Faith is not limited to religious persuasions but is universally embraced by man. However, faith’s purpose, meaning, and significance are not universal. This post explores the purpose, meaning, and significance of the Christian faith; The truth about faith.
Imagine the following two private conversations-
“Have faith,” my best friend offers me these consoling words, with a lump forming in her throat while gently brushing my hand at my husband’s funeral.
“Have faith,” the father smiles with encouragement while his eyes convey worry, comforting the family as his wife undergoes a major operation.
These scenes are repeated worldwide, albeit in different ways but centralized on the issue of faith. Regardless of which religion, this kind of faith is directed at something or someone that transcends the earthly realm.
The Bible, especially the New Testament (NT), reveals many nuances concerning the Christian faith. This post will explore the truth about faith to determine if this truth supports the above two imaginary conversations.
Hope, faith, and love are the pillars of Christianity (1Co13:13). Love has greater clarity and a defined focus. 1Co13 is a whole chapter dedicated to what love means to God.
Moreover, the NT’s only Law is to fulfill the commandment of love (Rom13:10), also known as the Law of Christ in Gal6:2.
The Christian faith and hope in the two conversations have an earthly focus. Does the NT truth about faith and hope support an earthly focus?
Spoiler alert – As this post examines the scriptures for the truth about faith, the truth about hope will also be revealed.
Let’s start with two relatively well-known scriptures concerning faith and two lesser-known ones.
- 2Co5:7 – “We walk by faith and not by sight.”
- Heb11:6 –“But 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.
- Rom14:23 – “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
- 1Pet1:7 –“ That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Without going into the context (the context will be explored later), the 4 verses above describe faith as a walk (conduct, living the Christian life) that is absolutely essential to please God. Else it amounts to sin. Furthermore, when this faith is tested, its eternal values increase for the Day of the Lord.
To avoid this post becoming an overwhelming Bible study experience, these 4 verses, contextually (meaning when one read the whole chapter), all share one contextual thing in common. They all share the context that this faith is about the belief in the resurrection of Christ and the believer’s resurrection.
The central focus of the resurrection common to all 4 verses is returning to the roots of Christian salvation, which is found in Rom10:9-10 –
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The belief or faith that saves is meant to have the singular focus on the resurrection of Christ. These 4 verses reinforce the paramount importance of this faith of the resurrection in the Christian walk on the earth that has eternal significance.
As if God is concerned that the importance of the resurrection escapes the Christian awareness, Paul said this in 2Co13:5, where he urged the believer to self-examine whether one is in faith, living by the power of God as displayed in the resurrection of Christ (2Co13:4). Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit then says this in 2Co13:8 –
“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”
What truth is Paul alluding to? This truth is the truth of the resurrection mentioned a few verses earlier. In other words, paraphrasing 2Co13:8 – to live by the faith in the power of the resurrection is God’s truth concerning the Christian faith.
For those interested in a deeper dive to support the above claim, below explores the supporting context.
- 2Co5:1-6 shows the context of the walk of faith in 2Co5:7 is an eternal heavenward’s focus of the resurrection vs. the temporary earthly body (2Co5:1-6).
- Heb11:16 shows the context of faith that pleased God in Heb11:6 is the faith in the hope of a better heavenly country (Heb11:16) vs. being a stranger and pilgrim on the earth (Heb11:13). Moreover, the reward mentioned in Heb11:6 would likely be referring to the eternal rewards of the out-resurrection of Phil3:10-11 and 1Co3, derived from the good works of gold, silver, and precious stones.
- Rom14:8-9 talks about whether the believers live or die, it is done unto Christ who died and rose again. As the believers are not eyewitnesses to the Lord’s death and resurrection, the believers require faith in this regard for the Lord’s death and resurrection to be real for them.
Therefore, Rom14:23’s “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” has contextual support. This faith is the faith in the death and resurrection of Christ that He loved us. Thus when the lesser faith about eating certain foods is disputed, know that FAITH of the Lord’s death and resurrection compels one to respond in love.
- 1Pet1:3-5 talks about the faith in the living hope of the resurrection. 1Pet1:6 discusses how suffering can be experienced in unspeakable joy because of this hope. Therefore, it stands to reason that the context of the faith tested in 1Pet1:7 is the testing of the faith in the living hope of the resurrection on the Day of the Lord.
It should be more apparent now that Christian hope is the hope of the resurrection and not an earthly hope.
The above narrative offers compelling evidence that the Christian faith in God is not about hoping to be healed, to get a better job, or for a soul mate, any earthly needs-wants.
While these are legitimate earthly need-want, this faith that pleases God of the Christian walk focuses on the heavenward goals, especially the resurrection, and not on earthly need-want.