Faith Is Not Optimism
By David J. Stewart
Faith is not optimism! I once heard a man say, “Boy brother, you just gotta believe!” Though he was sincere, he was speaking of optimism, not faith. The dictionary defines “optimism” as: “The optimistic feeling that all is going to turn out well.” This is definitely NOT faith.
I can say all day long that “I believe” a chair will hold me up, if I stand on it, but that’s NOT faith—that’s optimism. Faith would be for me to go over and stand up on the chair. Do you see the difference? To stand upon the chair would require my trust, my faith, that it will hold me up. One can say he believes in Jesus all he wants to but that is NOT faith unless he actually places his trust upon Christ. Salvation is NOT merely a belief, it is believing on Jesus Christ. Believing requires a personal decision on your part to trust Christ.
Salvation is a relationship; a relationship where you become a child of the heavenly Father. Either you are a child of God or else you are a child of the Devil. Believing that Jesus is real is NOT enough. Even the demons believe that Jesus exists... “...the DEVILS ALSO BELIEVE, and tremble” (James 2:19). You must not only acknowledge that Jesus is the Savior—you must personally BELIEVE on Him to forgive your sins. You must decide for yourself to rely 100% upon Christ to forgive your sins and save you. Only Jesus died on the cross for you. Only Jesus shed His blood for you. Only Jesus has the nail-scarred hands and feet.
Have you ever made a deliberate, conscious decision (acknowledging before God that you are a guilty sinner) to rely upon Jesus Christ to forgive your sins? Have you ever believed on Jesus as the Christ to save you? You should remember a time in your life when you did so. If not, there’s no time like the present. Maybe you remember praying many times, but don’t know which time you were saved. That’s easy—The first time! God only requires a childlike faith for salvation. If you had enough faith to “call upon the name of the Lord,” then that’s all the faith required for salvation... “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED” (Romans 10:13). That is a promise from God. Salvation is of the heart my friend, it is NOT optimism. There are millions of people who are optimistic they will make it to Heaven one day, but they won’t. This is the woeful deception of religion and good works. The Bible is clear, “The just shall live by FAITH” (Romans 1:17). You must put your faith in Christ!
I Couldn't Find Peace About My Salvation
When I first became a Christian, I doubted my salvation for several years. I simply didn’t understand the Bible enough to KNOW whether or not I was saved. I had dozens of questions going through my mind. Did I have enough faith? Did I really “believe” on Christ? If I did believe, then why am I unsure about my salvation? What if I’m not saved? Is God upset with me because I keep asking Him to save me? Does it show a lack of faith because I keep asking God to save me? Why can’t I find peace on the matter?
Over the years which followed, I purposed in my heart to learn the Bible. I wanted to know everything about salvation and faith there was to know. Anytime I heard a sermon about faith or believing, I listened attentively at the edge of my seat. I read every Gospel tract I could get my hands on, each several times through. Time and time again I would admit to God I was a sinner and ask Him to save me. I was scared. I remember reminding God in prayer that I had a right as His child to KNOW if I was saved. I told God that I would get saved in a heartbeat if I wasn’t saved. The big problem was that I didn’t KNOW 100% sure whether I was saved or lost. I was confused and uncertain about my salvation.
I Finally Received the Assurance of My Salvation
The doubts continued for several years. The Holy Spirit showed me many wonderful truths and finally, in time, I grasped the assurance of my salvation. I had been saved all along but lacked the Bible knowledge to be at perfect peace about it. I had been afraid of something which I didn’t understand. I had been looking to a prayer and a past experience instead of looking to what was in my heart in the present. I was focusing on myself, rather than focusing upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
I had learned that salvation is of the heart, not the mouth (Romans 10:9, "...and shalt believe in thine heart..."). It wasn’t my prayer, nor even my faith that saved me—it was HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Matthew 6:33), in response to my faith. After several years of searching and wondering, I finally had the assurance of my salvation. I realized that Salvation is of the Lord. My part is only to believe, and God does the rest. Salvation is receiving, not giving. Eternal life is a free gift, paid for by Jesus redeeming blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:12; 1st Peter 1:18-19).
Next to my salvation, my assurance is the greatest gift which God has ever given to me. I had learned that faith is NOT optimism. It is ok to doubt, just so as long as I “believe on Jesus Christ.” No amount of doubt can keep a soul out of Heaven, if that soul believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ... “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved...” (Romans 16:31).
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