Summary: ‘Faith’ is a misunderstood subject, which has led to a disappointment amongst many who claim to belong to the Lord, because of unanswered prayer. Let’s take a fresh look at this topic, and see what the scriptures have to say to us.
BIBLE STYLE FAITH
I believe that ‘Faith’ is a greatly misunderstood subject, and as a result it has led to a huge disappointment amongst many who claim to belong to the Lord, because of what appears to be unanswered prayer. It would be good for us to take a fresh look at this topic, and see what the scriptures have to say to us.
First of all let’s look at the word ‘faith’.
The word ‘Faith’, (‘pistis’), is used 244 times in the scriptures, in one form or another, mostly in the New Testament.
Strong’s Dictionary gives the following breakdown for its use.
AV-faith 239, assurance 1, believe 1, belief 1, them that believe 1, fidelity 1; 244.
You will see that the Word of God had quite a bit to say about faith. But what is ‘faith’?
Faith – The Meaning
Faith: pistiv pistis pis’-tis
The Greek/English Dictionary gives the following:
1) conviction of the truth of anything; belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things.
2) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ.
3) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same.
Let us now see what God’s Word tells us about ‘faith’
First of all I want you to see that there is
A. PROVIDED FAITH
Paul, writing to the Ephesians, makes it clear that there is nothing we ourselves can boast about regarding our believing.
Ephesians 2:8-9. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. 9 It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. [CEV]
When Paul wrote to the Church at Galatia, who were very legalistic in their ways, he emphasised the fact that our salvation is through faith, and as we have seen, that is a gift from God.
Galatians 3:26. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, [NIV]
This is an amazing fact that the greatest thing that could ever happen to poor sinful men and women, has been provided freely for us, but at an immense cost to the Lord Jesus, who cleared the debt of our sin by His death on Calvary.
Having provided faith for us, God has a right to expect us to use it! See what the writer to the Hebrew Christians says in that great chapter on faith,
B. PLEASING FAITH
Hebrews 11:6. Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. [NIV]
There is no doubt that to believe in someone or something that we cannot see, or touch, is difficult for us in or natural condition, that is why the Lord provides for us even in this issue. God gives us faith to believe for our salvation, and then gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, and through the life of the Spirit we can live a life of faith.
Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [AV]
What we need to do is allow the fruit to grow, and even encourage it to grow! Someone who plants a fruit tree will do all possible to encourage growth, removing all weeds and ensuring a good supply of the needful nutriments.
The incredible thing is that, even though God makes available the means for us to have faith, He still provides for us to possess faith in an ever increasing measure.
C. POSSESSING FAITH
The way to possess faith is made clear in Paul’s letter to the Romans
Romans 10:17. Faith can only come from hearing the message, and the message is the word of Christ. [Philips]
Here is the secret of possessing faith. Get into the Word of God, and listen to what it says. Look at how the Amplified Version puts it
Faith comes by hearing what is told, and what is heard comes by the preaching of the message that came from the lips of Christ (the Messiah Himself). [Amp]
We need to return to hearing from God. It may not be an audible voice form the clouds, but God can still speak to us through the written Word of God. It is as we hear what He would say to us, and put into practice what we hear, that faith begins to grow. Faith is like spiritual muscle, it develops by use!
Years ago, I had an acquaintance that was a body-builder. He rose at an early hour every day to do his workouts before coming to work, was very particular about what food he ate during the day, and returned in the evening to continue his development. Let me tell you, he was very strong! He was willing to pay the price!