What if I told you a simple secret that could revolutionize your walk of faith? I’ve been where you are and understand your frustration.
What Christian doesn’t want to walk by faith. What happens though, we desire to walk by faith, so we can please God, but we don’t know what faith is or what it means. I experienced that dilemma for many years like many Christians.
I’ve been in full time ministry along with my husband for 43 years and The Truth About Faith book offers a fresh revelation for living by faith.
You will learn to:
- Understand what faith is.
- Walk by faith and not by sight.
- Be in agreement with God and His purposes for your life.
- Be a God pleaser.
The Truth About Faith book gives fresh insight for anyone who wants to live by faith. It will help you deal with troubles, and afflictions. You don’t have to be confused about faith any longer. Instead, you can begin to walk by faith and be a God pleaser!
First, I want to tell you what faith is not. Faith in God is not blind faith. Faith is not positive thinking or optimism. It’s not a feeling that you can do something. It’s not a hunch or looking on the sunny side of the street. Not only that, but it’s not a blind leap in the dark or wishful thinking.
It’s not hoping against hope, and it’s not something weird and flaky. These myths are man’s ideas of what faith means and is not biblical and the scriptures do not back up this type of teaching on what faith means. Once your eyes are open to see what biblical faith is, you will NEVER go back to believing faith is a leap in the dark or that faith is blind or any other false teaching about faith.
We can’t make faith mean what we want it to mean. The only one who can explain what faith means is the Holy Spirit because he’s the Spirit of truth. There’s a good rule of thumb when studying the Bible, and it’s to recognize that the Bible is its own interpreter and that the meaning of words, texts, and passages is best determined by carefully comparing scripture with scripture.
I will show you Bible examples showing what faith looks like. I will also give lots of information you’ve not seen before, and it’s all in the Bible but don’t take my word for it, you can check it all out for yourself.
Randy Clark says, “The word faith has traditionally been understood as believing the correct doctrinal positions about Jesus … they are important. However, in the Bible these are not the emphasis of the word faith. Instead, faith as Scripture emphasizes it is most often understood as receiving a word of revelation from God, believing the word that calls for some act of obedience …” (Charisma Magazine, March 2012, pp 37, 38)
“Faith in scripture is the gift of God which persuades the receptive heart of what pleases Him,” says Grant Osborne.
Those two explanations of faith are a good place to start, but they still don’t tell us what faith means. Hebrews 11:1 gives us an explanation of faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” My question 15 years ago was, BUT what does it mean? I’d even memorized Hebrews 11:1, but the sad thing was I didn’t know what the verse meant. I didn’t give up though. Furthermore, I kept asking the Lord to teach me what faith means, and what it looks like practically, in everyday life.
What I found was, the Holy Spirit loves those types of questions. He’s just waiting to teach you how to interpret the scriptures for yourself, and he never disappoints. Not only that, but he teaches from his point of view not man’s. You could read 50 books about what faith means and get something different from each one. The reason is, the writers are coming from man’s point of view, that confuses the matter even more. With Spirit-led teachers and preachers, they don’t go to the commentaries first but to the Holy Spirit.
I like how the Expanded Bible says it,
John 14:26 But the ·Helper [Counselor; Advocate;] will teach you ·everything [all things] and will ·cause you to remember [remind you of] all that I told you. This Helper is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name.
In 2006, I stumbled upon and an article written by Jay Snell and a light bulb moment came to me. I want to share that article with you first. Then after I share his article about what faith means. From that day on I’ve done my own study on what faith means for the disciples, the people in the book of acts, for men and women down through the ages, and I’ll share a few examples from Dick (my husband) and my own life.
First, Jay Snell’s article titled:
What Does Faith Mean?
Faith is information that you receive from God for you to act upon. This information enables you to know in advance what God is going to do in the future concerning a given issue or course of action. This information also enables you to know what you are to do in this course of action concerning this given issue.
Faith is a noun. It is information. It is something you have. Believe is a verb. It is something you do. You get a set of instructions or information from God which becomes your faith, and then you act upon that information. Your acting is your believing. You do not believe in the Biblical sense without acting on your faith.
Faith is information that you receive from God for you to act upon. This information enables you to know in advance what the will of God is concerning a certain matter. This information also contains instructions concerning what you are to do as God carries out what he revealed to you in advance what he is about to do. consider the following examples from Hebrews 11.
Bible Examples showing What Faith Means
Noah received some information from God concerning the flood. He received this information well in advance of God’s execution of the destruction of this world with water. This information also contained Noah’s part in God’s advance plan for the flood. “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”, Hebrews 11:6.
Read Genesis 6:13. Did Noah know what was coming upon the earth before the flood came? Yes he did. Did Noah know what God wanted him to do in this process before the flood came? Yes he did. Noah had advance information from God. This information, in the form of a warning, enabled Noah to know in advance exactly what God wanted him to do as God prepared to execute his advance plan of world destruction by water. What then did Noah do?
Genesis 6:22 tells us what Noah did. Verse 22, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” He acted upon the advance information. He prepared an ark to the saving of his house. His acting or his preparing the ark demonstrated his believing. And by his acting he “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith”, Hebrews 11:6.
Take the case of Abraham. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out…”, Hebrews 11:8.
Read Geneses 12:1-4. Did Abraham have advance information from God concerning a place he was to inherit before he went out? Yes he did. Did Abraham know in advance what he was to do about it? Yes he did. This advance information became his faith. Faith is a noun. It is something you have.
