Everyone has faith. Faith in something. Or faith in someone. A Houston preacher, John Bisagno, put it this way:
“Faith is the heart of life. You go to a doctor whose name you can’t pronounce. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen. He gives you medication you do not understand — and yet, you take it.”
Many people have a faulty idea of faith. We often hear the expression “the leap of faith.” But someone quipped, “faith is not jumping to conclusions. It is concluding to jump.”
Faith is simply defined in one of the great verses of the Bible, Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
What is Faith?
Dr. Vine says, “faith is a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing. Faith is trust. Confidence. Allegiance.
Augustine put it this way: “What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see.”
A preacher once asked a poor and uneducated woman, “What is faith?” She replied, “I am ignorant, and I cannot answer well, but I think it is taking God at His word.” I think she answered well. And accurately. Faith is believing when I don’t see it.
Faith is obeying when I don’t understand it.
Faith is giving when I don’t have it.
Faith is persisting when I don’t feel like it.
Faith is thanking before I receive it.
Faith is trusting, even if I don’t receive it.
Faith is the Substance of our Hope
The word “substance” carries the idea of support. It literally means, “placing under, or place a thing under.” It is the foundation. The substructure. The base.
Our faith is not founded upon fables, fiction, or feelings. It is founded upon facts. The fact that God is. The fact the Jesus is the Son of God. The fact of His death, burial and resurrection. We have solid evidence in the accuracy of the Word and the promises of God.
The ESV renders Hebrews 11:1 this way “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hope is not wishful thinking. Whistling in the dark. Or a wimpy approach to life. It’s not some Pollyanna attitude toward life.
Hope is a confident outlook. A happy expectation. A favorable anticipation. Our hope is based on a solid faith that is rooted in the facts of the gospel.
The Bible says there is “one hope” (Eph 4:4). That hope is in Christ. It is a living hope. An eternal hope. A heavenly hope.
If you have a problem with faith, the advice of D. L. Moody is worth heeding. “I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightening. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Now faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.”
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” (Heb. 11:1 TLB)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman