What Is Faith?

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
A friend of ours who is very fond of children has a class every Sunday to teach them the truths of the Gospel.
Wishing to show them what faith is, he took from his pocket a beautiful new watch and said: "I will give this watch to whoever wants it." The children stared at him with astonishment, but did not answer; they could not believe that he really would give them so handsome a gift, if they just asked for it. He turned to the eldest boy in the class and offered him the watch, but the unbelieving boy smiled and did not move. Our friend offered it to each of the children and met with the same unbelief and indecision. At last he came to the smallest, a little fellow of four years.
"And you, Henry, do you want the watch?”
"Yes, sir," he replied, and without hesitation, stepped up to receive the watch, which was to be a precious remembrance of the kindness of his friend.
The sacrifice the gentleman had made in giving the watch was well repaid by the deep and surely lasting impression made by his act on all the children, and by the lesson he was able to draw from it, seeking to awaken their young hearts and to lead them to receive simply, without reasoning, and at once, the Gift of God.
"If I had said to you, dear children," he continued, "'Who wants to buy this watch?' No one could have got it, for none of you has enough money in his pocket to do it. I said: 'I will give the watch to whoever wants it.' It is simply a question of believing my word. Little Henry believed and he has the watch. He didn't pay for it, he couldn't, but I paid for it. It is the same with God's salvation. If we had to buy it, or earn it, we could never get it.”
How simple, and yet how telling, were the words of our friend! Our sinfulness is such, our guilt is such, that neither our money, nor our so-called good works, nor our religious observances, whatever they may be, could ever save us; indeed the Scripture says plainly: By the works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him (Rom. 3:2020Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)).
Salvation has been acquired for us by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who as our substitute "bore our sins in His own body on the tree," that is, on the cross. Our sins were laid by God upon the holy head of the Son of God, and were judged in His person who of His own free will took our place and judgment. And now in virtue of this act, God offers forgiveness and redemption for nothing, freely, to all who believe.
"By grace are ye saved, through faith," the apostle Paul tells us, and the Lord Jesus said: "He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life." John 5:2424Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24).
Faith then is to believe what God says and to accept what He gives.