"Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11: 6KJV)
"Whatever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14: 23KJV)
What is "faith"? Why is it so important? Why is it a leading topic in the bible, especially the New Testament?
Faith basically means "belief in," or "trust in." To have faith in something is to have confidence in it. Faithfulnessresults from faith.
From the above verses of scripture the importance of faith can be readily seen. Faith is necessary to be able to "please God." To be"without faith" is to be without the means or abilityto "please God."
"And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith." (II Thessalonians 3: 2NIV)
All men have some faith in something. But, the meaning of the apostle is that not all men havefaith directed towards Godand his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Men do not have faithtowards God and Christ, but rather direct their faith and trust towards other things. The strength of faith lies in the object of faith.
"Consequently, faith comesfrom hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10: 17NIV)
There can be no faith, belief, or trust in what is not known. One cannot trust in a bank and trust company if one is not known to exist. One cannot have faith in God about whom they know nothing. One cannot have faith in Christ and in his redemption without coming to hear and know the facts concerning him and his work. Thus, to have faith in God is to have faith in the facts that one has knowledge of concerning God. Thus the "word of God" and the "gospel" are means in creating andbegetting faith.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of 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...And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11: 1-3, 6NIV)
Faith deals with the realm of spirit, with things men are unable to"see" with their physical eyes, with "invisible" things. No human being was present when Lord God made the universe. Yet, we accept the fact of it by faith in the evidences of it. Faith always implies some"evidence." Men believe based on some reason, or some evidence presented to the mind whichjustifiesor gives credence tofaith. Again, the strength of faith lies, for the most part, in the object of faith. Some things are easy to "believe" and "trust" in. Other things are quite hard to place confidence in, or to rely upon. "Faith" is not"ignorance" nor "blindness," and thus it is a contradiction or oxymoron to say "blind faith."
Faith is knowledge, notignorance orlack of knowledge. "By faith we UNDERSTAND..."Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith is assurance. Faith is built upon conviction of facts being true. Faith, in abiblical sense, is but aproper interpretation of facts. As such, faithrelates to aproper understandingand convictionabout factsof history, ofpresent circumstances, and of thecoming future. We"hope"and"expect"and"patiently wait for"what wefirmly believe is factual and truthful.
Men put faith in what they judge is worthy of faith. Is the object"trustworthy"?Before men put faith, trust, and confidence in anobject, they first make a judgment about its trustworthiness. Thus, men who do not put faith in God, and in Jesus, is because they have not judged either as being worthyobjects of faith. Unbelievers do not believe that "God exists," nor that he is good and benevolent, or a "faithful Creator" (I Peter 4: 19), or a "rewarder of those who diligently seek him."
"These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (II Peter 1: 7NIV)
Faith is the most important thing! It cannot be over emphasized. It needs to be stressed and pressed upon all men. It is more valuable than all the money in the world. "Genuine" faith, says the apostle, will be the thing that is extolled and praised by the God of heaven in the day of judgment, while unbelief will be the thing that will be utterly condemned.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 2NIV)
"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love." (Ephesians 3: 12, 17NIV)
"Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." (I Peter 1: 21 NIV)
These verses inform Christians that saving faith, or real faith, is the creation and gift of God himself. No man can author or produce his own faith. No Christiancredits himself with beingmade a believer. He views his faith and knowledge of God as being the result of divine power, the result of being "enlightened" and given"revelation" by the Holy Spirit.
"I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." (Acts 20: 21NIV)
This is what the servants of Christ do when they communicate the message of the gospel to men. They tell them about God, his word, and about the Lord Jesus Christ, and then they call upon them to place their faith, presenting them as trustworthy objects of faith. Notice the word "must" in the declaration concerning repentance and faith. One cannot find forgiveness with God, andjustification from the guilt of sin, apart fromrepentance and faith.
"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." (I Corinthians 15: 14, 17NIV)
The Christian has placed faith in the work of Christ. He trusts in his person and in the success of his mission to save sinners. He believes in his victory over death by believing in his resurrection from the grave. But, if there be no God, no Creator, no Lord Jesus Christ, and no genuine story of the gospel, and no resurrection of Jesus, then the "faith" and "conviction" of the Christian world is"futile" and of no significance, yea, a detriment and a falsehood. Besides, the greatest of all consequences would be that we are not forgiven and must face God in Judgment without Christ and his atonement.
"Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus." (Acts 24: 24NIV)
So too do Christians still often talk to others, and among themselves, about "faith in Christ Jesus." It is such an essential topic of discussion.
"By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." (Acts 3: 16NIV)
Notice how the writer speaks of the cause and the effects of faith.
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3: 26NIV)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2: 8, 9NIV)
"But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe." (Galatians 3: 22NIV)
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Romans 3: 21-28NIV)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5: 1, 2NIV)
"...know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified."(Galatians 2: 16NIV)
"So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3: 24NIV)
"We live by faith, not by sight." (II Corinthians 5: 7NIV)
"He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith." (Acts 15: 9 NIV)
"I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'" (Acts 26: 17, 18NIV)
What do all these verses tell us about "faith"?Faith is essential to salvation and justification. It is necessary for one to be "forgiven"and "cleansed" of sin. Faith is but the hand thataccepts God's gift of life, salvation, and justification from the guilt of the law.
Men are not saved because they have lived good lives, but because they believe in the one and only person who did live a good life, who only lived a perfect life without sin. God graciously "accounts" all of the goodness and righteousness of Jesus, before the law, to the"credit" of everyone who puts faith in Christ as the Savior.
Friend, are you one who has "faith" or one who does not? Are you a believer in Jesus or an unbeliever? The answer to that question means all the difference in the world.