Summary: To establish that “pistis” is the process or the doctrine of faith. It is the gospel of grace that is preached. While “pisteuo” is the end results of that process. It is one’s belief in the gospel of Christ, after hearing it preached.
1. FAITH DEFINED
2. FAITH DIRECTED
3. FAITH DEMONSTRATED
1. In this lesson we will examine the words “faith” and “belief” from their original source, the Greek. The writer of the Book of Hebrews in our text uses both words almost synonymously. Though there is a similar correlation their meaning in the context of its use will prove different. One describes the “end results” of a process or system of faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” Romans 10:17. The other defines the process or the “system” of faith or the gospel of Christ. Paul to the Galatians asks: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit (of God) by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Here the emphasis is “the Galatians had received the Spirit by the hearing of the faith,” Galatians 3:2, 5&7.
2. First, the writer defines faith. It is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” It is the foundation and pillars of one’s hope and trust in God; and provides assurances regarding His promises. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” 1 Corinthians 2:9.
3. Secondly, the writer orients our faith. He provides for us a direction, or to a Person to whom ones faith must be aligned. And that is to God. Notice: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11:6. The comer must believe that He is (exist) and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Notice Jesus: “…for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins,” John 8:24. “The fool hath said in his heart – There is no God…,” Psalms 14:1.
4. Lastly, the writer gives numerous examples where the believer not only trusts God, but was willing to demonstrate their faith in Him through some corresponding action or act of obedience. Faith is never dormant, but it is active and alive. It must work through love and obedience. Hear Paul: For in Jesus Christ that which availeth is “faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6. And James: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? … And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only,” Jam 2:20-24. Abraham’s faith was demonstrated through the offering of his son Isaac unto God. It was in this act of obedience he was justified by faith; his faith was made perfect; and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. Abraham’s faith and obedience resulted in his acceptance, righteousness and justification before God.
BODY OF LESSON
I FAITH DEFINED
A. What is faith? “Now (pistis) faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Here the writer defines faith as ones substance of hope in the things unseen. This is in keeping with Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” And, 2 Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Notice further: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear,” Verse 3.
B. Many make the argument that “faith” and “belief” are not the same word or have similar meaning. In the original language, Greek; they are not the same word. But they derive their meaning from the same root (peitho). Let’s consider these words as they are used in the New Testament for a few moments.
1. First (4100): Belief (pisteuo). The verb of faith and belief. That which is acquired through hearing of the faith. Faith in the gospel of Christ, Romans 1:16. Colossians 1:23. See also 1 Cor 15:1-4 (Defines the facts of the gospel of Christ). To believe in or on Christ, implying knowledge or assent to and confidence in Him. John 3:16; 12:11; 14:1. Since believing in Christ or in the gospel is the distinguishing characteristic of a Christian, believing is often used absolutely when referring to one that believes in Christ or God, Mk 16:15-16.