DISCLAIMER: Acts 17:11.
Let’s ENGAGE with the WORD and with each other about the WORD.
Sometimes we end up not understanding things, especially words, because we fail to take a leap of faith into the depths of it. Furthermore, what feeds this misinterpretation, is the discounting of the context in which a word has been used and the surface level comprehension of the etymology of a word. With that said, it’s without a doubt that FAITH in Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of being a Christian. However, it’s of utmost importance to understand the meaning of the word before one can use it in its proper context. Therefore, it’s safe to say that only a surgical examination of FAITH will result in the comprehension of this concept.
The Bible (God’s Word) defines FAITH in Hebrews11:1 as: “… faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. Now Hebrews11:1 can further be simplified to the following: FAITH, in God = Belief + Trust + Obedience. Before we go further into the abovementioned faith components, let’s define some key words in the Hebrews11:1 definition:
Noun-: full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.
Verb: want something to happen or be the case.
The Bible in Romans8:24-25 also defines hope as: “ For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”. So, the Bible and the dictionary agree on what on the concept of hope.
Noun: confidence or certainty in one’s own abilities.
It’s of utmost importance to note that the source of this assurance and confidence is God and His character. So, the more you know God the easier it will be to having faith in Him because ultimately it is not about the size of our faith but the object of our faith (namely Christ/God). Even faith small as a mustard seed can move mountains if the object of that faith is God (Matt17:20).
With everything said, let’s get into the 3 components that make-up faith. We will start-off with:
First Organ: BELIEF
In Mark11:22, we are instructed to have FAITH in God. It is very important to note the necessity of BELIEF as an essential key ingredient to having faith in God. Why is this? The answer is found in the word BELIEF itself,
Belief, noun, is defined as: an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof. Now believe further edifies the definition of belief through its own definition, which is:
believe (verb) – to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.
Note that in both definitions, the focus is on the acceptance or confidence of the “truth, existence” of something. So, in the Christian context, this “object” is GOD. Now to the “absolute proof” issue, we will all have this proof on the second coming of Jesus Christ and when we bow down to God singing hallelujah when worshiping Him (Matt5:8, Acts1:11, Revelation1:7-8 & Rev22:4). By us witnessing these sights will be proof that we were right in having faith in God, however there are some individuals who have already encountered/ seen Jesus Christ.
So, the source for our confidence in God’s existence stems from the Bible and from the physical things we experience via our senses. Remember not to always place so much emphasis on the physical senses as we are led by faith because we ought to believe everything God says (Bible) which often goes against our senses. So, below are Biblical references that shed evidence of God’s existence:
- He has been seen physically: John1:1-2&14; Colossians1:15-20; 2Corinth4:4; Rev1:1-2&5; Matthew Mark Luke & John.
- His existence is seen through his creations: Genesis1, Romans1:20 & Hebrews11:3.
In closing God Himself in Hebrews11:6, also corroborates this fact of believing in His existence as it is the key to having faith in Him.
Second Organ: TRUST
The second crucial component to faith is TRUST. Trust and belief go hand-in hand because the former is largely based on the truth of something or someone. This makes sense when examining the definition of TRUST:
Trust, noun, is defined as: firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
Rely, verb, is defined as: to depend on with full trust or confidence.
This is because the truth is the reflection of the what something is. So therefore, trust is the final step in believing and the first step to obedience.
We can trust in God because firstly he exists (Hebrews11;6) and who He is (Character) which is of: truth (Numbers3:29& John8:44); omniscient, omnipresent & omnipotent (Psalms139:1-18); creator (Genesis1); love (1John4:7-8) and many more. For one to be able to trust in God, the following tools are required:
- Knowledge. This refers one getting to know God personally. This can only happen through a relationship with God however the prerequisite for this relationship is faith in the identity and finished works (crucifixion & resurrection) of Jesus Christ. So, one can get to know God via fellowship with other saints (Proverbs27:17), also by reading the Bible, praying, and fasting (Matthew6: 25-33; Hebrews11:6). The Bible is the word of God as it comes from Him through the prophets (John1-1-2, 1Corinthians2:13 2Timothy3:16, 2Peter1:20-21).
- Deeds. By familiarizing, via reading the Bible, yourself with deeds done by God in the past this helps in trusting God as one gets to see and know God’s power. Furthermore, another method is by recording all the great deeds God has done for you so that you don’t forget His capabilities. The abovementioned points are of great encouragement when waiting upon the Lord for an answer and a great tool when seeking to trust God as they allow one to take stock of what God has done in the past.
- Time. This tool is imperative as it ensures that the abovementioned tools occur. Subsequently, this will result in one trusting God immediately (Genesis15:1-6; Luke1:26-38; Luke7:1-10 & John5:1-8) or later (Judges6:36-40 & John20:24-29).
Third Organ: OBEDIENCE
Obedience is very important and to obey we need to first believe and trust Him. Before we go deep into the reasons why obedience is essential to one’s faith in God, let’s define obedience first:
Obedience, noun: compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.
Obey, verb: submit to the authority of (someone) or comply with (a law).
Therefore, so obedience to God is doing what God says. Obedience to God is very important to one’s faith because:
- It reflects one’s belief and trust in God.
- Obedience is important because without it, one ‘s Faith in God ceases to exist, in other words your faith in God is DEAD (James 2:14-26). This is so because obedience is linked to IDENTITY and this is how:
- As a Christian your identity is found in God because He made you in his image (Genesis1:26-27) and this image is SPIRIT(John4:24). Now we had died, spiritually that is, because of Adam’s sin (Genesis3:1-13). However, God being so sovereign and merciful, He fixed this through His love in the form of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18, Luke & John) therefore by faith, and by faith only, in Jesus Christ’s finished works (Crucifixion & Resurrection) you are made righteous. This means through faith, and faith alone, in Jesus Christ you are in God’s image again. Therefore, because you are like Him in Spirit (your IDENTITY now), you should do what he says so that your IDENTITY can be reflected through your actions and thus resulting in the world witnessing God through you(2Corinthians5:18-22). Furthermore, Jesus Christ, God in flesh (John1:1-2&14; Colossians1:15&19), also mentions that His brothers and sisters are those who hear and do(obey) God’s word (Luke8:21). Therefore Luke8:21 also confirms the link of obedience to Identity. So, if you are not obeying God, this means that your actions are not reflecting what you claim to believe and trust which is God. Thus, this is why James concludes that your alleged “faith” in God is non-existent (DEAD) because who you say you are and your actions are in conflict. At the end of the day your actions need to reflect what you trust and believe in. And remember in order to obey God you need to believe and trust Him first, this only happen through seeking Him through reading the Bible, prayer and fasting.
In closing, ALWAYS remember that FAITH in GOD, is the combination of: belief, trust and obedience; FAITH = BELIEF + TRUST + OBEDIENCE. It’s interesting how faith in God provides the blueprint for how to have faith in anything… GOD is the real Jehovah, the author of all blueprints to life.