What is the Biblical Definition of Faith?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Heb. 11:1

    Here is the Biblical definition of faith. The writer says "faith IS the substance." What "substance"? The "substance of things hoped for". For example, what is your hope for justification before God? In order to answer that, you must ask another question, what is the "substance" of that hope? Meaning, what do you base that hope upon? Because "faith" is inseparable from that "substance" as much as your hope is inseparable from that "substance." So what is the basis, the substance of your hope for being justified before God?

    Is it your good looks? Is it based upon doing something (works)? Is it based upon obedience to just any command in scripture? Is it based upon just any promise by God? What is the substance of your hope for justification before God? Whatever it is, that is also the substance of your faith.

    So we are not talking about empty faith or vain faith, or dead faith or faith in faith. Empty faith has no substance at all but is a BLIND faith, a leap in the dark. Vain faith has the wrong substance and that is why it is vain. Dead faith is what demons have and they are not justified before God and yet they believe there is a God and believe many other things. Faith in faith is to be without faith as Biblical faith has a defined content or "substance" without which faith has not existence.

    So what does the Bible say the hope of justification is based upon? Just believing God about anything? Does the Bible require a specific content that faith must embrace for there to be any real hope of justification before God? Consider carefully the precise wording found in the following scripture texts that deal with justification before God.

    Rom. 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
    26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.



    Rom. 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
    25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
    1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

    To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. - Acts 10:43

    Gal. 3:6 ¶ Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
    7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
    8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.



    Righteousness is imputed and sins are remitted (the contents of justification - Rom. 4:5-8) to those who believe in God's promise of redemption through Christ, the promised seed of Genesis 3;15, the promised seed of Abraham, the promised seed of David, Jesus Christ born of Mary. How God would redeem them through Christ was a matter of progressive revelation, but the promise that he would redeem them through Christ was the "substance" of faith. In essence, the "substance" of true Biblical justification before God can be summed up in God's promise as revealed in the "hope of the gospel" of Jesus Christ .

    So "faith" must have "substance" or there can be no "hope" including hope for justification. With regard to the hope of justification, the Bible restricts that "substance" to Christ and his redemptive work as promised by God to the saints before the cross and declared as completed after the cross. That gospel substance is the hope of salvation and no man, no preacher, no human can produce that substance within the human heart as that is a creative work of God (2 Cor. 4:6; Mt. 16:17; Gal. 1:17) as justifying faith is "the work of God" (Jn. 6:29) in God giving a person to Christ (Jn. 6:37-39) and drawing that person to Christ (Jn. 6:44) without which work "no man can come to me" (Jn. 6:44).

    In Hebrews 11 the writer continues to speak of faith and repeatedly says "by faith" so and so did this or that and in each case that "faith" had for its "substance" a specific command or promise by God that the individual embraced by faith, and thus that specific command or promise was the "substance" or content of faith by which moved that person to obey God. Hence, "faith" is not faithfulness, but it moves one to faithfulness as it "works by love" as the motivator to faithfulness and it is that faithfulness that "is the evidence" of things not seen. Therefore, good works are the manifest evidence of a true and godly faith.
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Aug 17, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  2. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    Several Lexicon Definitions of “substance” in Hebrews 11:1 hupostasis


    Friberg Greek Lexicon 05410 as the objective aspect and underlying reality behind anything, w. specif. mng. derived fr. context; (1) as an undertaking plan, project (2C 9.4); (2) as God's substantial nature real being, essence (HE 1.3); (3) as the objective reality which gives a firm guarantee and basis for confidence or assurance substance, ground of hope, foundation (HE 3.14; 11.1).

    UBS Greek Dictionary 06294 confidence, assurance, conviction, original conviction or confidence He 3.14); perhaps realization, confidence (He 11.1); nature, being (He 1.3)

    Louw-Nida Lexicon 06654 (a) substance 58.1 (b) trust 31.84
    58.1 the essential or basic nature of an entity - 'substance, nature, essence, real being. 'who is ... the exact representation of his real being' or '... nature' He 1.3. In some languages there is no ready lexical equivalent of 'real being' or 'nature.' Therefore, one may express this concept in He 1.3 as 'who is ... just like what he really is.'

    Liddell-Scott Lexicon 41617
    that which settles at the bottom, sediment, Arist.
    II. anything set under, subject-matter of a speech or poem, Polyb., etc.
    2. the foundation or ground of hope, confidence, assurance, N.T.
    III. substance, the real nature of a thing, essence, Ib.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    thanks hank for the technical support. That puts the icing on the cake!
     
  4. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    Yes, I had seen that word hupostasis related to Christs' hypostatic union (union of His divinity and humanity) in school decades ago but didn't realize until now that it was used in Hebrews 11:1.

