faith is very common in modern usage. We are told to "keep the faith,” or to "have a little faith.” Business is presumably
conducted in "good faith.” It appears that the use of the term faith is of a religious
origin, but what exactly is meant by the word?
religious circles today, we hear terms like "interfaith” and "faith traditions.” From prominent Christian ministers you might hear about "seed faith,” and "the word of faith.” To be sure, the definition of
faith will be different depending with whom you are speaking, and under what
accurate to define faith as simply "believing” in something? Is this a fair usage of the word?
instance, through propaganda and deception on the part of adults, many children
start out believing in utter falsehoods including Santa Claus, the Easter
Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. The child’s belief in these myths is as
sincere and real as their belief in the Almighty God, the Savior Jesus, or the
ability of mom to kiss it and make it better. Does their belief in a lie
constitute faith? Even if you say "My kid believes in Santa
Claus,” could you encourage them to
have faith in him?
of the parents’ good intentions, they know
that the day will inevitably come when the children realize that they were
believing a lie, the holiday icons are not real, and the reason mom was kissing
Santa was because Santa was dad.
belief are not necessarily synonyms. You can believe that it will be sunny today,
whether based on the weatherman’s best guess or simply on
hope. You may be right, you may be wrong. In fact, we should consider what, if
anything, differentiates the terms faith, belief, and even hope. For instance,
you may not hope it will rain today, but you may believe it will from the
available information. That said, one can see how hope and belief are similar.
Both terms indicate a degree of expectation, but while you may believe in
something regardless of the perceived benefit of the outcome, you reserve hope
for that which you feel will have a positive result.
are traveling over bridges and through tunnels, you have a reasonable
expectation that the man-made structure will not fail. Some might say that they
have "faith” in them, or in their engineering, but is a reasonable
expectation the same as faith? Again, the case is better de- scribed as a
belief, or hope, that the work of man’s hands will not "let you down.”
of God tells us, "Hope deferred maketh the heart
sick...” (Pro. 13:11). Hope can be
misplaced, or remain unfulfilled. Again, the word of God says that it is
possible to believe a lie and be damned (2 Thess. 2:11-12).
Egyptian belief system called for mummification of the body, and laying up
treasures in the mortuary, so that the deceased could be prepared to go into
the next life. Except for the mummies exhumed by archaeologists and grave
robbers, their belief – their hope – remained unfulfilled, as their bodies remained in the
"Belief system” is a more appropriate term than "faith” for describing a mode of
thought and expectation, whether religious or not. Paul said, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord
may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may
be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But
the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” (2 Thess. 3:1-3). In that he describes a threat from these
men who "have not faith,” Paul in no way implies that they were not religious. On
the contrary, the threat came mostly from various religious circles;
unrepentant Jews (particularly devout Jews of the sects of the Pharisees and
the Sadducees), and pagans from around the Roman empire posed the greatest op-
position to the gospel. In today’s vernacular, these religious
people would be deemed "men of faith,” Paul called them men who had not faith.
Hebrews 6:1-2, Paul lists "faith toward God” as a principle of the Doctrine of Christ. Faith in the God
of the holy Scriptures, and in His Son Jesus Christ is not merely based on a "reasonable expectation,”
but on His unfailing word. Just as it was in the beginning, so also has it been
throughout all the ages, God says it – and it is so. God cannot lie
why Paul said to the Corinthians, "When I therefore was thus
minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose
according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But
as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God,
Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and
Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God
in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1:17-20). He is simply stating that there is no
need to pander to humanity’s sensibilities which require
us to allow others to have their own beliefs, and therefore
from rigid comments which could offend the heathen. It is easy to find yourself
saying "I believe” or "my interpretation of the
Scriptures has led me to understand” or some other phrase that
allows the unbeliever an opportunity to abide in his own opinions. Paul did not
come to them with possibilities and maybes, but with the truth, plain and
simple, leaving no space for argument or discussion.
but one way unto God: through His Son Jesus Christ. Every other way is a dead
religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Humanism, and many others, have built "high places” (belief systems) and raised
up idols (false doctrines). In ancient paganism, it was common to erect actual
high places, like manmade hills, as places of worship. Pyramids, ziggurats,
pagodas, and other images of paganism displayed in architecture the trust of
the heathen, while today, it is the system of beliefs and doc- trines
themselves that represent the high places of heathen worship. The word of the
Lord speaks to this condition, regardless of the shape it takes, "Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and
from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of
Israel,” (Jer. 3:23).
but one faith, one true faith, and that is faith in God and in His Son Jesus
Christ. The reason that there can exist faith in no other, is because there is
no other god which has the primary attribute which justifies faith:
faithfulness. As it is written in the epistle to the Hebrews, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering; (for He is faithful that promised)...”
if some do not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God ineffective?
Shall the opinion of the majority of mankind trivialize the faith of God? Shall
the faith of God be lumped together with other beliefs as merely one of the
major world religions? God forbid! Let God be true, but every man a liar!
Jehovah is God, and there is none like Him. The Lord is God, and the day will
come when all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, and all men
shall see it. In that day, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess
that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords! Hallelujah!
faith is the key to salvation. Paul said, in Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Hereby we know that even the
faith, by which we believe in the Lord, does not come from within us. We cannot
say that we developed within our hearts the faith by which we are saved. That
would give credence to the new-age belief that salvation comes from within. No,
faith is the gift of God through which we have the hope of salvation.
we can better understand what Paul meant in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.” Man hopes for many things,
but God’s gift of faith substantiates
the hope of the believer in Jesus Christ.
disciples witnessed the power of God to do that which otherwise seemed
impossible, Jesus said unto them, "Have faith in God.” This is the cry of every messenger of God, since the
beginning. All that have put their faith in Him know the truth, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto
thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct
thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones,” (Pro. 3:5-8).
now determined that true faith rests solely in Jehovah, we will continue our
exploration of faith. In the coming installments, we will look at its source,
its importance, and its power.
prayer continues to be that your faith and hope might be in God; that it might
stand in the power of God and not the wisdom of men; that it would grow
exceedingly, and, finally, that it would be spoken of throughout the whole