Faith Of The Bible (Part I)
Updated: May 25, 2020
By sis Leong Mei Ji
The Bible scholar Vines defines “faith” as primarily firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing. Websters Dictionary defines “faith” as unquestioning belief. The Bible defines personal faith in Heb 11:1:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
Faith is used in two different senses in the Bible. First, there is "the faith" or the system of doctrine – i.e. the body of faith and there is only one faith (Ephesians 4:5).
“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians 1:23).
The other usage is the personal faith which comes by hearing the word of God – "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17) and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).
Biblical faith is important. The writer in Hebrews 11:6 says, “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.”
Many recognize that faith is important concerning salvation. Yet, not many really understand what kind of faith is commanded and acceptable by God.
What kind of faith is not commanded by God?
Do we hold to Christianity faith simply because this is what our parents have accepted? Is our faith personal, or is it inherited? In John 4:42 the Bible records, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” Obviously God does not want an inherited faith. An inherited faith may be wrong. When the apostle Paul stood before the Council in Jerusalem, he declared: “I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day” (Acts 23:1). The Apostle Paul realised that his parents’ religion was wrong after Christ had come (Acts 9:3-9). Many would say that our parents or our grandparents are of this faith; therefore, logically speaking, we are of this faith. This kind of faith is commonly termed as a “familiar faith.” They follow the footsteps of their ancestors. We can see the fallacy of this kind of faith. Our parents cannot directly impart their personal faith in God’s word to us. Faith develops in response to the written word of God. (Romans 10:17). We need to study the word of God to produce personal faith; otherwise, it is not valid (2 Timothy 2:15). An inherited faith void of the word of God cannot save. It is not acceptable to God. God does not want this kind of faith.
Many religious groups have different ideas about how we “obtain” faith. They contend (among others) that visions, direct operation of the Holy Spirit, unexplainable “feelings” or “experiences” produce faith. Faith is not produced in this way. God gives us the word. The Bible tells us that the true source of faith is God’s Word. It is produced as a result of “hearing” the Word of God – "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). The Bible is the only source. God wants His children to be taught of the Bible (John 6:45) and not be caught by ideas about how we obtain faith. Caught faith cannot save and is therefore not acceptable by God.
Obviously, it is not a blind faith that saves, and it is not the kind of faith that God is after. It is not a faith which, as the dictionary defines it, is without true understanding, perception or discrimination. It is not a faith that leaps into belief without the true understanding of the word of God. In Hosea 4:6, the minor Prophet says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” We cannot do the will of God without a true understanding of His word. Remember in Acts 2:40, after the Pentecostal sermon, the Apostle Peter told the listeners to save themselves from this untoward generation. There must be something which is beyond the belief that God exists, for even the devil believes yet is not saved (see James 2:19). We need a faith that is characterized by a more precise understanding of Christian doctrine (Rom 10:17). We cannot save ourselves with a blind faith. God rejects this kind of faith.
Obviously God does not want an Inherited faith, a Caught faith or a Blind faith either. Salvation involves more than just believing.Faith all by itself, just belief, is not saving faith.James wrote, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:17, 20). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).Clearly, faith that is not coupled with works is a dead faith! Obviously, this kind of faith cannot save and therefore it is not acceptable by God.