Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary defines faith as; 1. Confidence in or dependence on a person or thing trustworthy. 2. Belief without need of certain proof. 3. Belief in God or religious writings. 4. A system of religious belief. 5. Allegiance. Contrast --bad faith Deceit; dishonesty. –in faith, Indeed; truly. –in good faith with honorable intentions. –to break faith 1. To betray one’s principals or beliefs. 2. To break a promise. –to keep faith 1. To adhere to one’s principals or beliefs. 2. To keep a promise. –interj. Indeed. [< L fidere to trust]
The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance says
#4102. pistis; from #3982; faith, faithfulness: ---faith (238), faithfulness (3), pledge (m)(1), proof (1).
#3982 peitho is described as a primary word, verb; to persuade, to have confidence:-assure(1), confident(3), convinced(7), followed(m)(2), have confidence(2), having confidence(2), listen(m)(1), obey(3), obeying(1), put confidence in(2), put trust in(1), relied(1), seeking favor(1), sure(2), took advice(1), trust in(2), trusted in(1), trusting in(1), trusts in(1), urging(1), win over(1), won over(2).
Faithful 1. True or trustworthy in the performance of duty, the fulfillment of promises, etc.; loyal. 2. True in detail or accurate in description: a faithful copy.
--the faithful 1. The followers of a religious faith. 2. The loyal members of any group. –faithfully, ---faithfulness.
Faith, according to its use in the English language in one form, could be described as a very practical application of trust. So faith is getting information, evaluating the information and deeming it true, then applying that information and acting in belief as though a proven fact. The less proof we require to believe, the more we are said to act on faith. The term, “blind faith” is used of absolute trust information. A second form is supernatural faith. It is this faith that is employed by anyone who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I’ll describe this form as trust in information that has been divinely revealed. The more we know of the Bible, the more we know it to be trustworthy as the faithful word of God and this demonstrates the practical aspect of faith. Much of it is proven faithful as we read and daily see the practical aspect of God’s instruction. Even so, veteran theologians and pastors are often heard saying, “I don’t know how many times I’ve read that verse, but until now I’d never seen it in that light.” That scripture has been revealed. That individual’s spiritual eyes were opened to a spiritual truth and they gained spiritual understanding.
In the Greek, believe “pisteuo” 4100 (a contraction of noun and verb) is used to convey, “firmly persuaded upon hearing, a firm conviction producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth. 2 Thess 2:11-12” So at salvation we hear and are persuaded so completely as to commit the rest of our lives to Jesus. Obviously, this is only possible through the divine intervention of an all-powerful God because previous to this event we literally cannot perceive either our need for salvation or God’s willingness or ability to accept and save us. 2 Corinthians 4:2-5
Luke 22:32, “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;” Acts 6:7b “and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” 16:5 “So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.”
Romans 1:5 “through Whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake,” 4:20 “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waiver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,” 12:3 “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Vs. 6 “And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly; if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;” 14:1 “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.”
1Corinthians 12:9 Supernatural faith is spoken of as a Spiritual gift.
While “pistis” is translated into “faith” 238 times in the New American Standard Bible, it is interesting to note that it was translated once as “pledge,” once as “proof,” and 3 times as “faithfulness.” Lets look at where these occur and how. We’ll take them in the order they came.
At 1 Timothy 5:11-12, Paul is speaking to a young pastor of honoring a widow who is, what Paul calls “a widow indeed.” He says, “But refuse to put younger widows on the list, (list of widows indeed) for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge (pistis).” Sounds as though they were pledging themselves to Christ as some kind of Nuns. Paul was concerned that these young widows would disregard faith, that is to say their commitment to Christ.
James 2:19 demonstrates the need to do more than believe, but to commit. We work (study and meditate) to be grounded in the Word and as we stand firm in the conviction of our belief in the resurrected Christ, our faith is made solid. Galatians 5:1-6, Philippians 2:12. The works of faith are perfected by our simply believing and acting in that belief. These works are known as fruit. Fruit of the Spirit are a result of living a Spirit filled life. Works that are not as a joy unto the LORD or which are designed to impress people are not fruit of the Spirit. To abide in Christ and have Him abide in me is to be empowered and to be faithful to live by His will (direction). John 15:5-8
“Pistis” the same word, is used to communicate the idea of the gift of God as spoken in Ephesians 2:8,9 by the same speaker, Paul. It becomes clear then, responsibility on the part of the Christian is required to walk (live or act according) by faith or commitment to Christ. This is a two-way relationship just like dating and marriage. He has committed Himself to us and expects us to commit ourselves to Him. Note: He is perfect and commits Himself perfectly. We are of a fallen, imperfect nature and our commitment is flawed with our nature. He has provided for this in 1John 1:9.
