1 what IS FAITH . (Bold type and underlining of scripture text have been added for emphasis). (Your questions and comments are welcome). There are differing systems of theological thought and practice within Christianity. Generally, these different systems are the result of what people believe. However, this consideration will be an inquiry into the scriptures explanation of the meaning and application of the words FAITH and believe . As one reads the scripture, these two words occur frequently and have obvious significance. what is their meaning? In a quest for the answer, there are some preliminary points to be considered. 1. With few exceptions, the Greek word translated FAITH is pistis, and also, (but for one other Greek word) generally, the Greek word translated believe is pistueo.
2 Pisteuo means to have FAITH (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible). and derives from pistis. Thus, we learn that the words FAITH and believe have virtually the same meaning. It is my understanding that a word being defined should not be used in its definition. Therefore, the word believe should not be used when defining FAITH , nor should the word FAITH be used when defining believe . So, one definition applies to both words. 2. a. FAITH has an intellectual basis- ** FAITH cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). b. FAITH has a volitional basis- He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
3 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:11-12). c. FAITH is an internal matter- For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness** (Romans 10:10). 3. For what purpose do we seek to know the meaning of the word FAITH ? The apostle Paul informs us at: Romans 4. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, FAITH is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 16 Therefore it is of FAITH , that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the FAITH of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Romans 5.
4 1 Therefore being justified by FAITH , we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by FAITH into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God The apostle Peter explains the essential role of FAITH for inheritance when Christ returns: 1 Peter 1. 1. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
5 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your FAITH , being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your FAITH , even the salvation of your souls. Here we learn that God's plan for fulfilling his promises to man is realized, from the perspective of man's responsibility, on the basis of FAITH .
6 On this basis, God by his grace (His divine power toward, upon, and in man). accomplishes in and through the Person and work of Christ, man's deliverance from both the penalty and the power of sin, the ultimate benefit being an everlasting inheritance in God's kingdom. Therefore, whatever FAITH is, it is the divinely conceived means through which God, exclusively by his wisdom and power, will fulfill his desire for and his purpose with man, the highest order of his physical creation. The beneficial purpose in understanding the meaning of the term FAITH is that we might know how to live by FAITH , and also, that we might know, whether or not, we are, in fact, living by FAITH .
7 The above referenced scriptures , as well as others not cited, leave no doubt that a pursuit of the Lord on any other ground than FAITH is futile. God's pleasure in man is founded on FAITH . God exercises his beneficial wisdom and power on man's behalf only because he sees FAITH in him. This fact is so clearly illustrated when the centurion's servant was sick and near death. In regard to the centurion's servant, we read at: Matthew 8. 5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 2. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great FAITH , no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
9 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. While scripture refers to FAITH in various contexts, it does not provide a precise definition thereof. However, there are many and varied accounts in scripture that show a person's inward posture toward God, which accounts are revealing concerning the meaning of FAITH . By reviewing a few, from among the many, of such scriptures we can learn the rather simple and precise meaning of FAITH . At Hebrews chapter 11, verses 33 and 34, we read, in reference to some of the faithful of the Lord, Who through FAITH **stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword**.
10 In the book of Daniel there is the account of King Nebuchadnezzar ordering all of the people to fall down and worship the image that he had made. When the three Hebrew men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not comply with the king's command, they were brought before the king and he said unto them: Daniel 3. 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?