What is faith?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by awaken, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. awaken

    awaken
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    First let's look at what faith is not:
    Faith is not an emotion. For example, if you're a Christian then you have faith in Jesus as your Savior, but you're not constantly full of emotion and shouting and jumping and so on. Faith can sometimes bring out emotion in us, but faith itself is not an emotion.

    Faith is not knowledge. For example, when Hurricane Ike was heading towards Houston in September, 2008, Someone asked the Lord if he should evacuate from Houston or do something to protect his house. He believed that He told him not to do either of those things, so he had faith that his house would be unharmed. After the hurricane passed across Houston without damaging his house, at that point he had knowledge that his house was unharmed. He no longer needed to have faith that his house would be unharmed. This demonstrates that faith is different from knowledge.

    Faith is not hope:
    1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
    As the above verse shows, faith is different from hope.
     
  2. awaken

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    Faith is...
    Confidence
    Actions which don't always make sense to us
    Hebrews 11:1 is the only passage in the entire New Testament which gives us a definition of faith:

    Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

    Hebrews 11:1 (KJV): "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

    Here's how one Bible commentary explains Hebrews 11:1:
    "There is scarcely any verse of the New Testament more important than this, for it states what is the nature of all true faith, and is the only definition of it which is attempted in the Scriptures. The word rendered "substance" - ??p?´stas?? hupostasis - occurs in the New Testament only in the following places. In 2Co_9:4; 2Co_11:17; Heb_3:14, where it is rendered "confident" and "confidence;" and in Heb_1:3, where it is rendered "person," and in the passage before us ... the word here has reference to something which imparts reality in the view of the mind to those things which are not seen, and which serves to distinguish them from those things which are unreal and illusive. It is what enables us to feel and act as if they were real, or which causes them to exert an influence over us as if we saw them. Faith does this on all other subjects as well as religion. A belief that there is such a place as London or Calcutta, leads us to act as if this were so, if we have occasion to go to either; a belief that money may be made in a certain undertaking, leads people to act as if this were so; a belief in the veracity of another leads us to act as if this were so. As long as the faith continues, whether it be well-founded or not, it gives all the force of reality to what is believed. We feel and act just as if it were so, or as if we saw the object before our eyes. This, I think, is the clear meaning here. ... The object of the apostle, in this chapter, is not to illustrate the nature of what is called "saving faith," but to show the power of "unwavering confidence in God" in sustaining the soul, especially in times of trial; and particularly in leading us to act in view of promises and of things not seen as if they were so. "Saving faith" is the same kind of confidence directed to the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - as the Saviour of the soul." (Barnes, from sword.net/commentaries , Hebrews 11:1, emphasis added)
    So faith has two essential components: confidence and actions.


    People obeyed Jesus and did things which make no sense to our logical mind. They took a risk of failure, a risk of looking foolish. In each case, they could have given in to pride, fear, doubt, unbelief, etc., and they could have refused to perform those actions. This might have protected their pride in the eyes of other people, but the implication is that the miracles would not have happened. The battle takes place in our mind, because it's our un-renewed mind which can hinder our faith.
     
  3. psalms109:31

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    What you do not want it to be does not make it so.

    "FAITH, WHAT IS IT?