Luke uses the same word describing the provision of God to empower us to victory and is the reason for every Christian’s accountability to God for faith. Acts 17:30-31, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man who He has appointed, having furnished proof “pistis” to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
We are also called to prove, (be proof) witness through our testimony the worthiness of God for our trust. Revelation 12:10,11 “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. And they (the saints) overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”
All the proof we’ll ever have or need is given to us at the point of salvation when we accept that Christ was crucified and died for our sins and believe He rose from the dead. This is the reason God will not increase our faith. If you have faith enough for salvation, you have faith enough to raise someone from the dead, to move mountains, curse a fig tree, command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and to plant itself in the sea, or to cast out demons.
An example of this is found with Jesus teaching something especially difficult to abide by and the apostles respond with, Luke 17:5, “And the Apostles said, ‘Lord increase our faith.’” In the very next verse, Luke 17:6 Jesus answered them, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, (one of the smallest of seeds) you can say to this mulberry tree ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea.’ and it would obey you.” Let me say it again! The reason God will not increase faith is because all the proof is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Hebrews 6:4-6 Faith is given by this proof.
One block to the flow of power is in lack of forgiveness. Jesus ties these together in Mark 11:22-26. All lack of forgiveness must to be eradicated. The person we are most likely to hold unforgiveness for is ourselves. 1John 3:21 “If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” Without assurance, confidence we have no power to stand firm in our faith. 2Thessalonians 1:11 “To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power;” To what end? It was to glorify God.
Free will is still at work. Everywhere through the gospels, Jesus chides the apostles for the smallness of their faith. I have to take this as smallness of faithfulness or commitment more than belief and trust. The word “pistis” is translated both ways.
Galations 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (pistis), gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness, (pistis); but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
Romans 3:3 If some did not believe, their unbelief did not nullify the faithfulness (pistis)of God, did it?” God does not need to trust or believe us, He has known from the foundation of time. Yet, the same word is used here in order to convey commitment.
The only place in the New American Standard Bible New Testament I could find faith being increased, was not through prayer or directly by God. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith (dedication to following Christ) in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” Faith (their commitment) had increased, or perhaps better translated, “firmed up” with personal experience of God’s faithfulness.
. Faith is a gift of God but it is important to keep in mind that it is described partly as commitment and always implies action based on belief and commitment.
.There is physical evidence for the resurrection in the events recorded in history, but the enemy has blinded men everywhere to these. Men deny Jesus because of their love of sin. Jesus was seen by more than 500 men at one time after He rose from the dead. So dramatic and effective were these appearances that time itself is measured on His existence by those who know Him. The effect He has on those who know Him is so dramatic that their testimonies affect unbelievers and make them believers as the Father draws them. Revelation 12:11 When they believe, He enters their hearts and they experience the personal relationship with Him and change. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And so the family of Christians grows.
In John17:17,18 Jesus is praying for all the disciples throughout all generations, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” In order for us to know the truth, we have to read (hear) the truth from the Source, His love letter to us. A.K.A. the Bible. The truth is then applied to our lives. This is shown at 2Timothy 3:16. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” We must have the Spirit of God for discernment of spirits and discernment of the Word. 1 John 2:27 “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” In 1 Samuel 14:6-23 The king’s young son and his younger armor bearer moved into the enemy camp and within about a hundred feet, slaughtered twenty soldiers of the garrison. The Jews looked and saw the multitude of Philistines moving around and running from something in the camp. While this is going on, the Jews have time enough to take a census of their ranks to find out who was missing. When they find out its Jonathon, the king takes time to talk with the priest before joining the battle in the Philistines’ camp. The words Jonathon uses to start all this were, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”
As we begin to move in the ministry of faith, our commitment becomes more solid with every new experience of God’s faithfulness. Practice what you know to be God’s will for righteousness in God’s will. Learn all you can of the will of God, and commit yourself to doing what you know is God’s will and watch God move in power at your request. This is not a righteousness for salvation. That was accomplished at the cross. But for power to glorify God as He moves with miracles, righteousness is a necessity. James 5:16 “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Galations 3:11b “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN LIVES BY FAITH.” Romans 14:23b “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” Sin is defined as “missing the mark.” And the mark, in this case, is the will of God.
The men who followed Jesus on earth received faith from God to believe in Jesus as the Christ long before they received power from Him to do the great works that we know them for today. Stephan, the first martyr and Peter speaking boldly before thousands. Paul and Sylas rejoicing because they were counted worthy to suffer for the Name. All of them laying hands on and seeing miracles occur and going everywhere witnessing of the love and saving grace of God to birth new churches.
