The Christian Life – Faith in Action

How Christians Live

The theological definition for the Bible term “faith” (Greek pistis) is primarily, firm, persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing, is used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual. (VINES EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, p. 401)

A Bible passage which explains the source of one’s faith is Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We must understand that hearing alone does not bring salvation, but faith in the message heard does… Salvation comes when the message of the gospel is preached, believed, and then confessed by men. That message must come from the Word of God [the Bible]. (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. 2, p. 387)

Another passage that relates to the subject of faith is Hebrews 1:11: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In this passage we learn that faith would be regarded as the foundation upon which hope is built…” Faith has the connotation of assurance (see Hebrews 3:14; II Corinthians 9:4; 11:17) … Faith might be looked upon as the guarantee … the “title deed” of things hoped for … Faith carries the central idea of something that underlies visible conditions and guarantees a future possession. (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. 2, p. 704)

One additional passage that is important in the study of faith is Hebrews 11:6: “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.” This passage notes that an individual must have faith that is absolutely reliant upon God’s testimony regarding the mission and atoning death of God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24). … The individual must have faith in the Redeemer, whereby he rests completely upon Christ alone for salvation (see John 3:15,16,18; Ephesians 2:8). (DAVIS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, p. 240)

In summary, faith is the affirmative response to God’s will and Word. Man possesses faith when he takes God at His Word. One does not need to see something to believe it. Faith is the acceptance of something merely because God has said it. “…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” said Jesus (John 20:29). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. 2, p. 705)

The Six Types of Christian Faith in the Bible

Actually there are six kinds of expressions of faith in Scripture.

1.  Doctrinal Faith –  Called “the faith,”Doctrinal Faith refers to the content of Christian belief.  “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”(Jude 3).

2.  Saving Faith – Saving Faith is what it takes to trust in Christ and in Him alone for salvation.  “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”(Acts 1:31).

3.  Justifying Faith – Justifying Faith is the believer’s reliance on the fact that God has declared him righteous.  “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

4.  Indwelling Faith – When you trust God’s Word implicitly and its ability to work in and through us, you have developed indwelling faith.  “I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”(Galatians 2:20).

5.  Daily Faith – Daily Faith is that day-to-day dependence on God, which is part of the sanctification process.  “For we walk by faith, not by sight”(II Corinthians 5:7).

6.  Gift of Faith – This is a special ability of faith, resulting in a vision of what God can do.  This faith is the means by which we can achieve that vision, and the power with God to get answers to prayer.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” Hebrews 11:1-3).

The Walk of Christian Faith Life

The Christian life requires patience and the growth of personal faith.

  • When we live by faith we are being set apart to God, which. is the meaning of “sanctification.” The Bible teaches that “positional sanctification” is a past action on Calvary. Progressive sanctification is being carried out daily, and future sanctification will take place when we arrive in the presence of God. Daily sanctification requires an exercise of faith, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
  • As we live by faith, God is able to use us and cause us to grow in grace. Sometimes daily growth seems minute or even nonexistent to a casual observer. We may sometimes become frustrated with the apparent lack of progress, not able to see the forest for the trees. It is good from time to time to look back and see how God has been working in our lives.
  • As a bricklayer places one brick upon the other, building a large tower, he may feel his progress is insignificant. Yet, the tower will be built one brick at a time. It is the same in our Christian lives. God makes the big changes through a series of little ones. We must learn to trust God for the little things so we can enjoy great growth. We must trust God daily so we can enjoy yearly gain. Like any other growing experience, living by faith is taking one step at a time.
  • We grow in faith through the Word of God. As we make the Word of God a part of our lives by reading, studying, and memorizing, we begin to grow in faith (1 Pet. 2:2). Every Christian needs to hear the Word of God taught and preached regularly (Ps. 1:1-3).
  • We grow in faith by following biblical principles. A growing faith is an obedient faith. Usually, the exercise of faith will be rational, in keeping with what God wants done. We must put complete trust in the principles of the Bible and not trust our feelings. Faith is not a blind leap into the dark. Faith is following the light of God’s Word.
  • We grow in faith through seeking the Lord. The doctrine of “seeking” the Lord is not usually emphasized, but it is biblical to search for God. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Ps. 27:8). Our faith will grow as we seek God. First, we will begin to recognize the issues that keep us from God. Then, as we search for a better relation with the Savior, we will come to know God experientially.
  • We grow in faith through confessing our sins. No Christian will live a sinless life, but God is constantly cleansing us through the blood of his Son. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (i John 1:17). When we as Christians do sin, God will forgive and cleanse us if we confess our sins to him (i John 1:9). Every time we recognize sin in our lives and rid ourselves of its hindrance, we grow in faith.
  • We grow in faith by surrender. The Christian must constantly surrender to the lordship of Christ. We do this once when we are saved, but there are also subsequent times to surrender to Christ. As we yield our lives to the Lord, we are growing in grace (Gal. 3:3; Col. 2:6). Paul challenged the Romans to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).
  • We grow in faith through constant communion. If we want a growing faith we must have a constant communion with Jesus Christ. As we spend time in prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with Christ, we will develop our faith more fully. Jesus recognized that we would become like those we spend time with (Matt. 10:25). As we spend time with the Lord, we will become more Christlike in our faith.
  • We grow in faith through the testing of difficult experiences. once we are saved, our faith is nurtured as we grow from victory to victory. Paul describes this “from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). God wants us to have faith in himself because that pleases and glorifies him. But living faith is not something we receive as one takes a vitamin pill. With the opportunity of taking a step of faith there is the risk of success or failure. When we successfully trust God we should learn through the experience and grow thereby. Faith must come from man’s heart, which is governed by his free will. Therefore, to develop a person’s faith, God will sometimes maneuver a man into a corner so that the creature is forced to look to his Creator in faith. Through such experiences, man has an opportunity to grow in his faith.
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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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