Summary: Faith is knowledge passing into conviction, and it is conviction passing into confidence. Nothing is more disastrous than to study faith, analyze faith, make noble resolves of faith, but never actually to walk in faith
Faith, the Measure of a Man
Most words in our spiritual vocabulary are difficult to define. They denote something invisible and intangible to be understood in the Spirit. Words like love, peace, and faith are best defined in the Bible.
The author of the Book of Hebrews defines faith in these words: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1 KJV
In our human nature we are prone to tell God, “Show me and I’ll believe.” God’s reply is, “Believe and I will show you.”
a. True biblical faith is not an emotional kind of wishful thinking; it is an inner conviction based on the Word of God (Rom 10:17 KJV). And based on a relationship with God.
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
b. Faith is like a seed. When it is planted in the rich soil of God’s word, new life springs forth.
c. Faith is knowledge passing into conviction, and it is conviction passing into confidence.
Corrie ten Boom was a courageous Dutch woman who was interned in a Nazi prison camp during World War II because her family helped to hide Jewish people from the Gestapo. During her imprisonment, Corrie endured some of the worst degradation a person can experience. Her sister, Betsy, died in the camps. But through all her suffering, Corrie never lost her faith in God. She defined faith as: F antastic A dventuring I n T rusting H im
I. One great outstanding fact in this battle of life is that it is necessarily a battle of faith.
a. Paul said, “Fight the good fight of faith.” This world is a battleground of spiritual forces. If we are spiritual beings, it is impossible that we should hold ourselves neutral and stand apart from those forces that are in conflict. We must stand on one side or the other of the battle array.
b. Jesus has said, “He that is not with me is against me.” Since we must be in the conflict whether we will to be or not, it behooves us to be on the right side. When we know that we are on the right side, then the thing of greatest importance to us is the method of our warfare.
c. Since we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of evil, it is not strange that our weapons should be “not carnal” weapons, which are effective against material foes, but those spiritual weapons that are “mighty through God.”
II. The Foundation of Faith is the character of God.
At the end of the day, faith means letting God be God.
III. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see.
By faith, Noah saw coming judgment, Abraham saw a future city, Joseph saw the Exodus from Egypt, and Moses saw God.
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
IV. Faith Enabled Enoch to live a dedicated life, in a wicked age (vv. 5-6, Gen 5:21-24).
Enoch lived a dedicated life; he did this by trusting God’s Word.
See Jude 14 ff. He believed that God would reward him for his faith, and God did so by taking him to heaven so that he did not die. The reward of faith is important in Hebrews (110:35; 11:26; 12:11).
V. Faith enabled the capacity to trust God while not being able to make sense out of everything (v. 7, Gen 6-9).
No one had seen or anticipated judgment through a flood; Noah saw it by faith. Faith leads to works. Noah’s attitude and actions condemned the unbelieving, wicked world around him.
VI. Faith enabled Abraham to go out, he was not sure of his destination, but he was sure of his company. (vv. 8-19; Gen 12-25).
It was faith in God’s Word that made him leave his home, live as a pilgrim, and follow wherever God led.
VII. Faith enabled Joseph to look with faith and see how God was working through his life for others.
It is amazing that Joseph had any faith at all, after going through so many trials and after living in pagan Egypt most of his life.
Gen 50:19-21 NIV 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.