While Jesus was with them they were beginning to move in the works of faith, yet imperfectly. Mathew 17:16 “And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” In verse 20 He chides them yet again. “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” Then He adds, “But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
A man of faith is a faithful and loyal man. I like the example in the definition of faithful, “a faithful copy.” A faithful copy of Christ in love and commitment, knowing that what is set before us, in this life as well as the next, is truer than this physical existence. The belief, the conviction of this grows more assured as I commit my life to His purposes and experience His faithfulness to do exactly what He said He’d do. Romans 12:1 “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
I must risk rejection for His sake. He who testifies of Me before men, I will testify of to My Father, and he who denies me before men, I will deny before the Father.****** To be a man of faith means I speak the truth He tells me to speak to whom He tells me to speak at the time He tells me to speak. I stand up for righteousness even if no other man stands with me. I willingly look a fool to obey His command to lay hands on and pray for healing and release or to publicly worship Him. If I am to be a man of faith, I must willingly pour my life out for Him as He did for me. This is what it means to “Take up your cross and follow Me.” Matthew 10:38 ------------------------He said we could expect to be rejected and hated because we represent Him and He was rejected and hated.**** Paul and Sylas rejoiced at the fact they were counted worthy to suffer for Him***** In all works of faith and every thought we are to filter our hearts through the love (agapeo) of Christ and men. Our motivation must be for the good pleasure of God for power from on high.
1 Corinthians 13 demonstrates the uselessness of faith without love. We can be in total agreement with God and see the great miracles by our own hand and still not have salvation for ourselves. God will accomplish His will through willing servants, but let us watch the motivation of our hearts for the full reward to come at His returning. If I seek any reward for these works in the present life I forsake the reward in heaven. Even if all I seek is to be noticed by men. Matthew 6:1
Some of the strongest warnings in the Bible are in regard to our faith! It concerns me deeply for the American church overall, when I read verses like, Hebrews 3:12-19, 5:9-6:12. Especially verses 6:4-6 “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened, (the unveiling of spiritual eyes 2Cor3:14) and have tasted of the heavenly gift (experienced salvation) and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, (The Baptism in the Spirit) and have tasted the good Word of God (recognize its validity) and the powers of the age to come, (the working of miracles) and then have fallen away, (rejected the truth) it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”
We may be unable to determine what’s in a person’s heart, but the evidence of attendance is obvious. It has been estimated that 70% of church members simply dropout of attendance in America. Whether they are falling away from the faith is between God and them, but we are each responsible to encourage one another in the faith. Dropping out of attendance is a definite sign of a struggle in their faith.
Do they lose their trust in God because some immature Christian hurt them or the pastor failed to recognize their works? More likely they lose their devotion to Christ long before such incidents. Indeed, in some cases their may never have been the devotion to Christ. This is the work of ministry that is least desired and most needed within church today. The faithful man is to correct and challenge, in the care and knowledge of Agapeo love, every wayward sheep. Search out the will of God through prayer and study before approaching them, but do not fail to go after them. Galations 6:1 “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” This is one of the finest examples of spiritual faithfulness going. James 5:19,20 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.”
2Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” When we fail to do what we know we should, we are able to confess that as sin, repent and try again. 1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Concerning confession, I recommend confessing to a brother in Christ as it says in James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
My personal definition of faith is now boiled down and rendered into the old, old nine-word adage:
“God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Except that I would add, “so I’ll walk it.”
***Let us see if God is willing.*** Does God want me to get married? Does God want me to reach these bikers with the gospel? Does God want me to work in the prison? Does God want me to speak against homosexuality publicly? Does God want me to reach the men’s group with my testimony? Does God want me on the mission field? Does God want me to offer to pray for healing for this quadriplegic? Does God want me to speak to this pastor about his Christian walk?
.This rebellion is passive aggressive. It would be like saying to yourself, “I don’t want to do that job, I’ll just act like I didn’t know it needed to be done and busy myself with this ‘more important job’ and let someone else do it.”
. To apply teaching without contemplation or meditation can get you very spiritually damaged. I might read where God had Abraham sacrifice his son and decide to do what God called Abraham to and would very quickly find myself condemned by God and society, and rightly so.
