“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
What is Faith?
Faith is one of those words that is commonly used but not always understood. Some of that confusion comes from the many different ways the word faith is used
in everyday conversation; a quick look at Dictionary.com shows seven different uses! One common way that people use the word faith is to refer to belief in something
despite lacking any evidence for it. But is that what the Bible means by faith? The answer is a resounding no! So, when the Bible uses the word faith, what does it mean?
The closest that the Bible comes to offering an exact definition is Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” From this particular passage, we see that the central
feature of faith—confidence or trust. In the Bible, the object of faith is God and his promises.
A clear example of this is Abram’s encounter with God in Genesis 15. In response to God’s promise of countless descendants, Abram “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6).
Commenting on this, the Apostle Paul writes, “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:20-21). Thus, faith means putting your trust in God and having confidence that he will fulfill his promises.
Biblical Meaning of Faith
Pastor John McArthur speaks of the Biblical meaning of faith: “Some say faith is merely believing certain facts. One popular Bible teacher says saving faith is nothing more than confidence in the divine offer of eternal life.
Biblically, however, the object of faith is not the divine offer; it is the Person of Jesus Christ. Faith in Him is what saves, not just
believing His promises or accepting facts about Him. Saving faith has to be more than accepting facts. Even demons have that kind of faith (James 2:19).
Believing in Jesus means receiving Him for all that He is (John 1:12). It means both confessing Him as Savior and yielding to Him as Lord.
In fact, Scripture often uses the word obedience as a synonym for faith (cf. John 3:36; Acts 6:7; Hebrews 5:9).”
Examples of Faith in the Bible
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Philippians 1:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Its primary idea is trust.
A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Faith is the result of teaching (Romans 10:14-17). Knowledge is an essential element in all faith and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3).
Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding.
Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God.
Saving faith is so-called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than in the words of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism: “Faith
in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.” (Excerpts from Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
Jesus is the Source of Our Faith
esus is the source of our faith because Jesus is the son of God. Jesus gives the living water by which we can be saved through grace.
That grace and mercy are given to us by God. Faith is from God (Ephesians 2:8). God gave His one and only Son to atone for our sins. What a precious gift! We don’t deserve this most extravagant gift.
Yet, God loves us so much that He made the decision to give His Son so that we may live (John 3:16).
Jesus was born in humble surroundings, lived a life of servanthood, preached to thousands, healed the sick, followed the will of His Father, and gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.
The wounds and agony Jesus suffered on the cross help us remember the dedication and love of Father and Son. The grief of his mother Mary, and the followers of Jesus, are shared in Scripture.
Hearing or reading the word of God can bring us closer to Him. Through sharing fellowship, good times, and difficult times, we can call to Jesus and have faith He is with us.
Jesus intercedes for us when we pray to God.
At the end of prayers, the words, “In the name of Jesus” may be spoken, written, or thought. With those words, we are asking Jesus to intercede on our behalf. (excerpt by Melissa Henderson, What Does it Mean to Have Faith in Jesus?)
What is a Profession of Faith?
To put it simply, a profession of faith is publicly declaring about your faith journey with Christ.
As mentioned before this can happen through baptism, an outward symbolism of an inner relationship with God. It can also occur by other means such as sharing one’s testimony.
Testimonies can range widely. They can be from a believer who has believed their whole life to a Satanist who decided to dedicate
their lives to God when the Gospel convicted them. Everyone has a different story, and we are encouraged to share that with others what we have experienced in Christ.
Baptism is an outward act to symbolize a changed life and profession of faith. Scripture tells us in Acts 2:41 “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and
about three thousand were added to their number that day.” and in Acts 22:16: “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling
on his name.’” Here we need to make a distinction. The act of baptism itself does not save someone. It’s merely symbolic to represent the death to self (being put in the water) and being resurrected in Christ (being
pulled up to the surface). See Ephesians 2:8-9 on what is necessary for salvation. (excerpt by Hope Bolinger, What is a Profession of Faith?)
Living by Faith
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)
Faith is more than intellectual agreement. To use an old illustration, imagine you are at Niagara Falls watching a tightrope walker push a wheelbarrow across the rope high above the falls.
After watching him go back and forth several times, he asks for a volunteer to sit in the wheelbarrow as he pushes it across the falls.
At an intellectual level, you may believe that he could successfully push you across the rope over the falls, but you are not exercising biblical faith until you get in the wheelbarrow and entrust yourself to the tightrope walker.
Genuine biblical faith expresses itself in everyday life. James writes that “faith by itself, apart from works, is dead” (James 2:17).
Faith works through love to produce tangible evidence of its existence in a person’s life (Gal 5:6). Put another way, the obedience that pleases God comes from faith (Rom 1:5, 16:26), rather than a mere sense of duty or obligation.
There is all the difference in the world between the husband who buys his wife flowers out of delight and one who buys them simply out of duty.
Faith is so important because it is the means by which we have a relationship with God: “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph 2:8).
Faith is how we receive the benefits of what Jesus has done for us. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God, died to pay the penalty for our sinful rebellion against God,
and rose from the dead to defeat sin, death, and the devil. By putting our faith in him, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the gift of eternal life.
So, faith means relying completely on who Jesus is and what He has done to be made right with God.
Faith Without Works is Dead
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26).
According to James, in his letter to the scattered believers in Jerusalem, a man is justified by works and faith (James 2:24).
He concluded that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Faith without works is likened as a body without a spirit.
This excellent illustration is consistent with the words of our Lord Jesus: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The
words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Clearly, the determinant here is the Spirit of God.
Just as a body can be dead or living, a dead faith (without works) and a living faith (with works) cannot coexist in the same person.
The dead faith is a sign of an unchanged, spiritually dead heart. Faith without works is dead because it does not reveal the transforming work of the Holy Spirit
manifested in the fruit of righteousness in a person’s life (Ephesians 5:8-10; Philippians 1:9-11). (excerpt by Joel Ryan, “What Does James 2:26 Mean by ‘Faith Without Works is Dead’?”)
Key Bible Verses about Faith
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Mark 11:22-24 – And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt
in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
James 2:19 – You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Inspiring Faith Quotes
“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” – Max Lucado
“Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” – C.S. Lewis
“Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” – A.W. Tozer
“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” – Oswald Chambers
“Faith is a living and unshakable confidence. A belief in God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake.” – Martin Luther
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