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Does faith ignore proof? Do you need works if you already have faith? And how can you possibly develop faith in a God you can't even see?

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What the Bible Teaches about Faith

Does faith ignore proof? Do you need 'works' if you already have faith? And how can you possibly develop faith in a God you can't even see?!


Faith as a topic is quite personal, and for that we don’t often discuss faith with others. As a result, everyone has their own opinions about what faith is and how it relates to their life. But what about the Bible and faith? What does the Bible say about faith and how it works?


Faith can be a controversial topic, especially among Bible critics, because of the way that faith is often defined. It is often described as believing in something for which there is no proof, and because believing in something for which there is no proof is illogical, Bible critics argue that we're wasting our time. But is that really what faith is?


The answer, of course, is no.


A Biblical Definition of Faith

One of the Bible's most concise definitions of faith is in Romans 4:20-21, where Paul writes that Abraham was "strengthened in faith...fully convinced that what God promised he was able to do." In other words, Abraham's faith involved believing that God would keep his promises. The real question is, WHY did Abraham believe in God?


Romans chapter four is referring to Abraham’s belief that he would have a son despite being 99 years old and his wife's inability to conceive. You might say that sounds like believing something for which there is no proof, but that actually wasn't the case.


Throughout his early interactions with God, Abraham had many lived experiences that supported & fully confirmed God's ability to do incredible things: 

  • He communicated directly with God on multiple occasions

  • He was blessed by God with natural wealth/riches

  • He was given protection by God in dangerous situations

  • He was even living in the land that God promised to give him 


All those things happened while Abraham was still waiting for his promised child, so Abraham's belief that God would keep his promises was not in the absence of evidence. His faith was rooted in the evidence of God's history of promise-keeping! While it's true that Abraham didn't understand 'how' God would give him a son, his experience of other 'unlikely' promises that God had kept gave him confidence that God would keep that one, too. 


So, the example of Abraham helps refine our understanding of faith. Faith believes that God will keep his promises because of his proven history of doing so! In that way, faith is actually based on proof. 


Why is Faith Important?

Now, having a proper understanding of Faith is is great, but it’s quite pointless if we don’t understand why it matters and how to develop it. In Hebrews 11:6, the author writes, "Now without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." In other words, faith underlies a relationship with God! Anyone who's invested in a relationship with God has to believe first that he exists and second that he will keep his promises to bless those who seek him.


And therein lies a fundamental reality: Faith is not just an abstract intellectual exercise but a practical way of life. Having real faith means that you believe God will keep his promises, and, as a result, you live in a way that reflects that belief. It means you invest in understanding who God is, what his promises are, and how you can be a part of them. Faith is belief that inspires action. 


The apostle James explains this idea in James 2:14-26. He says that someone who claims to have faith but doesn't demonstrate it in their lives is like someone who looks at a person in need of food and clothing and says nice things to them but doesn't actually help them meet their needs. James summarizes his point by stating that "faith without works is dead" - in other words, faith that isn't acted on isn't true faith at all. 


How to Develop Faith

So, if faith is so important, how can we develop it? It’s probably simpler than you think. The apostle Paul wrote, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" [Rom 10:17]. In other words, the key to developing faith is to develop an understanding of the Bible. That means that we read it, spend time thinking about it, and talk about it with others. We educate ourselves about it and ask questions about what it means. We can’t think that we will just have faith if we want to. Faith is something that we have to develop, and we develop it through our exposure to the Bible and our growing understanding of it.


The deeper we go and the more Scripture we absorb, the greater the impact on our faith. Ultimately, this growth of faith is so important because when we invest in that understanding and in building our faith, we come closer to being a part of that perfect future God has promised the faithful.


STUDY NOTES
Coming soon!

What the Bible Teaches About Faith

Does faith ignore proof? Do you need works if you already have faith? And how can you possibly develop faith in a God you can't even see?

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