Is faith just belief in something, whatever it might be?
In the New Testament, the Greek noun translated ‘faith’ is πίστις ‘pistis’.
It first occurs in Matthew 8:10
Matthew 8:10… I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Using Strong’s Concordance:
Faith <4102> πίστις pistis (from <3982> πείθω ‘peitho’- verb - to convince by argument);
Meaning: persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:
Translated in the King James Version – ‘faith’ 239 times, ‘assurance’ 1 time, ‘believe’ + 1537 1 time, ‘belief’ 1 time, ‘them that believe’ 1 time, ‘fidelity’ 1 time.
It is closely connected with the verb <4100> πιστεύω ‘pisteuo’ – to believe.
Without faith it is impossible to please God and faith is based upon the belief that God exists and rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith <4102> 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.
Faith is ‘the substance of things hoped for’ i.e. hope in that which God has promised in the future.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith <4102> is the substance (ὑπόστασις hupostasis – assurance / basis) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith comes by ‘hearing the word of God’.
Romans 10:17 So then faith <4102> cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
‘Hearing the word of God’ consists of reading and understanding the scriptures – and believing what God has caused to be written concerning his character, and purpose, and way of salvation.
Faith is not ‘blind’ - Faith is belief - based on what is written in scripture. We need to be certain of ‘why’ we believe ‘what’ we believe.
1 Peter 3:15... be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Paul tells Timothy that the scriptures are able to make us ‘wise unto salvation’ because ‘all scripture is given by inspiration of God.
Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Peter affirms that the writers were ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’.
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the scriptures ‘cannot be broken’ – meaning they can be relied upon as being true.
John 10:35… the scripture cannot be broken;
After his resurrection Jesus upbraided two of his disciples for their failure to believe the prophetic writings.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
The Bible tells us that we sin and die because Adam disobeyed God.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
It tells us that God has provided a redeemer in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
We can be saved from sin and death by believing and obeying the gospel that he preached.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
The Bible tells us that God intends to fill the earth with his glory.
Numbers 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
This glory will be in the form of men and women raised from the dead and given the divine nature; in whom, and with whom, God will live forever.
Luke 20:35… they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Paul tells us what is going to happen:
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
When Christ returns he will raise and judge the dead, establish the kingdom of God and reign over the mortal population of the earth for 1000 years. At the end of this time, there will be a second resurrection and final judgment and sin and death will be eradicated. All who live on will possess the divine nature. This time is spoken of in Revelation.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Faith required by God cannot be passive.
When we understand and believe the scriptures, faith is demonstrated in the way we respond.
Faith in action - The writer to the Hebrews describes how faith is demonstrated by what people ‘do’ because of what they believe.
Hebrews 11:4 By faith <4102> 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.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith <4102> 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. 8 By faith <4102> 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.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith <4102> Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son....
Faith is ‘dead’ unless it motivates action.
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith <4102>, and have not works? can faith <4102> save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith <4102>, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith <4102>, and I have works: shew me thy faith <4102> without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith <4102> by my works.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith <4102> without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith <4102> made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith <4102> only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith <4102> without works is dead also.
Genuine faith elicits a response from the believer.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...
When we believe we must repent (i.e. change the way that we think and act).
We must be baptised by immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of past sins.
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
After baptism we must live a new life.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
In our new life we must live by the commandments of Christ.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Faith in Christ - All that we do must be governed by our faith in Christ and his commandments.
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned (condemned) if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Faith is tested - In this life we will encounter tribulation which will serve to test our faith.
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith <4102>, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith <4102> worketh patience.
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith <4102>, 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:
Peter tells us that our faith is a foundation to build upon
2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith <4102> virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We cannot live a sinless life.
After baptism we will still sin, but providing we are making a determined effort to live by the commandments of Christ, our sins will be forgiven by confession in prayer.
1 John 1:7… if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Faith must be genuine -The fulfilling of the commandment requires genuine faith.
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity (love) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith <4102> unfeigned:
Genuine Faith saves us - It is our faith in the promises of God which saves us; because our faith will be counted for righteousness.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not (the works of the Law of Moses), but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith <4102> is counted for righteousness.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith <4102> of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith <4102> of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith <4102>, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith <4102>, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith <4102> are blessed with faithful Abraham.
I hope you find this helpful.