“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”-1 Peter 1:7
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Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6 tells us, that without faith it is impossible to please God.
“But without faith, it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.”-Hebrews 11:6
Faith is an essential element in our new life in Christ. I call faith the heartbeat of a Christian. Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ relies hugely on faith. Faith in God is the difference between those who believe in the existence and power of God and those who do not. Faith in Jesus Christ is also the difference between those who are saved and those who have not been saved.
Faith produces righteousness
Salvation is by Grace through faith-Ephesians 2:8-9. We receive eternal life through faith-John 3:16. We are justified and made righteous through faith-Romans 3:22, 10:10 and we can continue to live in righteousness through faith-Romans 1:16-17. We also receive the Holy Spirit and all His gifts by faith-Galatians 3:2. Faith in God makes us world overcomers-1 John 5:4. Faith is the key you need to access everything God has in store for you.
As important as faith is, it is often overlooked by many Christians. God says you just can’t please Him if you don’t have faith. And Romans 14:23 says “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Both verses serve a strong caution. God is never pleased with the so-called right things that you do when you do them without faith. That should tell you how valuable faith is. Faith is more precious than gold in 1 Peter 1:7. It is a treasure worth keeping and defending.
What is faith?
Let’s look at one of the definitions of faith by the Oxford Languages dictionary. – “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
This definition is an indication that people can have faith or trust in anything -living and non-living things, objects, and structures. People all over the world embrace some kind of belief.
Let’s now look at how faith has been defined in the Bible -“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. ” Hebrews 11:1-2
Faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1 is not the faith you have in anybody or in anything. It is not just any kind of belief. It’s faith in God. It’s faith that originates from God and is made available through His word -Romans 10:17. It is faith that draws a sinner to God. It is faith that identifies a particular group of people who are called “children of God”. Hebrews 12:2 reveals Jesus Christ as the author and founder of our faith.
Verse 2 of Hebrews 11 says by this faith-faith in God, some people of old, obtained a good report. The rest of Hebrews chapter 11 profiles each elders’ act or acts of faith in God that earned them the good report.
Now let’s take a closer look at Hebrews 11:1 The first part says faith is a substance. It’s not abstract and it is not immaterial. The substance has to do with matter and tangible presence. Matter is anything that has weight and occupies space. Therefore, faith is believing in reality even if you don’t see or feel it.
The second part says faith is evidence of things not seen. It is the certainty that because what we believe is real, they exist; they just aren’t seen. And that is why you can have hope in them. And by the way, hope that is seen is no longer hope according to Romans 8:24-25. Therefore, faith is the evidence of things that are real even if you do not see or feel them. Faith as defined in Hebrews chapter 11 is belief and absolute confidence in the existing God. God is real, He just can’t be seen.
Faith is trust that produces obedience. You don’t see God, but you believe and trust in Him and therefore you obey Him. That is the import of the story of Abraham when he was willing and therefore prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice in obedience to God-Hebrews 11:17-19
Faith, not doubt
Faith can be limited by the physical senses-what we see, hear, taste, smell or feel. One of the disciples of Jesus, Thomas, wanted to “see to believe” when he was informed of the resurrection of Jesus. Later Jesus would appear to the disciples and tell Thomas “ Blessed are those who have not seen but yet have believed “-John 20:29. What we see is no longer faith.
Relying on the physical senses produces doubt. And anything that comes out of doubt does not please God. This is why a Christian must walk by faith and not by sight -2 Corinthians 5:7. God demonstrated that faith goes beyond sight when Romans 4:17 says, “God … called those things which be not as though they were.” Creation was made possible out of invisible things-Hebrews 11:3. Hallelujah!
So valuable is faith, that Christians are encouraged to “fight” or contend for their faith-Jude 1:3. Jude was advising the early believers to guard their faith against ungodly people and that piece of advice is for you and me.
John 1 verses 1 and 2 confirm the word is God. It is the word that produces our faith, and it is by faith that we believe the word. Let’s keep our faith by keeping the word of God. And remember that your good report will be written based on your faith in God and nothing else.
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