So, folks, I promised to share a deep dive my friends and I did into the topic of faith a few years back. So here goes- when people ask ‘what is faith?’ the temptation to respond with the generic Heb 11:1 answer is great.
Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty (evidence) of what we do not see. Heb 11: 1 BSB
But what really is faith? How do you explain it to someone who wants to understand that scripture? Faith comes from the Greek word πίστη (pisti) which means to be divinely persuaded or to divinely persuade. It is different from belief (pistevo) which means to be persuaded by oneself. Pisti also refers to a guarantee or warranty.
In essence, faith is a work of God and it is a divine persuasion based on God’s revelation in us. It is God’s warranty that guarantees the fulfilment of said revelation in our lives. Faith is not a condition of the mind. You cannot produce faith in yourself. Faith comes from God and has everything to do with the relationship you have with Jesus and we know faith is produced through our encounter with the word of God who is Jesus himself (John 1:1)
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours 2 Pet 1:1b NIV
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
As previously mentioned having belief is not the same as having faith although they are very closely related. In the process of faith, belief is a necessary step but it is not enough because even demons believe (James 2:19). It is that personal relationship with God and His Word (Jesus) that carries belief from being persuaded in yourself to being persuaded by God to have an assurance of and to receive that which you hope for. This is how it works in action:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
In order to have faith one must believe in God’s existence and not only that but they must earnestly seek to be in relationship with him, believing that such a relationship will be rewarded. Let’s look at another example. Paul said:
For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to… 2 Tim 1:12 BLB
Paul did not only believe but he knew the one in whom he had believed and in that knowledge and belief he was divinely persuaded… He received faith… the assurance that God was able to in this case guard that which he had committed to him.
In summary, faith is to be divinely persuaded based on God’s revelation of himself to us by virtue of our relationship with him. This gives us the assurance of the things we hope for (warranty) and the evidence of things that we have not yet seen (the guarantee).
I encourage you to share your thoughts on what faith means to you in the comments below and let’s learn together.