Faith isn't something we can lay claim to because we were born to believing parents or have citizenship in a Christian country. Nor can we attain it by attending or even teaching Sunday school, though I've often heard such incorrect assertions. Instead, the following should be true of genuine believers.
A clear understanding of the gospel is essential for a person to believe and receive the good news of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was the only sacrifice required to remove our sins. God offers His grace as a gift to anyone who will receive it.
A definite decision at a particular point in time serves as a sort of landmark of the heart and mind. People do not just slip into Christianity; faith in Jesus must be chosen. Believers are those who have made a deliberate decision to trust the Lord and follow in His ways.
A blessed assurance follows the clear-cut decision so that believers can be certain of their salvation. God wants confident, assured children (1 John 5:13).
A visible symbol of what happens when someone receives the Savior--namely, baptism--illustrates dying to one's old ways and rising to new life in Christ Jesus. Believers are to take this step as a public way of identifying with Him (Matt. 28:19).
A man or woman of faith chooses to surrender to Christ, embraces the Word of God, and lives fully for the Lord. True believers no longer muddle through the practices of religion out of habit, but instead worship and rejoice in a vibrant personal relationship with the Lord.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.