    WHAT IS THIS FAITH concerning which it is said, "By grace are ye saved, through faith?" There are many descriptions of faith; but almost all the definitions I have met with have made me understand it less than I did before I saw them. The Negro said, when he read the chapter, that he would confound it; and it is very likely that he did so, though he meant to expound it. We may explain faith till nobody understands it. I hope I shall not be guilty of that fault. Faith is the simplest of all things, and perhaps because of its simplicity it is the more difficult to explain.
    What is faith? It is made up of three things—knowledge, belief, and trust. Knowledge comes first. "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" I want to be informed of a fact before I can possibly believe it. "Faith cometh by hearing"; we must first hear, in order that we may know what is to be believed. "They that know thy name shall put their trust in thee." A measure of knowledge is essential to faith; hence the importance of getting knowledge. "Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live." Such was the word of the ancient prophet, and it is the word of the gospel still. Search the Scriptures and learn what the Holy Spirit teacheth concerning Christ and His salvation. Seek to know God: "For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." May the Holy Spirit give you the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord! Know the gospel: know what the good news is, how it talks of free forgiveness, and of change of heart, of adoption into the family of God, and of countless other blessings. Know especially Christ Jesus the Son of God, the Saviour of men, united to us by His human nature, and yet one with God; and thus able to act as Mediator between God and man, able to lay His hand upon both, and to be the connecting link between the sinner and the Judge of all the earth. Endeavour to know more and more of Christ Jesus. Endeavour especially to know the doctrine of the sacrifice of Christ; for the point upon which saving faith mainly fixes itself is this— "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Know that Jesus was "made a curse for us, as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Drink deep of the doctrine of the substitutionary work of Christ; for therein lies the sweetest possible comfort to the guilty sons of men, since the Lord "made him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Faith begins with knowledge.
    The mind goes on to believe that these things are true. The soul believes that God is, and that He hears the cries of sincere hearts; that the gospel is from God; that justification by faith is the grand truth which God hath revealed in these last days by His Spirit more clearly than before. Then the heart believes that Jesus is verily and in truth our God and Saviour, the Redeemer of men, the Prophet, Priest, and King of His people. All this is accepted as sure truth, not to be called in question. I pray that you may at once come to this. Get firmly to believe that "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin"; that His sacrifice is complete and fully accepted of God on man's behalf, so that he that believeth on Jesus is not condemned. Believe these truths as you believe any other statements; for the difference between common faith and saving faith lies mainly in the subjects upon which it is exercised. Believe the witness of God just as you believe the testimony of your own father or friend. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater."
    So far you have made an advance toward faith; only one more ingredient is needed to complete it, which is trust. Commit yourself to the merciful God; rest your hope on the gracious gospel; trust your soul on the dying and living Saviour; wash away your sins in the atoning blood; accept His perfect righteousness, and all is well. Trust is the lifeblood of faith; there is no saving faith without it. The Puritans were accustomed to explain faith by the word "recumbency." It meant leaning upon a thing. Lean with all your weight upon Christ. It would be a better illustration still if I said, fall at full length, and lie on the Rock of Ages. Cast yourself upon Jesus; rest in Him; commit yourself to Him. That done, you have exercised saving faith. Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation. That is one way of describing what faith is.
    Let me try again. Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be, and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him. The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ as being God, God is human flesh; as being perfect in His character; as being made of a sin-offering on our behalf; as bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. The Scripture speaks of Him as having finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. The sacred records further tell us that He "rose again from the dead," that He "ever liveth to make intercession for us," that He has gone up into the glory, and has taken possession of Heaven on the behalf of His people, and that He will shortly come again "to judge the world in righteousness, and his people with equity." We are most firmly to believe that it is even so; for this is the testimony of God the Father when He said, "This is my beloved Son; hear ye him." This also is testified by God the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit has borne witness to Christ, both in the inspired Word and by divers miracles, and by His working in the hearts of men. We are to believe this testimony to be true.
    Faith also believes that Christ will do what He has promised; that since He has promised to cast out none that come to Him, it is certain that He will not cast us out if we come to Him. Faith believes that since Jesus said, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everasting life, it must be true; and if we get this living Water from Christ it will abide in us, and will well up within us in streams of holy life. Whatever Christ has promised to do He will do, and we must believe this, so as to look for pardon, justification, preservation, and eternal glory from His hands, according as He has promised them to believers in Him.
    Then comes the next necessary step. Jesus is what He is said to be, Jesus will do what He says He will do; therefore we must each one trust Him, saying, "He will be to me what He says He is, and He will do to me what He has promised to do; I leave myself in the hands of Him who is appointed to save, that He may save me. I rest upon His promise that He will do even as He has said." This is a saving faith, and he that hath it hath everlasting life. Whatever his dangers and difficulties, whatever his darkness and depression, whatever his infirmities and sins, he that believeth thus on Christ Jesus is not condemned, and shall never come into condemnation.
    May that explanation be of some service! I trust it may be used by the Spirit of God to direct my reader into immediate peace. "Be not afraid; only believe." Trust, and be at rest.
    My fear is lest the reader should rest content with understanding what is to be done, and yet never do it. Better the poorest real faith actually at work, than the best ideal of it left in the region of speculation. The great matter is to believe on the Lord Jesus at once. Never mind distinctions and definitions. A hungry man eats though he does not understand the composition of his food, the anatomy of his mouth, or the process of digestion: he lives because he eats. Another far more clever person understands thoroughly the science of nutrition; but if he does not eat he will die, with all his knowledge. There are, no doubt, many at this hour in Hell who understood the doctrine of faith, but did not believe. On the other hand, not one who has trusted in the Lord Jesus has ever been cast out, though he may never have been able intelligently to define his faith. Oh dear reader, receive the Lord Jesus into your soul, and you shall live forever! "He that believeth in Him hath everlasting life.""

    C. H. Spurgeon
     
    #3 psalms109:31, Oct 14, 2012
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  4. percho

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    A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea.

    Gal. 3:23 But before the faith came,

    Gal 3:25 and the faith having come,


    What, "person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea," took place that allowed the Galatians to receive the Spirit, or as you will, to be given the Holy Spirit of promise?

    Did they receive the Spirit because of the works of the law?

    Who was the very first to receive from God the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit and when was it received.

    When did the faith come?
     
