Faith for All Three of You
December 31, 2019
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee
All three of you? Yes. God created you in three parts that make up the whole of who you are.
Your mind: Where you think and reason.
Your emotions: Where your heart speaks and feels.
Your will: Where you decide and act.
Join Dr. J. Vernon McGee as he explains how faith shows up in all three parts of you.
First, let’s define what we mean by faith. The best and only place to go to understand what faith is is the Bible. Ready for a simple definition?
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him .... -1 John 5:14
Faith is a personal confidence in God. That’s all. That confidence touches everything we are. God directs the gospel to all that we are, and invites us to respond in all three parts of our being.
Faith Speaks to the Intellect
Come to God with your questions, and He will give you evidence for your mind to consider. God does not ask anyone to take a leap in the dark when you come to Him. Faith rests upon the tangible. Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith is no gamble; it’s the surest thing there is.
Believe God. That’s all Abraham did. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). Abraham was a good man, but he did not count on his own righteousness. He was told to believe God, and Abraham said, “I believe You. I have confidence in God.” That is what God asks of you and me.
Someone asked Martin Luther, “Do you feel you’ve been forgiven?” He answered, “No, but I am as sure as there’s a God in heaven. For feelings come and feelings go. Feelings are deceiving. My warrant is the Word of God. None else is worth believing.” He had documented evidence. My friend, God appeals to the mind and asks you to examine the evidence. If you think faith is contrary to reason or to knowledge, you’re wrong. God begins with you there. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Our Lord said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Faith is not contrary to reason. God appeals to our intellect.
Faith Speaks to the Emotions
That will either encourage or frighten you. Too often we swing to extremes when we consider our emotional makeup. God made us with emotions. We either stuff them and deny they exist, or we make them the engine to our locomotive. Let’s be clear, emotionalism is not the way to get to God, but God does tell us to believe in our hearts (Romans 10:9,10). It’s in our hearts that we live and move and have our being. Not in our heads. Many of us use our hearts more than our brains, and Scripture recognizes it. Look at Proverbs 4:23, which warns us to protect our hearts, to “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Our problems are not in our heads—they’re in our hearts. We’re not silly; we’re sinful. We’re not weak; we’re wicked.
When there is no place for emotion, people turn away in unbelief, their hearts having become hardened. Our hearts need to be stirred.
Faith Speaks to the Will
Hebrews 11:1 says faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” If it’s not seen, how can we believe it? Faith is a conviction—it comes out of the will. Every time God asks a man to believe, He puts with it a little preposition that denotes action.
John 3:16 says that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” And Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” God appeals to the volitional part of man—to our wills.
God asks us to do something. Therefore, faith is more than just mental assent. It’s more than just shedding tears. Faith is something we act upon. Salvation doesn’t happen in the head, and it doesn’t happen just in the heart. May I say, salvation is when we act—when we believe on Him.
Today is your day to affirm these truths with your heart, your mind, and your will (if you’re already saved, affirm your confidence in these truths again). It is your day to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.
Living by faith means you believe in God with all three parts of yourself: Your heart, your mind, and your strength.
Have confidence in God by what you think about today: Meditate on Colossians 3:1-3: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Have confidence in God by wanting what He wants for you: Meditate on Psalm 37:3-5: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
Have confidence in God by doing what He asks: Meditate on what Jesus said in John 15 that if we love Him, we should show it by doing what He’s told us to do.