If there is one key ingredient of the Christian life, one thing that is foundational, it is faith. I’m not discounting grace, without which we cannot be saved, but that’s entirely a work of God in which we have no part, whereas faith is a work of God in which we do have a part. We enter the Christian life by faith (Ephesians 2:8) and we are to live it out by faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, James 2). In other words our faith is to make a difference for the kingdom of God.
And that’s the issue for us as Christians. Perhaps it’s better framed as a question: How is your faith? At what level are you living out your faith? The biblical writer James says that unless our faith is evident in the way we live our Christian life it’s not going to work (James 2:17), it has no value.
Christ addressed the issue of faith, or the potential lack of faith, in one of His parables. In Luke 18 He gave a parable on the subject of prayer – one of the key indicators of faith. The parable concerned an unjust judge and a widow who had been the victim of some wrongdoing. Someone had taken advantage of her. At first the judge ignored the widow, perhaps because she didn’t have the financial means to bribe him for a favorable verdict. But because she didn’t give up she became a thorn in his side and he decided that taking her case was preferable to listening to her constant complaining.
We don’t need to press the parable too far – it’s obvious that the relationship between the judge and the widow is to illustrate our relationship with God. We know that God isn’t unjust and that He doesn’t listen to us just to get us to shut up. That’s not the point of the parable. The point of the parable is that we are to be like the widow. When we pray we are to keep pressing our supplications to God; we aren’t to get discouraged and quit. And that’s where faith comes in. Faith is never giving up because we know that God has the answer – that God IS the answer.
At the very end of the parable Christ asked this question: When the son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? Perhaps a way to translate it that clarifies the meaning is will He find that kind of faith? The kind of faith that the widow had. He’s not talking about saving faith; He’s talking about living faith. When Jesus comes will He find people living out their Christianity in a gritty, I-won’t-give-up-no-matter-what-happens, don’t quit kind of way? Not because we have a never-die attitude but because we know God and we’ve been living a life of faith long enough to have seen what He can do.
The question still needs to be asked, perhaps today more than ever – what kind of faith will Christ find? Will He find anyone who is really living out their faith? Anyone who is so committed to a life of faith that they just won’t give up no matter how hard life becomes? Anyone who is really making a difference for the Kingdom?
Stay in the Word