Faith

Faith

What is faith? I know we must have faith in God. The first verse that comes to mind is "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Heb_11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Thinking more about this, it means to me that there are things hoped for. This is a critical part of faith: hope. I know there are things that I hope for. This is why I put my faith in God. God has talked about and promised things that I want. And based on my past experience with God, God has delivered. So I don't believe my trust in God's ablility to deliver is in vain. I believe my hope is well founded in God.

Faith Chapter - Hebrews 11

The next thing that comes to mind is the "faith chapter" in Hebrews 11. Paul goes through time and points out to the Hebrews (Jews) that from the very beginning, salvation came by faith in God. And then Paul explains how this faith produced works of God in their lives. Paul is explaining, that just like Abraham believed God's promises (and hoped in them) that righteousness is attributed by faith in God, before the works are even manifested yet. Paul was not supporting the idea of faith without works. Paul was just pointing out that faith comes first.

Faith - First Mention in Old Testament

I opened up E-Sword and did a search on faith. I was surprised at how few times in the Old Testament that faith is mentioned. Here is the first passage.

Deu_32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

It's not a big deal to me that the word "faith" is not listed many times. Obviously, the children of Israel had something to hope for. God made a covenant with them in Exodus 20. Moses believed God and hoped for those things. Moses obviously had faith, whether it was stated using that word or not. I'm sure Moses also had a pulse, whether it states that in the Bible or not.

God said the people were froward, children in whom is no faith. That reminds me of another verse:

Heb_11:6 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.

That's powerful. Without faith it is impossible to please him. Wow. I realize more than ever that God is the God of hope. God is a God of covenants. God promises things. God talks about things that I've never seen. Of course, it makes sense. If I don't hope in the things God talks about, it will be impossible to please God. Faith in God is essential to please Him. Otherwise, it's like calling God a liar.

Things Hoped For

So, if Paul is correct in what he wrote to the Hebrews, everybody who has faith in God has to have something to hope for. Let's see if this is true. I'm going to go through the people who had faith listed in the "faith chapter" and see if I can put in writing what the hoped for.

Listing Things Hoped for From Hebrews 11

  • elders obtained a good report - I don't know what Paul is referring to here, so will skip this. God can show me later.
  • World framed by God - I sure hope so. I don't know of anyone that could make the heaven and earth.
  • Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice - evidently Abel hoped for something God offered. I understand that Paul is emphasizing in this chapter how justification comes initially through faith, and Paul isn't trying to list everything people hoped for. Paul is trying to show how they were justified by God.
  • Enoch walked with God - Enoch hoped in his relationship with God enough that he walked with Him.
    Amo_3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
  • Noah built ark. This one is absolutely clear. Noah hoped to be saved by God from the flood. So he built the ark to God's specs. Noah had something he hoped for that he had never seen. It says he was moved by fear. I can see how Noah feared the flood. And I believe Noah must have hoped in God's deliverance too. And the ark was the evidence of what he hoped for. Yes! I'm excited now. It's so fun to read what it says in the Bible, believe it, and then go through the Bible to see how it's true the whole way through.
  • Abraham - promise of inheritance. This is straightforward. Abraham went to a place that he didn't know about. That's evidence of his hope in God's promise. And Abraham pleased God. Abraham had faith.
  • Sara - Says "she judged him faithful who had promised.". She had a son when she was really, really old. And there is the word "promised". This is all about hoping in things God promises. This is faith. And this is exciting to get to know more what faith is about. And to know the Biblical definition of faith.

Ok, I'm going to stop there. I'm tired. Tired and content. This also brings up another subject. God's promise that some will not be saved. If someone has faith in God and lives in sin, then they have been promised to not go to heaven. So if a person lives in sin, and has faith in God, then there will be evidence in their lives that they are not going to heaven. Like the people who came to John the Baptist and didn't have the fruit of repentance. What is this evidence? This is another study for another time.

Salvation by God

God is Good

Gods Authority

God Gives Life

God is a Rewarder

Cost of Discipleship

Faith

God's Word

Sin & Bondage

God's Judgment

Heaven & Hell

Hell

Repentance

Restitution

Fellowship with God

Forgiveness

Faith & Works

Baptism by Jesus Christ

Baptism by Fire

Good Works

Gifts

Works & Justification

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To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.
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