March 28, 2020 at 10:08 am #59033Rebecca A.Moderator
Have you ever been told that the opposite of faith is certainty? I heard this recently and cringed! In this person’s definition, faith is something uncertain, faith is in something we cannot really know or understand. Most people have this same view of faith. They would even say things like, “We have things we know and then in the areas we are not sure that is where faith comes in.” This thinking leads people to take a “leap of faith” doing something God never instructed for us in His word. By their own admission, they have a blind faith. Their is obvious confusion here of what they think the word faith even means.
Faith is a word we hear people use in everyday conversations, it is not an unfamiliar word. People have faith in things every day. Let’s look at a simple everyday use of the word faith. Someone is preparing to take a really important test in school. They have studied really hard for this test and their roommate has seen the amount of effort and study being put into this. You may hear the roommate try to encourage their friend by saying, “You will do great on this test, I have faith in you.” Why does the roommate have faith in this person? It could be because this student has proven they do really well on each test they take and they seem to be really intelligent. Or maybe because the roommate saw their friend study really hard. The roommate has a reason for saying that they have faith in their friend. They know something about this student that leads them to believe and trust that they will be able to accomplish what they have set out to do. However, if this student has put no time in studying for the test the roommate would most likely not tell their friend that they have faith in them because they know failing the test is probably the fate of that student. Faith than would seem to be conditional upon the facts they know about this person and their credibility.
Before we cover the Bible’s definition of Faith, let’s very quickly cover what faith is not. The Bible tells us that faith is not a work. Romans 5:4 clearly explains this. “5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” There you go, it can’t get any simpler than that. We will see this same truth while looking at Ephesians 2:8-9 in the next paragraph.
The Bible describes what faith is by using the words trust and belief. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that our salvation is by God’s grace, through our faith, and by His work and not of our own. Ephesians 1:13 KJV expounds on this process by which we are saved while using the words trust and believe. “13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” If we are saved through faith in Christ’s finished work and Ephesians 1:13 explains that process as us trusting and believing the gospel that we heard, than faith at its simplest form can be defined as trust and belief.
We also learn from these verses that faith has a substance and faith is the evidence of things not seen just as Hebrews 11:1 describes faith to be, “11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As I said earlier, we have faith in things and people every day. Somehow people seem to know the meaning of the word faith in daily conversations not regarding God or the Bible in any way, and yet when it comes to a conversation about faith in God they become confused about what faith means and they change the definition to something opposite of what faith is. I believe this is because of an ignorance of what God’s will is today, they do not personally know what to believe therefore they conclude faith to be uncertain.
Faith in God must have a substance outside of what our earthly, human minds would want to think of who God is and what He would want for us. People say they have faith in God to do different things for them that God has never said that He would. Their faith is in vain, and will eventually lead them to disappointment. That is not faith in the God of the Bible, it is faith in their own desires of who they would like God to be. True faith in God can only come by God revealing something about Himself to mankind. Romans 10:17 KJV, “17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” All throughout the Bible we see God revealing things about Himself to different people. God has revealed who He is, what His will is for people throughout time and what He has done or says He will do in the future. These revelations of God provide information that we then choose to have faith in or not.
Today, we find the substance of our faith which provides salvation in what God has revealed to Paul, the apostle of the gentiles, about Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery(Romans 16:25 KJV). This faith provides us with hope of eternal life in heavenly places in Christ where we are currently seated as members of Christ’s body(Ephesians 2:6 KJV) if we have trusted in Christ’s finished work on our behalf (Romans 3:22). This is God’s revelation of His plan for all humanity with no national distinction because today all are found under sin and in need of a savior. (Galatians 3:28, Colosians 3:11, Romans 3:9 KJV)
The real issue of faith is not whether or not people have faith, but what they are placing their faith in. A failure to rightly divide God’s word leads many to trust water baptism, their belief in the name of Jesus, doing good works, saying a prayer, and many other things to save themselves and without them knowing, has left them with a false hope of salvation. Is your faith in uncertain or unknown things to save you or provide you with peace and hope, or are you placing your faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work to save you and provide hope now and for the future? Faith in Jesus Christ’s work alone for our salvation is certain, not uncertain. This is because God, who cannot lie is the one who revealed this truth to us in His word (Titus 1:2, 2 Timothy 3:16)
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What is Faith?
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