Ephesians 2:8 (HCSB) For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift--
Hebrews 11:6 (HCSB) Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
Habakkuk 2:4 (HCSB) …But the righteous one will live by his faith.
The Three Things Necessary for Faith
- Someone must make a promise.
- There must be good reason for believing in the integrity and sufficiency of the person who made the promise.
- There follows a comfortable assurance that it will be so; in fact, the believer is able to count on the object promised as if it had already come into actual possession.
These three conditions are fulfilled in Christian faith.
The Bible's Definition Of Faith
- NIV Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. –
- New King James Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. –
- Amplified Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses
- The Message Bible The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
- New Living Translation Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
- Hebrews 11:1-2 (HCSB) Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.
The Greek word used here that is translated faith is pistis which primarily is “firm persuasion”, a conviction based upon hearing, a guarantee
Faith is "substance" or "assurance" (hypostasis - confidence, confident) The word literally means "a standing under, support" "Faith," in relation to hope, is assurance. It stands under and supports our hope. Thus, one's hope is only as secure as his faith is strong. - W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
The term "evidence" or "conviction" (elenchus - proof, conviction) - The New Strong's Concise Concordance & Vine's Concise Dictionary Of The Bible
The word, “hope” (elpizō - to anticipate, usually with pleasure) - The New Strong's Concise Concordance & Vine's Concise Dictionary Of The Bible
We are positive, without the shadow of a doubt, and with complete expectation, that God will do what He has said He will do. Because we have this absolute belief and trust we should live our lives as did those heroes of faith in the book of Hebrews who having died without seeing the fulfillment of the promises, embraced and confessed them as though they actually received them.
Faith, by its very nature, begins and ends in the realm of the unseen. The believer’s faith is conviction supported by evidence concerning things we don’t know by experience. By faith we accept that the invisible things of God are behind the visible universe
In earlier times it did not take faith to believe that God existed— almost everybody took that for granted. Rather, faith had to do with one’s relationship to God— whether one trusted in God. The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart. The first can leave us unchanged, the second intrinsically brings change. —The Ragamuffin Gospel Manning, Brennan; Blase, John (2013-05-13). Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer (p. 10). Bondfire Books. Kindle Edition.
Hebrews 11:3 (HCSB) By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.
By faith we hope for a home in heaven, though we have never seen it.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (HCSB) So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Does this mean faith is unreasonable? We believe that the Pilgrims landed on the shores of what is now Massachusetts, in 1620. We can’t confirm this by scientific methods but it is true. Things we can’t experience now like historical facts, are demonstrated and proven in ways other than observation and scientific experiments.
The believer’s faith is not a blind acceptance of unprovable opinions. It is not based on feeling, emotion, or a "blind leap." It is conviction supported by evidence.
The evidence that supports our faith is divine in origin. God is more trustworthy than man and we should expect this evidence to be of greater value than just human testimony.
Romans 3:3-4 (HCSB) What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness? Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written: That You may be justified in Your words and triumph when You judge.
The first body of evidence, the world (nature). The world, the first and general revelation of God to man. The very existence of the universe, its power, order, and complexity demand an Intelligent Designer…God
Romans 1:20 (HCSB) For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
The second body of evidence, the Word. From the world or nature we can only know that there is a God, that He has unlimited power and intelligence, and that He possesses will. But what is He like? What does He want from me? How can I enjoy His fellowship? To find the answer to these questions I have to turn to the second body of evidence, the word…the Bible
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The word not only tells me about God, it gives evidence to demonstrate that there is a God, that the Bible is the word of God, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The evidence is the harmony of the Scriptures, fulfilled prophecies both about ancient nations and about Christ, and the evidence Christ has been raised from the dead.
These two bodies of evidence, the world and the word, give ample reason for a firm, reasonable conviction that there is a God in heaven, that the Bible is His word, and that Jesus Christ is His Son.
In Hebrews 11 starting at verse 4 the writer gives us a list of the Heroes of Faith. Examples of people that God commended for their faith even though as it says in verse 39 that none of them had received what was promised.
Hebrews 11:39 (HCSB) All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised,
To some people faith means believing that you can do a job better than you have done it in the past, or believing that a loved one will recover from and illness, or you will receive a financial blessing. There may be real value in such “positive thinking,” but this is not the meaning of faith.
True Biblical faith has God as its object. We believe God and trust His Word. That Word does not tell us that we have any reason to expect to be the richest. In fact it tells us, on the contrary, that we will have tribulations and that as Jesus’ disciples we will have crosses to bear. It assures us, however, of grace to bear them.
Faith has a backward look. It declares what God has done in the past. Faith also has a forward look. It declares that God can be trusted for the future. Faith is the firm assurance, the conviction, that God will do what He has promised to do.
It would, of course, be presumptuous to insist that He do what we want done. Many Christians have become disillusioned in their lives because God does not conform to their wills. Faith takes God at His word; faith does not insist that He conform to our ideas.
From the time a person makes that confession of faith then grows daily in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the Lord's will, and develops a character more and more like Jesus, every step they take that is pleasing to God is a step taken in faith. Every step taken without faith is sin. "
Romans 14:23 (NKJV) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
Faith Isn't Really Faith Until You Act On It.
Saying “I believe” while living as if you don’t believe is the same as not believing. Many people think that faith is an attitude or an agreement with a certain doctrine. That’s not faith. Genuine faith changes us. It affects our behavior and it controls our actions. Faith that is nothing more than a mental agreement is worthless, dead, and of no effect. Faith must act--or what good is it?
James 2:26 (NKJV) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
At the beginning of this post I quoted a verse from Hebrews that says that when you have faith you believe the God rewards those who seek him. Here are some of those rewards:
- Remission of sins - Romans 3:25 (HCSB) God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.
- Justification - Romans 3:21-22 (HCSB) But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction.
- Salvation - Acts 16:31 (BBE) And they said, Have faith in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will have salvation.
- Sanctification - Acts 26:17-18 (HCSB) I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles. I now send you to them to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.’
- Adoption - Galatians 3:26 (HCSB) for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
- Spiritual Life - Galatians 2:20 (HCSB) and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- Eternal Life - John 3:16 (BBE) For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life.
The only catch is that these rewards are reserved for believers, that is, those who have accepted the gift of salvation made possible by the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus; those who have made Him Lord of your life. If you haven’t done this you have exempted yourself from these rewards. God wants to give you these and even more but you must accept His gift of salvation. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Rome tells you all that you need to do.
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you want to experience the freedom the joy, the eternal life, and, yes rewards that come with of a life of faith in God pray this prayer;
“Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email with this Link. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God.