Understanding Bible Faith! What Is Bible Faith and What Makes it Different than Other Types of Faith? Part 6
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 6 in a series of very advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a discussion concerning the definition of Bible faith, then we will have a discussion about what faith is and then finally how your Bible faith is different from another person’s faith like those that believe in Islam, Buddha or whoever. If you have been reading this series of lessons, you should know that the subject of faith is a very complex topic to completely understand, like most other subjects found in the Bible. In the last lesson I discussed 8 basic factors that all contributed to you having faith. I also went into the Old Testament and even showed how faith was demonstrated in the life of David and how all of the steps that i listed were still valid for what was written about concerning David’s faith. You should be able to draw out these steps in the lives of anybody in the Bible that is said to have faith. Go through the list of faith heroes found in Hebrews 11 and see who God has inducted into the faith hall of fame and then go read about them again in the Old Testament. See how they heard God say something, see how they received what was spoken, understanding it and then believed it. Then watch and listen to everything that they say and do. See if they expect anything to happen. See if they have any confidence in God coming through for them. Elijah is a great faith man. He called down fire from heanven. He spoke words that caused it not to rain for three and half years. Go and read these stories again and you will see that God honored their faith when nothing else would work. Even though God never mentioned faith as a factor, God always moved the mightiest when a man was established in faith and believed God’s Word. Here are the steps that I have listed for you to review:
- Your Will
- Your Ability to Hear
- Your Understanding of the Word Heard
- Your Beliefs
- Your Confidence
- Your Words
- Your Expectation Level
- Your Actions
These are what I call the Faith Partners that must be present and working in unity to produce results. I hope that you have read all of the previous lessons for I will not be repeating that information in any great detail and it was all very important to know. So if you have not read from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start reading with “Part 1”.
In speaking of faith it is interesting to note that everyone in the world, saved or unsaved has faith to some degree. That sounds like a contradiction to a statement that I made in an earlier lesson where I told you that the Bible says “For all men do not have faith” (2 Th 3:2). But, what we must realize is that there are different types of faith and God is speaking of Bible faith in 2 Thessalonians 3:2 and not common human faith that everyone possesses. Faith is a basic human characteristic created by God. Faith is based upon ignorance and since every human is ignorant, we all have to have faith. Let me try to explain that last statement in different terms. Since none of us are God, our knowledge is extremely limited; would you agree with that statement? We therefore, on a daily basis accept many things by our faith and we do not even realize that this is what we are doing. For example, the sun rise this morning came by natural human faith. Now just because we have seen thousands of sunrises in the past does not necessarily prove or mean that there will be another one tomorrow. If you believe that there will be one then you are in effect placing your faith in your past experiences. You believe that the sun will rise tomorrow and thus your confidence and expectations are set based upon only on your past experiences or your current knowledge of how the earth rotates around the sun. There is no proof or evidence for the sun coming up tomorrow, because it has not happened yet. After it happens then you have the proof or evidence, but before it happens you can only believe that it will happen. This is common human faith, just not Bible faith. Let me try to give you another different example of having common faith. If you make a date with someone to have dinner at a certain time and place and you show up, then you had faith based upon what? Your faith is based upon the word of agreement from that person that you were supposed to meet with. Now depending upon who that person was, your confidence level and expectation level of them showing up might be great or it might be very small based upon your past experiences with them. This is acting out your faith in the real world, but this is not Bible faith. Showing up at a dinner date is an act of faith, you start with words with a friend, the two of you agree with the words that were heard to make the arrangements, you understand the arrangement, you believe the arrangement and then you wait for the time and go to the restaurant to meet with them. If your confidence level was correct you expect them to show up on time. That is how common faith works and we do it every day. Do you understand how human ignorance plays a role in both of these examples that I just gave you? In both cases you must believe in something that you cannot prove will happen. So let’s discuss what is different about Bible faith. The only difference is God is the one that we are expecting to show up; it is based upon His word that we are putting our confidence in. It is the Word of God that we must hear spoken and we must understand these words. Next we must believe the words and put our full confidence in Him and His Word. That is Bible faith and it is the exact same process that you went through to make a dinner reservation with a friend. Here is the challenge to Bible faith; no one has ever seen God. You cannot prove that God exists. So you take His existence by your faith and this is beginning of Bible faith, but not the end of it. God can then do many great things as your faith progresses upward to greater levels.
