By this point in this series of articles and sermons on “Faith,” it should be apparent that true faith is not primarily subjective in nature. While emotion is a natural result, real faith, as taught in the New Testament, is not a feeling, a wild wish, unrealistic desire or hope, or simply blind belief. Faith, by definition, is based on “substance” and “evidence” (Heb. 11:1), strong terms denoting a position reached as a result of examining facts and proof.
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?
How does a person get faith? Why does one person have stronger faith than someone else? Why is the faith of some people so weak as compared to the faith of others? Where does faith come from?
It’d be interesting to hear the answers given by many on such a fundamental question. I’d not be surprised if a good number of people would actually be at something of a loss to give a definitive answer. I’m not sure that some people really know where faith comes from, and almost certainly a great many people who think they know, really do not.
Faith… Ask twenty different people to describe it, and you’ll likely get twenty different descriptions. To some people, faith simply meansbelief . That belief can be in virtually anything or anybody. For some, the term has a spiritual connotation first and foremost. For others, faith is simply a generic concept that can be applied to most anything.
Often, we feel either inadequate or without sufficient resources to be able to do something that needs to be done. These lines of reasoning are constantly used by individuals and congregations in relation to serving God. In some cases we say we don’t have time to serve God as we would like. Sometimes we state that we just don’t have the ability to do some good work that needs to be done. In other cases we claim to not have sufficient resources to the get the job done. While these statements can hold some validity, we must not use them carelessly as excuses to simply let ourselves off the hook. If we open both our physical eyes and our eyes of faith, we will often find that we have more time and ability and resources than we first imagined.
Everybody wants to be happy. In fact, there may be more emphasis in our society right now than ever before on finding happiness . There’s a lot of focus on having a job you can be happy with. Some people move to different locations in the pursuit of happiness . Wives leave husbands and husbands leave wives because they’re just not happy . Teenagers are committing suicide at a staggering rate because they’re unhappy . Happiness seems to be elusive to many people. But a profound question should be, “Where do you look for happiness?”
They say fingerprints serve as evidence. Fingerprints prove the presence of a specific individual in a particular setting. They’re used to prove, or disprove, criminal cases all the time. It’s also said that each person’s fingerprints are unique to that particular individual; no two individuals have the same fingerprints.
Gary L. Hutchens