    Right in line with your premise!


    HankD
     
  5. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Messages:
    2,781
    Likes Received:
    493
    You just easily dismantled innate faith. As easy as...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    Yes, innate or inherent faith is repudiated over and over again by Scripture. In John 6 coming to Christ is contextually defined as coming in faith to Christ for eternal life (Jn. 6:35) and Jesus explicitly states "no man can come to me" (Jn. 6:44). The word "can" translates the Greek term dunatai which means ability. Hence, Jesus is plainly saying "no man has innate ability to believe in me." When Jesus provides the explanation why some of his own disciples were in fact unbelievers and had been in the state of unbelief "from the beginning" of their profession (Jn. 6:64) he repeats this same reason "Therefore, I said unto you, no man can (dunatai) come to me except it were given unto him of my Father." Here he replaces "draw" with "it were given unto him" demonstrating that being drawn is a gift from God as the Greek term being translated "given" is perfect tense participle form of didomai. This text proves the following things:

    1. The ability to come to Christ by faith is not an inherent human ability but a gift from God
    2. All men are not gifted by God with this ability
    3. Coming to Christ in faith is the work of God defined as being drawn by God
    4. Coming to Christ in faith is the gift of God as the ability is gifted from God

    This is just more contextual evidence that "this is the work of God that ye believe" in Jn. 6:29 means precisely that. Believing in Christ for eternal life is not inherent human ability as proven in Jn. 6:30-36. It is the consequence of having been given to the Son before the incarnation (Jn. 6:37-40). It is not something inherent in man (Jn. 6:44) but the work of God ("draw") that God performs INSIDE of "all" his covenant children (Jn.6:45; Isa.54:12; Jer. 31:31-34) and does not perform inside those who were never given to the Son by the Father (Jn. 6:64-65).

    The word translated "draw" itself is never once used in the gospel of John where the object being drawn participates in the acting of being drawn. The object is ALWAYS passive. This proves the work of being drawn is exclusively the work of God alone and therefore faith is the work and gift of God. Furthermore, the term translated "draw" is always effectual in accomplishing the goal. The only exception is when the one doing the drawing does not have sufficient inherent power to accomplish the goal (men drawing in net too full and heavy for them to accomplish that goal). However, God does not have that inherent deficiency of power because God is omnipotent and it is God, rather than man that is the one doing the drawing in John 6:44, 65.

    Although man may have inherent common faith, he does not have inherent saving faith due to the inherent enmity toward God that is manifest in resistance by his fallen nature to submit to God (Rom. 8:7) and inherent inablility to love or come to the light (Jn. 3:19-20). This inward enmity and resistance is described metaphorically as darkness. Hence, the transformation of that inherent resistance and hate (metaphorical darkness in the human heart) is only a work God can transform internally. This inward transformation by God is a creative work of God whereby He replaces darkness with light. It is a creative act of God that transforms that internal state of metaphorical darkness. That creative act is likened unto God's act in Genesis 1:3 whereby He spoke into existence light which immedialely dispelled and replaced darkness with light. The human instrument of God (gospel preacher) can bring "the light of the gospel" to the external man and outer ear and that is as far as human instrumentality can preach the gospel. It takes God to conduct the gospel INSIDE the darkened heart in order to dispel, thus transform the darkness into light. This is what Paul is describing in 2 Cor. 4:6 which Paul denies this tranforming "power" is due to the human instrument:

    For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.


    Just as God spoke light into existence in Genesis 1:3 as an effectual call, so God speaks the metaphorical light into existence within the heart of man as an effectual call. By creation of this internal metaphorical light, darkness is instantly dispelled because where there is light, darkness is dispelled. The darkness is that natural inclination to resist and hate the light which makes natural man incapable of submitting in faith to God (Rom. 8:8 with Heb. 11:6). Thus when light replaces darkness, inclination to resist and hate is replaced by the inclination to submit and love that metaphorical light of knowledge which characterizes the very "substance" of saving faith.

    In this act of creating the metaphorical light "of knowledge" within the human heart the "substance" of faith is created or the knowledge, which is eternal life, which is the experiential revelation of "the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" created directly by God in the heart. This light is direct revelation from God to the heart. This is what Jesus meant when he told Peter that his profession of Jesus Christ was not revealed to him by flesh and blood but by the Father in heaven (Mt. 16:16-17). It is this internal revelation of the knowledge of God that is the "substance" of justifying faith which is the creative work of God within all his covenant children. This "substance" of experiential knowledge of God through Christ directly in the heart is also the "hope" of eternal life:

    Jn. 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
    3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


    This created internal gospel knowledge is the creation of the "substance" of faith within the human heart. This "substance" (knowing God through Christ as presented in the gospel which when empowered by God becomes his creative word or effectual call that produces this metaphorical light) provides the "hope" for eternal life, which "substance" and "hope" is justifying faith:

    Mt 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

    Note carefully, that his profession of faith in Christ does not originate with men, or human instrumentality. It did not originate with John the Baptist preaching the gospel (Jn. 3:36) to Peter, but it came by direct revelation from the Father. Many times the preaching of the gospel comes "in word only" but saving faith is a product when it comes "in spirit" and in "power" as the creative word of God, the light of the knowledge of God in "the face of Jesus Christ" within the human heart.

