What Is Faith?
Some think faith is opposed to reason and fact. Faith goes beyond just believing something. True faith is when we know what we believe, why we believe it, and are committed to acting in accordance with it. Anything less than this is not true faith. This is the faith we must have in God and the Bible.
Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." How can we have faith in things that we have not seen. Verse 6 says, "But without faith 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." Though we may not can see, we do have solid evidence and we must believe the evidence that is given. Verse 6 shows us the two things we must believe: (1) GOD IS. What is the evidence? "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork."(Psalms 19:1). In Romans 1:18-22 we see nature given as further evidence so that those who do not believe in God are "without excuse". Evidence for God abounds if we are only willing to accept it. (2) GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM. This is a promise and we can believe it because the Bible is a testimony to God's faithfulness. God always carries out His promises. Thus, as the Scriptures teach, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
John 20:24-31 is the record of the apostle Thomas who would not believe Jesus had resurrected unless he saw and felt the nailprints in Jesus. When Jesus appeared, He told Thomas, "...Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (verse 29). The basis for believing without seeing can be found in verses 30-31: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." We believe in Jesus to be the Son of God because of the EVIDENCE He presented while on this earth.
Someone may say, "Since we have not seen them first hand, how can they be proven?". They are as much proven as any historical event. How do we know George Washington was the first president of the United States or that Columbus sailed to America? They are accepted as facts of history. So it is with the life of Christ and what He did.
True faith is based on evidence. "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." (2 Peter 1:16). We are accepting the testimony of eyewitnesses.
We believe because God has provided sufficient evidence of His existence and faithfulness. We must have a faith anchored in fact. "For we walk by faith, not by sight:" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
---E.R. Hall, Jr.