About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Who Has Weak Faith?

Lately I heard of a Christian who was known to be living in overt sin. Some said that this person had "weak faith". What does "weak faith" mean? Did this person really have weak faith, or was he simply giving into sin?

Paul speaks of those who have weak faith, and let me assure you, he wasnít speaking of those living in overt sin. Look at Romans 14 and see what he says about those with weak faith. It is a very interesting chapter.

Romans 14:1 says, "accept those who are weak in faithÖ" So who are they with the weak faith? Verse 2 says, "one manís faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables". Paul says that those strong in faith can eat everything, but those who are weak in faith, canít eat everything.

Our definition of faith is "trusting in Jesus". This means that those who have weak faith, those who cannot eat meat, are lacking in their trust in Jesus. You see, some in Paulís day felt that if they ate meat, drank wine, or disobeyed Sabbath laws, would loose their salvation. Their trust was weak because they couldnít fully depend on what Jesus did for them on the cross. They had to obey other rules as well. In this case, the other rules were, donít eat meat, donít drink wine, and obey the Sabbath. We have similar rules today.

Now not all vegetarians and non drinkers of wine abstain because of faith issues. Some abstain because they choose not to eat meat or drink wine for various reasons, other than faith. These people are not weak in faith.

When I was young and in Sunday school, my teacher told us that a particular man could not be a Christian because he smoked. By saying this, she was saying that a person is saved by trusting in Jesus, but to maintain his salvation, he had to "not smoke". Now I am not in favour of smoking, but by adding this rule, you add another law whereby one should be saved. Your gospel thus becomes, trust Jesus, and donít smoke, and you will be saved. That is not the gospel. Any rule that we add to faith, tells Jesus what He did on the cross is not good enough - we need to help Him out by adding more rules. That sounds horrible to me. Adding rules to faith is sin, and is worse than the sin of smoking.

So this person living in overt sin, did he have weak faith? No. He was simply living in sin, and needed to stop. People with "weak faith", or "weak trust in Jesus" are those who depend on more than their trust in Jesus for their salvation. Their faith is weak, because they trust in Jesus plus something else. They canít bring themselves to simply put their full trust in Jesus for their salvation. This does not mean they arenít saved. It merely means that they have "weak faith".

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