The Power of the Gospel

If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea”; and it would obey you.

–Luke 17:6

If you’re a Christian, I want you to think about this: What has the gospel produced in your life? What are the results of hearing the good news about Jesus Christ?

In Colossians 1, Paul mentioned three important results of the gospel. First of all, the gospel produces faith in Christ. Paul wrote, “We give thanks to God . . . since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus” (vv. 3–4). Faith is an important ingredient in our salvation. But what really counts is not the amount of our faith but the object of our faith.

In Luke 17:5, the disciples said to Jesus, “Increase our faith!” Jesus replied, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you” (v. 6). It doesn’t matter how much or how little faith you have; what matters is the object of your faith. And the Bible says the only object worthy of our faith is Jesus.

So what does it really mean to have faith in Jesus Christ? When missionary John G. Paton was translating the New Testament for the residents of the New Hebrides Islands, he struggled to find a word for belief or faith. One day, he lifted his feet off the ground, leaned back in his chair, and asked one of the islanders to describe what he was doing. The man said in his native language, “You are leaning wholly on the chair.” Paton had the translation he was looking for. To have faith in Jesus Christ means to put your whole weight on Him for your salvation.

Think about climbing a ladder. If you put one foot on the ladder and keep one foot on the ground, are you going to be able to climb as high as you need to go? No. You may believe the ladder is capable of holding you, but as long as you have one foot on the ground, you’re not putting your whole weight on the ladder.

That’s a great picture of the way many people approach Christianity. They say they’re trusting in Christ for salvation. But really, they’re also trusting in their church membership, their Christian upbringing, or their belief that they’re not as bad as other people. Friend, it’s only when you put your whole weight on Jesus Christ for salvation that you can know you’re going to heaven. The gospel produces faith in Christ and Christ alone.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Evidence of Genuine Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

W. H. Griffith Thomas, The Christian Life and How to Live It (Chicago: Moody, 1919), 30–31.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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