What Is Faith

In John’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?”. Ironically, earlier while Jesus was in the upper room with His disciples celebrating the Passover, He told His disciples that He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Jesus answers the question, “what is truth” in Himself. But faith isn’t about truth, it’s about belief.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 NASB

This sounds simple enough. Faith is the “assurance”, or, as the King James Version puts it, “substance” (which is more correct). These are translations of the Greek word, “hypostasis” which you can look up here. Because of his previous use of this word writing of Jesus’ nature (Heb. 1:3), the writer here connects “substance” to “faith”.

In his previous use of the word, Jesus is the exact struck image of God’s “substance”, as if they were both coins struck from the same mint. Think about that in relation to faith. If faith is the “substance” of hope in the same way that Jesus shares the substance with God, how connected is faith to hope?

What is hope? Isn’t hope an expectation that a desire will be realized? For Paul and the other writers of the Christian Scriptures, hope relates to Jesus’ appearing, to heaven. So, hope implies that we desire heaven. Faith makes that desire real. Without that desire, though, there is no hope, and faith has nothing to substantiate.

Do you believe that Jesus died on a cross? Do you believe He rose from the dead? Do you believe that Jesus is presently interceding with the Father as the divine High Priest? If so, great. But so do demons, rebellious angels ruling the nations of this earth. They also believe and tremble (James 2:19).

The question isn’t whether you believe these people exist or whether these events happened. The question is whether you believe you are part of them. Are you a partner with Jesus? Are you a participant in His suffering? Are you seeking the place He has prepared for you? When you are involved in the things of Scripture, then faith has substantiated hope. Does that sound more like James than Hebrews? It’s both!

What’s your view through the knothole this morning?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation

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