Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible….(Hebrews 11:1-3) *1
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.(Hebrews 11:6)
hmmm… what is this “faith?
It is not wishful thinking or hoping; “I hope this all works out!”
It is not just believing; “… even the demons believe — and tremble” (James 2:19)
Ok, I think I know what it isn’t.
So what IS this faith without which it is impossible to please Him?
Being the nerd that I am, I chanced an internet search … waste of time that; too many people like me flailing around in the dark (somewhere I read that blind leading blind wind up in a ditch). Very little of any substance surfaced in the cacophony of voices desiring to be heard …
… very much like mine here.
So, I looked it up in a dictionary, several actually; that too was less than satisfactory, I saw words like;
allegiance to duty or a person; loyalty ,fidelity to one’s promises; sincerity of intentions; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no ; complete trust, ; something that is believed especially with strong conviction; a system of religious beliefs
Then I looked up the Greek (NT) translation of the word in a lexicon, not much better;
Transliteration: pistis Phonetic Pronunciation:pis’-tis
Definition: from (peitho); persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstract constancy in such profession; by extensive the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself :- assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
And I looked up the Hebrew (OT) translation of the word in a lexicon, still not much better;
Transliteration: ʾāman Phonetic Pronunciation:aw-man’
Definition: a primitive root; properly to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figurative to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; moral to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; by interchange for <H541> (‘aman)) to go to the right hand :- hence assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.
With a little insight (VERY little) into the meaning of the word, I figure the best place to find an answer about scripture is scripture. … duh … Seems obvious now, but I’m getting old and slow. I read somewhere that; “… faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
It is a gift of God? … of course;
“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44)
So by His word it comes, at His will, but what does that mean for me? In what manner does my faith manifest, make itself known, to me? … to others??
Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
“Abraham believed God …”
Wait a minute, look back at the definitions … trust, allegiance, assurance, loyalty, fidelity, reliance. RELIANCE!! The demons believe but they do not rely on Him, trust in Him. They have no loyalty to Him, no allegiance, no fidelity. My faith is marked by my reliance on and trust in Him without regard to circumstance or outcome.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
I’m beginning to get a slight glimmer, as in a mirror darkly, (men like trees walking?).
I’ll be back.
*1 “ALL Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
*2 “Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon” works in Public Domain