What Is Faith?
We hear people say all the time “just have faith”, “all you need is faith”, “have faith in God and everything will be alright”, “don’t you have any faith?”, etc., etc., etc.
In this website we will talk about the object of the Christian’s or believer’s faith, God, and why is it so important that we have it. We will also talk about how to develop the measure of faith that God has given to all mankind, to both believer and nonbeliever.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines faith this way:
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says that faith is:
Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say “amen” to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary’s definition is:
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil 1:27 ; 2 th 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
The Apostle Paul says in Hebrews:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 (NKJV)
The dictionary definitions essentially say the same things but Paul’s definition really clarifies it. The Greek word used here that is translated to faith is pistis which primarily is “firm persuasion”, a conviction based upon hearing and it is used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or in things spiritual.
The word “substance” literally means “a standing under, support” (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. 1, p. 85). “Faith,” in relation to hope, is assurance. It stands under and supports our hope. So that our hope is only as secure as our faith is strong.
The word “evidence” is defined as a “proof, proving”. Faith is not blind acceptance of unprovable opinions. It is not based on feeling, emotion, or a “blind leap.” It is conviction supported by evidence.
Faith is the principle by which Christians live. Every step he takes on life’s journey that is pleasing to God is a step taken in faith. Every step taken without faith is sin. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Faith the Emblem of All Senses
Charles Spurgeon the renowned preacher in England in the second half of the nineteenth century, a man wrote in on of his many devotions that faith covers all the human senses.
Song of Solomon 2:3
His fruit was sweet to my taste.
Faith, in the Scripture, is spoken of under the emblem of all the senses. It is sight: "Look unto me and be ye saved." It is hearing: "Hear, and your soul shall live." Faith is smelling: "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia"; "thy name is as ointment poured forth." Faith is spiritual touch. By this faith the woman came behind and touched the hem of Christ's garment, and by this we handle the things of the good word of life. Faith is equally the spirit's taste. "How sweet are Thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my lips." "Except a man eat my flesh," saith Christ, "and drink my blood, there is no life in him." This "taste" is faith in one of its highest operations. One of the first performances of faith is hearing. We hear the voice of God, not with the outward ear alone, but with the inward ear; we hear it as God's Word, and we believe it to be so; that is the "hearing" of faith. Then our mind looketh upon the truth as it is presented to us; that is to say, we understand it, we perceive its meaning; that is the "seeing" of faith. Next we discover its preciousness; we begin to admire it, and find how fragrant it is; that is faith in its "smell." Then we appropriate the mercies which are prepared for us in Christ; that is faith in its "touch." Hence follow the enjoyments, peace, delight, communion; which are faith in its "taste." Any one of these acts of faith is saving. To hear Christ's voice as the sure voice of God in the soul will save us; but that which gives true enjoyment is the aspect of faith wherein Christ, by holy taste, is received into us, and made, by inward and spiritual apprehension of His sweetness and preciousness, to be the food of our souls. It is then we sit "under His shadow with great delight," and find His fruit sweet to our taste.