Genesis 12:4 tells us what Abraham did. Verse 4 says, “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.” He acted upon that information. He obeyed. He went out. His obedience in going out demonstrated his believing. Believing in the Biblical sense always means acting upon the revealed will and plan of God. Faith is information that you receive from God. Believing is always acting upon that information. Abraham knew in advance about the place of inheritance. His going out was his believing the information.
Consider the case of Moses’ parents. “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment,” Hebrews 11:23
Did Moses’ parents have advance information about the future of their child? Yes they did. They “saw he was a proper child”. What did they do about this advance information? They acted upon it in two ways.
They hid him for the space of three months. Then, they overcame their fear of the king’s commandment to kill the boy babies in the land. Their hiding and overcoming their fear was their believing. Faith is a noun. It is something you have. Believing is a verb. It is something you do with the information you receive from God.
How does this information come to us? In the three examples above, they obtained the advance information from God in three ways. Noah was warned, Abraham was called and Moses’ parents saw something.
A Strong Word of Warning
However, a strong word of warning is necessary here. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the written word of God. The Spirit of God will never give you information for you to act upon that contradicts the scriptures. Consider the following example.
Some years ago, this author read a newspaper account of a young man who murdered his parents in their sleep with an ax. When asked why he did such a thing, he responded that the Holy Ghost told him to do it to prove that he loved God even more than he loved his parents. But, the Holy Spirit never contradicts the plain sense of the Bible. And this young man’s murder of his parents did. He violated two of the ten commandments. He did not honor his parents that he killed.
Please accept this warning! When you are seeking direction from God and the information you receive contradicts the plain sense of scripture, the source of that information is demonic, not holy. Reject that information then and there as not being from God. Refuse even to retain it in your thoughts.
Explanation of Hebrews 11:1
Now we can understand Hebrews 11:1, which states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Since we have defined faith and illustrated our definition of it with scripture examples, we shall substitute our definition for the word faith in this verse. Consequently, the verse will now read thus, “Now the information that we receive from God for us to act upon is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see”.
Next, look at the word substance. This translates the Greek word HUPOSTASIS, which is a combination of two Greek words. The first word in this combination is the Greek preposition under. The second word in this combination is the Greek word meaning to stand. The combined word, then, means to stand under. Putting it all together, the expanded verse can be paraphrased thus:
“Now the information that we receive from God that we are to act upon stands under, as a foundation, the things we hope for and this foundation becomes our evidence for things we cannot see with our physical eyes yet”.
Look now at the word things. This translates the Greek word PRAGMA which means an actual fact, a finished act or a deed accomplished.
Finally, in this verse we consider the word evidence. Let’s translate the Greek word ELEGMOS. The noun form of this word means proof or evidence. The verb form means to convict. Suppose, upon the death of your parents, you are to inherit their estate. You have their Last Will and Testament in your possession. but before you actually obtain possession of the property they left you, you must go through the probate court.
Putting it differently, until the court rules that you are the rightful heir, all you have to prove that the inheritance is yours is the Last Will and Testament of your parents. This is your proof. This is your evidence. The conviction is formed in you that the inheritance is yours, and you can prove it by the document in your hand which is your parents’ Last will and Testament.
The Passive Voice Principle
To conclude, the Passive Voice Principle demonstrates more fully that faith is information received from God for you to act upon. The Passive Voice Principle is contained in Hebrews 11:2, 4 and 39. Hebrews 11:2 declares that faith was the vehicle through which “…the elders obtained a good report”. Hebrews 11:4 states, “By faith Abel…obtained witness…” and Hebrews 11:39 says, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith.”
In these three verses, the expressions obtained a good report in verses 2 and 39 and the expression obtained witness in verse 4, all translate the single Greek word MARTUREO which means testimony. But the translators choice of the word obtained misleads here. Obtained makes the verses sound as though the elders in verse 2, Abel in verse 4 and these all in verse 39 did something on their own to achieve or obtain the good reports and witness.
Consequently, these verses could mistakenly be interpreted to mean that because these people had a lot of faith they developed for themselves a great reputation as men and women of faith. Therefore, when people spoke of them they testified to their great faith. This testimony would consist of nothing but good reports concerning their great faith.
In order for this interpretation to be the correct one, obtained a good report in verses 2 and 39 and obtained witness in verse 4 would have to be in the active voice in the Greek text. But these expressions are not in the active voice in the Greek text. They are all in the passive voice which changes the meaning of these verses entirely. What, then, is the difference between the active and passive voice?
In the active voice the subject of the sentence does the action in the sentence. In the passive voice the subject of the sentence does absolutely nothing himself and the action of the sentence is done to him by someone else. Consider the following example.
John hit the ball. This sentence is in the active voice. John is the subject. Hit is the verb or action of the sentence. The ball is the direct object or what was hit. The ball received the action performed by John. But in the sentence, John was hit. This sentence is in the passive voice which means that John did not act at all.
He did nothing. Instead, he got hit. In the first sentence, however, John did the hitting. In our three verses from Hebrews, the obtained good report-witness is in the passive voice which means the subjects of those verses, the elders, Abel and these all did nothing. They performed not action. Instead, they were hit with this good report-witness by someone else in the same way that John did nothing, but was hit by the ball in our second example sentence above. What, then, was this good report-witness, and who hit them with it?
God was the one who hit them with it and the good report-witness was the information they received (passive voice) from God for them to act upon. This information from God was their faith. They demonstrated their believing that it was information from God by their acting upon it. This article is by Jay Snell
Part 2 – The Truth About Faith
Jay Snell’s article woke me up. Since 2006 I’ve continued my study on faith and will pass on my insights to you. We will look at Jesus and his disciples, the book of Acts, and conclude with some examples from every day Christians.