Wednesday 25 Apr 2018
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John 6:48

I am the bread of life.

 

Faith and belief

Article Index
Faith and belief
Belief is the act of putting faith to work
Commended for putting their faith to work
All things are possible to those who believe
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And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13.

The question often arises what is the difference between faith and belief, what does it mean for one to have faith and for one to believe? Do both words mean the same and do they convey the same message to us?

There is the need to try as much as possible especially with the insight which the scripture and the light which the Holy Spirit sheds to answer the questions which these two words indeed elicit as we ponder over them. The truth be told the more we ponder over these two words and the more we meditate upon the true meaning of faith we would begin to see that the use of these words were indeed meant to convey  different messages to us.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. – Hebrews 12:1-3,

Faith and by this I mean the God kind of faith, the very one which the scripture teaches is by definition, having the knowledge about God and his ways. This knowledge furnishes us with certain information about the influence which God wields over creation, revealing to us how he goes about exercising such influence and how the position of God affects us as well as how we ought to respond to him.

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

We gain so much insight from this information, the knowledge and illumination which it furnishes us with, go on to elicit hope and this hope is so certain it becomes so assuring that we are in the position to put our trust in them and put them to use in our lives and world. How do we put such to use, well we deploy them in our day to day activities by using them to shape and mould our world, both at personal level and communal level. Hence we say 'faith is the evidence of things not seen, the assurance of things hoped for'.  Faith furnishes us with the information and equips us with the understanding that helps us to deal with the limitations which our human’s existence imposes upon in the quest of trying to unravel the mysteries that surrounds our existence. It begins by instructing us on the person of God and as I stated earlier, faith instructs us about the role and the influence which he wields over creation.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:  “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood  every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,  so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. Acts 17: 23b – 28.

Hence faith now says anyone who must come to God, he says they must come armed with the knowledge that God is and he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 12:6.

What does it mean to come to God and what does it mean to seek him? Why exactly do we seek him? The answer without saying much boils down this, from the information which faith furnishes us with we understand that God is the source and he makes it available to us via his word and this word at some point in time even manifested in flesh. Speaking therefore of the information that is able to illuminate the world of the mortal man, this is how the scripture described it:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men – John 1:1-4.

 

The knowledge that equips faith comes from hearing the word of God, hence true faith – the God kind of faith- is indeed a gift from God. It is a gift because the knowledge that bequeaths it, and the foundation upon which it is built, is found in the word of God..

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17.

Hence those who seek to grow in this manner of faith must cultivate an attitude in their seeking and this is done by the way which the scripture described it. I want you to note how the scripture uses but in a very careful manner, the word ’ believe’ -  saying that those who come to God must believe:

“for he who comes to God must believe”

I have highlighted this point because it is an important one and we would see this clearly in due course. I want you to know that there is a difference between having faith and exercising it through the act of belief, it must be clearly stated that belief feeds off faith.  Expanding the meaning of belief further, to believe, is the act of putting faith into action. Belief is the evidence of professed faith.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” – Romans 10:8-11.

As stated earlier belief feeds off faith, belief results when the knowledge which faith equips is put to test or use. The scripture verse above helps us to begin to see the difference clearly, it does this by revealing to the Church that the word, what word? The word of faith, the knowledge, the information that furnishes faith, the very words which came through teachings, preaching and the testimonies of our Lord Jesus, the Saints, Prophets, Apostles etc resides in the heart (The meaning of having faith). But having faith is one thing, walking in faith is another. To have faith is to be equipped with the knowledge that furnishes it, it is to have the information and the knowledge resident in our heart. Many believers have faith and they profess it, but few walk the walk of faith.

                                           



1 Peter 1:18-19
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

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