  5. convicted1

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    Faith is trusting in someone that no matter how hard you try, you can not prove they exist. I have faith in THE Triune God, but no matter what I say or do, I can not prove He exists to a non-believer. Yet I know He lives, because He lives inside of me.
     
  6. psalms109:31

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    Romans 10:17
    Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

    Romans 10:17

    17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Faith a noun not only can be a person but words of and about someone.

    So those that heard of the one who would crush the serpents head crush the work of the devil could repent and turn to the one to come and be saved. They to faith can be credited His righteousness. To believe God not oneself and be credited righteousness.
     
  7. awaken

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    THey received because of faith! The faith that we are saved by is a gift of God. It is given by hearing the Word as another poster pointed out. in Rom. 10:17. But we grow from faith to faith...
     
  8. awaken

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    Faith was present when they obeyed Jesus spoken word and waited in the upper room! They took him at His word! Faith always follows His word! It is his Word that we have faith in! It is His complete work on the cross that we have faith and live in His resurrected power!
     
  9. percho

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    God told Abraham.

    And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

    How are they going to be blessed? Answer: By being given the promise of the Spirit. How is that promise going to be given to them? Answer: Through the one
    (singular) seed of Abraham, the Christ. Where is he, the one seed, going to get the Spirit in order for it to be given to anyone else? He is the Son of the promise (Gal. 3:19) and he is going to be given the promise of the Holy Spirit by his Father, the Spirit God. Acts 2:33

    However he, Jesus the Son of God, the Son of Man had to do something before the Spirit would be given and if he did not do what he he was sent to do the Spirit would have been never given.

    John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

    Was this a real issue?

    Luke 22:40-46 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. Hebrews 5:7,8 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Hebrews 12:3,4 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

    Phil 2:8 YLT and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross,
    Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of the faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Acts 2:32,33 This Jesus hath God raised up, (Thru washing of regeneration Titus 3:5) whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, (and renewing of Holy Spirit Titus 3:5) he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; Titus 3:6)

    By the death of Jesus he became the author and finisher of the faith and God his Father raised him from the dead by giving the Son of promise the promise made before the beginning of time by his very Spirit.
     
  10. awaken

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    YOu lost me here... I do believe that Jesus is our author and finisher of the faith! But we live the christian walk by faith...every step of the way!
     
  11. awaken

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    "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)
    But doesn't Faith involves a decision and an action?
     
  12. percho

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    You wrote. You lost me here.

    With your bible study my post a little. Receiving the Spirit and the faith, a noun are tied together.

    Because of the death of Jesus the Christ on the cross Gal. 3:13
    Gal 3:14 takes place.
    The blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles (nations) through Jesus Christ; (What does through Jesus Christ mean? What does through mean?)
    That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through thefaith.
    We do not receive the Spirit because of our belief in we receive the Spirit because of (through) the faith (of Christ).

    You wrote. I do believe that Jesus is our author and finisher of the faith!

    How is Jesus author and finisher of the faith? What does it mean author and finisher?

    Author, Greek ἀρχηγός Strong's 747
    1) the chief leader, prince
    1a) of Christ
    2) one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an
    example, a predecessor in a matter, pioneer
    3) the author
    Finisher, Greek τελειωτής Strong's 5051
    1) a perfector
    2) one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so
    set before us the highest example of faith

    Now let me ask, is it not the things that took place in the life of Christ especially from the garden until his death that is described above that becomes the faith of Christ and are also described in my previous post.

    Is that not how Jesus is author and finisher of the faith?

    You wrote. But we live the christian walk by faith...every step of the way!

    Truer words have never been written, but the question is by whose faith?
    The KJV guys may not have been correct about all in their translation but I believe in this respect they got it right.

    Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    You walk the Christian life because of the faith of Jesus Christ the Son of God. It was through his faith the Spirit was given to you.
    The just shall live by his faith. You are made just by the blood of Christ, You are made just by the faith of Christ. His faith in his blood.
     
  13. awaken

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    Yes! I see that now!...and his faith is perfect!
     
  14. psalms109:31

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    James 2:
    Faith and Deeds

    14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

    20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[Some early manuscripts dead]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[Gen. 15:6] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

    25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
     
  15. awaken

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    So if we do not act on our faith...we are no different than the demons that know the word is true... but do not obey!
     
  16. psalms109:31

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    It looks like people where being idle saying I have faith with no action and faith causes action
     
  17. awaken

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    I agree! :thumbs:
     
  18. percho

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    Amen

    For by grace are ye saved through the faith; Eph.2:8

    Through the faith God gave his grace which brought salvation Titus 2:11

    By which we received the Holy Spirit putting us in Christ.

    Therefore:

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10

    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
     
  19. Aaron

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    What is faith? Might as well as what is life?

    The sum of the Scriptural treatment of faith compels me to describe it thusly: A state of being characterized by a belief in Christ.
     
  20. awaken

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    But don't the devils believe in Christ?
     

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