Only found twice in the Old Testament, faith is primarily a New Testament word appearing about 250 times. And what is faith? Among the twelve definitions listed in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is the following: “Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence”. For the Christian, faith begins with the declarations of the Bible and the acknowledgement of it’s truth. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. In simpler language it means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we can’t see it. Romans 10 tells of “the word of faith, which we preach” (v.8) while verse 17 says “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Paul in Acts 26:18 quotes Jesus about receiving an inheritance among them which are sanctified (or set apart) by faith. The end result is found in Romans 1:17 where the OT is quoted, “The just shall live by faith”. Faith is not something we put on and then take off if it gets uncomfortable, faith is a lifestyle. It begins with the belief of God’s promises as found in Scripture, then translating them into life by living out the principles in a way that shows you believe them. How deep is your faith? The story is told of a famous tightrope walker of the 19th Century named the Great Blondin. One time he stretched an
1100 foot rope above Niagara Falls and daily performed stunts, including doing a back somersault in the middle of the rope.
A newspaper reporter who witnessed his feats shared the following conversation with him:
“I bet there isn’t anything you can’t do out there on the Tightrope”
“Do you think I can cross the rope pushing a wheelbarrow?”
“Oh, I’m sure you could.”
“Do you think I can cross the rope pushing a wheelbarrow with a man in it?”
“Do you think I can cross the rope pushing a wheelbarrow with YOU in it?”
“Well . . . uh . . . .
God will sometimes ask us to get in the wheelbarrow and let him push us across the rope; our faith will either accept or decline.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” (13:7) The faithful are not asked to follow their Godly leaders, but to follow (or imitate) their faith, and to carefully discover it’s depth. Do you or I have a faith that would survive and grow through tribulations, deprivations, pains, and sufferings? Faith is easy when times are smooth, but faith either solidifies or crumbles when the trials begin.
We all live lives of faith. To some it’s faith in God, to others it’s faith in ourselves, faith in our abilities, or even faith in another person or organization. It is not necessarily wrong to have confidence in any of these things, but there is only one faith that promises victory (I John 5:4) and sees beyond the confines of this world. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (v 12) In what is your faith? Consider the probable results of living out that faith. Scripture is not kidding when it says in II Tim 3:12, “All that will live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. I Peter 1 talks of our faith being “tried with fire”, like a refiner purifying silver or gold, so our faith is tested to see if it is genuine.