Faith – What is it?

Based on recent discussions with my son, I have had the word “faith” put on my heart. The only thing I knew was you have faith because you have faith. That even sounded weak to me.

So I did a little digging on faith and how it relates to Christianity. This is what I have come up with. Does this answer the questions? I don’t know. I do know that my faith is unwavering and steadfast, and I will do all I can in my power to model that “Faith in Christ” to everyone I encounter.

  1. What is faith?
  2. How does faith work?
  3. What makes faith real?
  4. Why should I have faith in God?

Question 1. What is faith?

According to  Merriam-Webster the Full Definition of FAITH is:

1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
  b (1) : fidelity to one's promises 
    (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God 
    (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
  b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof 
    (2) : complete trust

3 : something that is believed especially with strong 
    conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

Question 2. How does faith work?

This is a little deeper. To understand TRULY understand how faith works we need to understand where the word came from. In ancient Hebrew the word Faith is Emunah. According to the Ancient Hebrew Research Center: The Hebrew root aman means firm, something that is supported or secure. This word is used in Isaiah 22:23 for a nail that is fastened to a “secure” place. Derived from this root is the word emun meaning a craftsman. A craftsman is one who is firm and secure in his talent. Also derived from aman is the word emunah meaning firmness, something or someone that is firm in their actions. When the Hebrew word emunah is translated as faith misconceptions of its meaning occur. Faith is usually perceived as a knowing while the Hebrew emunah is a firm action. To have faith in God is not knowing that God exists or knowing that he will act, rather it is that the one with emunah (faith) will act with firmness toward God’s will.

I kept digging on this, because to me this means If I have faith, my actions must reflect my TRUST in God. I don’t think this means I will not sin, it means that my actions will reflect an attitude of faith and trust towards God and the promises he makes to those who believe. I think this is reflected in Hebrews 10:19-25. As a believer, with faith and trust in the Lord, I am called to repentance and to ask for my sins to be forgiven. In the book of Romans Chapter 8, Paul lays out a beautiful argument of the battle we face as faith filled sinners. An argument that tells us if we act with firmness towards God’s will, our faith and TRUST will be rewarded.

Question 3. What makes faith real?

In Hebrews 11:1  Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. This is the equivalent of definition #2 a  (1) as described above by Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Chapter 11 in Hebrews is often referred to as the “Faith Chapter” because of the all the examples of faith demonstrated by God’s people.

I find it interesting that the word faith was defined in the book of Hebrews in the Bible which was written in approximately 67 a.d., and Merriam-Webster claims “First Known Use: 13th century”. To me this says that God knew how our humanity would question Him. He knew that we would say “How can we believe the Bible”? At there is an article that goes on to explain how the Bible was written over a span of 1500 years, by 40 authors. Other sources will tell you basically the same information. Some say over 2000 years, but all agree that it was 40 authors, over three continents, in three different languages. There is so much archaeological evidence, a flawless consistency to the common theme, and no contradictions. That much evidence must lead to trust, which must lead to faith. This is what makes faith real.

Question 4. Why should I have faith in God?

Faith is what keeps ME going. Every time I put my faith or trust in myself or others, I fall or fail. I was once asked by a very wise friend, “What makes a man a man?” When I was originally asked that question my answer was something along the line of… “Being able to provide for my family and being a leader among my peers.” At that time of my life, my faith was based on MY abilities.

Once I was saved I understood that EVERYTHING I HAVE IS A GIFT (OR ON LOAN) FROM GOD!  Then my faith changed from internal to external. My “wise friend” who originally posed the question to me told me that for most of my life (48 years to be exact) I had information which lead to revelation, but never had a transformation. That is where God moves from your head to your heart. Once you surrender everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) and have complete faith and trust in God, then you will be transformed. God will live in your heart and lead your life. Now when my very wise friend “What makes a man a man?” I can say with confidence “Being a child of the King”.

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul tells us that once we forego our earthly desires and human wants, God will show His perfect will for us. In Ephesians 3:5-7, Paul goes on to tell us that once we put our faith and trust in God, we will inherit all of the riches of God.

Why should I have faith in God? Because life is not fair. Because humanity is hard. Because the bodies we have on loan from our King are fragile. Because you, I, we, never know when the breath we just took will be our last.

That is why you should have faith in God.


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