“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony” (Heb. 11:1–2).
- Hebrews 11:1-6
As Christians, we are to live by faith. What does this entail? What does faithful living require? What does it look like? And how do we increase our faith?
Our first task is to answer a very basic question: What is faith? In Biblical terms, to have faith is to trust someone, specifically God. And to trust God basically means to take Him at His word, to accept His promises as valid. This is the attitude for which Abraham is lauded in the New Testament. God promised him descendants, but years went by with no son being born. Furthermore, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were old, well past the ages when couples normally have their children.
Considering these things, Abraham grew fearful and doubtful, so much so that when God appeared he blurted out, ‘ “Look, You have given me no offspring’ ” (Gen. 15:3a). God responded by specifically stating that Abraham would father a child, and from that child would come a vast nation of people, as many as the stars in the night sky. And on the basis of that word of promise alone—for Abraham had not yet seen any mighty acts by God (with the possible exception of the plagues God brought upon Pharaoh’s house in Egypt in Gen. 12)—Abraham “believed in the Lord” (Gen. 15:6a). In other words, he trusted God to do what He had said He would do. He had faith.
Faith like Abraham’s is the key to a relationship with God. Hebrews 11:6 makes this abundantly clear: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Furthermore, the verse goes on to say, in order to come to God a person must believe (that is, he must have faith or trust) that He exists and that He is benevolent. Apart from such trust, we remain lost and dead in sin.
But such faith is not something we produce on our own. The Scriptures tell us that it is given by God. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). God gives people of His own choosing the ability to trust Him—for salvation, sanctification, even their next breaths.
If you are a believer, you probably understand the role of faith in your salvation. But do you understand its role in your day-to-day life? In what ways do you trust God? And does your faith rest on His promises to you in His Word? Study the verses below today and prayerfully consider how you can better take God at His word.
Passages for Further Study
- Isaiah 26:3
- Matthew 6:33
- Romans 8:28
- Philippians 4:19
- 2 Peter 1:10