The Biblical Definition of Faith
In the Bible, faith has complex meaning. It is intimately related to ‘revelation’ or God’s disclosure of truth.
The disclosure of God to man requires action because every revelation of God is a truth. And truth requires personal ascension to its meaning, which obligates a response to each truth.
A positive (or obedient) response always leads to purity of heart, reflecting God’s righteous loving nature. These are the fruits and beauty of faith.
Biblical or saving faith can be described as loyal submission founded upon hope of the knowledge God has given to us.
Faith cannot be separated from Gods’ love for the outcome of faith is always love. Nor can faith be separated from the grace of God which calls all men to Him.
Faith brings righteousness and justifies us if we are responsive to it through obedience. Here is a great examples of saving faith.
he staggered not at the promise of God
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
and being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised,
he was able also to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone,
that it was imputed to him;
but for us also,
to whom it shall be imputed,
if we believe on him
that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
who was delivered for our offences,
and was raised again for our justification.
~ Romans 4:20-25
Abraham did not just ascent and believe. By his faith, he left all and follow God into the wilderness to be a sojourner and pilgrim in this land. That is what faith is calling us to do as well.
Our faith should subsist on nothing other than the truth and commands as evealed in God’s word. Namely, He created the heavens and the Earth so we could share in His love and holiness for all eternity.
Through faith we understand
that the worlds were framed
by the word of God,
so that things which are seen
were not made of things which do appear.
~ Hebrew 11:3
Our faith subsists on the truth of God’s promises. Our ascension to these truths draws conviction to our heart that demands loyalty and action. When we receive the Gospel message, the effects of our faith has justifying power.
Thanks be to the sacrificial gift of our loving savior Jesus Christ!
This work of grace creating in our heart the beginnings of a ‘new man.’ A man like Christ.
The Shipwreck of Faith
Our faith can become shipwrecked if we are not careful. It must be protected and nurtured at all costs.
holding faith, and a good conscience;
which some having put away concerning faith
have made shipwreck:
~ I Timothy 1:9
We are to hold fast to our faith without wavering in obedience to God’s word, this creates a good conscience (a clean heart) as witnessed by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,
that we are the children of God
~ Romans 8:16
If we do not have this blessed assurance, then we have failed in our striving to enter into the strait gate.
Strive to enter in at the strait gate:
for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in,
and shall not be able.
~ Luke 13:24
Faith must be mixed with obedience and not spoiled by doubt, so we can enter into God’s rest.
Let us labor
therefore to enter into that rest,
lest any man fall
after the same example of unbelief.
If we no longer are working out our salvation with fear and trembling, we have fallen into sin.
For if we sin wilfully
after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins
~ Hebrews 10:26
The changing of the ‘old man’ into the ‘new man’ is a necessary component for every Christian. It is not something that happens overnight. We need to learn how to cloth ourselves in the armour of God and die to our self.
Leonard Ravenhill said, There are only two type of people in this world. Those who are dead to sin and those who are dead in their sins.
I do not believe there is any room for lukewarmness, compromise, or sleeping Christians in the kingdom of God. These all shipwreck our faith.
God’s Disclosure of Truth
concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
which was made of the seed of David
according to the flesh;
and declared to be the Son of God with power,
according to the spirit of holiness,
by the resurrection from the dead:
by whom we have received grace and apostleship,
for obedience to the faith among all nations,
for his name:
among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
~ Romans 1:3-6
Here God shows who brought the Gospel. It is the greatest revelation of God to man, redemption by faith that bring grace, gift of offices, as He calls us to Him.
He reveals the good news through shadows and images in the Old Testament leading to the the birth, sacrifice, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.
The truth is a holy calling and God reveals it to us through His grace. What we do with this truth can lead us to obedience unto salvation or disobedience unto death.
The Obedience of Faith
Found between the disclosure of God’s redemption plan and calling in Christ in the scripture above is my favorite description of faith: The obedience of faith.
This brief statement houses the central idea of Christianity: The love of God abounding by revelation to us-ward through faith holding transformative power unto holiness, purity, and love.
Obedience of faith toward God is the only truth (and law) to be fearfully considered, wisely understood, and vigilantly embraced.
The Call of Faith
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
This truth and command calls us to be on the alert: one of the blossoms of true, saving faith.
It is understood that we should know what to be alert for and why. This is the last chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul has discussed many of the problems the Corinthian church was experiencing.
We would be wise to heed every single course of action he provided.
