What Is Faith?
I think people sometimes associate or confuse faith with feelings
or think faith must be perfect, with never any doubt.
The best way to understand faith is to look up the use of the word in Scripture and study it.
Our Christian life starts with faith, so a good place to start
a study of faith would be Romans 10:6-17,
which clearly explains how our life in Christ begins.
In this Scripture we hear the Word of God and believe it and ask God to save us.
I'll explain more fully.
In verse 17 it says faith comes from hearing the facts preached
to us about Jesus in the Word of God, (Read I Corinthians 15:1-4);
that is, the Gospel, the death of Christ Jesus for our sins, His burial and resurrection.
Faith is something we do in response to hearing.
We either believe it or we reject it.
Romans 10:13&14 explains what faith it is that saves us,
faith enough to ask or call upon God to save us based on Jesus' work of redemption.
You need enough faith to ask Him to save you and He promises to do it.
Read John 3:14-17, 36.
Jesus also told many stories of real events to describe faith, such as that in Mark 9.
A man came up to Jesus with his son who is possessed by a demon.
The father asks Jesus, "if you can do anything…help us,"
and Jesus replies that if he believed all things were possible.
The man replies to that, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."
The man was truly expressing his imperfect faith, but Jesus healed his son.
What a perfect example of our often imperfect faith.
Do any of us possess perfect, complete faith or understanding?
Acts 16:30&31 says we are saved if we simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God elsewhere uses other words as we saw in Romans 10:13,
words like "call" or "ask" or "receive" (John 1:12),
"come to Him" (John 6:28&29) which says,
"This is the work of God that you believe in Him Whom He has sent,' and verse 37
which says, "Him that comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,"
or "take" (Revelation 22:17) or "look" in John 3:14&15 (see Numbers 21:4-9 for the background).
All these passages indicate that if we have sufficient faith to ask for His salvation,
we have sufficient faith to be born again.
I John 2:25 says, "And this is what He promised us – even eternal life."
In I John 3:23 and also in John 6:28&29 faith is a command.
It is also called the "work of God," something we must or can do.
If God says or commands us to believe surely it is a choice to believe what He tells us,
that is, His Son has died for our sins in our place. This is the beginning.
His promise is sure. He gives us eternal life and we are born again.
Read John 3:16&38 and John 1:12
I John 5:13 is a beautiful and interesting verse which goes on to say,
"these have been written to you who believe in the Son of God,
that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the Son of God."
Romans 1:16&17 says, "the just shall live by faith."
There are two aspects here: we "live" – receive eternal life, and we "live" our daily life here and now by faith.
Interestingly, it says "faith to faith."
We add faith to faith, we believe to eternal life and we continue to believe daily.
2 Corinthians 5:8 says, "for we walk by faith, not by sight."
We live by acts of obedient trust. The Bible refers to this as perseverance or steadfastness.
Read Hebrews chapter 11.
Here it says it is not possible to please God without faith.
Faith is the evidence of unseen things; God and His creation of the world.
We are then given a number of examples of acts of "obedient faith."
The Christian life is a continuous walk by faith, step by step, moment by moment,
believing in the unseen God and His promises and teachings.
I Corinthians 15:58 says, "Be ye steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord."
Faith is not a feeling, but clearly it is something we choose to do continually.
Actually prayer is like that also. God tells us, even commands us, to pray.
He even teaches us how to pray in Matthew chapter 6.
In I John 5:14, the verse in which God assures us of our eternal life,
the verse goes on to assure us that we can have confidence
that if we "ask anything according to His will, He hears us," and He answers us.
So continue to pray; it is an act of faith.
Pray, even when you don't feel like He hears or there seems to be no answer.
This is an example of how faith is, at times, the opposite of feelings.
Prayer is one step of our walk of faith.
There are other examples of faith not mentioned in Hebrews 11.
The children of Israel are an example of "not believing."
The children of Israel, when in the wilderness, chose not to believe what God told them;
they chose not to believe in the unseen God and so they created their "own god"
out of gold and believed that what they had made was "god."
How silly is that.
Read Romans chapter one.
We do the same thing today.
We invent our own "belief system" to suit ourselves, one which we find easy,
or is acceptable to us, which gives us instant gratification,
as if God is here to serve us, not the other way around,
or He is our servant and not we His, or we are "god," not He the Creator God.
Remember Hebrews says faith is evidence of the unseen Creator God.
So the world defines its own version of faith, most of the time involving anything except God,
His creation or His Word.
The world often says, "have faith" or just says "believe" without telling you what to have faith in,
as if it were the object in and of itself, just some sort of nothingness you decide to believe in.
You believe in something, nothing or anything, whatever makes you feel good.
It is indefinable, because they don't define what they mean.
It is self-invented, a human creation, inconsistent, confusing and hopelessly unattainable.
As we see in Hebrews 11, Scriptural faith has an object:
We are to believe in God and we believe in His Word.
