The following column was submitted by Pastor Tom Beutler and was printed in the October 18, 2018, issue of the Atchison County Mail.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 1st John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Faith is what can cause a born again child of God to overcome the world. We read, “faith . . . the evidence of things not seen.” It evidences the reality and certainty of future things. It realizes the invisible realities of another world into our minds and causes us to believe them as strongly as what we see with our own eyes.
In other words, faith is the foundation on what all of our hopes for the future are built on. The evidence is the conviction or persuasion of things not seen. Without faith we would be limited to the very narrow world comprehended by the senses. The Greek word for faith is “pistis” and the Hebrew word is “emum” (pronounced “amum”). The word can be used two ways. Active sense = trust or reliance and the passive sense = fidelity or trustworthiness. The word faith only appears twice in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 32:20 – “Where God’s people were called forward, which meant “perverted” children with no faith.” The other place faith was used is Habakkuk 2:4 – “The just shall live by his faith,” meaning faithfulness. Both places that faith appears in the Old Testament, it refers to living one’s life, being faithful in following the Lord, and allowing the Lord to work through you.
Faithfulness means action or doing something. To be faithful, you must have something to be faithful to. The servants of God are shown as men and women who lived lives of faith or acted upon what God said. To them what makes them different from others is that they lived lives of self-commitment to God. They believed God and this belief caused them to show absolute trust in what God said and they did whatever God said.
Faith is not an emotion; some preachers would have you believe faith is something you emotionally conjure up. They say if you have enough faith, then God will heal you, but if not you will fail and God will not act. So many think faith is some kind of emotional feeling, mental condition, or spiritual exercise that we conjure up, that God likes and approves of, and so he blesses us. This is not scriptural and I challenge anyone to show me one example of it in the Bible. James 2:19 – “The devils also believe and tremble, yet they are lost!”
Knowledge does not save by itself. James also says that “Faith without works is dead!” Believe all you will – be totally convinced in the existence of God – that will not save you. But, believe and accept the truth of the gospel of death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus and you must take action on that truth. That truth will take action on you. It always does. It is either accepted or rejected. If it is truly accepted, then it will absolutely change your life! 2nd Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
In the New Testament, the words faith and believe appear over 500 times. Biblical faith is always presented in scripture as an action taken as the result of believing some truth. Again, faith is not an emotion or mental experience! Jesus tells us “faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.” Prayer is faith, prayer is an action, it’s talking to God. To pray, and pour your heart out to the Lord who we cannot see, touch, or hear, and yet we know, we positively know He is hearing us! Biblical faith, a belief in a truth that you act upon!
Our very salvation is an act of faith. Hebrew Chapter 11 is full of acts of faith. Just to mention a few: Abel sacrificed what and how God said. Enoch walked with the Lord daily. Noah – we all know that one! Abraham to produce a great nation, and Rahab the harlot saved her family. This shows us He loves us all. You should all read Hebrews Chapter 11 and look at all the acts of faith.
These great acts of faith aren’t anything that any of us cannot do. Oh Lord, we love you and we know YOU love us! We ask YOU to lead us with our faith. Thank YOU and ask us, in the Name of Jesus, Amen!