The Nature Of Faith
Lesson #10: “THE NATURE OF FAITH”
Outside the Scriptures the word faith has many different meanings, but in our present study we do not need to concern ourselves with these other meanings. Within the Scriptures there are two definite distinguishing features of faith. First, faith always originates directly in God’s Word; second, it is always directly related to God’s Word. What we may call Biblical faith is one of the few words defined in the Bible. The definition is found in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
1. FAITH AND HOPE ARE NOT THE SAME
1 Thess. 5:8 (NASB) 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
i. Hope is directed towards the future, but faith is established in the present
ii. Hope is an attitude of expectancy concerning things that are yet to be, but faith is a substance-a confidence, something real and definite within us-that we possess here and now
iii. Hope is anchored in the realm of the mind; faith is anchored in the realm of the heart.
Thus, hope is a mental attitude of expectancy concerning the future; faith is a condition of the heart, producing within us here and now something so real that it can be described by the word substance (Rom 10:10; John 14:1; 6: 47)
2. FAITH IS BASED SOLELY ON GOD’S WORD
Romans 4: 20, 21(NASB) “20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,” (See Romans 4:17, 19)
Psalm 119:152 “Of old I have known from Your testimonies that You have founded them forever.”
In Romans 4:17-21, we realize that Scriptural faith consists in acting like Abraham and in following the steps of his faith. No wonder he is regarded as the father of faith. (See John 18:38 and John 17:17)
i. Abraham accepted God’s promise as being true from the moment it was spoken.
ii. Abraham refused to accept the testimony of his senses as long as it did not agree with the statement of God.
iii. Because Abraham held fast to what God had promised, his physical experience and the testimony of his senses were brought into line with the statement of God.
Mind-over-matter as taught by Christian Science religion is not Scriptural faith. This teaching exalts and magnifies man’s mind, reason or willpower. Scriptural faith is God-centred and based on the Truth of God’s word.
Presumption is different from Scriptural faith. Presumption is based on human arrogance and self-glorification. Faith receives while presumption grabs. (John 3:27).
3. FAITH IS EXPRESSED BY CONFESSION
2 Corinthians 4:13(NASB) 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,
Romans 10:10 (NASB) 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (See Matt 12:34)
Confession translated from the Greek word homologia literally means “saying the same as.” Thus, confession, for Christians means that we say the same thing with our mouths as God Himself has already said in His Word. The words of our mouths must agree with the Word of God. (Heb.3:1)
1. Scriptural faith is a condition of the heart, not the mind. 2). It is in the present, not the future. 3). It produces a positive transformation in our behaviour and experience. 4). It is based solely on God’s Word and accepts the testimony of the senses only when it agrees with the testimony of God’s Word. 5). It is expressed by confession with the mouth.