Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Virtue of Faith

Welcome back to our pursuit of understanding the virtues of the bible. Maybe I should welcome myself back, since I'm the one that didn't write on this subject yesterday as I said I would. Forgive me, I had way too many distractions (husband at home and a sick child) to focus and write. It has also been a long research time on this subject for there is much the bible has to say about it. This may turn into a two parter.... who knows?!

I don't know about you, but I am hungry for what the bible has to say about our faith so let’s get right to it.

So what is faith?

As I began to explore, I found many definitions to what faith is. I also found some definitions that as I read them, my insides screamed "THAT’S NOT RIGHT!" There seems to be many today that are twisting the foundation of what faith is and using it for their own gain.

Even the good old Webster's dictionary had a definition that made my shoulders hunch up and my neck tense. ”Unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence” is what it said the definition of faith is. Well, all I have to say is who ever wrote that dictionary must not have a good understanding of the faith because they were wrong, wrong, wrong. If you look seeking God, there is plenty of proof or evidence out there. Creation itself reveals God. I am not going get into a long exploration of apologetics but there is much to prove the existence of God if you look for it. It is when we begin to question about God that we find the answers to prove we can stand firm in belief.

With that said, here is a more correct definition of what biblical faith is. Steadfastness in belief. Complete trust, confidence, or reliance. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.

Faith is a gift of God's grace, so we can know and love God living as His children. Faith is something we receive through Devine grace from God. It is something that grows as we step out in belief and exercise it. It grows to the extent that we practice it. The more we live our faith, the more deeply we come to believe it and know its truth and power.

Like I said earlier, faith is not something we are asked to believe without proof or evidence.

In Acts 17:31 the raising of Jesus from the dead is spoken of as proof that God will judge the world. Also, as we see, in Acts 2:22-36 Peter has grounded his belief in the evidence. He testified to who Christ was. Additionally, there were many eye witness accounts of those that Christ appeared to after the resurrection.

Once again, we'll just go to scripture and let the bible speak for itself. What does it say about faith? What should the object of our faith be?

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

Romans 5:1 - Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:13-14 -But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen, and if Christ is not rise, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The object of our faith is God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to have faith in the sacrificial lamb that was provided to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus, came to earth, fulfilled prophesy in the old testament, died on the cross to pay the debt of sin for us and rose again on the third day. We are then justified by our faith and have peace with God through the penalty that was paid by Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The author of Hebrews is speaking of the hope of eternal life we have to look forward to. We can put our faith in the future we have not yet seen, eternal life in heaven. Because of our faith in Christ, we have this kind of hope.

I am going to stop here for today....

Tomorrow we will finish our look at faith by exploring what the scriptures say about what faith produces and what the consequences of it are.

Until tomorrow, keep the faith!


Anonymous said...

Wow you have really explained faith in such a way as I have never seen before girl! Awesome! Just simply awesome!

Beth in NC said...

Great explanation there Sister.