FAITH. It is something that touches all of our lives on a daily basis, from religion to politics, from everyday family life, to all human interactions. A person can have faith in something good or something bad, something positive or something negative, but all people have faith in something. Today, I would like to look at what faith is from the Biblical standpoint. I trust that it will speak to your heart.
According to the modern dictionary, faith means: A belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof; complete confidence in a person or plan, etc; a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers. Webster’s 1828 dictionary identifies faith as 1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; 2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, or probable evidence of any kind; 3. An entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.
According to the Bible, FAITH IS A POWERFUL FORCE! In Hebrews 11 we read that men and women of faith, “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned armies to flight, and raised the dead.” Jesus even said in Matthew 17:20 that, “for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Now a mustard seed is among the smallest of all seeds and Jesus said even if your faith is THAT small then NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO YOU….. imagine!
Have you ever heard someone say that their faith is not as big as other people’s faith, or that other people have MORE faith than they do? That may seem to be the case, but it’s not because they DON’T have faith, it’s just that they have not developed and exercised their faith to the extent someone else may have. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:3, “…..God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. So we all have been given faith, but it’s up to us to develop and grow our faith. Jesus told His disciples, when they were terrified of the storm, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26). Notice He DIDN’T say, “O ye of NO faith.” They had faith, they had just not developed their faith to the point where fear had no place in their lives.
Well, that brings up the next question…. HOW can we grow our faith…. HOW can we develop our faith in God and His Word? First, the Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). The more we hear the Word of God preached and taught, the more we meditate and act on the Word we hear, the more faith comes. Remember, when the Church was birthed, the followers of Christ didn’t have the New Testament to study and meditate on as we do today. Their faith came by the words they heard Jesus preach, and subsequently, by the preaching of the gospel through the disciples. Jude 1:20 instructs us to “Build up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” So, this tells us that another way our faith can grow and expand is by being men and women of prayer. Faith is also one of the nine fruit of the Spirit… Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” As we allow the Holy Spirit to have more freedom and rule in our lives, the more we develop in the fruit, or manifestations, of the Spirit… and one of those is FAITH!
For a Christian, faith is not an option, “But without FAITH it is impossible to please Him (God); for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). So we see that faith is something which is required in order to please our Heavenly Father. Faith in Him, faith in His Word, and faith in Jesus. This is because God is a God of faith. It’s His nature. God had to have faith that when He spoke the world into existence what He said would come to pass. Many people have a hard time believing this, but it’s true. Jesus Himself had to walk by faith, and we know that He did because the Bible tells us that He always did those things that pleased the Father. (John 8:29). Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God. We are the same way because we have His nature in us. Imagine one of your children, or your spouse, coming to you and saying, “I know you told me this and promised me that, but I don’t have faith you will do what you say.” How would that make you feel? Would that please you? Of course not! It would grieve you. That is exactly how God feels when we don’t have faith in what He has promised in His Word because He is our Heavenly Father!
Faith is the avenue by which we receive the New Birth and become children of God by believing in Jesus Christ, “For ye are all the children of God by FAITH in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:26). Another Scripture states,”For by grace are ye saved through FAITH.” (Ephesians 2:8). Romans 10:9 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe (have faith) in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Now FAITH is the substance (the ground or confidence) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” For a Christian, faith is always NOW… not something in the future. It is the foundation of what we hope for, and expect to come to pass. Christians must have faith, or confidence, that what God has said in His Word will come to pass in their lives.
2 Corinthians 5:7 sums up how a Christian should live… “For we walk (live) by FAITH, not by sight”. A person of faith does not have to see something in order to believe it…. but, being full of faith (confidently assured) that what God has promised He is also able to perform, they can boldly proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ (the Anointed and His Anointing) which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
I leave you with the admonition of Jesus, “Have FAITH in God.” (Mark 11:22)