Faith Has Substance | Reflections
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Absolutely nothing we do can please God apart from this kind of faith. Without faith, pleasing God is impossible. Religion, racial heritage, meritorious works—everything the Hebrews regarded as pleasing to God—is utterly futile apart from faith.
The beginning of faith is simply believing that God is. This certainly means far more than believing in an unnamed and unknown supreme being.
The Hebrews knew God’s name as I AM (Ex. 3:14). The phrase “he who comes to God must believe that He is” is a call for faith in the one God who had revealed Himself in Scripture.
This verse does not ratify belief in some abstract deity—the “ground of being,” the “man upstairs,” Allah, the “Unknown god” of the Greek philosophers (Acts 17:23), or any of the other manmade gods.
It is speaking of faith in the one God of the Bible, whose highest revelation of Himself is in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Clearly, true faith has objective substance. There is an intellectual content to our faith.
Believing is not a mindless leap in the dark or some ethereal kind of trust apart from knowledge. There is a factual, historical, intellectual basis for our faith.
Faith that is not grounded in this objective truth is no faith at all.
What have you relied on to please God apart from faith?
The Gospel According to the Apostles, 29–30
John MacArthur is a profound teacher of the word of God, a zealous preacher of Christian doctrine, a renowned writer and speaker, and Pastor and Teacher at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California