    More proof that
    "this is the work of God that ye believe" in Jn. 6:29

    This is what Paul means when he says "
    for by grace are ye saved through faith, for it is a gift of God...For we are HIS WORKmanship CREATED in Christ Jesus.." - Eph. 2:8,10. The whole phrase "by grace are ye saved through faith" is the "it" and is being "created in Christ Jesus." Faith is the product of the regenerative creative work of God wherein the gospel is empowered by God as His creative word as an effectual call that translates out of the kingdom of DARKNESS into the kingdom OF LIGHT.
     
    #6 The Biblicist, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    In order to present a balanced view, it should be noted that God has ordained the salvation of the elect through the preaching of the gospel. We have been chosen to salvation, but that salvation is "through sanctification and belief of the truth" and God has chosen to use the foolishness of preaching to save believers. I am not of that camp that believes God saves apart from the gospel, as I believe the preaching of the gospel by human instruments is what He empowers and makes his creative word of command when and where he pleases. So the fact that faith in Christ is a work of God, does not at all diminish our responsibility or the need to preach the gospel but should motivate us to preach the gospel so that we can rejoice in the work of God and see souls saved for his glory. Indeed, it is our privilege to be used by God in the saving of souls.

    I am not of that camp which believes there will be redeemed in heaven who have never heard the gospel or of that camp who believes a person is quickened apart from the preaching and use of the gospel by God. I abhor these positions as much as I do the position that denies justifying faith is of grace and gift of God.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  8. percho

    percho
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,894
    Likes Received:
    37
    Is the gospel, good news, because by hearing we can then know we are saved?
     
  9. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    The question remains: What is the reason for the father infusing the elect with this ability?

    presumably it happened in eternity.

    But why, what caused Him to "elect" some and not others?
    Or assign some to one destiny and the rest to another?

    Was it something He saw in the two "thems"?

    Obviously (or so it seems from scripture) we were all dead in Adams sin and therefore hopeless, helpless with no strength.

    We do know this:

    Ephesians 1
    10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
    11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
    12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

    And:

    Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

    Seems cold. No?


    HankD
     
  10. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207

    In the Bible, election is "to" salvation (2 Thes. 2:13) and regarded as an act of "mercy" (Rom. 9:11-18,23). Both statements presupposes the just condemnation of all men already. For example, there is no need to elect to salvation what does not need to be saved. Mercy presuppose a just state of condemnation. Hence, there was no need for God to elect anyone to condemnation as all were condemned already.

    God would be perfectly just to allow all humanity to be eternally punished for sin as that would glorify his holiness. The real question is not why all deserve eternal condemnation, but why would God even conceive of having mercy upon any who are justly condemned when the cost was to be at the expense of himself? I think this has to be the view one must see things in order to correctly view scriptures. Why would a holy God choose to salvation or have mercy on any God hating sinner?

    The Scriptures deny his choice was based upon foreseen differences between the elect and those who continue in their justly deserved finality (Rom. 9:11) as both equally were "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:2-3). The only Biblical and logical reason that I can see is that election glorifies him in manifesting his other attributes in addition to holiness.

    In the analogy of the Potter, the potter can do what he wills with the FALLEN lump of humanity because the whole lump DESERVES condemnation. So nothing but condemnation is required of God's justice. It is a FALLEN lump because those whom he chooses to save are described as vessels of "mercy." Mercy presupposes an already just and deserved condemned condition.

    So it is not about being "cold" but about being just with regard to some, and while for some unknown reason he would at the expense of himself, choose to redeem some who equally deserved nothing but just condemnation. The real question is why would he choose to save any especially at the expense of himself?

    Only when you view election from that perspective and ask why would he save anyone at the expense of himself can one really begin to see God in His true greatness and glory. Then condemnation of the rest of mankind will be seen as just and what you would expect from God toward all mankind, but nothing but undeserved mercy and grace can explain election of any to salvation.

    It is from this perspective the statement "there go I but by the grace of God" originates.
     
    #10 The Biblicist, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  11. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    understood, especially from the C point of view.

    But it does seem "cold" and unyielding in opposition to the A point of view.

