Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Molecule of True Faith


1) Heidelberg Catechism

21 Q. What is true faith?

A. True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction
that everything God reveals in his Word is true;
it is also a deep-rooted assurance,
created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel,
that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ,
not only others, but I too,
have had my sins forgiven,
have been made forever right with God,
and have been granted salvation.

2) Scripture

Romans 3:28: For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.


The definition of faith is important, because faith connects us to Jesus Christ. And, since it is only through our union with Christ that we are saved, it is easy to see why faith is so important. Without true faith, we cannot be grafted into Christ. In other words, without true faith, we do not belong to Christ.

Q&A 21 tells us that there are three elements to true faith. Just as molecules are made up of elements, so true faith is made up of three elements. These three elements are:

  • knowledge
  • conviction
  • assurance

First, we need some knowledge about Jesus’ person and work. We need to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and Lord. We need to understand that he died for our sins, was buried, and rose bodily from the grave. In order to be saved we need to have a basic knowledge about Jesus---about the gospel.

Second, we need the conviction that what we know about Jesus is true. In other words, we need to be convinced Jesus truly is the Christ prophesied about in the Old Testament. We need to be convinced he is God’s eternal Son. We need to be convinced he really died for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thus, we need to know about Jesus, and be convinced that what we know about him is true.

But if we stopped at this point, we wouldn’t yet have true faith. Even demons know the facts about Jesus. The book of James says that the demons are even convinced of the truth about Jesus! James 2:19 says that the demons believe and are so convinced of the truth that they tremble in fear! No, for our molecule of true faith we need all three elements, and the last element is assurance.

Third, then, we need the assurance that what Jesus did, he did for me. I must personally trust that Jesus Christ is my Lord, my God, and my Savior. Do you have this personal assurance that what the Son of God did in his death and resurrection, he did for you?

Discussion: Why is it important to define faith correctly? How is faith like a molecule? What
three elements do we need for true faith? Can you describe what we need to know? Can you
describe what we need to be convinced of? What kind of faith do demons have? Which
element do demons not have?

Prayer Starter: Thank the Lord for working faith in your heart, and for your union with Jesus
Christ. Pray for family members in your prayer. If there are sick people in your family or church, remember them.

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