Faith is based on the conviction that God will intervene in our lives and ultimately grant us eternal life. A confident attitude towards God and His promises plays an important part in our decisions as Christians and our ultimate salvation.
God’s Word assures us that “the just shall live by faith” and “we walk by faith, not by sight” when we repent of our sins and begin to live dedicated, godly lives directed by our Savior, Jesus Christ (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is more than a mental conviction, God expects us to act on that belief and become examples of living faith.
In the New Testament the Greek word for faith is, in virtually every instance, the same word for belief. Although translators choose whether “faith” or “belief” is intended based on their understanding of the context of each passage,
Even in modern language, to believe in someone, something or some cause is to have faith in that person, thing or movement—to believe it is true, just and worthy of one’s support and involvement. In the same way, to have faith as it is defined in the Bible is to fully believe in someone (God), to believe in and act on the truth of His Word (the Bible) and to live for the greatest of causes—salvation for all who believe in the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15).
Faith is belief. But let’s not make the age-old mistake of thinking that if we believe in God—that is, that He exists—we therefore have faith. Many hold to this mistaken idea. They say they believe in God; they think, therefore, that they have faith.
Belief in God is profitable, but incomplete. As the apostle James noted: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons [fallen angels] believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). We must go beyond the level of faith exhibited by demons.
The “faith chapter” of the Bible defines faith this way: “Now faith is the substance [realization, confident assurance, solid ground] of things hoped for, the evidence [conviction, reality, proof] of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is our assurance of the existence of things we cannot see.
The remainder of Hebrews 11 identifies real people who long ago lived examples of faith. They believed God, even to the point of death, confident that He would deliver them or resurrect them to eternal life in His Kingdom. They believed. Faith gave them assurance to carry on because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Changing our lives to submit to God—what the Bible refers to as repentance—is based on the conviction that He will intervene in our lives and ultimately grant us eternal life. Simply saying “I believe” without making accompanying life-altering changes is not sufficient. The kind of faith required for salvation includes not only understanding what God desires from us, but also our acting on that understanding.
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