What is Faith?

We live in the natural world. It is a world that governed by laws or principles that we can see: covering such areas as gravity, aerodynamics, electricity, weather, etc. Some people think that this natural world is all that there is. But there is also a spiritual world – that is the realm that God lives and operates in. You and I are not isolated from the spiritual world. For God has given us the capacity to recognize it and to respond to it. And that’s where faith comes in. From the spiritual realm God reveals himself.

He reveals his principles, his plans and his purposes for our lives. When God reveals something he asks us to believe in things that we cannot see or comprehend with our five senses. That’s the essence of faith. God calls us to respond to him in faith. So what is faith and how do we use it?

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Faith is different from positive thinking, always hoping for the best, or wishful thinking, hoping some how some expectation will be met. When you have faith you know something. How do you know? By revelation!

But as it is written, “Things which an eye didn’t see, and an ear didn’t hear, Which didn’t enter into the heart of man, These God has prepared for those who love him.” But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit… 1 Corinthians 2:9,10

You must spend time with the Lord and his word to receive his revelation.

We must have faith to please God:

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

How do we get faith?

For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

So each of us starts off with a measure of faith.

How do we get more faith?

So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Faith does not come by reading. It does not come from having heard; it comes by hearing (present tense). That is, an on going process of continually hearing the word spoken or taught daily.

How much faith do we need?

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6

It is not the quantity but the quality of your faith that counts as we can see from these examples:

As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, “Have mercy on us, son of David!” When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They told him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly charged them, saying, “See that no one knows about this.” Matthew 9:27-30

Mark 11:22-24 – “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

You have to continue to believe, especially if God has told you what to expect.

What do we use faith for?

We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end, that you won’t be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12

We combine faith with patience to receive what God has promised us. Are God’s promises for you and me? Yes!

For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen,” to the glory of God through us. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism…” Acts 10:34

What things are possible through faith?

…all things are possible to him who believes Mark 9:23b

If God has promised something, then it is possible.

Now genuine faith has two characteristics:

(1) Genuine faith is always tested:

By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; even he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac will your seed be called;’ accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead. Hebrews 11:17-19

True faith will survive being tested.

(2) Genuine faith demonstrates itself by corresponding actions:

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself…Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected. James 2:17, 21-22

These truths form our basic understanding of faith. It is by faith that we receive God’s gift of eternal life:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

We are to live by faith:

I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

So, what should we do when God reveals something to us? Do what Abraham did:

Yet, looking to the promise of God, he didn’t waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:20-21

We do not need to question God how he will do what he has promised. The burden is on him. Our task is to believe, to praise God for what he is going to do and to wait for his instructions. Let us be obedient to his revelation to today!

Copyright © 2009-2011 by Alan Pasho, www.disciplepedia.org. All rights reserved.

Scriptures taken from the Word English Bible (WEB)