Having faith in Jesus Christ is the central message of Christianity. At its core, it means trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Here is an in-depth look at what it means to have faith in Jesus:
Acknowledging Our Sin and Need for a Savior
The starting point of faith in Jesus is recognizing that we are sinful and separated from God (Romans 3:23). Sin has corrupted every human heart, and we cannot fix this problem ourselves through good works or religious rituals. We need a savior to bridge the gap between us and God. As Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Admitting our helpless state is the first step toward receiving Christ by faith.
Believing Jesus is the Son of God
To have saving faith in Jesus, we must believe that He is who He claimed to be – the divine Son of God. Jesus made radical statements about His identity, saying things like “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). His disciples also testified that Jesus was God incarnate (John 1:1). Faith means taking Jesus at His word about His divine nature and trusting Him as Lord. As Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Trusting in Christ’s Sacrifice for Sin
Faith in Jesus centers on His sacrificial death on the cross. He lived a perfect life and willingly took our sins upon Himself, dying in our place (1 Corinthians 15:3). As Isaiah 53:5-6 prophesied, “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” When we trust that Jesus’ blood provides the only atonement for our sins, we are exercising saving faith. As Paul wrote, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement” (Romans 3:25).
Surrendering Our Lives to Jesus
Genuine faith involves surrendering our whole lives to the lordship of Jesus. We give up control and take up our cross to follow Him (Luke 9:23). Jesus emphasized the cost of discipleship, saying that whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for His sake will find it (Matthew 16:25). Forsaking sin and pledging our allegiance to Christ is part of true faith. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Receiving Christ as Savior and Lord
The biblical invitation is to receive Jesus Christ personally into one’s life as Savior and Lord. John 1:12 declares, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” When we welcome Jesus to save us from sin and rule over every area of our lives, we are demonstrating faith in Him. It is not merely intellectual assent but wholehearted trust in Christ alone for salvation. As Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Relying on Jesus for Eternal Life
Saving faith means staking our entire hope for eternal life on Jesus Christ. Because of our sins, we deserve death and hell. But by His grace, Jesus offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life when we believe in Him. As John 3:16 promises, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The gift of salvation cannot be earned – it must be received through faith in Jesus alone. Paul proclaimed, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Following Jesus Wholeheartedly
Those who sincerely believe in Jesus demonstrate their faith by a life of wholehearted obedience. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Faith is evidenced by bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). It is not merely an intellectual exercise, but a wholesale embrace of Christ that transforms every aspect of life. As James wrote, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). Our actions will prove whether our faith is genuine.
Persevering Through Trials
True faith withstands the storms of life. By clinging to Jesus through difficulties, believers reveal the depth of their trust in Him. As James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Likewise, 1 Peter 1:6-7 declares, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold – may be proved genuine.” Faith reveals itself by persevering to the end.
Longing for Christ’s Return
Those who have faith in Jesus long for His return. As Paul said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Love for Christ produces eager expectation of His coming again in glory. The more our faith grows, the more we will cry out, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Our ultimate hope is the resurrection to eternal life when He returns.
Living by the Spirit’s Power
Genuine faith results in a transformed life through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Believers receive the Spirit as a seal and guarantee of their salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Christian life is lived in dependence on the Spirit’s power as He produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and other Christlike qualities (Galatians 5:22-23). Faith provides unhindered access to the power of the risen Christ in us to obey God and live righteously (Romans 6:11-14).
Growing in Grace and Knowledge
True faith desires growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. As 2 Peter 3:18 encourages, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Healthy faith hungers for the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2). It seeks fellowship with other believers for mutual sharpening and encouragement. Faith steps out boldly in witness and ministry in dependence on God. Genuine faith does not remain stagnant but increasingly lives out its convictions.
Being a New Creation in Christ
Saving faith means we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We now share in His righteousness having been cleansed of sin. The old has gone; the new has come! By faith our lives are so united to Christ that His power and presence transform us from within. As Galatians 2:20 declares, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Faith joins us spiritually to the risen Lord.
Confessing Jesus Without Shame
Those with genuine faith confess Christ unashamedly before others. Jesus warned that unbelievers hesitate to declare Him before men, but true disciples joyfully identify with Him (Matthew 10:32-33). Therefore, faith lives boldly in allegiance to the Son of God. It Overcomes the world’s hostility and persecution. As Romans 10:9 promises, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Faith declaratively confesses its devotion to Jesus.
Assurance of Salvation
Faith provides assurance of salvation. While doubts may surface, the Spirit confirms in our spirits that we belong to Christ (Romans 8:15-16). As John writes, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). By anchoring our souls in Scriptural truth, faith frees us from uncertainty about our standing before God. According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith gives confident assurance.
Continuing in Patient Hope
True faith perseveres through trials because it rests in hopeful patience. Abraham wandered for years without an heir. Yet against hope, he believed in hope, trusting God’s promise (Romans 4:18). Faith can endure hardships and delays because it reckons that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4). It values spiritual growth over temporal comfort. Faith persists through the refining fire because its hope is set fully on the grace to be revealed at Christ’s coming.
To have faith in Jesus means trusting Him alone as the divine Son of God and Savior who justifies us by His grace. It means surrendering our lives to His lordship and relying on Him for eternal life. Saving faith produces fruit, perseveres through trials, longs for Christ’s return, and boldly confesses Him before others. The Holy Spirit empowers this new life in Christ that overflows in worship, obedience, witness, and ministry to others.