When a person develops true faith , based upon the truths he learns from God’s word ( Rom. 10:17 ), he will naturally make up his mind to live in faithfulness . Jesus instructed, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” ( Rev. 2:10 ). Faithfulness exhibits faith that is being lived. To live faithfully (synonymous to living in faithfulness ) is to live by the teachings of the faith . Faithfulness is the outward expression, the active demonstration, of one’s faith . Faith withoutfaithfulness is “ dead ” ( Jas. 2:14-26 )!
When studying on faith, it is important to understand that the scriptures speak of different aspects of faith. The term faith can take on a different, though somewhat subtle, meaning, depending on the context in which it is used.
The Hebrews writer wrote, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who come to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” ( Heb. 11:6 ). Faith is defined in this verse by the term “believe.” The person who has thefaith in this verse believes in God. This is not a blind belief , as indicated in an earlier article. Rather, it is a belief that is based upon facts, data-substance and evidence ( Heb. 11:1 ). That data is found in scripture, as the apostle Paul wrote: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” ( Rom. 10:17 ).
Probably, the most comprehensive definition of faith given in scripture is found in the Hebrews letter: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” ( Heb. 11:1 ). The phrases“things hoped for” and “things not seen” have thrown many people who misunderstand what is meant by those words. They see faith as a belief without merit. They see those phrases as describing faith itself to be the only evidence, hope and substance, and since their personal understanding of faith is simply a belief, then they see Christian faith as being baseless.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith , and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” ( Eph. 2:8 ). In his letter to Timothy he wrote, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise forsalvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus ” ( 2 Tim. 3:15 ). Clearly, faith is central to salvation. But what is saving faith?
Gary L. Hutchens