In the previous posts, we examined the relationship between the concepts of: faith, belief, belief-in, and trust. I made the claim that for our salvation to be real, we need to trust; that is, that trust in the investment of our belief and faith. In this post, we’ll look at trust in greater detail.
Let me be clear at the beginning: our act(s) of trust are not what lead to salvation. Salvation is God’s gift to us. The act of trust is how we accept that gift. Trust is the execution of our free-will. Trust is the expression of our right to choose to accept the gift.
Think of it like this.
We begin with a small flicker of faith. We might pray to God in faith, even when we are unsure he exists. Can’t hurt anything, right?
Perhaps we see God answering our prayers. Wow. Now I might move from a simple faith to a belief that God exists and that he hears my prayers. However, I have yet to accept his gift of eternal life.
I might understand that God will only save me if I believe IN him; that he has the ability to save me from eternal damnation. However, even at this stage, I’m unable to achieve His proffered salvation.
Salvation occurs when I trust. Trust is the action. I act on my belief in God’s ability to save me. I act on my belief that He is real and offers me salvation. And that belief is based on my faith that God exists and hears my prayers.
So back to our primary question: What is the trust in God that leads to salvation?
Let me attempt to illustrate with a contrived situation
Say I walk up to a table in a casino where a poker game of Texas Hold’em is being played. Now, I may have faith in my ability to play the game. I may believe I can beat the players at this table after watching them play for a few minutes. I show that I believe-in my ability to play when I sit down to play. However, all of these are finally tested when I trust and act by going “all-in”.
All-in is where I place a bet of everything I have. My poker faith is not based on the strength or value of my hand; my faith is based on my ability to “read” the other players and to act on the confidence I have that those who might have stronger hands will fold and leave the game; and that my hand is better than those who remain; in other words, I trust my ability to play poker and win by going all-in.
Salvation is very much like this. We may have little to bring to God, but we bring it all. We exercise our faith and believe in God by going “all in”. That is, we commit to God that we will trust Him to save us and to meet all the other wonderful promises in His word. We give everything we have to Him in trust, we hold nothing back.
When we go “all-in” with God, he knows if we are holding anything back. We can pretend to fully trust, but God and I would both know of the pretense.
The Bible tells us that when we make this one act of trust, as an expression of our faith and belief — that God “seals” us for eternity. Even more compelling, he says that he will adopt us a sons, with all rights and privileges therein.
What does he REQUIRE in return? Nothing.
What does he ASK in return? He asks that we do our best to honor our bet – that is, to give him everything. This means that we live a life that looks right in God’s eyes. The Bible calls this righteousness.
Notice I said “ask”. God knows we will fail. He knows we will stumble. All kids do. But as a loving father, He is there to pick us up, dust us off, put band-aids on our injuries, and help us get back on the path of life.
You might say to yourself: “Wow, that would mean I have to give up _____” (you fill in the blank). I’ve heard many people who are considering taking the steps of faith and trust say this. But the mystery of this process is that once you place your trust in Jesus, you will want to give up those things. You will want to please Him.
The Bible states it this way: “…Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phillipians 2:12b-13 NLT.
In the previous post, I provided the following three steps to salvation:
- The first step is that you must believe that Jesus Christ is fully God, but that he gave up his rights (but not his power) to deity when he came in the form of man. You must also believe that he took on the sins of the world when he died on the cross and that he offers you full and total forgiveness of all sins and life eternal. Based on what you hear and then believe, you may have “mental acceptance” that Christ can give you full forgiveness and eternal life. However, like the chair, this is simply a mental exercise and alone is rather worthless; after all, “even the demons believe”… You need to “sit in the chair” to validate your belief.
- The second step is that you must have faith. This originates from an awareness of God’s presence and his power. Or your faith may result from the testimony of others; however, as with the example of the counterfeit chair, their testimony could be bogus. For your faith to be proven true, you must make an investment of trust. You need to “sit in the chair” to validate your faith.
- The third step is your investment – your act of trust: you “sit in the chair”. You implement your belief and faith in Jesus through your Trust in Him. When you sit in the chair and it holds you up; your belief and faith are cemented in fact. That is, only through your act of trust does your faith become real. You believe in the chair when you sit in trust.
In this post, I detailed how we accomplish step three, that is, how do we trust?
- Go “all in” with God. Or, to use the previous illustration: you “sit in the chair” and put your full weight on it in trust. Either way, there is no going back. You accept the free gift of salvation by this act of trust — just once. From that point on, you live the life of an adopted child of God. And how sweet that is!