impossible to please Him. Though imperfect and progressive our submission to God is a crucial demonstration of the reality of our faith. Therefore, let us pray Colossians 2:6-7 for ourselves and each other: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.