An Introduction to Faith: What is Faith?

The title of this site is Faith Foundations. There is a simple explanation for the picking of this title. We want to better understand and apply the different things that make up and build a better and stronger “foundation of faith”. Or “the basics of faith”. But we really haven’t talked much about faith and exactly what it is. So, that is what this article will be about. An introduction to faith,

and we will hopefully have a better understanding of what faith is, so we can understand the deeper topics of faith that will be discussed in this series. This will be the introduction to our series on faith.

Let’s start out with understanding what faith is. What is faith? If we look at Merriam-Webster’s dictionary its definition for faith is: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Or a common definition that we’ve probably all heard, “A belief in something that is unseen.” Like an intelligent divine being (God). Both of these are correct and have similar definitions to what the bible defines faith as.

In the New Testament in Hebrews 11:1 Paul defines faith as “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”(NIV) The KJV puts it in a similar manner, ”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In both cases we see that “faith” is a “belief” or “certainty” in things that we cannot see. But lets not be confused here into thinking “believing” and “faith” are the same thing. Yes, they go hand in hand but they don’t mean the same thing.

For example, anyone can believe that God exists, but still not have faith in him (that is to trust in him). I believe that a friend exists. But do i have faith in him to not spend any of the $500 that I give him, for example, while i’m away? (In other words, do I trust him?) Lets look at a biblical example of this. A good verse to go along with is Hebrews 11:6 which says, “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.” According to Paul, yes we must believe he exists but, if we don’t have faith in him, we can’t please him.

Basically, if we do not have faith in him we don’t trust him to save us from our iniquities. We must have faith in him along with belief. So, to put this all in a nutshell, you can’t believe in God without faith and along with faith we have to completely trust in him and his will.

There are many examples and definitions of faith in the New Testament, but what about the Old Testament? Is faith mentioned at all in the Old. Of course! Just not as often. Lets look at three verses Genesis 15:6, Isaiah 7:9, and Habakkuk 2:4. All three have either people or people’s that do or should have faith in God. Among these we see common words (depending on the version), trust, faith, belief. The same things that we previously talked about.

Why is it not talked about as often in the Old as the New? The answer has to do with Christ. In the salvation of our souls. He also came to fulfill the Old Law (Matthew 5:17) and we now have a new faith in him, the one faith (Ephesians 4:5). Ephesians 2:8 tells us “For it is by grace that we are saved, through faith..” What grace? The grace of Jesus who willingly dies for us on the cross.. And what faith? The faith we have in him. Because without our complete faith (or trust) in him we cannot be saved.

Alot of the times we have to have faith in God to move forward in life. We have to trust in him. That is real faith. When Jesus walked on water, (Matthew 14:22-33) and he called Peter’s name to come out of the boat, Peter had to have a lot of faith. He began to walk on the water, but once he saw the wind he became scared and he started to sink. Thankfully Jesus was there to save him. And what did Jesus say after that? My favorite quote. “Ye, of little faith.” Peter had faith until he doubted. With a complete faith in God there is no room for doubt. This is a great example of how much faith we need in God. If we don’t have it, we sink deeper and deeper into sin. This quote sums up faith pretty well and what it means, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”- Martin Luther King Jr.   

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