Faith - Part I
“But 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 them who diligently seek Him.” —Hebrews 11:6
There has been a litany of treatises written by Christian authors on the subject of faith, enough to fill an ocean, or so it seems. Some are good and will be a blessing to people, while others spew things about faith that are just not true. Faith is a very important subject and more than just a word. Faith is a state of being—a mindset and a way of life. In fact, the whole stratosphere of Christianity is built on faith. It truly is a way of life for the believer, and we will dive into this subject with much anticipation.
Paul deals an awful lot with the subject of faith in each one of his epistles, and rightfully so. It was to Paul that God would give the meaning of the new covenant, which has to do with faith being anchored in Christ and the Cross not only for our justification, but also for our sanctification.
He would find out through much struggle and heartache on his part that this Christian life could not truly be enjoyed if our faith is in something else other than the Cross of Christ. His major theme (and these are my words) that he constantly proclaimed to the Jew and Gentile alike, was the same way you got in is the same way you stay in.
Each believing sinner came into this Christian life by faith in Christ and the Cross, and yet he continued to stress that it is also by faith in the Cross of Christ that keeps you in. This was his modus operandi, and it should be ours as well. Faith is the key ingredient to being saved, as well being filled with the Spirit. However, most Christians do not understand this premise: that the same faith that got you in, is the same faith that keeps you in.
What Is Faith?
As we discuss the topic of faith, we need to address what faith is. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, faith is a “State wholly and steadfastly in God. Faith lies at the very heart of Christianity, and its importance for today’s Christian is clear from the fact that Protestantism was born through the rediscovery of the great words, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”
Its very core is to believe, or to trust in God. In Hebrews 11:1, Paul gives us a definition of what faith is: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Let’s break this down: The word substance means “one’s property or effects,” or it could be said that faith is the title deed. In the Roman world, it means the whole body of documents bearing on the ownership of a person’s property, depositing it in the archives, and forming the evidence of ownership, hence the expression that faith is the title deed. The performance of applying faith when you pray is, in itself, the title deed or evidence of the sure answer to our prayer. In other words, we may not see it right away, but if God has promised us something or places something on our hearts to believe Him for, we can rest assured that it will happen in His timing.
Are You Still Holding On To That Promise?
How many Christians can look back on their lives and see where God has promised them something and even though there were times where it seemed utterly impossible, they continued to hold on, and God fulfilled that promise?
Scores of people hope for things, but they have no assurance that what they want to happen will happen. It’s totally different for the Christian. When God says He’s going to do something, then no matter what hell tries to bring up to stop it, it will come to pass.
I can look back on my own life and see things that God promised me and how they came to pass even when those things seemed out of the question. But because I held on to His Word and would not let go of His promise, which was to me the title deed, God brought it to pass.
Look at Abraham. God had promised him a son and said his descendants would be as the stars in the night sky—innumerable (Gen.15:5). Yet it would be 20 years before that promise became a reality. Through the ups and downs of Abraham’s life, he continued to hold on, and God performed a miracle by giving a child to Abraham, who was 100 years old, and Sarah, who was 90. Now, that is not a typo. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Sarah was really 90 years of age and Abraham was 100. But it was Abraham’s title deed for things really hoped for.
The term “hoped for” refers to the action of faith. Faith is an action word; it’s never inactive. It constantly believes irrespective of what is going on around you. It makes promises present, and the unseeable seeable.
There is a hope that whatever God has promised you—whatever He has spoken to your heart—there is a steadfastness in your heart that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God will perform what He said He would perform.
This hope of which we speak is so much different from the world’s definition of hope. For the world, hope is a wish, a dream, a desire, or a goal. It’s something that may or may not happen. For the believer, hope is a conviction, an assurance, and a confidence that God will do it! Dear Christian, if God has spoken something to your heart, and it’s been a while, and you are starting to doubt, I pray that you have confidence in the God that you serve and know that whatever He has promised you, it will come to pass.
Please believe me, God has never sidestepped one promise. He will never leave you hanging. It may take some time between the promise and the possession of that promise, but whatever God has spoken to you, you can, to use the cliché, take it to the bank.
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