    Myself I sense the frigidness from the A sense of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and "God is agape-love" along with John 3:16.

    Just honesty in terms of irreconcilable (or so it seems) points of view.

    HankD
     
    #11 HankD, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  12. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    Putting aside C and A, is not that the attitude of Paul when he speaks about his own salvation? Does not he view his own salvation from the very perspective I gave? Is not he awe struck that God would even consider saving him?

    We live in an age when people view life in general as something they not only deserve but something everyone including God owes them.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  13. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    Granted, OK for Paul but...

    Granted.

    Still cold.

    I believe Calvinism has erred in the approach to the lost by focusing on the internal doctrine of "the elect" and their "predestination" rather than the "whosoevers".

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

    John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

    Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


    HankD
     
  14. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2,505
    Likes Received:
    454
    I suggest that you read some Spurgeon. :)
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  15. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    Spurgeon is gone to be with the Lord. He is not of this generation.

    HankD
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  16. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    I don't think the biblical perspective is cold because I don't think lost people could care less. It may be cold to a believer who struggles with viewing it from God's perspective.

    I reject the epitaph "Calvinism" for many reasons. However, I agree with you that those who wear that banner (I don't) have intellectualized the doctrine and that makes it "cold." "Whosoever will" does not mean "whoseover will not" and unfortunately apart from a work of God that is the "cold" mindset of the lost. I agree we are to preach the gospel and declare that whoseover will, may come.

    It is interesting that Christ never presented the gospel like most "A" do. He always qualified it. For example, he openly invited anyone to come unto him who are "heavy burden" and "laden" with sin. In Revelation he invites all who is "athirst" or those who are "hungry". In fact, I don't find anywhere in Scripture where Christ preached the gospel like we hear on the radio - "jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" or "just believe" or "bow your head and say this prayer."

    The examples of Christ with the Pharisee, the rich young ruler, the Samaritan woman don't fit the "A" type of gospel preaching. The example with Nicodemus teaching new birth before presenting the gospel certainly opposes the "A" presentation.

    Perhaps "cold" is a relative term for heavy exposure under gospel preaching that has no Biblical basis. I was raised in an "A" church and every head bowed, and every eye closed, and pray this prayer, and raise your head if this, if that, if something else, and 10 repetitions of "Just as I am" and so yes, compared to that type of evangelism the truth is very "cold."
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    Sorry Hank, didn't mean to come across as accusing you to be a struggling believer who doesn't see it from God's perspective. I only meant that what we have been immersed in, has an affect on how we view something different. I was immersed in the "A" type evangelism and so "yes" because of my background it seemed that the Biblical teaching that I was exposed to for the first time in my life seemed "cold." It is true, that how I heard and saw some preach it made it "cold." However, when the Lord started teaching me the Biblical viewpoint, I began to look at it from God's perspective and how terrible sin is in his sight as a holy God. I don't think too many, if any, can really see how terrible sin is in the sight of God and how evil man is in God's sight. Probably that is due because few men really understand the holiness of God. If we understood the holiness of God, the mere exposure to his glory would cause us to react as Isaiah (Isa.6:1-6) and as John did (Rev. 19:10). We would see that Justice really glorifies God against such tremendous evil and that salvation of any is something almost unimaginable. Thus, looking from that angle, one would respond "there go I but by the grace of God."

    My immersion into the tactics and practices of "A" evangelism made the truth of the Scriptures in these areas really harsh, but it is because I was immersed in religious humanism where Man is the chief focus and by which everything is judged.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  18. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    Still, not much "whosoever will" in either camp.

    HankD
     
  19. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    Do you think all Christian ministers are restricted in one or the other "camp"? Spurgeon certainly could not be restricted to such "camp" arrangements. He preached the doctrines of grace as clearly as he preached whosoever will may come. The fact that Spurgeon is dead does not mean there are none like Spurgeon in the sense of preaching balance. I have known many Spurgeon's in the sense of balance.

    I guess I could be charged as being "cold" because I refused to support child evangelism and their warm manipulative tactics all in the name of "whosoever will." Children can be talked into anything by their parents or by adults. Salvation is not saying the correct words, but it is a revelation of the gospel in the heart by God that changes a human being from the inside out. All who receive that revelation internally, understand and believe BY HEART EXPERIENCE with God not simply by HEAD experience with a child manipulator.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Messages:
    2,781
    Likes Received:
    493
    But I think Brother MM's advice is to read CHS' attitude in his writings, especially his sermons. Yes, he was a nasty 5 pointer(as those who oppose DoG think us to be)...many, but not all... but he pleaded with ppl to come to Christ. His sermons have been used by Cals and non-Cals alike. Many believe he did not believe in sovereign election when, in fact, he did. He just preached.
     

Share This Page

Loading...