What Is Faith?
Faith is a topic that I have always struggled to adequately explain to people, and it seems that now more than ever people need to hear about it. It is our faith in Jesus that sets us apart from every other religion because we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our faith in Jesus is special and needs to be understood.
Faith is biblically defined in Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ To explain what faith is in the context of the bible, and what it means to have faith in Jesus, I want to break this scripture down.
The book of Hebrews was originally written in Greek, therefore, to break down the scripture and what it means we are going to look at the definition of this word in its original form. The Greek word for faith is ‘pistis’ Blue Letter Bible (BLB) translated this word to mean a conviction of the truth which is tied to trust. With God, it is a conviction that God exists, and that He is the bestower of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. With Christ, it is the conviction that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and through him, we obtain eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God.
…is the substance:
Faith is first described in this verse as substance. The Greek word used for substance in the text was ‘hypostasis’ which can mean the steadfastness of mind, firmness, confidence, firm trust and assurance. What stood out the most to me when I was researching the meaning was, ‘steadfastness of mind.’ It implies a resilience within our thoughts to believe something that cannot be easily be doubted, which links back to the Greek word for faith, which means a conviction of truth. This reminds me of a scripture that says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and should not expect to receive anything from the Lord(James 1: 6-8). This shows how a lack of faith displeases God because it shows that you doubt God’s existence and His word. A person full of faith is not double-minded but is someone persistent and resilient in the things hoped for and has a firm trust in its truth. Faith is the foundation on which our hope in Jesus is built (Matthew 7: 24 – 28). Our faith gives us strength because it is rooted in the truth of who God is.
…of things hoped for
The Greek word used for this phrase is ‘elpizo’ BLB translated this to mean ‘to wait for salvation with full joy and full confidence.’ To have faith is to believe with assured trust and confidence that Jesus is coming back, with full joy and confidence as we wait for him. This fits in with the context of the gospel. The gospel is God’s message to the world that he has come to redeem us through Jesus, and that He will come back again to take us to where He is (John 14: 1-6). This is the beautiful truth of the gospel and our faith in Jesus Christ.
The Greek word tells us that we are to wait for salvation with FULL JOY and FULL confidence. Not only should we be confident in this truth, but we should be joyful in it, and be full of joy. This is how the disciples got through many years of persecution and torture. Their faith gave them a joy that could never be taken away by physical pain. (Acts 5:41)
Faith is evidence, which in Greek is ‘elegchos’. It means proof by which something is tested. This means that our confidence and our conviction of the truth that Jesus will come back again will be tested. Real faith is more than words, the bible teaches us that faith without works is dead. You cannot say you have faith in Jesus and yet, you never tell people about him or follow his instructions, that isn’t faith (James 2: 14 – 2). James 2:14 says ‘What good is it, dear brothers and sisters if you say you have but don’t show it by your actions? Can that faith save anyone?’
…of things not seen
When we follow Jesus wholeheartedly and share the gospel, our actions become the evidence of what we cannot see, which is our eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus. The way we conduct ourselves as Christians is a testament to what we believe in. We have not yet seen our inheritance, but we have a strong, steadfast conviction of its truth and we act in accordance with that truth. It is our conviction that acts as a shield to protect us from the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6: 16). If the devil has no control over what you believe, he has no control over you. This was the problem in the garden of Eden when the devil questioned Eve on God’s commandment and he changed her conviction on what was true and thus, caused the separation between God and man. (Genesis 3:6).
Your faith in Jesus is what the devil is after because taking your faith means taking your inheritance and separating you from God. Remember without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrew 11:16). You have to believe that God’s word is true to the end and protect your faith to the end. If your faith has been failing or it used to be stronger, it’s okay, you can build it back up again, through the word of God. Romans 10:17 says Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. If you haven’t been to church in a while, go this Sunday and surround yourself with people who believe, or listen to a live stream. Finding a church community is instrumental to your walk with Christ. Proverbs 27:17 teaches us that Iron sharpens Iron, and you can find iron in church. I hope this post helps you understand our faith as Christians and strengthens your faith.
Stray Blessed x