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 ).
Many passages of scripture use the phrase “the faith.” Jude wrote,“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” ( Jude 3 ). Obviously, the term faith is used in a different way in this verse than is the case in Heb. 11:1, 6 . The faith does not speak of the faith that develops within an individual as he studies, learns and comes to believe the teachings of God’s word ( Rom. 10:17 ). Jude spoke of “the faith” having been “delivered.” He’s speaking about that body of teaching in God’s word which a person learns and upon which his faith is based. Another descriptive phrase that can basically be used interchangeably with “the faith” is “the gospel” ( Gal. 2:5; Phlp. 1:17). As a person learns about the faith , his own personal faith develops within him. Indeed, both phrases are used in the same verse with essentially the same frame of reference: “if indeed you continue in the faith , grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” ( Col. 1:23 ).
When a person develops faith , based upon what he learns from the faith , he must 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 is demonstrated by living true to one’s faith . 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 without faithfulness is “dead” (Jas. 2:14-26 )!
Let’s make up our minds to give proper attention to our faith . Let’s nurture it through our study of the teachings of the faith , applying those teachings properly to our lives. As we do, our faith will grow stronger. Living by faith will become apparent and to those around us as they observe our faithfulness . Our faith should not be just part of our life;our faith should be our life ( Gal. 2:20 )!
Gary L. Hutchens