Faith is the sure knowledge that God exists and that
He will accomplish those things He has promised. Faith in God-trust in
His promises and belief that He is in overall control is a major element
in the Christian life and is absolutely necessary for salvation.
"...the just shall live by his faith." These words were
first uttered by the prophet Habakkuk and quoted three times by the
apostle Paul. Living faith is at the heart of true Christianity. It is
absolutely essential for salvation (I Pet. 1:5-9). Christ described
faith as a weightier matter of the law (Mt. 23:23). Paul listed it among
the three greatest Christian virtues (along with hope and love). Without
faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Far from being simply
a feeling in his heart, the Christian's faith motivates his entire
pattern of living. Faith functions as the fulcrum of true Christian
thought and behavior.
The two distinct meanings of the word "faith" are
found in the English translation. When preceded by the definite article
("the faith") it means the overall system of doctrine and belief
accepted by the Church, and by extension, the Church itself (Acts 6:7;
13:8, 14:22). When used without the article it means "the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1) which is
perhaps the clearest biblical definition of faith. Faith is thus an
absolute belief that God exists and a total trust in His statements
Ultimately, faith deals with God's promises-with the
future. It is the trust in "things not seen." Of course, belief cannot
be blind. It must be built on genuine conviction. It has to come from
perceiving God's hand in creation, His work in history and the
experience of His fulfilled promises in one's own life. This is the
foundation of faith. But one does not need faith in what has already
been accomplished. Faith, therefore, is the willingness to believe God
will not fail even though He has not actually brought about what is
promised (Heb. 11:1).
True faith must come from God and has many facets,
though the primary ones relate directly to Jesus Christ. Faith in its
simplest but most profound manifestation is a deep personal belief in
Jesus Christ; in the fact that He is our Savior; in the truth that His
death paid the individual penalty of our personal sins. Faith is the
full confidence in the message Jesus brought. This faith in Christ is
the belief that leads us to baptism. (Baptism is merely an outward
symbolic testimony that we have inward faith in Christ.) Paul speaks of
this faith in Galatians 2:16 when he remarks we "have believed in Jesus
Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ."
After baptism, one receives God's Holy Spirit through
the laying on of hands. At this point Christ, through the Spirit, lives
in us and empowers us with a growing and internalized godly faith. Since
faith is not self-generated, but is rather the faith of Christ's
Spirit in us, it is termed the "faith of Christ" (subjective genitive).
It is this faith of Christ that we must express and live by in every
facet of life.
But faith is not an end in itself. It is rather the
vehicle by which we may obtain salvation. Of course, salvation can in no
way be earned, either by obedience or faith, for nothing man can do
would obligate God to grant salvation had He not decided to give man
this gift of His own volition (according to certain terms). But God
nevertheless has obligated Himself to grant salvation if one has living
faith. God says the presence of this faith is counted in His eyes as
righteousness and indeed justifies us before God (Rom. 4: 1-7).
Faith is the motivator which causes us to live
a godly life. From this it follows that one who has real belief in God
and hopes in His promises will demonstrate this fidelity by his actions,
by his obedience. Indeed, "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom.
The true Christian will obey God and do good works,
for "faith without works is dead" (Jas. 2:20). Our good works do not
save us, but they do demonstrate faith. James wrote, "I will show you my
faith by my works" (Jas. 2:18), directly contradicting the notion that
faith can maintain an exclusively mental / spiritual existence devoid of
any physical action and behavior. One who does not obey God is said to
possess "dead" faith, a trait no better than that of the demons who
themselves believe God exists but refuse to obey Him (Jas. 2:19).
To have real faith, does not mean that one will never
doubt. Doubt is a normal human characteristic and emotion, and even the
truly begotten Christian is not immune from it. Yet one must contest
doubt, not by deluding oneself but by rehearsing reality. One should
return to the fundamentals of biblical belief, to one's first love, by
thinking the thoughts and doing the works he did when he was first being
converted. Doubt need not undermine faith, but true faith can surmount
God commands that "the just shall live by faith" in
every facet and area of his life. One must fully live by faith, because
God has made promises which affect virtually every part of man's
existence. He has promised to help us in trials if we are faithful and
to answer every prayer that is prayed according to His will and in
faith. These expressions of faith are again not ends in themselves. In
fact they are secondary as compared to a Christian's main thrust of
faith which is belief in God's promise of the resurrection from the dead
and in salvation. Other areas of faith are important only as they
contribute to our faith in the resurrection. Paul says one who does not
earnestly hope for the resurrection has "faith in vain" (I Cor. 15:14),
because one who has no hope of being resurrected from the dead has no
hope at all! It is a Christian's faith in the resurrection from the dead
which lies behind all his earthly actions. It is this faith and hope
which encourages him to press onward toward salvation in spite of trials
God's ultimate design is to bring every human being
from the human level to the divine level-from flesh to spirit-from a
temporary physical existence to an eternal spiritual existence. This is
the foremost frontier of faith. It involves development of character,
which includes the trials and experiences of human life. God's promises
for the "good life" on the physical level are subordinated to His
ultimate purpose of fulfilling His main promise on the spiritual level.
A Christian who is living by faith realizes physical
promises may be delayed for his spiritual benefit, but he knows that his
life is absolutely in God's hands no matter what. Some by their faith
have been delivered, while others by the same faith have been martyred
(Heb. 11) or allowed to die without seeing the ultimate fruit of their
endeavors in this life.