Do you realize that the Bible says it is impossible for God to lie? (Heb. 6:18, Tit. 1:2, Rom. 3:4) There are very few things in the Bible that it says that God cannot ever do and lie is definitely one of the few things that God is completely incapable of doing. Why is that important? It is important because it helps establish your confidence level in what the Bible says and the Word of God is the basis for Bible faith. If God says something in the Bible and you can claim it for yourself then God says you can have it (2 Cor 1:20). Many ignorant Christians have derogatorily called this a “name it and claim it” false religion. But, that is their problem and not mine, I’m just studying the Bible and seeing what it says and you can do whatever you like and ignore the parts of the Bible that do not fit your theology, if that is what you want to do. What these Christians do not realize is that faith is how they became a Christian and if they have no faith, then they are not Christians. The word of God is a handbook written to you personally. The words in it are written to you as a personal love letter and this is the basis or the foundation to your house of faith. You are building a faith house and your faith foundation must be the Word of God.
I am trying to teach you that everyone in the world has faith, but few have faith in God and even fewer have actual faith in His Word. Jesus taught us that wide is the path that leads to destruction and many are those that find this path (Mat 7:13). Jesus went on to say that narrow is the path to life and few are those who find it. Since both paths contain people with faith it is extremely sad to me that only a few get to live with God forever. What do the people on the wide path to destruction, have their faith in? They either believe there is no God, no judgment, no hell, no eternity, etc., or they believe in Buddha, Mohammed, Hare Krishna, the Dali Lama or some other false religion. Everyone believes something in the world, even the atheist believes there is no God, and the Hindu believes there is another chance coming in the next life, and on and on. Man was created by God to believe in something and this is what people do every day for good or evil.
That was my introduction to the definition of faith. As you can see it is complex while being based upon simple binary concepts. I learned this approach as a computer programmer. You take the complex system and reduce it to rudimentary understandable pieces and learn those and then as each part works together the complex system works as a whole. A binary concept is one where only two possible answers exist. In the binary world of computers everything is based upon either ones or zeros. That is the basis for the concepts of faith. You either, hear or you don’t hear. You either understand or you don’t understand. You either believe or you don’t believe. Just basic binary choices, yet making the right choices can result in great things and making the wrong choice can lead you down the wide path to destruction. I want to give you the classic Bible definition of what faith is according to the Word of God. This definition is found in the first verse of Hebrews 11 which is the famous “Faith Hall of Fame” chapter found in the Bible:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
There are many people who have read this verse but do not understand what it means and I was one of those in the past. As you can see this verse contains the classic Bible construction of a definition being revealed to us. Whenever God gives us this information, it is a classic spiritual redefinition of a word that we thought we understood. This verse says “Faith IS” and then goes into what faith should be to us. I will take it word for word and hopefully elaborate on what it actually is saying. The first word in the verse is the word “Now” and this is a reference to time. Time is a concept expressed in three different dimensions. Time can be past, present or future. So we can clearly see that faith is said to be a present tense reality. In other words your faith that you had yesterday is not a factor and your faith that you will have tomorrow is also not a factor. It is only the faith that you have right now that is a factor to what happens to you right now. When people came up to Jesus, He would always rebuke them for having no faith or He would commend them for having great faith. When was their faith important or not important, effective or not effective to Jesus? You can clearly see that faith only mattered at the exact time when Jesus was speaking to them. Jesus never cared if they had faith yesterday and Jesus never cared if they might change and have faith tomorrow. Jesus never told anyone to go get more faith and come back tomorrow. If you had no faith right then and there, you got nothing from Jesus. The woman with the issue of blood got healed because she had right now faith at the instance when she needed it the most. All of the other people in the crowd had no faith while they were touching Him and none of them got healed. Do you understand now how important faith is? The next word in Hebrews 11 is “Faith” and since “Faith” is what we are defining, I will not be discussing that word.
So let’s move to the definition part of the Hebrews 11:1 verse and the words translated as “the substance”. This Greek word translated as “substance” is not easily understood unless you look up the definition in the Strong’s concordance and read what it says. This Greek word translated as “substance” means “confidence”. Here is one of the key 8 faith partners that I gave you earlier. Do you have any cofidence?
- Do you have confidence in the existence of God?
- Do you have confidence in the ability of God?
- Do you have confidence in God’s Word?
- Do you have confidence that God will do what He said?
