What Is Faith?

What is faith? A study of words used to describe it will help our understanding  how we should understand it.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11: 1)

The Bible tells us how we are to live by faith.

“The just shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:38)

Our faith is based on the loving life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Confidence in Christ’s character is the basis of  ALL faith.

“Belief” and “trust” are two words used frequently in Scripture to identify how we should respond to the Lord.

One Hebrew word for “believe” is amen. It means “to use God as a foundation; to lean on Him.” Saying we trust God is one thing, but when we really trust Him and lean on Him, we enter His rest. 

Another word translated “trust” is batak. It was originally a wrestling term meaning to “body-slam” or in modern parlance “suplex.” Applied to our faith-life, it means to pick up your problems and body-slam them before the Lord. That is trust.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Our word “substance,” hypostasis, is made up of two words meaning: “to stand” and “under.” Substance is that which stands under.  It is the superstructure of life.

“Substance,”  is a scientific term opposite of theory or hypothesis.  It is used to describe a chemical which settles to the bottom in a test tube. It is the primary element in the formula. Thus, faith is seen as primary to all of life.

Substance also means “the title deed.”

New Testament believers had faith in God that was so strong they had such “assurance” that they responded as though the things promised were already a reality.

“Evidence,”elegchos, carries this further.  It is the outward evidence of the inward assurance.  The life is committed to what the mind believes.

Faith is not just a way to please God.   A lack of it is modern man’s way of attempting to deny God. In recent years man has become the measure of all things. Everything outside man’s experience or understanding is denied. Yet, who can understand how a sheep, cow, pig, and goose can eat grass in the same field and one grow wool, another hair, another bristles, and the other feathers?

Do you understand how a brown cow can eat green grass growing out of black soil and give white milk? No! Yet, we believe it.

I spent five painful weeks in the hospital recently. Faith did not vanquish my pain, but it enable me to endure it and eventually thrive.  God, His Word, and your faith are the formula for victory. 

Faith is belief God is as good as His Word, and His Word is as good as God.

Got a problem or need? Reflect on assurance given by God’s Word, employ it, and dependently relax in His grace. That is faith applied. If you do, don’t expect an answer to all your problems. Faith often means acting without answers, but with confidence God does have. Get comfortable not knowing. Get confident is acting by faith. Most tend to want to know now how things will work out. Faith is knowing they will work out. God has a plan.

Faith is a vitamin for the soul essential to your spiritual health. It enables you to bear your burdens, and thrive. Without it you suffer spiritual anemia resulting in weakness keeping you from bearing your burdens.  

There is a beautiful old hymn with this truth. “Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.” A modern expression with the same meaning is body-slam your burdens before the Lord and leave them there. Thus, you win.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight..” (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Go on, do it.