December 20, 2017
There is very little in the Christian life more important—or more costly—than faith. Scripture tells us that the “righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17) because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6) and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Jesus frequently proclaimed the profound importance of faith by saying such things as, “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34), “Your faith has saved you” (Luke 7:50), and even the somewhat scary truth that “It shall be done to you according to your faith” (Matthew 9:29).
Faith is a critical element of the life-changing love relationship with Jesus. And yet faith is too expensive for most people. Only the truly poor can afford it. No wonder Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Christ highlights this expensive faith in the third chapter of Revelation when He implores His end-time people to “buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich.” This purified gold “is faith that works by love” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 158). Such faith can only come from God, and it can only be purchased at great cost.
But why is faith so expensive and what is the currency of heaven? The answer can be found in the simple question, If God is the Author and Finisher of my faith, then whose fault is it if I lack faith?
This question has intrigued me because the Bible clearly teaches that faith comes only from God. Faith is both a fruit of the Spirit and a gift of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22, 1 Corinthians 12:9). Only God can create faith in me, only He can grow it, and only He can complete it. So whose fault is it if I lack faith?
The answer, of course, is that the fault is entirely mine. God has both the power and the all-consuming desire to give me great faith. But all too often, I am not willing to pay the price.
And what is the cost of the “free gift”? It is everything—everything I have, everything I want, everything I choose, everything I am, and everything I wish to be. The cost of all God’s most precious gifts is the same. It is radical, all-or-nothing consecration to God and His service. It is giving up on my life, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Ellen White, speaking of this expensive free gift, proclaims that Jesus “is a gift, but only to those who give themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to Him without reserve. We are to give ourselves to Christ, to live a life of willing obedience to all His requirements. All that we are, all the talents and capabilities we possess, are the Lord’s, to be consecrated to His service. When we thus give ourselves wholly to Him, Christ, with all the treasures of heaven, gives Himself to us. We obtain the pearl of great price” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116).
“When we thus give ourselves wholly to Him, Christ, with all the treasures of heaven, gives Himself to us.” What a concept! But how do we give ourselves wholly to God, in practical terms? The currency of heaven comes down to choices. Choices are our God-given power. By our choices we open ourselves to Him and decide what God gets to do in our lives. And by our choices we can so easily stop the Almighty God in His tracks as He battles to bless us. By our daily choices we decide if God gets to be the Author and Finisher our faith.
The cost of great faith is wholehearted, unreserved consecration of our choices to God. In order to have faith, there are three things that we must believe with both our minds and our hearts: that God exists and has the power to help us, that He longs to do so, and that we are letting Him have His way. Only God can do it, but only you and I can let Him.
Do we want large faith? We can have it! It is one of God’s greatest free gifts—a gift that costs everything. Are we willing to pay the price? The choice is ours.