Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

What is Faith? Hebews 11:1

What is Faith? Hebews 11:1

"Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." (Heb. 11:1).

The word “faith” is translated from a Greek word (πίστις) pistis, meaning the thought of confidence, To grow in confidence, trust, firm or persuasion.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Note that faith is substance. 

Faith is substance, that which is trustworthy, based on the reality of what God has revealed for the future. Faith must be developed upon the clear teachings of the Scriptures. 

"substance" -- emphasizing the objective aspect, the solid ground upon which the faith of the individual may rest. 

Though the foregoing stresses the FUTURE aspect of "what is not seen", the point in this phrase may as likely be "what is not seen" because it is PAST. "Things" is "pragmaton" -- a thing done, a work or transaction accomplished -- and hence something which God did in the past, and which later generations have learned from the divine testimony (Rom 10:17). This would, of course, be the point of Heb 11:3 which follows: "faith" looks back into history, and discerns the visible hand of God acting to achieve His will, and it also looks forward into the future with confidence that that unseen Hand will yet bring that divine will to perfect fruition.

How do we obtain faith?
Faith is not given to us by God, it is our response to God. We cannot, because of our weak natures, perfectly obey God, but we can at least believe what He has revealed to us in His Word.

Developing faith
Faith does not come in an instant, however; it develops. We can think of three stages in developing faith:

If we continue to read the Scriptures, we will recognize more and more their internal harmony and consistency, and the influence they have on us, and so grow in our faith. Also, our awareness of the hand of God at work in our lives and in the world will grow, and with this too our faith will grow.
Faith and works

How does man become conscious of and increase his faith? Man becomes conscious of and increases his faith through prayer and growing in Accurate Knowledge

Justification by faith
Justification means 'counting as righteous'. God says that, though we are sinners, He will count us as being righteous if we truly have faith, just as he counted Abraham as righteous through his faith (Rom 4:3-5). Note the constant recurrence of 'count', 'reckon' and 'impute' in Rom 4 -- all the same Greek word.

The difference between faith and belief

"Faith signifies “confidence.” .”

Faith really means "confidence, trust."  Faith does not relate to "belief," but to confidence.

 In reality, faith is not equal to belief.

Faith refers to a rational understanding rather than belief. Paul's use of the word faith implies an intellectual and conscious awakening; "'awakened by the message' and 'faith comes from what is heard.' This emphasis on hearing, as an event, which awakens faith, is central to Paul. It is not simply a matter of hearing sermons, or oral communications, though it embraces both, hearing implies that the gospel must be understood."

Faith for Paul is more than believing in Jesus, it is comprehending and practising what Jesus taught. A close analysis shows that faith is the foundation of all that a believer does. Jesus spoke of a new condition for the uplifting of mankind. He called it the "kingdom of the heavens." He said it must be built upon the foundation symbolised by Peter (the rock), who represents faith. This shows that faith is reality and proof. The person who has it, embraces certain things promised as realities, although not come to pass

Spiritual Faith is a deep inner wisdom which grows in accordance with the Christ consciousness.

The development of the faith in rational understanding is a key to spiritual realisation. "According to your faith be it done unto you" (Matt. 9:29).

Faith is more than mere belief. It is the very substance of that which is believed. It works by love. Thoughts of condemnation, enmity, and resistance must be released and divine love declared; then faith will work unhindered

'Belief' is a concept foreign to early New Testament authors. "Belief" is an unfortunate attempt to make the Greek noun, faith, into its verb. For example, we cannot say "she faiths" so translators say, "she believes." "Believes", however, is a poor selection of a verb for faith because it misleads its user into thinking blind belief, rather than a solid understanding, as the Greek term faith implies, is all that is necessary to be Christian.

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