If you are asked “what is faith?” can you confidently explain it, describe it and Scripturally define it?
Most Christians immediately turn to Hebrews 11:1 and declare it the “definition of faith” (emphasis mine):
- New International Version – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
- New Living Translation – Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
- King James Bible – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- International Standard – Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.
The Bible doesn’t declare this the “definition of faith”… we’ve declared it that. It’s one of those things that has been repeated so many times for so long we don’t question it. Hebrews 11:1 is a PARTIAL definition of faith but more accurately it’s a description of the product of faith, the effect of faith, the result of faith, the demonstration of faith. Godly faith gives us assurance, certainty and confidence about the unseen truths of God.
Trying to define faith is like trying to define WIND: you can’t see it, but you can experience and quantify the effect of wind on what it touches.
Futile & Fleshly Faith
Being confident, certain and assured in your own (or the world’s) belief and experience is NOT Godly faith. We can be confident about our own imagination; we can be assured of our own convictions. People who reject God can be certain about their own “truth”. That’s faith too. It’s just not GODLY FAITH. It’s faith based on nothing reliable or certain (blind faith*). Useless, futile and unGodly faith is viewing life through worldview glasses focused on the SELF or the WORLD.
*Christians often are accused of having blind faith. Don’t let people slap you with that label. Blind faith is trust in something that cannot be counted on or without evidence. That’s what the world offers. Christianity is faith in a proven God who never fails or changes and can be seen in creation, life and experience.
Your “worldview” is the basic, foundational truth you filter your thoughts, decisions and beliefs through. It’s what you “see” through the lens of your life. Everyone wears a pair of “life glasses” through which they view life and filter every experience and thought. For those who reject God, they view life through lenses focused on Self, the world, their flesh or circumstances. They have “faith”, they just don’t have Godly faith:
It’s important to note here that we are not talking about FAITH IN YOUR OWN FAITH. There is much teaching in Christian circles today that boils down that: faith in your own faith. If you just have enough faith, just say the right words, just believe enough… then God has to do whatever your faith demands. Faith if a spiritual law or secret or formula by which God has no choice but to respond to. This is both an immature and dangerous view of faith. How much real faith has been wrecked and discouraged by this fleshy and self-focused view of faith. Faith is faith because of God… not because of what I can muster from my own convictions, thoughts, attitudes or words.
Genuine Godly Faith
Christians on the other hand, should view life through lenses that are laser focused on GOD. Their worldview is the truth found in the Bible. All their foundational convictions, beliefs, decisions and reactions are filtered through Godly principle and understanding.
Godly faith can then be accurately defined as:
Hope, Trust, Belief, Confidence & Assurance
As a Result of Being Singularly and Relentlessly Focused
on God and God Alone
We then exercise and put into motion our “faith” because of our certainty in God’s faithfulness to do what He says He will do. It’s faith in GOD, not faith in our faith, or faith in ME, or faith in the world.
- Our faith is sure because God is unchanging.
- Our faith is confident because God cannot fail.
- Our faith is assured because God can be counted on.
- Our faith if hope-filled because God is the God of Hope who’s every decision MUST come to pass.
We then have the certainty of what we do not see because the effects of faith in God are manifested through things we can see. Just like the wind blows the trees and see can see the trees swaying, faith in God moves things in this world and we see life “sway” under the influence of what God is doing.
We have evidence of the unseen results of Godly faith by seeing what happens in our lives, lives around us and through God’s gathering of people.
It is important that we be able to describe, define and communicate what “faith” is to unbelievers, new believers and immature believers.
What are your questions about faith?