One of the questions that is asked by John Piper in his book Think, is what does saving faith receive?
And over the next five paragraphs Piper's explanation of what faith receives in order to make it justifying faith so moved me that I want to share his thoughts with you today.
Now, we know that there has to be an object or something that faith believes in or receives, or it simply wouldn't be faith. Religious systems all put their faith or trust in something; it could be: rituals, ceremonies, rules, sets of laws and ordinances, or simply their own religious leaders.
But here is the apex of Christianity, the soul of Christianity, the Christian puts his faith in and receives Jesus. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). "To all who receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" ( John 1:12).
Piper then cuts to the chase and makes a stark contrast between those who say they received Jesus and those who have received Jesus. Piper notes, " But we must make clear what this actually means, because there are so many people who say they have received Christ and believed on Christ but give little or no evidence that they are spiritually alive.
Now what Piper says next is the heart and soul of Christianity and this is what so moved me and compelled me to share today as he shares what dead faith is:
"They are unresponsive to the spiritual beauty of Jesus. They are unmoved by the glories of Christ. They don't have the spirit of the apostle Paul when he said, 'I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ'" (Phil. 3:8).
Piper continues with his description of those who just say they have received Christ:
" They don't receive Him the way Paul did when he spoke of the 'surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.' They don't receive Him as He really is---more glorious, more beautiful, more wonderful, more satisfying, than everything else in the universe. They don't prize Him or treasure Him or cherish Him or delight in Him."
Piper ends his thoughts by telling his readers that it is not enough to simply say you have received Christ or to make an intellectual accent to the facts about Christ, but Piper tells his readers that Christ must be embraced as your supreme treasure, he must be desired above all else, Christ must be loved with all your heart, mind, body and soul.
We are told that no person can do this naturally. We must be born again (John 3:3). We must be made new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). We must be made spiritually alive (Eph. 2: 1-4).
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, don't these truths drive you to your knees? We see so clearly that salvation is of the Lord ( Jonah 2:9). Let us today thank our God for giving us the eyes to see Jesus as he really is: beautiful, glorious, supreme, and our great and loving Savior.