What is Faith?
Pastor Steve Ellison
Hebrews 11:6 is about as straight forward as a verse could possibly be, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (NASU) If any human wants to please the Creator, he will have to exercise faith in the Creator. The created human will have to believe in the existence and benevolence of the Creator. The Bible makes such a definitive statement about no other human quality being required in order to please God. Other than praises extolling the character of God, there is only one statement that I am aware of which appears four times in the Bible. “The righteous man will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews10:38) The Bible is clear that faith is unquestionably necessary to be rightly related to God. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that the Christian life is governed by faith from beginning to end, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (NASU) Faith is present at salvation. Faith is not the basis of salvation but the instrument through which salvation is received. Faith is also the instrument through which we receive the good works God has given us to do.
What is faith? The Bible (especially Hebrews 11) is full of examples of true faith and examples of a lack of faith. The primary ingredient in faith is trust. Without an element of trust, there is no such thing as faith. A mere belief in God’s existence is not enough to please God. Demons/evil spirits believe in the existence of God but that belief yields no benefit. (James 2:19, Matthew 8:29, Mark 1:21, Acts 19:15) The one who will please God must submit to God because He trusts God. Hebrews 11:1-3 offers a good start toward defining faith, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (NASU) Having faith means we believe that God, and God alone, is responsible for our beginning and controls our destiny. 2 Timothy 1:12 reinforces this idea, “for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (NASU)
How does one obtain faith? Ephesians 2:8 (quoted above) and Romans 12:3 indicate that the very faith by which we please God is a gift from Him, “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (NASU) In Luke 17:5 we are given an example of the disciples asking Jesus to increase their faith. In Mark 9:24 the father of a son possessed by an unclean spirit asked Jesus to increase his faith. Romans 10:14-17 tells us that faith comes from the word of Christ, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASU) 1 Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of the Holy Spirit’s role, “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit.” (NASU) Praise God for the gift of faith by which we can please Him...……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org