Jesus said that if a person has faith as a grain of mustard seed, he or she could move mountains (Matt. 17:20). The faith Jesus talked about is the belief that Jesus is who he said he is; that his words are God’s words; that Jesus lives to intercede for the seeker and believer; that God answers prayer and does what he has promised (Rom. 4:21;8:32; 15:8; Jude 24).
Faith is the confidence that a person may “come boldly to the throne of grace,” and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence and assurance of things not seen”. The faith of Abraham and Sarah is a prime example of steadfastness, along with that of other Old Testament figures (Heb. 11:2-40).
It is by God’s grace through the believer’s faith that he or she is saved, and not by works previously performed without faith. And a believer is “created in Christ Jesus” for Christian good works as God has ordained (Ephesians 2:8-10). James says, “Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”(James 2:18). In this vein, Jesus said that one must “count the cost,” for faith involves forsaking the things of the world (Luke 14:28-33) without forsaking a world in need (John 17:15-18;Romans 12:2). Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”(Matt. 6:33). He also said that his message is a sword and that a believer may encounter persecution because of his or her beliefs (Matt. 10:34-39).
The epistles exhort believers to remain steadfast in the faith in the face of trials and tribulations (I Peter 1:7;Heb. 12:3-4). Repentance (a turnaround or turning away from sinful conduct and thought) is also a requirement, and steadfastness includes staying clear of sin and resisting temptation (Heb. 6:1-8). In this respect, God provides the means to escape, to bear temptations and testings (I Cor. 10:13;James 1:2-4).
A precondition for God’s forgiveness is forgiving others (Matt. 6:14-15;Eph. 4:32), and if “we confess our sins,” God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” A believer must also guard against doubt and unbelief which can be a hindrance to a truly spiritual life and receipt of blessings (Mk. 9:24;Matt. 17:19-20;Jas. 1:6-8). There is that constant struggle with self, that “old man” who tries to assert himself, as well as the continual battle against satanic influence (Eph. 4:22-24;Matt. 17:19-20;Jas. 1:6-8). But a spirit-filled believer has victory over all these obstacles through vigilance and steadfast resistance.
The “bottom line” for the seeker and believer is to be “perfect even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Jesus said that this goal is reachable through a spiritual love for all even enemies, persecutors, or those who spitefully use others. God loves saint and sinner alike (Matt. 5:38-48;Lk. 6:27-35). One should not judge others, lest he or she be judged by the same standard (Matt. 7:1). A person should act toward others as he or she wants to be treated (Lk. 6:31). Helping another in need is the same as doing it for Jesus. Spiritual gifts are to be exercised and used for the benefit and edification of others (Rom. 12:1,5-21); Eph. 4:12-16) These principles apply in every situation including relationships in the family (I Cor. 7;Col 3:18-21) and in the workplace (Col. 3:22;4:1).
Jesus taught that the key is having a humble heart (Matt. 23:11-12) and a boldness for the faith, realizing that servanthood in the kingdom of God is friendship with Christ (John 15:14-15).