“So take care how you listen more will be given to the man who has something already, but the man who has nothing will lose even what he thinks he has.” – Jesus
They call them Buzzwords. Trendy phrases that have come into vogue in popular culture. We hear them every day. Among the many I frequently encounter are: Believe! Have Faith! Keep the Faith! And of course the nebulous, Believe God!
In a world where people will believe (and repeat) just about anything, few seem to know exactly why they accept something as the truth and even fewer can pinpoint who decided it was truth to begin with. For many, if it sounds good than it must be true. Modern belief, it seems, has become just another cheap commodity.
Where does that leave the teachings of Jesus Christ? After all, He said, “Only believe” (Mark 5:36), and “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) If we claim to believe in God then we should have a proper understanding of what it is to have faith (trust) in Him. Otherwise, we just might be speaking buzzwords too.
Here is a portion from the New Testament letter called Hebrews,
1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Heb.11:1 & 3 – KKJV).
FAITH is SUBSTANCE
By definition, the word translated FAITH In Hebrews 11:1 could also have been rendered trust, firm persuasion, belief, confidence or conviction. This helps us to grasp the significance of the proclamation – I believe.
However, there is something infinitely more important than grasping a simple explanation of the word faith itself. With reference to our absolute trust (faith) in God, the writer of Hebrews declares two very significant facts. First he says that faith is the substance of things that we hope for. Secondly he says that faith is the evidence of things we do not yet see.
The word Substance literally means “to under-gird and support”. Faith stands under and supports our hopes and validates our dreams. Faith assures us that we are never hopeless. If we are strong in Faith we will be confident in hope. But weak Faith results in uncertainty. Our hope is only as secure as our faith is strong.
FAITH is EVIDENCE
Faith is also the evidence of the things that are not yet visible; the proof that our hopes and dreams will one day appear. When we put our absolute trust in God, our faith persuades us that every promise He has made will be fulfilled. As a Christian, our Faith is neither an emotional response nor a vision-less acceptance of the unknown (aka: The Blind Leap). Our trust in God is based on the integrity of His word and every assurance He has made. Of course, if you don‘t read His book then you are ignorant as to the exceeding great and precious promises that it contains.
Some months ago, I reserved a room at a vacation resort. They sent me a confirmation letter promising that I would be thrilled with all that awaits me there. Until I actually arrive at my destination, I have to trust their word. The New Testament is God‘s confirmation letter. It guarantees that you will be thrilled with all He has promises to you. It‘s never too late to start reading it.
FAITH is NEVER BLIND
6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God. The man who approaches Him must have faith in two things, first that He exists and secondly that it is worth a man‘s while to try to find God.” (Hebrews 11:6 – Phillips)
God always responds to our faith. But unbelief (a lack of trust) does not please Him. The author of Hebrews stresses that if we desire to approach God we must believe these two facts:
- God is real – Therefore, we “believe that He exists.”
- God will reward our effort – Therefore, “ it is worth a man‘s while to try to find God “
When you are convinced that God is, you will accept His word without question. When you put your trust in the God who is, you will obey Him without reservations. This is a far cry from Blind Faith.
Our faith may not be blind but it does operates in the realm of the unseen. As the New Testament writer of the letter to the Hebrews put it,
“It is only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God‘s command that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible.” (Heb. 11:3).
The New Testament writer Paul said it this way,
5-8“Now the power that has planned this experience for us is God, and he has given us his Spirit as a guarantee of its truth. This makes us confident, whatever happens. We realize that being “at home” in the body means that to some extent we are “away” from the Lord, for we have to live by trusting him without seeing him. We are so sure of this that we would really rather be “away” from the body (in death) and be “at home” with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:7-8 – Phillips)
Trusting without seeing? Is faith irrational? No more irrational than believing men visited the Moon.
Think about it. We accept as true that astronauts have walked upon the surface of the moon. But, we can neither duplicate that experience for ourselves nor empirically prove that the event actually took place. We simply believe that the lunar landings happened based upon the evidence presented to us by the eyewitness of others. There are many things in life that we cannot know through direct experience (like our past human history), but they are nonetheless accepted as true.
The evidence that supports the Christian faith is found in the Bible. It too is based upon the proof presented to us by the eyewitness of others. But, the God inspired origin of scripture makes it infinitely more trustworthy than the words of secular historians.
FAITH: The Journey of a Lifetime.
Biblical faith always begins with the saving grace of God; the redemption of the Human spirit through the atonement of Jesus Christ our liberator and mediator. This is how we initiate our great journey of faith. Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians living in Rome,
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it, both Jew and Gentile. I see in it God‘s plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith. For, as the scripture says: ‘the just shall live by faith‘. (Romans 1:16-17 – Phillips)
FAITH gives essential support and provides a comprehensive foundation for every hope and every dream in our lives. It is what persuades us to put our absolute trust in an unseen God. Faith is our title deed to every promise made to us by God. Above all, Faith is meant to be the guiding force in our lives.
From the moment we take that first step of faith and put our trust in God thru a lifetime of faith adventures that culminate on the day when we depart this world to enter a new life — every step taken in obedience to God is a step we take by faith. Likewise. But, every step taken in doubt of or disobedience to God is no less than the rebellion of unbelief.
It isn’t easy, this life of faith. There will be dark nights of the soul; minutes that turn into desperate hours. Never forget these words from the New Testament letter to the Hebrew Christians,
23“In this confidence let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation for God is utterly dependable 24and let us think of one another and how we can encourage each other to love and do good deeds. 25And let us not hold aloof from (skip) our church meetings, as some do. Let us do all we can to help one another‘s faith and this the more earnestly as we see the final day drawing ever nearer.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 – Phillips)
Hey, you really can believe that too!
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656