We can tell what faith will do today by what the Bible says faith has done in the past. True, saving faith is not merely an intellectual acceptance of certain facts concerning Christ or the Bible, but, it is a living, active, obedient recognition of the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In other words, if a person’s “faith” in Jesus does not in any way bring about a change in that person’s life, then, it is not a saving faith, according to the Bible.
In the Book of Hebrews, of the New Testament, we have what some have called “faith’s hall of fame.” Read the eleventh chapter carefully. In verse four, we find it was by faith that Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than his brother, Cain. In the original account found in Genesis chapter four, we do not read about God’s conversation with the sons of Adam and Eve, but we understand from the New Testament God must have in some way revealed to them that He desired a worship of sacrifice. The Hebrew writer stated that it was by “faith” and Romans 10:17 teaches “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We conclude, then, that Abel was not accepted by faith only, but by a faith which caused him to “offer” to God a sacrifice that was in harmony with His Will.
In Hebrews 11:3, we find another great Old Testament hero, Enoch, was translated. That is to say, he was taken up, without seeing death. This happened because of Enoch’s faith. What demonstrated his faith? The Bible says in Genesis 5:24 he “walked with God “So, again we see that Enoch did not have a faith that claimed acceptance with his heavenly Father in the absence of doing anything. It was by faith that Enoch walked with God and God showed him a special blessing.
In Hebrews 11:7 we find the famous Old Testament account of Noah and his ark. It is once more stated that Noah “prepared an ark to the saving of his house, “and that he did so “by faith. “Certainly Noah’s faith was not an inactive faith. It was a faith which caused him to do something because God said to do it!
On and on we read of great people of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven, but, in each case–Abraham, Sarah, Moses, etc.–it is clearly stated they DID something by faith. The only conclusion, then, is that saving faith is active not passive!
Now, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). I ask you, “What will be faith’s response to the Savior’s words?” Allow me to give you a scenario based on human reaction: Suppose a rich man came to your community and stated that he would give $100,000 to everyone who came out and jumped in the lake at a certain time. What do you think would be the reaction? Some may be skeptical and say, “He doesn’t mean it.” Others may think he is trying to make fools out of them. Various responses are possible. But, I can tell you clearly just what all who believed him would do! They would go out and jump in the lake! How else could one come by a hundred thousand dollars so easily?
Likewise, my friends, there are in the world today a multitude of reactions to our Lord’s statement: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Some say, “It doesn’t mean that! Some say, “What does baptism have to do with it?” Some suggest that this would mean we are trying to earn our salvation. But, I can tell you clearly, dear people, what all who believe Him will do. They will respond in faithful obedience to the Lord’s command. How else could one be saved from his sins?