What is Faith? A Gift From God?


“What is Faith?  Let’s look at the definitions.  I was surprised to learn that the word faith had it’s etymology in 1200 AD.  Well let’s look at the definitions.”

Abraham's_Sacrifice

“Faith defined for Kids by Webster’s:

Main Entry: faith
Pronunciation: primarystressfamacrth
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English feith “loyalty,” from early French feid, foi (same meaning), from Latinfides “faith,” from fidere “to trust” –related to BONA FIDE, CONFIDE, FIANCE
1 a : devotion to duty or a person :LOYALTY b : the quality of keeping one’s promises
2 a : belief and trust in and loyalty to God b : belief in the doctrines of a religion c : firm belief even in the absence of proof d : complete confidence
3 : something that is firmly believed; especially : a system of religious beliefs

Etymology

The English word is thought to date from 1200–50, from the Middle English feith, via Anglo-French fed, Old French feid, feit from Latin fidem, accusative of fidēs (trust), akin to fīdere (to trust).

Epistemological validity of faith

There is a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the epistemological validity of faith. On one extreme is logical positivism, which denies the validity of any beliefs held by faith; on the other extreme is fideism, which holds that true belief can only arise from faith, because reason and physical evidence cannot lead to truth. Some foundationalists, such as St. Augustine of Hippo andAlvin Plantinga, hold that all of our beliefs rest ultimately on beliefs accepted by faith. Others, such as C.S. Lewis, hold that faith is merely the virtue by which we hold to our reasoned ideas, despite moods to the contrary.

William James believed that the varieties of religious experiences should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things . For a useful interpretation of human reality, to share faith experience he said that we must each make certain “over-beliefs” in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.

Faith in Hebrew

Faith in Hebrew is Emunah.  It means “To have faith in God is knowing that God exists or knowing he will act but the one with faith will act with frimness toward God’s will.”

Faith in the Greek

1. The root of 4102/pistis (“faith”) is 3982/peithô (“to persuade, be persuaded”) which supplies the core-meaning of faith (“divine persuasion“). It is God’s warranty that guarantees the fulfillment of the revelation He births within the receptive believer (cf. 1 Jn 5:4 with Heb 11:1).

Faith (4102/pistis) is always received from God, and never generated by us.

Ro 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment,as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (4102/pistis)” (NASU).

Eph 2:8,9: ” For by grace you have been saved through faith (4102/pistis); and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (NASU).

Gal 5:22,23: “22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,

patience, kindness, goodness, faith (4102/pistis), 23gentleness,

self-control; against such things there is no law.”

2 Thes 1:11: “To this end (glorification) – indeed each time we pray about (peri) you for the purpose (hin) of our God counting you worthy of the call – even that He may fulfill (His) every good-pleasure that comes from (His) goodness and work of faith, in (His) ability.”

Reflection: Faith is only (exclusively) given to the redeemed. It is not a virtue that can be worked up by human effort.

“Ok, so now that we know the definitions and the origins, we get the knowledge of what this word means.  It’s actually a gift, and not our personal tool to Command anything from God as some prosperity gospel ministers would have us believe.  Let’s look at Paul’s teachings on Faith, because he goes into great detail in Hebrews Chapter 11.”

Hebrews Chapter 11

“Paul starts out by saying this:  “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”  Wow, that’s powerful.  Through faith we understand that God commanded the universe to be formed!”

“Paul goes on to give examples of faith.  He says by faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain.  And by faith he was commended as a righteous man.  Notice Abel gave God something, not the other way around.”

Then Paul speaks of Enoch’s faith.  He say’s by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. And in verse 6 he say’s “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

“ Then Paul speaks of Noah. “ When Noah was warned about things not yet seen, in Holy fear built an ark to save his family.  by his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”  Wow, notice Noah didn’t command God to build the ark for him!  He didn’t say OK God but your going to have to make sure I have a lot of Gold, and a mansion when the flood is over!”

“Then Paul talks about Abraham.  By faith he left his home because he was called by God, to go to a place unknown.  Paul say’s he lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with Abraham of the same promise. And in verse 10 he says’ “For Abraham was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

“Paul say’s by faith Abraham even though he was old  and Sarah was barren, Was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.  verse 12-13  “And so from this one man, and he, as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.  13.  All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  So instead of thinking about the things they left behind they followed God through faith, and even though Abraham didn’t see his promise of descendants greater than the stars or grains of sand, he knew it would be.”

Then Paul brings it home by showing how his  faith in God  was tested because God told him to sacrifice his one and only son.  You see God told Abraham that his promise would come through Isaac.  So God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, and in faith, Abraham took Isaac and was about to sacrifice him when the Angel of the Lord stopped him.  Now that’s real faith!!  He was willing to do whatever God told him to do, even if it meant killing his son.”

“Paul gives many examples of faith in his teachings.  I have given it to you straight from the Bible, (NIV).  I try not to interpret for you.  You can let the Holy Spirit guide you into knowledge of the scriptures.  But when it makes plain sense, no other sense is needed.  So you don’t need my interpretation of it.  God speaks for Himself.  That said, I’m going to stray a bit from that and talk about something that I think was a plain twisting of scriptures.”

I saw a teaching by Jesus said to say that Jesus told us that Faith was our servant.  And we were commanded to use that as our servant to obtain favors, ie money from God.  Well  lets look at the verses.”

Luke 17 6-9

“He replied, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.  Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the fields, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Would he rather not say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do”  Now this is where they added their own words to scripture, they said, “I think not”!  Than they left off the last verse which totally explains what Jesus meant.  It is 10.  “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ “ 

“According to Dakes commentary Bible verse 10 means this:  (And I copy right from Dakes)  “This is the point illustrated by the parable of v 7-9, we are under obligation to serve God without earning merit or blessing.  All God ever asked is our consecration to the best good of all which automatically betters our own selves.  Shall we thank ourselves for bettering our own selves?  Such service is returned to us in many ways, if we do things for self-praise we manifest extreme selfishness (emphasis added)  and we already have our reward (Mt. 6: 1-6; Jn. 12:43)” end of quote

Well that explains it.  That’s the same thing I got from the Holy Spirit when I read this verse.  I just want to say use caution when listening to others interpret the scriptures, and always look to the whole text.  Look before and after the verse in question.  Now back to faith.  We need to fine tune our faith, as time is getting short, and we need to have the unwaivering faith of the above mentioned Patriarchs or we will be deceived, by the Antichrist.  We need blind faith!  We need to know that all of God’s promises are true.  How many if asked, would pick up everything like Abraham did and go off into the wilderness?  How many would go out into their front yard and start building an Ark and face redicule from your neighbors?  How many of you would do what Abraham did when he took Isaac to the mountain.  Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that, because God sent His own son to die for our sins.  Have faith in that!  Have faith in the promise of eternal life given by Jesus!  (John 3:16).  But remember to serve God rightfully we need faith!  Not the other way around!  Search the scriptures for yourself, ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and let Him guide you into all Truth.  God Bless.

 



Categories: gospel of Christ

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Rev. 22:20 'Surely I am coming quickly, Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!'

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