Faith should be the way of life for every Christian. Faith is a subject that we all so often talk about. Yet, faith is a concept that is often not practiced even by the average Christian to any great degree. The average person is much more apt to go by what he sees, feels, thinks or observes rather than by what he does NOT see, feel, think or observe, which in reality, is the biblical way.
Faith believes in something you haven’t seen. If you’re a Christian, that means believing that what God has said is true and then acting in accordance with that conviction, regardless of what everyone else believes and how the world expects you to act. It means you’ll probably act in ways that defy reason. It may mean giving up your ambition, and it may cost you your comfort. It may even cost you your life.
Faith is quite simply taking God at his word, living life in accordance with His will, and trusting him for the results. Faith is conviction of truth without tangible proof. The Bible says that “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1 ESV).. To have faith is to believe God’s Word before it comes to pass. The acronym for the word faith says it best: Forsaking All I Trust Him.
Υποστασις (hy-po’sta-sis), translated “assurance” here, commonly appears in ancient papyrus business documents, conveying the idea that a covenant is an exchange of assurances which guarantees the future transfer of possessions described in the contract. In view of this, James Hope Moulton and George Milligan suggest the rendering: “Faith is the title deed of things hoped for” (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, 1963, p. 660). The Greek word e´leg-khos, rendered “conviction” at Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has only appeared to be the case. This evidence for conviction is so positive or powerful that faith is said to be it.
The word “faith”, translated from the Greek πιστις (pi’stis), was primarily used in the New Testament with the Greek perfect tense and translates as a noun-verb hybrid; which is not adequately conveyed by the English noun. Pi’stis in the New Testament context is a physical action, based upon a mental belief and sustained with confidence. Faith is not believing the unbelievable but trusting in God’s word because of what one has come to know of God’s character. And faith always “goes public” in acts of obedience, since a “faith” that does not obey is not a true, justifying faith at all (James 2:21-26).
John Piper writes ‘I wonder how many believers today realize that faith is not merely believing that Christ died for our sins. Faith is also being confident that His way is better than sin. His will is more wise. His help is more sure. His promises more precious. And His reward more satisfying. Faith begins with a backward look at the cross, but it lives with a forward look at the promises.’
Over the next two days we will look at definitions of faith in the Bible. Looking systemically at individual verses and seeing what they teach us about faith. Today I want to conclude with a quote from Elton Trueblood “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations.”