Thursday, July 26, 2012

What is faith?

There are a lot of different ideas about faith. Some are misconceptions, while others are based on the truth of God. I’d like to share some facts about faith:

1. Faith Is Important.

Many things we do every day require faith. We sit on a chair because we believe it will hold us up, and we ride in a car or fly on a plane because we believe that we will make it safely to our destination. One ride with a reckless driver may shake our faith in riding with that person, and one look at an old, beat-up plane may keep us from boarding it. When we eat food, we have faith that it will not kill us. We may check the label or smell the food before eating, and these actions can increase or decrease our faith for eating that food.

There is, however, a more important aspect of faith than what is needed to do our daily activities on earth. That is faith in God.

U       Faith is necessary to please God:
The Bible tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6, NIV). If you want to please God, you need to have faith. Period.

U       Faith is necessary to be saved from God’s wrath:
In Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV), we read “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” If you want to be saved from God’s wrath, faith is necessary. Actually, it is crucial to have faith! So, how do we get it?

2. Faith Is Acquired.
Many people think that they can just conjure up some faith. Just believe enough in something and it will come to pass. Please don’t jump off your house because you believe that you can fly. We can’t make faith, but we can obtain it from God.

U       God gives us faith through the Holy Spirit:
Paul tells us in Romans 12:3 (NKJV) that “... God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” and he told the believers in Corinth, “... for to one is given ... faith by the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:8-9, NKJV).

U       We get faith by knowing and obeying God’s word:
In case you are wondering how we get this faith from God, the Bible has the answer. Romans 10:17 (NKJV) says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Although it may not make sense that hearing can give faith, consider the mother who says to her disobedient child, “Did you hear me when I said don’t do that?” She knows that the child heard her, but he didn’t really HEAR her – that is listen carefully to what she said and take it to heart. When the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, as recorded in Luke 17:5-10, Jesus told them a story about how a servant should do what has been commanded. Obeying God and His word increases our faith.

3. Faith Can Be Defined.
Faith is also called confidence, trust or belief. Still, many people are not quite clear about what faith really is, and the world allows wide latitude for what constitutes faith. According to, the definition of faith includes “confidence or trust in a person or thing,” “belief that is not based on proof,” ”belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion,” or “belief in anything.” Reading about political scandals teaches us that it is often not a good idea to place too much faith in people, and if you drive your car into the lake because you choose to believe that it can float, you’ll soon learn the folly of belief in anything.

Biblical faith is more specific. Hebrews 11:1, 3 (NIV) tells us, “1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Knowing God’s word – the Bible – helps us to know and understand God, so that we can have confidence in what He says. Paul told Timothy “that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15, NKJV). Jesus sums up this specific faith this way: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1, NKJV).