No one disputes the necessity of faith. We certainly understand that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). But some, it seems, want to place too much on faith, and leave off some other important spiritual considerations.

Faith cannot substitute for the truth. Believing in something, no matter how strongly, does not make it so. The patriarch Jacob believed that a wild beast had killed his beloved son Joseph. He grieved as though it really had happened -- but it was not true (Gen. 37:31ff). Later, when told that Joseph was alive, he did not believe it -- but it was the fact (Gen. 45:26). Sadly, there are many today that trust their salvation upon things that -- though they sincerely believe them -- simply are not true. We must all search diligently for God's truth (Acts 17:11), for it is only the truth that can set us free (John 8:32).

Furthermore, faith will never take the place of obedient works. Calvinists will loudly protest, but the Bible plainly states that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). No right thinking person believes he can earn his way to heaven by means of meritorious acts. But the scripture plainly teaches that the only way to demonstrate our faith is through the things that we do (James 2:15-18). We must conclude that "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).

Finally, faith will not prevent adversity. Some are of the opinion that hardships come upon us due to a lack of faith. The solution to every problem, they claim, is to believe more deeply. While we would certainly encourage greater faith in every Christian, we must also realize that the history of God's most faithful servants includes a lot of pain and trouble. In fact, we are told to expect it: "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

The apostles begged, "Lord increase our faith" (Luke 17:5), and we humbly make the same request. But we also realize that there are some things faith will never do.

By Greg Gwin

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