"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." (Hebrews 11:6). As important as faith is; there are still many in the religious world who have a wrong view of this plain Bible doctrine.
The Bible actually uses the word "Faith" in two different ways. First, faith could be defined as "a firm unshaken confidence, conviction, or belief in the truth of a proposition, based upon testimony concerning it". "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). This verse tells us that faith is the support for those things for which we hope. As a Christian, one does not have to physically perceive a thing to know that it exists; "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18). A popular phrase in our culture today is "Take a leap of faith." As a Christian, though, God does not expect us to do anything without evidence. The proof for everything that a Christian believes is found in God's Word.
The second way that the word Faith is used in the Bible is to denote a 'System of Faith'. Paul had preached "the faith." "But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed." (Galatians 1:23). Jude told those to whom he wrote to earnestly contend for the faith; "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3). When the Bible uses the word "Faith" in this way, it is talking about the doctrines which the Bible puts forth concerning all religious matters; i.e.. the church, salvation, Christ, God, etc.
There are many who teach that the Holy Spirit must directly give an individual this quality. This could not be farther from the truth. The Scripture plainly tell us that one acquires faith by hearing God's Word; "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). It doesn't get any more plain than that.
Many would say yes. They would argue that we can not earn our way to heaven. I will agree with the fact the we can not earn heaven. But I strongly deny the fact that works aren't necessary to go to heaven. We must put ourselves into the position to receive heaven; not because we can earn it but because God has put certain requirements on our receiving it. (Please see the Bulletin article on "Grace"). If a man were to die and state in his will that his son would receive $1,000,000 dollars if he would sing "Row, Row, Row your boat;" would we say that the son earned the money. No, but he still would not have gotten it if he had not sung the song. The Scriptures teach that our faith must produce work or our faith is dead; "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17). Jesus told us that, if we truly love him, we will keep his commandments; "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15).
Are you willing to show your belief by keeping his commandments? Are you willing to obey the gospel? Please see Plan of Salvation.
-- Ralph Price --