. Gal 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
. . We can even place faith without any information at all. We can also replace our faith, “Whereas I once thought I could get to heaven by cleaning up my act and convincing God I am good enough for His kingdom, I now believe I can’t. I now rely on the provision of God in the finished work of Jesus Christ to get me into the kingdom of heaven.” I have removed my faith in my ability to save me and placed it in the ability of Jesus to save me. Just as I have placed my faith in Christ, I can change my mind and remove my faith in Christ and go back to trusting my own ability. This would mean I am a fool, but I could do it. This is what is meant when the Bible says some fell away from the faith. It can also mean I no longer concern myself with the kingdom of God. Let me make it very clear here, you cannot be taken out of God’s covering or redemption, but free will is still yours. You are free to choose any other way, right or wrong. As a Christian, I am convinced there is no other right way. One question still remains, “Can I fall away and get resaved or am I doomed after turning away from the faith?” My personal experience stares me in the face, else I would believe once fallen, lost forever. We all have doubts, we all get discouraged but I walked away from the faith for 20 years and acted grotesquely. Yet the Lord never gave up calling me and drawing me back into fellowship with Him. I could have been doomed eternally according to the scriptures, but here I am. I’m now baptized in the Holy Spirit and more grateful than ever for His mercy and grace. I wasn’t re-reborn but I was certainly resaved because I had gone back to my self destructive nature leading to death.
Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
. So, you say, “All I can do is ask God for more faith. If I read the Bible and listen to the pastor teach, I’ve done all I can to get more faith, the rest is all on God. If He chooses to give me more, great. If not, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Yes, we should read the Bible but, just reading or hearing the pastor and not practicing what I receive or even meditating over it (evaluating how to apply it to my life) is not profitable for faith. ^^^^^^ In fact, these might serve only to inoculate us against faith!
. James tells us to anoint with oil, pray and see what God does. James 5:13-15
. When we are saved, we pray, “Jesus, I believe You died for me on the cross and that You rose from the dead. John 3:16 I agree with You that I am a sinner. Romans 3:23 Forgive my sin, come into my heart and make me the kind of person You want me to be. 1John 1:9 I renounce sin and commit myself to following You.” Romans 6:17
. We can place faith in worthy information and individuals or in unworthy information or individuals. I’d always understood faith to be, “able to depend on or trust in God.” While this much is true, it really is an incomplete picture of the provision of power God has given every Christian. I see now that I’ve done myself a great disservice by not looking into it more fully and much sooner.
. I’ve been a believer for about fifteen years and only about 5 years ago looked into the depths of what it means to have faith and to be a man of faith. As a young Christian I wanted greater faith, more faith, better faith and sought faith through prayer and reading the Word. I understood faith to be an essential part of Christianity. I had asked older believers what faith is and how to get it and was quoted <TOPIC:Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Ephesians 2:8,9 “For your salvation is from Jesus Christ through faith, and that not of yourselves that you may not boast.”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.”
These are accurate quotes, but don’t they leave you with an ethereal sense of other worldliness? Kind of like grasping smoke or eating cotton candy. No matter how big a chunk you pull from the cone you can’t fill your mouth. As soon as it touches your tongue it just melts away. So it was with my confidence. I could sit in church and worship and pray with knowledge and get the holy goose bumps and all my confidence would melt at the door on the way out into the world.
You mean, God You want me to witness?” You want me to be ready to lay hands on anyone willing at any time? Like that unsaved woman’s injured puppy and pray for healing so she could know You as a loving God. But, w-ww-What if it doesn’t work? What if I pray and it doesn’t happen? I’d look like a fool, a religious fanatic and God, You’d look like a powerless, or even nonexistent God.”
You know how we have to protect God, right?
What I didn’t understand, was that faith like love is not a feeling. With love we make a choice to care, then feelings follow. Similarly, faith is a choice, but confidence type feelings come only with experience. Every time I come to circumstances greater than my experiences, my feelings are fear and nervousness. Even so, I have the option to act according to the Word of God or what my understanding and reason indicate, or what my flesh is screaming. “RU-U-U-UN”
. I’ll caution you here to check your motives. As a young believer, my desire for faith really was and more often than I’d like to admit, still is about having the respect and acceptance among people. Possibly, in my immaturity and sinful nature, I value their approval even more than the approval of God. My faith is enough for salvation but I limit God, by being such a spiritual toddler, a danger to myself and others. Faith won’t be complete without complete obedience. This doesn’t mean He can’t or won’t use me or you to do great things, otherwise He’d be doing everything without using anyone. Hey, if He can use an ass, then He can use me. Numbers 22:28 Even so, He won’t set me up to fail. In fact He is working all things together for the good of those who love ********Him.
If He’d used me as an instrument to work great miracles then, my pride might easily have poisoned my heart against Him the next time an opportunity to see a miracle arose and God chose in His sovereignty not to use me at that time. Or, if the miracle occurred and I allowed the glory to fall on me, I may have insisted it is for any believer to move in miracles at anytime. I could stumble another young believer. Suffice it to say, “everyone who is not God has room for improvement.” There is no greater faith than to believe Christ is the Son of God, paid for our sins on Calvary and rose from the dead. However, our faith commitment will always need work.