The Faith Substance

"Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1

Faith is one of the most talked about subjects in the Bible.  The biblical definition of faith describes faith as the substance of things hoped for.  A substance is something tangible that can be touched, handled, seen, perceived with the senses.  Yet simultaneously we understand faith to be an abstraction like thought.  And just as thoughts are a real product of the real activity of the mind, faith is a real product of a thoughtful mind embracing the reality of the unseen God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength.  "For without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."  Hebrews 11:6.

Faith is Real

Faith is similar to belief, yet much more than belief.  The difference is much easier illustrated than explained.  A child for example can believe in Santa Claus.  Yet that belief is misplaced because there is no silver-haired, jolly fat man that rides a sleigh driven by flying reindeer that delivers toys to billions of children worldwide.  But faith is rational belief in something or someone that is grounded in reality, even if that reality is not readily observed or easily defined.  Such is the nature of faith.  When somebody says, "I have faith in you," they are expressing confidence in someone's ability to perform or do a certain task in the future, though not really knowing the future or that person's true capabilities or capacity to perform that task.  Faith in God assumes that God, Who no one has ever seen, does exist and does whatever He has said in His word.

Faith is Relational

Biblical faith arises out of the conviction that a divine, supernatural Being, God, has revealed Himself to humanity and has made certain claims concerning Himself that are wholly true and completely reliable.  Faith relies on the word of the One making the claims and promises to such an extent that the one receiving those promises acts upon them because he counts the One Who promised worthy of his trust.  Faith then becomes personal as the recipient places unqualified confidence in the Promise Maker with no guarantees except the word of God. 

Faith is Rewarded

The critical component to faith is the reward of faith.  Faith in God has a definite payoff.  Without this payoff, faith is in vain.  For why would anyone believe in someone who promises everything but delivers nothing?  Such faith is vain.  But for those who rely on God's promises, the reward of faith will surely come. 

This is, in fact, the purpose of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, to demonstrate the reward of faith.  People who put their trust in God get rewarded for that trust, that reliance upon God.  Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, well past their years of fertility.  David killed the giant Goliath with a simple slingshot and a stone.  And so the list goes on and on.  And the opportunity to join the long list of real people trusting in the real God to receive a real reward in this life and in the life to come, is present and paramount to making a success of one's living. 


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