"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7
1. Sometimes we are under the impression that faith is a state or an element of our religious life that in hard to define or to have a concrete idea about it. Nevertheless the Bible command us to live by faith.
2. The apostle Paul exhorts the believers in Corinth to make a distinction between the way the used to live and the new way of life now that they are walking with Jesus. "We live by faith, not by sight."
3. If we are to live by faith, we must then have a very good idea of how a life of faith ought to be lived. What is faith? What it implies? This is the topic of today’s message.
I. What is known of faith, some misunderstandings
1. We sometimes think of faith as everything that is contrary to reality or common sense. Faith is what we experience Sunday morning at church, but it disappears Monday morning when I go to work. If we are walking along a road out in the country I recommend that you make sure that you watch your step. You put faith into practice everyday of your life.
2. Faith has been contrasted with works, as if we were living in an unreal world, without pain, suffering, or without the daily chores that make life what it is. Some took this separation from the real world to be what God expected of them and they subsequently secluded themselves into convents or became hermits withdrawing themselves from the realities of the world.
3. Some have taken as faith the blind belief in whatever God sends our way, and since He is in control then there is very little we can do. There is a sense of fatalism.
II. The faith that God expects from you
1. In the Bible, strangely as it may appear, faith is not explained in ethereal or spiritual terms but it is rather defined in very practical ways.
2. Abraham is called the father of faith, but do you know that the term faith is never applied to him in the Old Testament? As a matter of fact, the word faith is never mentioned in the Pentateuch. Faith is mentioned for the first time in 2 Chronicles 20:20 " As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." Does it mean that there was no faith in the Old Testament until 870 BC? Quite on the contrary, the Old Testament teaches us what faith truly is. This is the theme of the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 13.
3. Faith is not only to believe, but rather to be lived.
4. The Bible calls Abraham a man of faith, and if Abraham is the father if faith, let’s consider what made him a man of faith that in his live we may see an example of what God expects from each one of us.
III. The attributes of faith
1. In first place, faith is believing.
(a) Rom 4:3 "What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Abraham believed God’s call, God’s promise and God’s plan. He did have his doubts, but he did not act on them.
(b) Faith is believing in what God says, although we may not see the whole picture.
(c) The first mention of the word translated as faith is the Hebrew word for belief.
(d) Faith is often understood as the whole teaching of the church
(e) Faith is believing based on what we know of God not what we know of ourselves. Peter walking on the water.
2. In second place, faith is obeying.
(a) There cannot be faith in God without obedience. Faith has to prompt to obedience. There cannot be faith unless that belief is followed with action. Would we have known Abraham if he had believed in God’s promises but had stayed with his family in Ur with the Chaldeans?
(b) If you say you believe in God you then must obey Him in living a life according to His will. Belief alone does not fulfill the requirement for living a life of faith. Doesn’t the Bible say that even the demons believe in God? As you cannot obey unless you believe you cannot believe in God without obeying Him. How true are the words of the hymn "Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
3. In third place, faith is followed by works
(a) Some have found a conflict between faith and works. It has been the result of misunderstanding what faith is all about. Some have read Romans 4: 1-4 to mean that faith and works cannot coexist. What this passage clearly states is that if you plan to convince God that you are good enough to be forgiven because of the good works you do, forget it. It is not acceptable to God.