Confidence is a multi-dimensional critical building block to having faith and I just listed four things that you need to have confidence in. if you have confidence in only 3 out of 4 of those things, then your confidence is lacking and you need to learn more of the Bible. Today, you might have confidence in one area but not every area that I just raised. Only you will be able to evaluate your level of confidence in each of those areas.
What is confidence based on? If you have experience with someone then you base your confidence level upon your experience. So what if you are new to someone? What do you have to base your confidence in? Confidence is a factor of trust. The better you know someone the more you trust them. This is another reason people fail to receive from God. They do not know God. They do not know the character of God. They do not know the integrity of God. They do not know the promises of God. You are going to have to ask yourself, do you trust God?
Psa 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
There are too many verses in the Bible for me to give you them all about trusting in God. The word trust also contains multiple concepts. First, it means to have confidence in. Next, it means to be sure of. Next, it means to be certain of. There are a number of synonymous terms like be assured, be confident, be convinced, be firm and to be unquestioning. Trust and confidence go hand and hand and they are both essential partners to your faith.
The next Greek word in this verse is translated as “things hoped for”. This again is a very difficult word to understand unless you look up the definition in the Strong’s. The word translated as “hoped” is actually poorly translated in today’s English language. When we hope for something in the modern world we normally just wish that this was what was happening. I have heard many ministers about to pray for someone and they ask them “will you be healed now when I lay my hands on you?”, and the answer is usually “I sure hope so”. This means the people wished it would happen but that they did not actually have any confidence that it was going to happen. Let’s take this back to the woman with the issue of blood. Remember what she said? She said “If I touch His clothes, I will be made whole”. There is absolutely no doubts in that statement to her not having any confidence that it would not happen. What would have changed if she said “I hope I will be made whole”? You see she would not have been healed. Hope is not having full confidence and this Greek word in Hebrews 11 does not mean to “hope“, it means “to expect” and this is based upon your confidence level. So we are back to having confidence and expecting something to happen as the woman with the issue of blood did. The last part of this definition says this “the evidence of things not seen”. As we come to the conclusion we see that having faith from the Bible definition is our evidence of what we do not see with our physical eyes. What is evidence? In a court of law “evidence” is the “proof” of innocence or guilt. Why is God introducing you to legal terms and court room procedures in this definition? It is because God is the Supreme Judge and His ways are the Spiritual Laws that govern what happens to us. So you better understand that faith is the component that will either exonerate you or your lack of faith will convict you on judgment day. Did you know that Faith was a spiritual Law? This is why God is introducing legal court terms like evidence:
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
According to the Word of God, Faith is a spiritual law that is the opposite of another spiritual law called the “law of works”. Those in the Old Covenant were trying to achieve salvation by the law of works. Israel was given 5 books of the Law and these contained instructions from God of the does and don’ts of everything that was permissible on a daily basis. Jesus came and changed everything and said “He that believes on me shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus came to reveal the law of faith which professes salvation that is based upon believing. This was obviously a radical departure from the law of works. However, the Bible tells us very clearly that Christians have been justified by faith and that no flesh shall be justified by keeping the Law of Moses (Acts 13:39). You see the term “justified” in the Greek language means to be found innocent. Again we see the legal ramification of terms and words that are usually only associated with a court of law.
Let’s take this information and relate it back to the woman with the issue of blood. What evidence did the woman have from the time that she left her house until the time she touched Jesus’ clothes? At no time before touching Jesus did the woman feel differently or feel like she was healed, yet she continued to press through the crowd until she reached Jesus. Technically speaking at no time did the woman have any physical evidence to being healed or that she would be healed. But, by the definition of faith given to us in Hebrews 11:1, we see that her faith must have been her evidence. Because she heard and believed on Jesus and had confidence in what she heard to be the truth, she expected to get healed when she touched Him. Here is the law of faith and how it works. Faith must be present internally to see the external results. Because she believed that she was already healed internally in her spirit, the external manifestation of this reality showed up on the outside. This is still exactly how faith works in the modern world without Jesus being here physically. Like I told you before, you cannot go and touch him physically today, but that does not mean you cannot touch Him spiritually and that He is still looking for your faith to give you what you need.
If you would like to conintue reading in this series about Bible Faith, please continue to “Part 7“.
Posted on February 10, 2011, in Bible Study, Faith, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Jesus, Knowledge, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.