Rev 12:11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
It is one thing to say that we believe the gospel, that we believe God’s Word, that we trust in God’s promises – but this is not enough. The devil mouths those words as well. That is, he knows full well who Christ is, what He accomplished on the cross, and all the rest – but his belief is not saving faith. Many of the devil’s servants plant themselves among us in Christ’s church. They sing and pray the words. But their faith is false faith. They are counterfeits.
What then is real faith? It has of course as its object Jesus Christ – His person, His work, His Word. But it is more. Faith embraces Christ. The Apostle to the Hebrews put it like this:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
There it is – a confident assurance that what we do not see is true, it is a conviction that God’s Word is HIS Word and therefore absolutely true and trustworthy. So real is this conviction that faith steps out into what is not seen – into, we might say, what appears to be thin air, yet with a confident assurance that we will not fall.
Faith is the eye by which we see the unseen. By which we embrace our invisible God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ. It embraces Him in confident trust. It loves Him. These are the things which the counterfeit’s “faith” is void of.
Many of you are or have been sorely treated by the wicked. If we follow Christ we most assuredly will be hated by the world, by the devil, and by those who belong to the world. The real Christian goes through the Valley of Humiliation, as Bunyan called it – sometimes even finding himself in Giant Despair’s Doubting Castle. The key to persevering in those trials is FAITH. Believing, embracing, trusting, and even rejoicing in God’s Word, God’s Promises which necessarily must be true because God cannot lie. His Son is the Truth.
But if we are careless and give ear to Satan’s lies (whenever he speaks, he lies), we will begin to despair. Listen to the Lord and counter the lies with truth. God has promised to provide for us. He has PROMISED. He has promised to give us victory over this world and His enemies. He has promised to bring us safely home. He has promised that our sins are forgiven in Christ, fully and completely. He has promised that He has adopted us as His children, that He loves us and that we are traveling to the mansion He has prepared for us. FAITH picks up His Promise and uses it as the key to escape Doubting Castle (see Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress for the story of that fortress).
God’s Word is sufficient. His Promises are true and His Word is powerful. The Bible is God speaking to us. He has spoken to us in His Son, who we meet in the pages of Scripture. Therefore, in faith we read and we embrace the words with confident assurance that we are not stepping out into some disaster when we get up and follow Christ. We walk by faith and trust, not by looking at the things seen.
And all of this is why faith is the victory by which we overcome the world.