What Christian among us has not questioned his faith in God when things are going badly in finding a job, finding that person whom God wants him to marry, dealing with family debt, or healing a broken relationship? We may become so depressed and distressed that others begin to question if we are Christians at all. Is my faith genuine, or have I been fooling myself?
As Christians, the faith we claim to possess is founded upon truths expressed in the Word of God. We are commanded to have an accurate knowledge of God and Christ (John 17:3), and we are commanded to trust God’s promises and embrace them (Heb. 11:13).
Some time ago, my wife and I learned how to present the Gospel more appropriately. First, we would explain to someone how his sinful condition brought him under God’s judgment. We then explained how God’s justice demands payment for sin, and that God desires to save His people by substituting the righteousness of Christ on their behalf. We would explain that trusting in Christ’s merit is the only way for a sinner to stand before a holy God. Finally, we endeavored to describe faith in Christ as trusting in Christ alone (Eph. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:12).
After that point in our presentation of the Gospel, we simply became spectators as we watched the Holy Spirit work in the heart of the unbeliever. Jonathan Edwards describes this work of the Spirit as our soul embracing the revelation of Jesus Christ as our Savior — an entire yielding of the mind and heart to His revelation with belief, inclination, and affection. Faith is the primary manifestation of the symphony between the soul and the righteousness of God. For this reason, the focus of our faith is on Christ, His righteousness, and our eternal dwelling with Him.
As we grow in our sanctification, any depression and distress may uncover our failure to believe fully and embrace God’s promises. We may profess to be Christians, but we often live as practical atheists.
God is faithful in keeping His promises and has sworn by Himself that He would never fail us (Gen. 15:1–19). God never changes. He has promised that He will not, under any circumstance, leave us (Deut. 31:10). The great Puritan preacher Edward Pearse wrote that it is from God’s unchangeableness that we infer the infinite sweetness of His love. We are the unfaithful covenant-breakers. However, God is the faithful covenant-keeper.