Faith begins with knowledge that is processed by thinking. We don’t gain faith by putting the Bible under our pillow at night. We gain faith by learning and processing the Word of God as it applies to our present situation. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Just knowing something isn’t enough to create faith; we have to apprehend the truth of God at an emotional, “persuasional” level. We have to become persuaded that God can be trusted in the matter at hand.
Many feel they have faith, but it’s faith in faith itself. What’s important is the object of your faith. Only faith in a promise-keeping God can save any who commit themselves by faith to Him. The issue is not how much faith one has but the object of one’s faith. The Christian grows in faith by knowing Christ better—by becoming persuaded that He can save us to the uttermost now and for eternity.
At some point the will has to move on the knowledge and persuasion that is there. We have to “step out” in faith. We have to act according to our faith.
Real faith is not a leap in the dark, as some say; it does not bypass the mind or the emotion. But it finds its expression in the will when it says, “I will trust God.”
Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1). “Substance” is a word that means assurance or realization. So, faith believes that what God has promised will happen—almost as it if has already happened. Faith treats things that are hoped for as reality. It’s a concrete conviction and contemporary confidence in a future reality. Faith is not in the future but is in God. For the unbeliever, “Seeing is believing.” For the believer, “Believing is seeing.”
Faith is like a sixth sense. With the senses of sight, taste, hearing, and smelling, something that exists as light waves or sound waves or molecules of flavor are brought into reality by our eyes, tongue, ears, and nose. Those realities are there whether you sense them or not. But when you get close enough for your sense to apprehend them, they become part of your reality. Faith does the same thing in the spiritual realm. It is the sense God gives that allows us to apprehend something that is there—a future promise-based reality—and make it our own.
Faith is also “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b). The apostle Peter supports the idea of believing in something we have not seen: “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). No Christian today has seen God the Father, Jesus the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And yet we believe in all three by faith. Faith is the evidence, or certainty and conviction, of things we do not see.
“But without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). The reason for that dramatic statement is that faith is essential. God designed His relationship with man so that faith is the connection between the two. Without faith it is impossible to know and please God.
The second half of verse 6 explains why faith is essential: “For he who comes to God must believe that He is.” This is not a statement about believing in whoever you think God is. This is a biblical statement about biblical faith in the biblical God.
If someone says he is a Christian, but his faith is in some undefined, nebulous God—“the man upstairs”—then that person does not have biblical faith and is not pleasing God with that so-called faith. The faith being talked about here is faith in the Creator-God of Scripture, revealed to mankind in the person of the Lord, Jesus Christ. That is the God the writer says we must believe “is.”
Yes, God is “findable” (Isaiah 55:6; Amos 5:4; Matthew 6:33). There is no excuse for anyone saying, “I have tried to find God but can’t.” “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
The Bible says God has revealed Himself in creation and that man is without excuse (Romans 1:20). Anyone who responds to that revelation of God and seeks Him further will find Him (John 7:17). When people say they don’t believe, it is likely true that they haven’t sought God—because God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
A truth built into God’s creation economy is that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). So what does one reap by sowing faith? We reap rewards: “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Believing that fact is part of biblical faith. We believe that God is and that He rewards those who seek Him.
God has promised that all who put their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, will be given the gift of eternal life (John 3:16). We need to be persuaded by that truth and then, as an act of our will, entrust our present and our eternity to Him.
If you have not yet entrusted your present and eternity to Christ, I challenge you to put faith into action and believe God’s promises. Let Him demonstrate to you that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him in faith.