The faith of Christ in us is one of the fruits of
God's Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. As such it cannot be "worked
up" and is in no other way self-generated. It should never be static but
must be constantly growing and expanding in every aspect and area of
life. This faith may be built and grow in different ways, through
experience, through trials (Rom. 5:1-5), by reading the inspired Word of
God (Rom. 10:17), through the interaction with the faith of others,
etc. Faith must be constant, unfeigned, based upon true promises,
without time limit and always growing.
The Bible illustrates the faith of the patriarchs and
men of God throughout history as an example and encouragement to us. We
are told of Abraham, the father of the faithful. We are reminded of
Enoch, Elijah, Samson, Jephthah, David and the prophets. We see the
awesome example of Jesus Christ Himself, who gave up His exalted
position as God, emptied Himself into human form and was sacrificed in
faith, so that He could become the Savior of mankind after the Father
would resurrect Him. Likewise, we look at the examples of the apostles
and of fellow brethren who were martyred for the sake of Christ.
Finally, we learn that God will grant these faithful men salvation and
eternal life in God's kingdom, because they believed they would receive
it, and because they had real faith. They will receive the reward
they hoped for, because they believed that God existed and that He was
the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Our task is
to follow their example and receive this same reward.
READ THESE SCRIPTURES FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE:
1 Peter 1:5-9-Faith required for
Matthew 23:23-Faith is the weightier
matter of the Law.
Hebrews 11:6-Without faith it is
impossible to please God
Hebrews 11:1-Faith is the substance
of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Galatians 2:16-Man is justified by
faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:1-7-Faith in us is counted
as righteousness and justifies us before God.
Romans 14:23-Whatsoever is not of
faith is sin.
James 2:20-Faith without works is
James 2:18-Show me your faith
without works and I will show you my faith by my works.
1 Corinthians 15:14-We must believe
in the resurrection of Christ or our faith is vain.
Hebrews 11-The Faith chapter.
Galatians 5:22-Faith is a fruit of
Romans 5:1-5-Justified by faith, we
Romans 10:17-Faith cometh by hearing
and hearing by the Word of God.
1) Faith is ________________ that God
c) sure knowledge
2) Faith is:
a) knowing that God will accomplish what He has promised to do.
b) trust in His promises.
c) belief that God is in control.
d) absolutely necessary for Salvation.
e) all of the above.
f) none of the above.
3) Where in the Bible do we read, "that the trial of your faith is more
precious than gold."
a) Matthew 23:23
b) 1 Peter 1:7
c) Hebrews 11:6
4) Where in the Bible do we read, "law, judgment and faith are the
weightier matters of the law."
a) Matthew 23:23
b) 1 Peter 1:7
c) Hebrews 11:6
5) Where in the Bible does it say: "without faith it is impossible to
a) Matthew 23:23
b) 1 Peter 1:7
c) Hebrews 11:6
6) Having faith
is a feeling of the heart. True or False?
7) "faith" and "the faith" mean the same thing.
True or False?
8) "The Faith" means:
a) the overall system of doctrine and belief accepted by the church.
b) the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
9) Ultimately faith deals with:
a) the past
b) the present
c) the future
10) Faith is a willingness to believe God will not fail even though He
has not actually brought about what is promised. True or False?
11) True faith comes from:
a) feelings and emotions
b) the church
c) the ministry
12) Faith in its most profound manifestation is a deep personal belief...
a) that Jesus Christ is our savior.
b) that His death paid the individual penalty of our personal sins.
c) in His message.
d) none of the above.
e) items a and b only.
f) items a, b and c.
13) Baptism is an outward symbolic testimony that we
have inward faith in Christ. True or False?
14) According to Galatians 2:16, man is justified by:
b) by the faith of Christ
15) Once we are baptized and we receive the Holy Spirit we learn how to
self-generate godly faith. True or False?
16) The faith in us is possible by the power of God's Spirit and is
actually the faith of Christ's spirit in us. True or False?
17) According to Romans 4, Faith in us is counted as...
18) Finish this verse from Romans 14: ...for whatsoever is not of
19) A true Christian will obey God and do good works. True or
20) According to James 2:20, faith without works is ________ [what?]
21) Our good works:
a) save us.
b) show our faith.
22) Faith is exclusively a mental and spiritual element of the Salvation
Process devoid of physical action. True or False?
23) Having true godly faith guarantees I will never have doubt.
True or False?
24) The main thrust of faith is...
a) to believe God will help us in trials if we are faithful.
b) to answer every prayer that is prayed according to His will and in
c) to believe in God's promise of the resurrection from the dead in
d) to believe that God exists.
25) God's ultimate design is to bring every human being from flesh to
spirit. True or False?
26) A Christian who is living by faith realizes physical promises may be
delayed for his or her spiritual benefit. True or False?
27) In what New Testament book and chapter do we see a list of the
fruits of the Spirit?
a) Romans 5
b) Ephesians 5
c) Galatians 5
d) James 5
28) As Christians we know that true faith is a sincere feeling in our
hearts and we have the power to let it give us an emotional, mental
high. True or False?
29) According to Romans 5, being justified by faith we have...
30) Faith can come by reading and immersing ourselves into the Word of
God. True or False?