The Definition Of Faith, Part One

All of the notebooks that I filled while sitting under a few very intelligent and anointed teachers I saved for four decades. From those scribblings, I write lessons to aid in building strong foundations in the Word in believers. Here's one of them:

The definition of faith, part one

The Lord spoke to Thomas and said, “…be not faithless but believing.” (John 20:27)

Here is the word faith defined in Scripture:

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The first few words that one reads here is “NOW faith is.” Faith is not yesterday, and it is not tomorrow. It is NOW. It’s great to have perspective on all the things the Lord has done in the past, and what He wants to do in the future, but what about now? So, the question to the believer must be, “What is God doing in my life to transform me into His image now, and how can that be accomplished?”

Confirming this present state of faith is Paul’s statement in Hebrews 10:38: “NOW the just shall live by faith.” So, faith is important and applicable to the believer now. Lots of Christians have faith in God in the things that happened years ago, like Martha who told Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” speaking of Lazarus who was, at that time dead, whom Jesus soon afterwards rose from the dead.

Most of the dealings of God are not so much in the revelation of new truths. Instead, He would prefer Christians to be provoked by what they know NOW. How can a Christian walk in faith now, as written in Gal 2:20, “the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God?” By receiving the tasks the Holy Spirit speaks in hearts of believers regarding the laying aside of every weight of sin, wrongful attitudes, and other inward challenges with a readiness to submit. Christians ought to receive teaching in a way that encourages them to not think of themselves more highly than they ought, as being proud, arrogant, or satisfied merely with head knowledge. After the word is given, it should be realized by the student that God has promised to test that truth in the individual, and this is where the principle of faith is applied.

Faith helps us to work together with Christ NOW. Without the present, one’s perspective is either in the past or future, tempting them to believe only change will come only in the afterlife. They will believe they have to struggle through their miserable, sad and tormented existence until they get to heaven. To be that way, one’s understanding of the principle of faith is sadly lacking.

Colossians 2:6
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”

Paul dealt with Timothy on this very thing, in writing to him, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8) The exercise Paul was referring to did not mean the lifting of weights or gymnastics, but the exercising of one’s spiritual senses.

In previous verses, Paul wrote about those who thought true godliness is merely outward expressions such as refusing to marry and to eat meat. But godliness is more than outward demonstration with inward frustrations. For without inward transformation, the Christian will be limited by a long list of dos and don’ts that will not satisfy, and stifle growth, cause frustration, condemnation, hard heartedness, and religiosity. Be aware, godliness is profitable unto all things, having a promise of the life that NOW is. Inward change can take place now, which is true godliness – not the taking on of religious activities that create no real work in the soul, thoughts, intents, attitudes, etc. of the believer.

Neither should the emphasis of faith be on the obtaining of things, as Jesus stated, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) Regarding faith, there should be very little concern for claiming for themselves things, which is how so many in the Spirit filled community have defined this principle. That’s not to say that God doesn’t have certain things for Christians, for “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84:11) Nevertheless, the strong emphasis should be life change.

Why is it Christians want to use the principle of faith to command situations to disappear, but not to control attitudes, moods, and the sin that has them in dominion? Why? Because of a lack of understanding and a less-than-adequate teaching on faith.