Applying the Character Quality of Faith

Faith vs. Unbelief

3 min

Faith is recognizing God’s will in a given matter and acting upon it.

The Greek word for faith is pistis. It comes from the root word peitho, which means “to be persuaded, to convince by reason, to agree with evidence, to rely with inward certainty, to be confident.” Faith is based on the promises of God, which are so certain that waiting for them is not discouraging, and acting upon them is natural. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith is based on the promises of God, which are so certain that waiting for them is not discouraging, and acting upon them is natural.

How Do We Get Faith?

An initial measure of faith to believe in God is given to every person in the world. Jesus commended the faith of little children by stating, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15).

Faith for salvation comes by hearing the Word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). After salvation, faith grows as we engraft Scripture and act upon it. Before Scripture was written, the great men and women of faith often heard directly from God. Noah was warned of God to build the ark, and Abraham was called by God to leave his country. (See Hebrews 11:7–8.)

How Does the Word of God Activate Faith?

There are two primary Greek words that describe Scripture which are translated word in the New Testament. The first, logos, refers principally to the total inspired Word of God and to Jesus, Who is the living logos. (See John 1:1.)

The second word is rhema; it can describe specific Scripture that the Holy Spirit gives us for personal application. When Jesus told Peter to cast the fishing nets on the other side of the boat, Peter answered, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word [rhema] I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5).

Further passages that explain the promises of God are as follows.

  • “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
  • “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word [rhema] of God” (Romans 10:17).
  • “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
  • “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word [rhema]” (Ephesians 5:25–26).
  • “If ye abide in me, and my words [rhema] abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Why Faith Is Important

“Without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

  • We are justified by faith (made perfect in God’s sight). (See Romans 3:28.)
  • We are saved from our sins by faith. (See Ephesians 2:8–9.)
  • We are sanctified and cleansed by faith. (See Acts 26:18.)
  • Our hearts are purified by faith. (See Acts 15:9.)
  • We have access by faith to God’s grace. (See Romans 5:2.)
  • We can “move mountains” by faith. (See Matthew 17:20.)

Faith Is Expressed in Actions

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17–18). In God’s Hall of Fame, those who had faith acted upon it. By faith Noah built an ark. By faith Abraham went out from his homeland. By faith Moses rejected the treasures of Egypt and chose to suffer affliction with the children of Israel. (See Hebrews 11.)

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you watch for promises as you read through Scripture and memorize them?
  • Do you believe that God is living and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him?
  • Do you pray in generalities or take specific requests to the Lord?
  • Do you wait for God’s provision, or do you borrow money for the things you think you should have?
  • Do you have examples in your life of God working supernaturally through your faith?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success


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