Here are some main points to 1 Corinthians 16:13:
- The truth has many enemies. We are to be watchful for any encroachments of the truth that hinders or besets our obedience though careful and prayerful consideration of the Holy Spirit, who guides and teaches us.
- One of the best way to counter the enemy is having God’s love and building others up in Christ.
- We are to stand firm in our faith. There is no room for compromise, sin, or doubt. We must use all measures provided in scripture to finish our faith: Fellowship, devotion, prayer, more prayer, more fellowship, devotion & co.
- It takes a consecrated soul be completely sold out to Christ. Finding others of like mind is invaluable.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in unity!
- Act like men takes on a new meaning. We are created in God’s image, this image we are to develop in our being. This is done through single-minded adherence to the doctrines taught by Christ and His Apostles. No longer are we tossed and turned by every wind of doctrine. Purity of heart is the only remedy for double-mindedness; holiness, Godliness, brings complete death to sin. A real man casts aside every weight and sin that so easily besets him; Not letting anything hinder him from his cause.
- Only in close, constant fellowship is Christ found. Go to Ephesians 6 for a key to this verse: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ~ Ephesians 6:9-11
The Disobedience of Faith
Obedience of faith leads me to consider what does the opposite mean? What corrupts or destroys our faith? What brings disobedience?
A negative response to a revelation of God brings corruption of our faith. It leads directly to rebellion, which has its own myriad of corruptions.
We have been told that there is no excuse to sin as a Christian because faithful obedience leads us into all truth and in truth there is no sin.
God has given us victory and a path. His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We are told to walk on that path that leads to holiness.
And an highway shall be there, and a way,
and it shall be called The way of holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it;
but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men,
though fools, shall not err therein.
~ Isaiah 35:8
Temptation that leads to sin can eventually destroy our faith and lead us into more disobedience. This is the corruptive nature of sin on our nature. But God has given us a way out of every temptation that comes our way.
There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted
above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13
If faith leads to love and obedience, weak feeble faith leads to doubt, sin, and disobedience.
If you think you can stand when hindered or beset in temptation and sin, heed the warning of the Holy Spirit. The verse just before the 1 Corinthians 10:13.
let him that thinketh he standeth
take heed lest he fall.
The whole chapter leading up to these to two verses describes what happens to those who have been disobedient to faith.
Obedience of faith is eternally importance.
There is no sin beyond our ability to handle when we are living completely by faith. When we are living partially by faith, we are trusting in the world, or our self.
God knows exactly what we are going through.
For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are,
yet without sin.
~ Hebrews 4:15
This in itself is sin and is call idolatry. It is a type of disobedience; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. ~ Romans 14:23b
Here is an example of God’s revelation of truth and a man’s negative response that leads to disobedience and ultimately death in one’s sin.
And after certain days,
when Felix came with his wife Drusilla,
which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul,
and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
And as he reasoned of righteousness,
temperance, and judgment to come,
Felix trembled, and answered,
Go thy way for this time;
when I have a convenient season,
I will call for thee.
~ Acts 24:24-25
Surely Felix believed what he heard from Paul and trembled in fear (this was not a working out our salvation type of trembling). Conviction of God’s wrath touched his soul.
Felix and his wife heard the revelation of God but responded with rejection. What was the end of their action of disobedience to God’s revelation?
Felix’s wife left him and died with her son in the famous Pompeii eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. She died in her sins.
Felix continued as a corrupt licentiousness governor and was ousted from office. He was nearly executed in Rome by Nero but was saved by the pleas of his brother (who was killed by Nero two years later). He lived out the rest of his life in obscurity and poor. He died in his sins.
His punishment was greater because deeper revelation of truth was given by an Apostle a midst power and mighty works.
When we sin, we become corrupt and licentious. Do not fall into the trap that Christians can live sin and be saved. This is a deception from the father of lies.
If God could wrought all the wonders and excellent works written in the lives of those listed below, surely He can elevate you to live above sin and remain obedient to Him.
If Enoch and Elisha could live lives that pleased God so much that He removed them from the world without dying, surely He can save you from your sins in this life.
The following is the classic definition of faith and what it works in those committed to God’s revelation in their life.
The Faith Hall of Fame
This starts out with the classic definition of faith. Faith is connected to our standing with God when it is proved.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
And what shall I more say?
for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:)
they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
~ Hebrews 11:1-40
May your belief be fully committed to faithful obedience in the pure revelation of God’s word. Not only is this possible, it is expected.
Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world.
~ 1 John 4:17