| WHAT IS “FAITH”?
By: Jerry S. Maneker
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10)
The above verse of Scripture epitomizes Biblical faith! Biblical faith is the firm belief, which is subsequently acted upon,
that no matter what the sufferings, seen circumstances, sins, and betrayals in my life, I will cling to God and to His
The word “faith,” as used in Scripture, is used both as a noun (pistis) and as a verb (pisteo). What is of interest here is
that mere belief as denoted by the noun is not sufficient to tap into God’s grace, as the devil also believes in God. What
is imperative is that our faith-action follows our belief in God! This action requires courage and tenacity, particularly
when times get tough.
It’s easy to have and show faith when our lives are comfortable! It takes courage and tenacity to show our faith, pisteo,
when seen circumstances in the natural scheme of things would seem to break us down. In part, this is what the Apostle
Paul means when he writes, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.” (1Corinthians 1:18) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)
If we are intent on staying in the “natural man” we only have faith in what is amenable to one or more of our natural
senses. If we are in Christ, we recognize the truth of God’s promises to us, embodied in the verse of Scripture, “For all
the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Corinthians 1:20) So, when God
promises to heal us we are confident of that spiritual fact, even though while on earth we may spend our lives in a
wheelchair. We know that God doesn’t lie so we know that when we get to heaven there will be no more wheelchairs, or
blindness, or mental illness, or any disease.
The writer of Hebrews states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1) All of God’s heroes of faith, some of whom are mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the book of
Hebrews were woefully inadequate in many ways, caught up in sin and frailty. Yet they trusted God over and above the
seen circumstances of their lives, even over and above their sins and sin-nature, and that is why they are God’s
people. They stood in the gap for God. For example, Rahab was a prostitute, yet her faith in God saved her; David was
a cowardly murderer and adulterer, yet he was also saved.
Our spirits are in Christ, yet our souls are in our “old man,” in Adam! Our sins and sin-nature do not determine the
exercise of Biblical faith! What exercises Biblical faith is our tenacious recognition that God is sovereign in all things and
people and we trust Him and His promises regardless of the ravages the world, the flesh, and the devil cause us to
suffer. This recognition is a a physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual acting out of love, compassion, mercy, and
the embracing of our fellow man or woman; loving God by trusting Him and His sovereignty in all things in our lives and
in this world as well as the next world, the New Jerusalem.
The Apostle John wrote, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotton Son of God.” (John 3:18) When John uses the term
denoting faith the verb form is always used. Although Paul uses both the noun and verb forms for faith, he recognizes
the importance of acting out our faith in manifesting “the fruit of the Spirit,” which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
The New Bible Dictionary (second edition) states, “Faith is clearly one of the most important concepts in the whole NT.
Everywhere it is required and its importance insisted upon. Faith means abandoning all trust in one’s own resources.
Faith means casting oneself unreservedly on the mercy of God in Christ, relying entirely on the finished work of Christ
for salvation, and on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God for daily strength. Faith implies complete reliance on
God and full obedience to God.” (p. 368)
Unlike the popular stereotype, Christians are not wimps! It takes guts to have faith in Someone we have never seen,
Whose promises may not be realized while we inhabit the earth, particularly when much of the world views us as
superstitious, weak fools. The only way we plug into God’s grace is through our acting out our love for Him by
constantly trusting Him and His promises and showing forth our compassion to others, trusting that He will never leave
us or forsake us. (Genesis 28:15, Hebrews 13:5)
This is Biblical faith!