Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Real Faith

This summer I have been reading Practical Religion by J.C. Ryle. J.C. Ryle lived from 1816-1900 and was a pastor in England. Despite the simple and bland title, “Practical Religion,” this book is profound and pierces the heart.

In the third chapter of his book, Ryle focuses on the difference between real religion and unreal religion – the difference between genuine faith and fake faith. He ends the chapter with five ways to evaluate your faith and determine if it is real or not. Here they are in my own words:

1. Does your faith flow out of your inner most being? It isn’t enough for your faith to just be on your lips, or thoughts in your mind, or emotional feelings. The Holy Spirit must be in your heart.
2. What is your view of sin? Genuine faith will always take sin seriously – as a grievous offense to our Holy God.
3. What is your view of Christ? Real faith glories in Christ as the Son of God, Savior, and Redeemer without whom we have no hope.
4. What is the fruit of your faith? Real Christianity always shows itself in godly thoughts, words, and actions that flow from the heart.
5. What are your thoughts and habits towards public prayer, worship, and preaching and towards private Bible study, prayer, and worship? Genuine faith demonstrates itself in a person’s desire to pursue and praise God in public and private ways.

There is such a think as false assurance – believing you are saved even though you are not. Please take some time to consider the five questions above. There is a difference between real and fake faith, and it is imperative that we evaluate ourselves.

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