What Faith is
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must approach God based on faith. Everything we do must be an act of faith. Faith is such an important thing to God that anything that is not done from faith is considered sin. See Romans 14:23.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Faith gives substance to our hopes. You can't hope for anything unless you believe you will have it. Faith is what qualifies hope to be hope. Without it hope is empty and can't deliver. Anyone who attempts to hope for anything without faith is simply preparing to get a broken heart. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. It is the proof of the existence of something that cannot be presently presented. For example, if someone owned a property somewhere and they were asked to prove it they would either bring it physically or present a document to validate their claim. If it were a piece of land, a title deed would be enough to prove the ownership.
If faith then is the evidence of things not seen, then these things must be in existence somewhere. You cannot give evidence of something that does not exist. The Amplified Bible says that faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses. So the things that we are having evidence for exist, only that they cannot be felt, smelt, touched or seen using the optical eye.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
The word walk indicates conduct. It's indicative of behaviour and character. The word sight indicates those things which can be perceived by our physical senses. Then it means that our conduct is supposed to be guided by what we believe to be true, not what we can perceive with our physical senses. For example, we have never seen God with our physical eyes yet we believe that He is there. We can only see Him through our faith. If we walk by faith and not by sight, then sight and faith cannot be the same thing. If I'm walking by one, then I'm not walking by the other. Walking by sight is when we make our judgment or decision based on what we can presently perceive with our physical senses. Walking by faith is when we make our decisions based by what we believe. Does that mean that anyone can just believe anything and expect to be fulfilling 2 Corinthians 5:7? Absolutely no!
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
Faith must be qualified. Faith for anything comes by hearing. Everything you believe is a result of something you heard. Now the kind of faith that is evidence of things not perceived by the physical senses is the faith that comes by hearing the word of God. Not every faith is substance of things hoped for or evidence of things not seen, it is the kind of faith that comes from hearing the word of God. Faith comes by hearing. Without hearing the word of God there can be no faith. Whenever the word of God is proclaimed it is supposed to yield faith in God in the hearts of the hearers.
The word of God and faith are like fire and heat. A normal fire is expected to be accompanied by heat. If you touched something and found it to be hot the next thing you would want to see is the cause of that heat and if you saw a fire somewhere then you would not need to touch it to find out whether there is heat or not, it's obvious. Same goes with the word of God and faith. So then if faith comes by hearing the word of God, then the word of God is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not perceived by the physical senses. We walk by what the word says not by what we perceive by our senses. What the word of God says is what gives us the confidence to hope, nothing else. If He has not said it in His word then you'd be wasting your time hoping that you're going to get it from Him.
We respond to what the word of God says, not what we feel, see, touch, hear or taste. For example, we thank God and praise Him for healing not because we cannot feel the pain or we cannot see the symptoms, but because we believe His word and He says that Christ Jesus has taken our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. But what about the pain that I feel in my body? What about the doctor's report and the symptoms? What am I supposed to do about them?
Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name…Romans 1:5 (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul talks of having received grace for apostleship and obedience to the faith. In the last chapter of the same book he sums up the whole purpose of preaching the word: obedience to the faith. In our next article we shall learn more about obedience to the faith.
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