Summary: What IS faith and HOW should it be practised? CAN we please God WITHOUT faith? What is the IMPACT of faith on a believer's life? Examples of the EFFECT of faith on people's lives who TRUSTED God, and the CONSEQUENCES of a LACK of faith on people's lives.
By nature man has the tendency to require physical evidence BEFORE he accepts something as fact. If latter can NOT be produced, it creates ALL sorts of doubt in his mind. Today's modern man has a WIDE preference of choices when it comes to trust and faith. He either put his faith in God, in astrology, in fortune-telling OR in witchcraft. However, MOST of them are NOT dependable. In fact, they are VERY dangerous. The Scriptures state it VERY clearly: “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean NOT on your OWN understanding” (Proverbs 3:5–7). We must ALSO learn to trust in God’s Word and to OBEY His commandments. (Psalm 84:11-12; Deuteronomy 11:13-14). Your faith and practice of the prescriptions and laws of God will actually begin to set you apart from the REST of the world...you will be DIFFERENT.
The word faith comes from a Latin word "fidere", which means to trust, believe, or HAVE faith. It has been defined as an “unquestioning belief” in God, religion OR an idea. In the New Testament the Greek word for faith is "pistis", which means to trust, believe, have faith or rely upon. The author of Hebrews states: “By faith we understand that the worlds were formed by God's command (word), so that the things that are seen (the creation), were NOT made of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). The nutrient of faith is persevering faithfulness to God, and its roots are persistent trust. By believing unconditionally and without doubt our faith gives substance to the things we hope for.
The lives of Biblical figures who persevered to BELIEVE that God REWARDED faith, EVEN in the face of adversity, were miraculously changed FOREVER: Abraham was WILLING to sacrifice his SON to proof his faith in God... he became the father of faith and of MANY nations. The woman who suffered blood loss for TWELVE years, was healed the moment she reached out to Jesus, even after ALL the doctors of HER time assured her that there was NO cure for her...she DARED to believe against ALL the odds, and she WAS healed. Bartimaeus the blind man BELIEVED that Christ could HEAL him, and He WAS healed. The criminal that was hanging on Jesus' right hand side BELIEVED that Jesus could SAVE his soul from the fires of hell, and Jesus GRANTED the desire of his heart. Moses lifted his staff over the waters and the sea parted.
The OPPOSITE of the preceding is ALSO true. Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples who was WITH Him when he resurrected Lazarus from the grave, who witnessed FIRST hand that the Son of Man had POWER over life AND death, REFUSED to believe that Jesus rose from the dead: ".....unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will NEVER believe." (John 20:25). How did JESUS respond to Thomas' request for physical proof OR evidence: "Have you BELIEVED, because you've SEEN me? Blessed are THOSE who have NOT seen me and yet they have believed. (John 20:29). Peter, ANOTHER of Christ's disciples who LIVED with Him and first-hand WITNESSED all the miracles He performed, GOT out of the boat, and WALKED on the water.....he BELIEVED that he could do it, because it was JESUS calling him. But when he took his eyes OFF the Lord, and focused on the DANGER around him, he SANK!! 'But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out: "Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30).