what is faith?

Would you rather see the future or see what is invisible? There is a measure of faith that comes with both because we can see neither. One often think that seeing is believing or if one sees he will have greater faith. However, Jesus says, greater is one’s faith who believes and doesn’t have to see (John 20:29). That’s where faith is born.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:1-3, ESV

Faith is defined as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. In other word, faith confidently trusts and obeys God no matter the circumstances or consequences. We don’t live or define our life by the circumstances or consequences but by confident trust and obedience to what God has already said about himself and his plans.

Faith gives you the ability to see the future as the present because you know God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Also faith gives you the ability to see the invisible as seen because you can see what God has said and done in Scripture and that gives you proof enough that he is trustworthy and worth following.

The example in verse three is that by faith we understand that God created the universe by the spoken word. We weren’t there, but we read about it in Genesis chapter one. We cannot see God, but we can see what God has made and this proves that God exists. We can have faith in God because we can see the evidences of what he said by what he has done.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • How does the author of Hebrews define faith? How would you define faith in your own words?
  • How do the words “assurance,” “conviction,” and “commendation” help you to understand the meaning of faith?
  • What are things that you hope for? What are the invisible things you’d like to see?
  • What is something invisible that is easy for you to have faith in? What is something invisible that is difficult for you to have faith in?
  • Without looking ahead (even if you may know), who were ancient men and who in Scripture who were commended for their faith? What makes their faith so great?
  • What do others say about your faith? Would they commend it?
  • Other than creation, what other evidence of God do we have that God exists or keeps his promises? How do we see God at work even though we cannot see God Himself?
  • How do you see God in Jesus (e.g. Hebrews 1-10)? How does he encourage your faith?
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real questions: faith?

question-mark1Ned Anzers: Isn’t faith a psychological crutch?

To answer this question we must answer a series of questions:

What is faith?

Faith is the believing in the unknown. Heb.11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We all show faith each day in things that are unknowable. You have put faith in your car that it will get you from point A to B. You have faith that George Washington was really the first President of the USA. You put faith in the fact that the very chair you are sitting in will hold you up.

What is our basis of faith?

The Bible was written that we might have faith. John 20:30-31 says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Faith has a source, which is His Word: the Bible. The Bible never encourages us to have faith in someone or something we can know nothing about. Rather it does the opposite, it asks us to have faith in One we can know. The Bible helps us know and examine the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

crutch-crossWhy do I need faith?

Faith fills what is lacking in my life. Jesus says inMatt. 9:12, “But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” I am spiritually sick and faith is for the weak. When you look at the world can you honestly say everything is alright. A person that believes that is more blind that a person who has faith in God.

Since I am sick I need spiritual help. In Matt. 11:28-29 Jesus meets this need by saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

So isn’t faith for the weak?

Faith calls you to die to yourself. Now Jesus gives a unique challenge in Luke 9:23-24: “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” God calls a person of faith to a radical life. He doesn’t promise that faith in Him is an easy-cheesy life, rather it will be difficult. Imagine what the image of the cross brought to mind of a person in Jesus day. It would be like a noose or electric chair to us today. Yikes. [Note: The example of Paul (2 Cor.11:24-27), no he is not insane (Acts 26:24-29).]

Faith in Christianity is not blind faith at all. In fact, it is faith in the knowable and personable Jesus Christ that was a real historical figure, really written about and really is who He says He is. Faith is not a psychological crutch. Faith is for the weak and the doubter, the skeptics and the atheist.