What the Bible Says About Faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:1-3
The Bible says very plainly about faith that it is a reality, something that gives “substance” to things before they become visible to the natural eye. 2 Corinthians 5:7 declares that we walk by faith, not by sight. When we are “born again” we are given spiritual eyes to see things and understand things that otherwise we could not discern without the Holy Spirit. When we are submitted to the Lord, He then begins to guide and lead us by His Spirit; we follow Him in faith knowing He will not disappoint us or lead us astray. We must learn to obey Him even when we do not see or understand how He is leading. In the process, we begin to learn what the Bible says about faith.
The Word of God states that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). Some people refer to the expression “blind faith,” but our faith is not a blind faith; it is faith in a very real person, Jesus Christ. We were blind before our eyes were opened to His love and forgiveness, but now we see Him and a new life and world belong to us.
Increasing of Our Faith
Romans 12:3b says, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” We are then to allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives so that our faith might grow in Him. For faith to grow and for God to honor our faith there are several principles we must follow in the Word of God since faith alone cannot produce our prayer answers.
Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We must know the Word of God for our faith to increase. Many times, we take only a portion of His Word and quote it and expect answers, when we must learn other portions that work along with the portion we are quoting. An example would be if we do pray a prayer of faith, yet do not obey God, our faith would be in vain.
Let’s look at Hebrews 11:4 for an example of this: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of His gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Why was God pleased with Abel and not with Cain? Cain’s heart was not right before God, thus his works were evil therefore his offering was rejected. “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Today, many people are doing the same thing, yet expecting God to honor their faith.
God wants you and me to be faithful men and women, so that we can have good success in all that we do. Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We can see by this verse that we cannot please God unless we walk by faith. The dictionary defines faith as (1) unquestioning belief, especially in God, (2) complete trust or confidence and (3) loyalty.
Following in Faith, We Trust God with Our Lives
In looking at these definitions, we can take a test and see if we really are trusting God with our lives. Test question number one: Do we rebelliously question what God is doing in our lives? Do we ask God such questions as, “Lord, when are you going to do this thing in my life? How much longer am I going to have to wait for my answer? Why haven’t you answered my prayers, God?” All of these questions, if posed rebelliously, are just the opposite of faith as they produce doubt and are questioning what God is doing in our lives. Also, we are referring to people in this test who have made a total commitment to God and are trying to walk in His will. If we have not surrendered to God, there are things that happen to us that are not His fault because we are in the devil’s territory. The Lord does not mind us asking any question as long as we are asking it with a submissive attitude and not questioning His goodness.
Test question number two: Do we completely trust God and have our confidence in Him to the degree that when we don’t see our answer right away, we wait patiently instead of taking the matter into our own hands and doing it our own way? Do we have confidence in the Lord that He has everything under control, or do we worry and fret and let anxiety rob us of our day? If we trusted Him, we would believe His Word and not doubt His promises.
Test question number three: What about loyalty? Are we loyal to Him? We act sometimes as if God were against us instead of for us. For instance, when we have prayed and asked God for an answer to our prayers but have not received that answer yet, do we begin listening to the devil as he whispers these words to us, “God hasn’t answered your prayers; He doesn’t really care for you. You know God has all power in heaven and earth so why doesn’t He answer your prayers?” Instead of our being loyal and defending the Father, we end up many times agreeing with the devil by turning to God and saying, “Yes, God, why haven’t You answered my prayers?” Our devotion to the Lord should be one of defending the heavenly Father with a statement to the enemy like this, “Satan, I don’t know why God hasn’t answered my prayers yet, but I do know one thing; He loves me and my answers are on the way. If anybody is hindering my answers, it’s you, not my precious Father.”
Real faith has all the above qualities of total confidence in God, and complete trust and unquestioning loyalty. Do we really have faith in God? In discussing faith we need to point out that it is not the quantity of faith that will accomplish the overcoming in our lives, but rather the quality. “…for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). It is not the amount of faith we have but who our faith is centered in. Jesus is faith.
If we feel we do not have sufficient faith to remove our “mountain of difficulty,” we can always ask the Lord for the “gift of faith.” This gift is one of the provisions for those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9). The Lord did not leave us without the tools to overcome our lack of faith. We can simply ask God to give us the gift of faith we need for whatever problem we might have. As we are faithful to exercise our “measure of faith” that has been given to each of us, our faith will grow. Then we can believe God for greater things even without the gift of faith. However, if we need the gift, we can ask and the Lord will supply if our hearts are right.
Faith is not only a gift, but also a fruit of the Holy Spirit plus a part of our Christian armour; so we see the importance of it in our Christian walk (Galatians 5:22). May we be spoken of as were the Christians at Thessalonica, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4). Faith will carry us through every trial and tribulation. Faith is really not that difficult. God made it easy. In essence, faith is just taking one more step with Jesus; it’s believing God for one more hour, and because we do not give up on God, He comes through with our answers when we trust Him.