555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

423. What Is Faith?




Faith is trust. It is the gift of God, wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, which quickens and directs all our faculties toward the one object. We must pray to have faith, and to have our faith increased. It will be strengthened, too, by the frequent remembrance of Christ's repeated promises that our prayers to the Father, in his name, would assuredly be heard and answered, if we asked in faith, and believed while we asked. See Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9; John 14:13, 15, 16; James 4:2; I John 3:22, 5:14; Luke 11:10, Faith has been defined as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11 :1) ; it is that operation of the soul in which we are convinced of the existence and truth of something that is not before us, or perceptible to the human senses. Every one entertains faith of some kind, which he would find it difficult if not impossible to demonstrate by visible means. It is the practice of faith—the voluntary exercise of it—which enables us to rise to the belief in those great truths which God has been pleased to reveal. Paul says that "we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Cor. 5 -7). Jesus himself said (John 20:29), "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." Thus, while believing what we see and comprehend may have its merits, believing what is not seen and but dimly comprehended is a greater merit. There are many things in nature which we believe, yet without being able to fully grasp them with our minds; we believe because we have the evidence of others, though not of our own senses. The faith which simply believes what it can see, understand, define and demonstrate is not real faith at all. "No man hath seen God at any time," yet all men believe in a God. The things of the spiritual world cannot be demonstrated by mere material agencies, but only through spiritual agencies. The exercise of faith increases our spirituality, enables us to comprehend things which without such exercise would be incomprehensible. Paul said that to the learned Greek skeptics the Gospel was "foolishness." Pride of intellect is one of the greatest barriers to spiritual growth.