The Necessity of Faith

Bible Book: Galatians  3
Subject: Faithfulness; Commitment; Dedication; Confidence

The Necessity of Faith

Dr. J. Mike Minnix
Galatians 3:1-25

Tonight we look at the subject of faith and its necessity. I want us to look briefly at a subject which is crucial to Christian living, and one that can explain why many Christians and so-called Christians, fail in their walk with God.

The Christian is saved by faith, walks by faith and has victory over sin and Satan by faith. It is not our outward observance of the law that gives us success, but rather it is our faith that gives us the victory. Our correct walk in the Christian life does not bring us faith and victory, but our faith brings us the godly walk God desires and thus faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Note that Paul, in Galatians 3, gives us the example of faith in the life of Abraham. We know that Abraham lived before the law was given to God’s people through Moses while they were traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land. Yet, the Bible makes it plain that Abraham was justified. How was that possible, since Abraham did not have the Law of God that was later delivered in the Wilderness? It was because Abraham believed God and that act of faith was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6). It was not the Law that saved Him, but it was faith that did so.

So faith wins the victory that seeking to live out the Law cannot provide! Paul reminds us that God gave promises to Abraham and his "Seed." The word "Seed" is not plural but singular in the biblical text, which Paul tells us so we can discern that the promise of God was concerning Christ - the Seed of Abraham! God never intended to give a race of people, or any group of people observing the Law the promise of his complete blessing. The promise was rather to those who would trust God’s provision by faith and those who would come to Christ by faith!

Just as Paul used examples to describe faith, I want us tonight to see that faith alone saves a person, but faith cannot bring complete victory in our daily walk with God unless it is accompanied by three important features. James clearly tells us this in his writings (James 2:14-24) and Paul indicates the same in Galatians. Works cannot save, but faith that is not accompanied by evidence is not really faith. Learning this anew will help us see the way of victory and will describe for some of us the ingredients of true faith!

I. Faith Is Possible Only When We Have Knowledge

Some falsely believe that true faith is an act of merely believing. Think about how impossible it is to have faith without something to have faith in! When one considers it seriously, you can see how futile it is to think of faith apart from knowledge. Actually, faith is only possible when there is a two-fold knowledge.

First, one must know that a thing is from God.

Secondly, one must know the God of that "thing," is where all truth exists! How can you have faith without a set of facts that relate directly to the true God?

A good example of this is seen in the life of Jacob. Jacob was told that his son, Joseph, was dead. He believed the report when he heard it. He did not get a word from God on this but simply believed what his other sons had told him about Joseph. He depended on false informers and he believed false things. He had faith in something that was not true – a set of false facts (if there is such a thing as a false fact). For twenty years Jacob believed the lie he had been told! How sad. When he heard the truth it was hard for him to believe it because he had been believing a lie for all those years.

How can we have this knowledge of the truth and the knowledge of God and be certain that we are not trusting in a lie? Through the Word of God! God cannot lie. He only tells the truth.

Note how Paul used Scripture in Galatians to share with his readers about true faith. In the Scripture we come to know God and the truth about God’s dealings with man. You can believe what God tells you in His Word. In fact, if you hear something about God, man, nature or any other subject that cannot be verified by scripture, you cannot be sure that it is true.

So, we can establish that proper faith is knowledge from God’s Word communicated to a person who then believes and acts upon it. That is exactly how I was saved. I heard God’s Word proclaimed regarding my sin, God’s love for me, the Savior’s sacrifice and substitution for my sin at Calvary and God’s call for me to be redeemed. Faith was given to me to receive what I heard and I acted upon it by publicly professing that faith in Christ as my Savior. My life was changed that day and has been different since then. Faith is a powerful and wonderful thing, but it is useless without knowledge from God. I do not have faith in faith, I have faith in God!

II. Faith Is Possible Only When We Trust

We can look to Philip as a good example of the truth that faith is only possible when we are willing to trust what God says. We find the experience of Philip in John 6:5, “When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’"Jesus did not ask the question of Philip because He (Jesus) did not already know the answer. In fact, the Bible tells us why he asked the question. He wanted to test Philip to see if he had faith! Please note this carefully. The Lord never tempts us as believers but He does test our faith – He does so to assay our faith.

Philip failed the test! Philip did not trust Jesus, he trusted the physical evidence at his fingertips. He looked at the money on hand and tried to decide on an answer based on what he saw. In John 6:7 we read, “Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.’” Philip might have answered properly by saying, “Lord, only you know how we can feed this many with so little.” That statement would have shown faith in Christ, but Philip was looking at physical evidence in order to answer a divine question. Philip’s answer lacked trust and, therefore, lacked faith.

Faith is based upon the will of God and the power of God to perform that which God wills to occur.

Biblical faith is not just a word regarding how we feel about something, but is rather a trust in what God says about something! Some who claim to have faith prove by the way they live and act that they actually do not trust what God says. Faith is only possible when we trust God’s Word on a matter. Faith is the act of trusting God's power to do God's will!

Now note a third issue regarding faith …

III. Faith Is Possible Only When We Focus

Let’s focus for a moment on Simon Peter to see an excellent example of this truth – that faith is only possible when we focus properly. You remember that Jesus came walking on the water to a boat where the disciples were struggling in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.

We see this in Matthew 14:29-33, “So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’”

You see that Peter asked if he might step out of the boat and walk to Jesus. The Lord told him to do so and Peter stepped out the boat. He did well at first, taking steps on the water on the without sinking. A remarkable feat, indeed! But when Peter saw the waves he faltered and began to sink into the water. He quit trusting when he quit looking at Jesus. When his focus changed, his faith changed. It was all according to where he looked!

True faith requires a constant focus on our Lord and His Word. Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus, even one of the inner-circle of three disciples who spent more time with Jesus than the others. Yet, Peter failed when he focused on the wrong things. No matter who we are, what our position in God’s work, what title we have gained, or what work we have done in the past, we are capable of failure when we look at anything other than our Lord and His Word. This explains why so many of us fail the Lord, even when we have been serving Him in special places and in special ways for many years.


Three things keep us from victorious faith.

First, we do not have victory if we fail the test of faith.

Every tool used in an important task must be proven. When a person uses a ladder, he wants it to have a label revealing that it meets the standards necessary for the job at hand. If a worker climbs a ladder and it begins to bend or warp, the worker is going to climb down and get rid of that ladder. He may take it back to the seller or simply throw it in a dumpster, but he is not going to use it again. When God tests your faith and finds it lacking, do you think he is going to grant you greater responsibilities or blessings? Certainly, he will not! Also, a faith that does to produce results in one's life can hardly be biblical faith and saving faith. Even Jesus pointed out that a tree is known by its fruit. If your faith cannot pass the test God gives it, you better find true faith - the faith of God that saves and endures.

Second, we do not have victory if we fail in the matter of trust.

We must believe what God has said. We must not take God out of context, but we must believe that which God has clearly stated.

Third, and lastly, we do not have victory if our faith fails to focus.

Look at Colossians 2:6-7: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

We were saved when we had a knowledge given to us from God’s Word, (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Romans 10:17). We trusted Him and His Word and He gave what He promised. Lastly, we continue to enjoy and be used in His service as long as we remain focused on Him, giving Him thanks for what He is doing (abounding in it with thanksgiving) and not taking credit for anything He is doing through us.

Without faith it is impossible to please God! Thus, true faith that saves leads to service. And faith that continues to be used of God must continue to focus on the promises and power of God in our lives.