Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What is Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)
Occasionally something hits me like a lightning bolt and suddenly once murky concepts become clear as a bell. This, I believe fervently, is the Holy Spirit, revealing God's truth to me bit by bit. I'm glad that He doesn't do it all at once because my Swiss-cheese memory (Quantum Leap Reference) couldn't take it. 

A good definition of what Faith is and is not hit me a short time ago when reading Preparing for Eternity by Mike Gendron

The top definition used in the Christian world for faith is Hebrews 11:1, but I'm not wild about the use of the word 'assurance'. Over the years 'assurance' has become a bit more wishy-washy than it once was. The definition of assurance is "the state of being sure or certain about something" The original Greek word used in Hebrews 11:1 is ὑπόστασις or hypostasis which means things like "that which has foundation, is firm" and "the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution" I like 'steadfast' over 'sure' in this particular instance. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but try this on for size: 
Now faith is the steadfast trust of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen 
For me sometimes a negative example drives home a point better than any thing else. I believe I've stated in the past that I learned as much from bad college professors as I have from good ones ('no heavy bombers in World War One' my foot!) so let's look at faith this way. The best example of how my brain works in reverse especially when asked "What is faith" is forgiveness of sin. The word of God tells us this about forgiveness of sin: 
for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)
 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7)
  17 Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 10:17-18)
 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. (Mark 11:25)
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19)
The bible makes it abundantly clear that we are forgiven. If we trust in Jesus, accepting Him as our savior, knowing full well in our hearts that His death paid the blood penalty for our sins, then we are forgiven. If we have to do anything at all it is to repent (Acts 3:19) and to forgive those that sinned against us (Mark 11:25). This is faith.

I bring this up because it's a very enlightening way to show what faith is not. If you believe in your heart that you must pay some kind of penalty for your sins before God will forgive you, that you must perform a penance, then faith is what you're lacking. If you read the bible, understand the passages listed here, yet believe that performing a penance is the only way you'll be forgiven for your sins, you are telling the world that you do not have faith in Christ. You're saying by your actions that you do not believe He died for your sins, that His sacrifice was not good enough. Because penance is not in the bible, nor is it even implied, you're also saying that the bible is insufficient and that man needs to invent things to make up for that insufficiency. 

For me this revelation struck like a lightning bolt. Once I could see what Faith was not, I could more clearly see what faith is. To see faith in action, take your family for a ride. Some will enjoy the scenery, some will fall asleep, some will be so bored they can't hardly wait to get home, but none will be worried about dying in a horrible fiery death. In America if you're going to die somewhere it's very likely to be on the road, but your family has faith in you. They have rock solid unquestioning faith that you will get them home safely. That's the kind of faith God asks for.

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