Is your faith Biblical?


 

How many of us with out hesitation can quote the most famous verse we have in scripture which describes what faith is?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.[1]

The Holy Spirit saw fit that the writer of Hebrews declares to all believers that faith is a confidence in something we hope for.  Faith is the absolute assurance we will possess what we at the moment do not possess.  There is something promised that we are not beholden to yet, but we are certain of its existence.  Everything about faith per the written word of God through the Holy Spirit confirms our faith is our unswerving hope in the promises of God to us.

Consider our father Abraham.  He was a very old man with a very old wife who was barren her whole life.  When God called Abraham He told him he was the father of many nations.  God did not tell him he will become the father of many nations.

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.[2]

We accept that God called things that are not as if they were in Abraham.  We see in Abraham’s life faith lived out as we see in the verse on faith.  Abraham was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he did not see.  We can say, Abraham had an assurance of the promise, not because he possessed it, but because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.[3]

I have been advocating we have a hope of salvation presented to us in scripture just as Abraham had the hope of being the father of many nations.  Like Abraham, we see God calling things that are not as if they were in our lives.  Scripture speaks of being saved, this is God calling what it is not as if it were.  Then there are the many verses that speak of our hope, our enduring to the end to make our hope sure and yes, even being saved into a hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  But all a hope.  No more and no less than what Abraham had.  A confidence in the one who made the promise.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.[4]

A lot more could be said about this verse, but you let the Holy Spirit show you what He is saying about your hope of salvation and its future fulfillment.

In my book The Gospel According to the Gospel, I wanted to illustrate the kind of faith scripture teaches.  I wanted an example of someone who was sure of what they hoped for and certain of what was not evident.  This is my illustration.

Now if you heard that coke bottles were going to be the new currency this would take faith.  Why because it is not seen, it is an unseen future hope.  So if some prophet on the internet was prophesying all future currencies would be old coke bottles and you started to save all your coke bottles you would be acting in the kind of faith scripture is asking us to have..  In fact you would walk along the roadside looking for coke bottles because you believed that one day they would replace money.  Why would you believe this?  Because you believed the promise of the prophet on the internet.  But we do not believe some kook on the internet we believe in someone who has a better promise and the ability to deliver.  This is our Lord, our God and our king.  The one who gives us life, our promises and our hope.

Now imagine you held this hope about the coke bottles faithfully and made sure you lived in such a way as to benefit from it.  Then in the latter years abandoned this hope and threw away all those old coke bottles only to see the day that these coke bottles became the new currency.  You would have not kept your faith till the end.  You would have ship wrecked your own faith.  Like men who fall away from faith in Christ, who shipwreck their hope of salvation.

We see in my illustration the kind of faith scripture teaches.  Hoping in things unseen.  Confidence in things unseen.  Until at last he gave up his hope and wandered from the faith he had in the one who had made the promise.  Therefore turning his back on the faith, having believed in vain, he was as good as those who never acted in faith.

We in the church teach people to come forward, say a prayer we like to label the prayer of salvation, and declare persons saved.  We ignore all those other verses that speak of our hope, our need to persevere to the end in order to make our hope sure, our coming salvation, the fact we have an inheritance kept for us in heaven until Christ returns.  Ignoring all of this, we tell people to have faith when we teach they actually are now saved.  They now possess eternal life.  But how can anyone say they have Biblical faith in what they already posses?

Maybe we should rewrite the book of Hebrews.  It doesn’t seem appropriate that scripture should teach one thing and we teach the opposite.  Let me be the first to make a suggestion on how it should read.

Now faith is possessing what we don’t have to hope for and owning everything we see in scripture.

What would be some of your suggestions to rewrite this famous verse describing faith, making it so it matches what we preach in our gospel?

I would be curious if you even care.  Please leave your comments.


[1] Hebrews 11:1

[2] Romans 4:17

[3] Hebrews 11:11

[4] 1Peter 1:3-5

2 thoughts on “Is your faith Biblical?

  1. Here is a “dynamic” translation style from Heb. 11: 1-2,

    “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” (New Living Bible, NLT)

    And the newer English Standard Version, a real literal translation approach, in “cognitive equivalence” . . .

    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.” (English Standard Version, E.S.V.)

    And literally, “Now faith is, the assurance of things being hoped for, the conviction of things not having seen. For by this the elders were given approval.” (Lit. Greek)

  2. All I can say is YES! Faith is not what we posses, but what we as believers in Christ hope for, even with the utmost assurance we will some day attain it. This is the key to The Gospel According to the Gospel. Even our hope of salvation.

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