Bible faith is very different from the kind of faith often talked about in religious conversations. If you are going to understand faith, then it is extremely important that you study the Bible to understand what the Bible says about it.
In Hebrews 10.39, you will find the following…
In this passage, we are told that it is faith that saves us. If you want the salvation of God and eventually spend eternity in heaven with Him, then you need to have faith.
If we skip over to Hebrews 11.6, we find these words…
In this verse, we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. You cannot please God if you don’t have faith. If we study the Bible, we find that we cannot be saved without faith, and we cannot please God without faith. This makes it extremely important that we understand what the Bible says about faith.
When we study the Bible to learn about faith, some questions naturally arise.
If faith is such an important part of our relationship with God and our hope of heaven, then we better understand what the Bible means when it talks about faith. What is faith? Is faith a gift from God? How do we get faith? When we study the Bible, we discover that the kind of faith described in the Bible is very specific.
It has been said that faith is believing in something when common sense says otherwise. The Bible says that this is not the case. It is not believing in something without any evidence. Actually, the Bible tells me to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5.21). Jesus told His audience not to just take Him at His word. Instead, He told them, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him’” (John 10.37,38). Jesus said to believe in Him because of the evidence (works). The miracles that He did proved that He was who He claimed to be, the Son of God (Acts 2.22).
When we study the Bible, it also tells us that faith is not just belief. It is a belief where we accept what God says and then do what God says. If we believe and then ignore what God tells us to do, then that is called dead faith. We have to do more than just accept God on faith. Bible faith also obeys God.
James 2.14-26 is a fascinating passage that explains the relationship of faith and works. There are those who say that their faith stands alone and is not accompanied by works. To this “faith only” position, James responds, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2.18). He then reminds us that “even the demons believe and tremble” (James 2.19). When Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Church and firm proponent of faith only, was asked to respond to the fact that the Bible characterizes faith as an obedient faith, he ripped James 2 from his Bible and claimed that it should not be there.
Why is it so important to study the Bible and learn about faith? Not only do we need a biblical faith to please God and be saved, we need this biblical faith to remain saved. The apostle Peter described Satan as “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5.8). He is unrelenting in his attacks on us. He does not attack us with physical weapons as “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6.12). The devil attacks us in the form of temptation.
The only way for us to defend ourselves against this spiritual attack is by faith. In this spiritual battle in which strive to “stand against the wiles of the devil,” we are told to “take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6.16)
What role does faith play in our prayers? Have you ever prayed to God and then wondered if those prayers are going to be answered? Have you ever felt completely helpless, fall down on your knees, and beg God for help, and then get up feeling like your prayers were an exercise of futility?
Our prayers need to be offered by faith. We are told that God's “ears are open to their prayers” (1 Pet. 3.12). When we offer a prayer of faith, we are offering a prayer believing that God will hear our prayer and answer. James put it like this: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1.6). Later James writes that “the prayer of faith will save the sick” (James 5.15). God answers the prayers of those who believe in Him.
Is there anything more important about faith than our justification? Without faith, we cannot be justified. To be justified means to be make right with God. Our relationship with God is severed because of sin. Jesus came and shed His blood so that our sins can be washed away and my relationship with God restored. But we cannot do that without faith!
In Romans 4, we have an exhaustive discussion about the concept of faith. The writer sets before us the example of Abraham and tells us that Abraham was justified by a specific kind of faith. It is a faith that accepts what God says, trusts in God, and obeys God. We are then told that we need to have this same kind of faith if we want to be justified.
When we come to chapter 5, Paul writes, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5.1). We are justified and am at peace with God when we have this faith.
One of the best ways to understand the concept of faith and how it works is to see an example of it. Romans 4 gives us an example of the kind of faith Abraham had. In Hebrews 11, there are several examples of faith listed one after the other. One such example is that of Abel. In reference to his faith, we are told that “through it, he being dead still speaks” (Heb. 11.4). Even though Abel has been dead for centuries, his faith still says much about the kind of faith we need to have.
Time and space will not permit me to present an exhaustive study on the subject of Bible faith. However, it is always a good idea to sit back and let the Bible speak for itself. Do a search in your Bible on the subject of faith and study these verses. You will find a wealth of information that will make you a better person.
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