Another example, a good one, is the story of the spies sent by Moses
to check out the land which God told His chosen people He would give to them.
It is found in Numbers 13:1-14:21. Moses sent twelve men into the "Promised Land."
Ten returned and brought back a bad and discouraging report
causing the people to doubt God and His promise and choose to go back to Egypt.
The other two, Joshua and Caleb, chose, even though they saw giants in the land, to trust God.
They said, "We should go up and take possession of the land."
They chose, by faith, to encourage the people to believe God and go forward as God had commanded them.
When we believed and began our life with Christ,
we became God's child and He our Father (John 1:12).
All His promises became ours, such as Philippians chapter 4, Matthew 6:25-34 and Romans 8:28.
As in the case of our human Father, whom we know,
we don't worry about the things our father can take care of because we know
he cares for us and loves us. We trust God because we know Him.
Read 2 Peter 1:2-7, especially verse 2. This is faith.
These verses say grace and peace come through
our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
As we learn about God and trust Him we grow in our faith.
Scripture teaches that we know Him by studying Scripture (2 Peter 1:5-7),
and thus our faith grows as we understand our Heavenly Father,
Who He is and what He is like through the Word.
Most people, however, want some "magic" instant faith; but faith is a process.
2 Peter 1:5 says we are to add virtue to our faith and then continue to add to that;
a process by which we grow. This passage of Scripture goes on to say,
"grace and peace be multiplied to you, in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord."
So peace also comes from knowing God the Father and God the Son.
In this way prayer, knowledge of God and the Word and faith work together.
In learning of Him, He is the Giver of peace.
Psalm 119:165 says, "Great peace have they who love Your law,
and nothing can make them stumble."
Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous fall."
Through learning the Word of God we are connecting
to the One Who gives grace and peace.
We have already seen that for believers God hears our prayers
and grants them in accordance to His will (I John 5:14).
A good father will give us only what is good for us.
Romans 8:25 teaches us that this is what God does for us also.
Read Matthew 7:7-11.
I'm quite sure this does not equate to our asking for
and getting whatever we want, all the time;
otherwise we would grow into spoiled children instead of mature sons and daughters of the Father.
James 4:3 says, "When you ask, you do not receive,
because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."
Scripture also teaches in James 4:2 that, "You do not have, because you do not ask God."
God wants us to talk to Him, for that is what prayer is.
A great part of prayer is asking for our needs and the needs of others.
This way we know that He has provided the answer.
See I Peter 5:7 also. So if you need peace, ask for it.
Trust God to give it as you need it.
God also says in Psalm 66:18, "if I regard iniquity in my heart,
the Lord will not hear me."
If we are sinning we must confess it to Him to get it right.
Read I John 1:9&10.
Philippians 4:6&7 says, "be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Here again prayer is tied into faith and knowledge to give us peace.
Philippians then says to think on good things and "do" what you learn,
and, "the God of peace will be with you."
James says to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22&23).
Peace comes from knowing the Person you trust and in obeying His Word.
Since prayer is talking to God and the New Testament tells us believers
have complete access to the "throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16),
we can talk to God about everything, because He already knows.
In Matthew 6:9-15 in the Lord's Prayer He teaches us how and what things to pray for.
Simple faith grows as it is exercised and "worked out"
in obedience to God's commands as seen in His Word.
Remember 2 Peter 1:2-4 says peace comes from the knowledge of God
which comes from the Word of God.
To sum up:
Peace comes from God and a knowledge of Him.
We learn of Him in the Word.
Faith comes from hearing God's Word.
Prayer is part of this faith and peace process.
It is not a once for all experience, but a step by step walk.
If you have not started this journey of faith,
I ask you to go back and read 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah chapter 53,
I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:1-14, and John 3:16&17 and 36.
Acts 16:31 says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."
Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today,
you'll be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven?
Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life.
Those who fall asleep in Jesus
shall be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.
Those you've laid in the grave in tears,
you shall meet them again with joy!
Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch...
never to part again!
Yet, if you don't believe in the Lord, you're going to hell.
There is no pleasant way to say it.
The Scripture says,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
~ Romans 3:23
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved."
~ Romans 10:9
Don't fall asleep without Jesus
until you are assured of a place in heaven.
Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life
first you must believe in the Lord.
You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven
and put your trust in the Lord.
To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life.
There's only one way to heaven and that's through the Lord Jesus.
That's God's wonderful plan of salvation.
You can begin a personal relationship with Him
by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:
"Oh God, I'm a sinner.
I've been a sinner all of my life.
Forgive me, Lord.
I receive Jesus as my Savior.
I trust Him as my Lord.
Thank you for saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."
you have never received the
Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but
have received Him today after
reading this invitation, please let us know.
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior,
but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.
We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation in Various Languages:
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We appreciate your prayers and look forward to meeting you in eternity!
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