God’s words say, “No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, if you are able to pursue life, seek to have God’s work carried out within you, and pursue the truth, and if you have an understanding of God’s actions and are able to act according to the truth, then this is your genuine faith and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. Only if you are still able to pursue the truth through refinement, you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts of Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him and you are able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will, then this means you have true faith in God” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement”). We can understand from God’s words that true faith refers to being able to maintain a heart of reverence for and submission to God in whatever environment we may face, whether we’re encountering hardships and refinements, setbacks and failures, and regardless of how great our fleshly or spiritual suffering is. We must be able to seek the truth, understand God’s will, and continue to be devoted to Him in the midst of the environment He has set up. Only that kind of person can be considered to be a person of true faith. Now let’s take a look at the experiences of Abraham and Job so that we can better understand what genuine faith is.
1. Abraham’s Faith
When Abraham was a century old, God promised to bestow a son upon him—Isaac. But as Isaac was growing up, God told Abraham that he had to offer him as a sacrifice. There are a lot of people who probably feel that God working this way is too much of a departure from human notions, or they might even feel that if that kind of test were to befall us, we would certainly try to argue with God. However, when Abraham encountered this his reaction was completely contrary to what we would expect. Not only did he not argue with God, but he was able to truly submit to Him, genuinely and truly giving Isaac back to God. Just as it is recorded in the Bible, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. … And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:3, 9–10). All humans are of the flesh—we are all emotional, and when we encounter something like this we’re certain to suffer, to feel pain. But the reason Abraham was able to refrain from trying to bargain with God and that he was able to obey God’s command was that he knew that Isaac had been bestowed upon him by God in the first place, and that he was then being taken away by God. He was rightfully obedient, and that was Abraham’s faith in God. He truly believed in God and submitted to Him absolutely—even when it meant being parted with what he most treasured, he still offered to give Isaac back to God. Ultimately, Abraham’s true faith and obedience to God won His approval and blessings. God allowed him to become the forefather of many nations; his descendants have thrived and multiplied and become great nations.
2. Job’s Faith
The Bible tells us that Job had a very prosperous family as well as ten children and many servants; he was greatly respected and highly regarded by his peers. However, through the temptations and attacks of Satan, Job lost all of his possessions and his children within a single day, and after that became completely covered in boils. That trial turned Job from the greatest man in the Orient into the most destitute person in the Orient, and he was also judged and attacked by his family and friends. Even when faced with such a great trial, Job didn’t utter a single word of complaint to God, and he even prostrated himself in worship of God, saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21), and “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Through his trial Job was able to refrain from sinning with his words, as well as to come before God in prayer. This showed that God had a place in his heart, he had true faith in God, he believed that all events and all things are in God’s hands, and all those conditions he faced had God’s approval and were not of man’s making. Something that Job had also deeply experienced in his decades of life was that everything he had had come from God’s rule and arrangements; his riches had all been bestowed by God and had not come from his own labor. Thus, if God wanted to take away what He had previously given, that was natural and right and as a created being, he should submit to God taking those things away. He shouldn’t argue with God and he particularly shouldn’t complain to God—even if his very life was taken from him, he knew he still shouldn’t utter a single complaint. Job’s witness thoroughly humiliated Satan, and after that, God appeared to Job from the midst of a storm and bestowed even more blessings upon him.
We can see from Abraham’s and Job’s experiences that in order to achieve true faith in God, we must first have true understanding of God’s rule, and we must believe that all things and events are entirely within God’s grasp. We must also really know our places as created beings and have the reason that creatures should possess. No matter how great our trials or hardships may be, we cannot blame or forsake God, but we must continue to be able to seek God’s will and stand on His side, and unwaveringly follow Him. No matter how great the suffering we endure is, we still have to be able to firmly stand witness for God. Only those who can do this possess true faith in God. Just think of those brothers and sisters who have been arrested and persecuted by the atheistic Chinese Communist Party and have even suffered brutal torture and have been sentenced to prison for a number of years, but they have never denied or forsaken God—that is true faith in God. There are brothers and sisters who are rejected by their family and friends after becoming believers, or unfortunate things crop up in their families, but they never complain to God, and are able to continue following God and expending themselves for Him—this is also a manifestation of true faith in God. If we compare ourselves to these testimonies, can we really say that we really are people who have true faith in God? For most of us, our faith is based on unequivocally acknowledging that there is a God, and being able to suffer a bit and pay a small price in working to spread the gospel for the Lord.