8/20/12 Thelma and Blanca, early 20's
Do we need to have 100% faith in Jesus to be saved? That is a tricky question because it can be taken several ways. A young lady named Thelma, whom I talked to at the park along with her friend Blanca, told me she had become a Christian two years ago when a Christian evangelist came to her door and asked if she was sure she would go to heaven. "If you have 100 percent faith in Jesus, you can be saved" is what Thelma remembered being told. I wonder what 100 percent faith looks like. Certainly it would mean having complete faith when trusting Jesus with one's eternal future, but I would think it would also mean having complete faith from that moment on. However most Christians have their good days and their bad days when it comes to faith. We might go through whole seasons where we aren't even sure if God exists! I wanted Thelma to be absolutely sure that salvation doesn't come and go with the changes in her level of faith, so I told her about the parable of the mustard seed. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matt 13:31-32) I told her that a mustard seed is extremely small, so the amount of faith we have isn't the issue - it's whom or what in which we put whatever faith we do have. "Jesus is our rock. He doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is completely faithful. We aren't saved by our amount of faith, we are saved by whom we put our faith in." I have met people who trust in many things other than Jesus for salvation. Most trust in their own good works and feel they deserve eternal life in heaven. Others trust in the sincerity of their sorrrow for their sins, or the degree of their repentence. I suspect many trust in the amount of their own faith rather than the object of that faith, and constantly feel they must use whatever means they can to bolster their faith such as seeking emotional worship experiences or reading the latest self-help books or drawing near to leaders who demonstrate faith through performing miracles. Their relationship with God becomes a roller-coaster ride filled with guilt and self doubt rather than the simple joy of knowing Jesus. I wanted to help Thelma avoid this endless cycle, so I emphasized not the level of her faith, but the One who is faithful.