Heb. 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I know of no other scripture that directly addresses what faith "is" other than the above text. I know of several other scriptures that define certain positive and negative characteristics but none other than this that directly address what faith "is." 1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. First, what is the "substance" of things hoped for? The "substance" of hope is the basis or criteria that provides existence for hope. For example, a person may fall backwards hoping they will not hit the ground. What is the substance or basis for that hope? Whatever the substance or basis of that hope is will determine whether it is true or false hope. For example, if the substance of that hope is the idea that their body is lighter than air and will merely float when falling backwards then they will discover their hope is vain becuase the substance of that hope is false. On the other hand, if their best friend is standing behind them and has assured them that they are strong enough and fast enough and committed to preventing them from hitting the ground, then, it is simply a matter of trust/confidence/conviction in that person and his promise before one will fall backwards. Hence, the substance, involves everything necessary to convince them that their hope will be proven true rather than vain. Moreover the substance not only defines their hope but is also the object of faith. In regard to justifying faith, the substance of hope is the good news of God's provision and promise. The provision is Christ and his life and death as the legal substitute and satisfaction for the sinners. The promise is that whosoever repents and believes in this provision will obtain eternal life. 2. The Evidence of things not seen This provision and promise becomes the substance for the hope of eternal life as well as the object of faith. Repenting and believing in that provision and promise is the expression of faith that provides the "evidence" of that yet unseen hope. Now a "vain" faith and a "vain" hope is the consequence of a vain substance. For example, if the Bible identifies the gospel as the only object of faith and substance of hope and you instead based your hope upon membership in a church as the object of your faith then that would be a "vain" faith and "vain" hope. Now there is a vast difference between what faith "is" versus what faith produces? There is a vast difference between what is the substance of faith versus what is the power of faith? The difference is between faith and faithfulness. There must be a right ORIGIN or SOURCE for something to be justifying faith. Justifying faith does not originate with men. Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Justifying faith does not originate with creatures. Saving faith is "of grace" (Rom. 4:16) therefore not of man but it is the "gift of God" (Eph. 2:8) and not of works (Eph. 2:9). It is the "work of God" (Jn. 6:29). Christ is its "author" as well as its "finisher." DEAD faith originates with spiritually dead creatures such as demons and fallen mankind. Demons and fallen men can have a "mental assent to the gospel" as truth but have not the faith which is of God by gift, of grace by unmerited favor, a product of God's work not theirs. It is in regard to ORIGIN that justifying faith is different IN KIND as it is not something that originates from or by humans or demons. It is foreign to this world and it is something infused and empowered by God alone. James 2:14-26 tells us what faith is NOT but it does not define what faith is. It does tell us that justifying faith is not alone but it does not define what justifying faith is. It does however define what dead faith is - mere lip service without corresponding actions, without love and without allegience to God. James 2:14-26 tells us how to identify dead faith and that works provides the human court of observation the only visible evidence to verify verbal profession. James 2:14-26 does not deal with faith in the sight of God but in the sight of men "my brethren....if a brother...say....shew me.....I will shew you...see.." as God does not need visible verification to know when, where or if He has justified a person or if the faith is vain, dead or living.