Faith And Unseen Truth
What is faith? It is an important question because many people use the same word but mean different things. So more precisely, what does the Bible mean by 'faith'? This chapter gives many examples of Bible characters who exercised faith: they all believed what God revealed to them and acted in obedience, even though their situation was unique and they had no previous experience to rely on. However, they had a relationship with God and they trusted what He said to them.
Faith is a personal inner confidence based upon an external authority, assuring us that something we cannot see is true and will be realised. In one sense, we use faith every day. Children exercise faith in their parents as they grow up into a world of which they have no previous experience. Armies trust their commanders, patients trust their surgeons. We trust people in business, friends and family: we assess the relationships and the risks and make our decisions accordingly.
But trusting God is different. He is the awesome creator of the universe. Although there are many attempts to use the laws of science to propose that the world, planets and stars arose spontaneously, the Bible says that God created everything and that the Son of God was the Chief Executive of creation (John 1:1-3). He sustains the energy of the universe (Hebrews 1:3) until its purpose is complete and then He will dismiss it to create new heavens and a new earth – the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). That is the starting point of faith (1 Corinthians 2:5), to be confident that God is in command of everything, it all belongs to Him because He made it out of nothing, by His Word (Genesis 1:1-3).
The universe is the biggest demonstration of God's Word enacted. Even inanimate molecules come together when He speaks. In the same way, God expects us to act on what He says. He has given us His Word to instruct us, and His Spirit to induce us to trust what we read and to obey (Romans 10:17). Faith is not about us being in control and God taking action, but about God being in command and us taking action. Our faith is in the person and character of God. He gives us the faith and we respond in obedience (Ephesians 2:8-9). We may not know the end from the beginning, but He does. If you say you have faith in Him, where is the evidence of obedience?
© Dr Paul Adams