But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5.
If you want to produce apples, the best thing for you to do is to find an apple tree somewhere. And if you want to produce the right kind of fruit in the Christian life, the best thing for you to do is to be a Christian. Because an apple tree, remember, bears apples because it is an apple tree, never in order to be an apple tree. And a Christian does what is right because he is a Christian, never in order to be a Christian. The problem of so many young people today is that they’re trying to do what is right in order to be Christians.
So what is the real faith that works? Faith is best defined as trust. The question is, How do we learn to trust? We learn to trust someone else by learning to know him. And we don’t usually really trust anyone until we know him. God is one who is completely trustworthy, but you’ll never believe that until you know Him. If you know God, you will trust Him, and you will trust Him spontaneously. If you don’t know God, you will distrust Him. Whenever you see a person giving evidence of distrust of God, he is advertising the fact that he doesn’t know God.
When you really catch a glimpse of what Christianity is all about, you realize that it is involved in knowing Jesus. There are many professed Christians who will scrap it at that point, and will say, No, thanks; I want a religion, I want a Christianity, in which I can do something for myself. It is ego-deflating to come to Jesus and say, “Lord, I guess You’re right. I guess I can’t do it. I would like to turn it all over to You.”
Now, how is this done? Here is where we get elementary. Here is the prescription: Take time, alone, at the beginning of every day, to seek Jesus through His Word and through prayer. That is all you can do, with the surrender of your will, to be a Christian. There is nothing else you can do to be a Christian. If you don’t do that, you’re not a Christian. All you are is a good liver. And there are a lot of good livers in the church who don’t know God, who don’t care a whole lot about the Lord Jesus Christ. God invites you to be more than simply a good liver. He invites you to know His presence and power in your life today, every day—that is Christianity.