Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post a blog last week, so for those of you who read these blogs weekly as they are published, I apologise.
I have been thinking about the subject of faith and what is it, really. There are many opinions that the world has on faith, but we are people of God and we need to know what His perspective is on faith and what that means for us.
Some Christians seem to have little to no understanding of faith and when asked what faith is, fumble for an answer. Maybe that is you? I know in my early days as a believer my understanding of faith was very limited and I fumbled for an answer. Others within the body of Christ have the persuasion of seeing faith as a mystical force where, if you declare something ‘by faith’, it will happen. This is not what a biblical understanding of faith is. In fact this is an occultic practice (I have a knowledge of this having been in the occult before Christ saved me.) Some others seem to think that faith is nothing more than a word we used to describe something that is intangible and so give it little thought. But what is faith, really?
The first and most obvious place to go to is His word. We read in Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. This verse gives us the basic principle of faith. In the dictionary of the Latter New Testament, it describes faith in this way; “Faith is one of the most important theological concepts of the New Testament. One only needs to read Hebrews 11 to be reminded of that fact. Faith and its cognates are used in a variety of ways in the latter New Testament; the word group is used to refer to religious faith (belief and trust in God or Christ) to something that functions as a proof, to those who are faithful and to that which is certain or unfailing (Pg 364). With this we can start to come to a better understanding of what faith is in a theological way that is consistent with His word.
Faith, then, for us can be defined as a hope that we have that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, being sure that Christ is the promised messiah, and through his crucifixion, death and resurrection we can be partakers of His merciful grace. By accepting Christ we become adopted as children of God, His sons and daughters. This is not just a mere concept but a concrete reality for us. For, as the reformers put it ‘sola fide’, (‘by faith alone’), the reformers took what the bible itself said of this; 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, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Faith is a gift from God that we received by His grace. Without faith in Christ and His work on the cross we cannot be saved. There was nothing that we could do or do, it is completely by His grace that He gave us faith.
Faith is the reality that we view our world through, it is to be our world view; it has to be part of our D.N.A; who we are. Without using faith as the lens that we see the world through, what would our hope be placed in? Faith is not some mystical force, or just a mental ideal to live up to. It’s not some abstract thought, it is a reality that we have an unmovable assurance of who God is, and an unshakable assurance of what He has, and is and going to do. Faith is a reality, not just a word that we use in the church. In conclusion I will leave you with a quote from theologian Alister McGrath, who says so simply what faith really is; “Faith is not something that goes against the evidence, it goes beyond it”
In Christ our redeemer Ps Jeff