Therefore, simple actions that appear righteous do not please God. So, God wants something more. But how can we please God? On this question, Scripture states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Here, God emphasizes that if we are to please him, we must have faith in him. But what does this faith mean? What is its relationship to our actions?
Faith as a Motive
Our actions are not groundless. That means our actions have defined motives. One motive that promotes actions is faith. Faith gives us not only a unique perspective, but different reasons to act the way we do. Thus, faith in God has a domino effect in our lives; it determines the nature of our actions. That is to say, faith makes our actions acceptable to God. In contrast, unbelief makes our actions unacceptable to him. Thus, without faith in God, the domino effect of our unbelief is disastrous.
Yet why is this domino effect so disastrous? Disaster is when I do something I think is good, but to God it is not. For example, people might say they pray, read the Bible and go to church. These actions might seem good. But what makes these actions acceptable to God? Where is the faith in these actions? The apostle Paul asks similar questions. He says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them” (Romans 10:14)?
In other words, how can people pray if they don’t believe in God? How can they get insight from the Bible if they don’t believe in God who is its author? How can they say they hear God if they do not spiritually hear the words of Jesus? Such questions show that a lack of faith in God makes even “religious” actions unacceptable to God.