What is Christian Faith?
True Christian Faith
True Bible Christian faith is something, I believe, that is lacking in this world. Jesus was so concerned about this issue that He even said ... Luke 18:8 ...'Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?' ... Faith is so important in a Christian life, and yet Jesus is concerned whether He will find anyone with GENUINE faith when He returns at the second coming. What is Christian faith? Is faith just believing in Christ Jesus? Is faith being able to heal someone? What is it? What about all the people who believe in the prosperity gospel, do they have Christian faith? There is certainly plenty of false faith going around. How about if someone didn't get healed of a sickness, is it because they didn't have enough faith? Well, before we get into Hebrews 11, let's just quickly look at a verse in the Gospel of Mark:
Mark 1:32-38 ...'And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.'
So Jesus is in Capernaum healing many of the sick and demon possessed, and as we can see from the Bible verses above He goes away to pray early in the morning. The disciples then come to Him saying "all men seek for thee". Why were all men seeking for Jesus? Because they had faith in Him that He could heal them. Did Jesus heal them? No, He left for another town to preach. Did He not heal the others because they had a lack of faith? No, because we can see that they were "seeking" for Him, so they must have had faith. The thing is, God must be glorified in all things, and Jesus had to continue His work in other places, so other people in Capernaum didn't get healed, even though they had faith in Him. What is the lesson? Even in faith, God doesn't always heal.
Now Hebrews chapter 11 is one of the greatest chapters that describes true Christian faith. Let's take a look at it:
Hebrews 11:1,3 ...'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 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.'
It takes faith to believe in God, and Christ Jesus, especially in this world we live in today, where worldly scientists are doing their best to disprove that there is a God and that we evolved from nothing! It takes true Christian faith to trust that God formed the heaven and earth in 6 days, as revealed in Genesis, NOT 6 million years.
Hebrews 11:4-5 ...'By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.'
So let's get this straight! Abel had true faith in God, and yet he was murdered. Enoch had true faith in God and was taken to heaven. Did Abel really have true faith the way Enoch did? Yes, it says above that he "obtained witness that he was righteous". It was Abel's faith that got him killed. So one faithful servant was killed and the other faithful servant was translated and taken to heaven.
Hebrews 11:7-8 ...'By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.'
So by faith, Noah stayed where he was and built an ark. Yet by faith Abraham left where he was and went into a strange land.
Hebrews 11:11,17 ...'Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.'
By faith Sarah gave birth and conceived Isaac, and yet by faith Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac. Are you seeing what true Christian faith is?
Hebrews 11:22,24,25 ...'By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.'
So by faith, Joseph was led to Egypt where he received great honour and wealth, and yet by faith, Moses was led OUT of Egypt into the wilderness to become a poor man.
Hebrews 11:32-34,36-37 ...'And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.'
So by faith, some of the Old Testament prophets "escaped the edge of the sword". And yet others were "slain with the sword".
Let me ask you some questions. Who had the greatest faith? Abel who died, or Enoch who lived? Noah who stayed, or Abraham who went? Joseph who had kingly riches, or Moses who was poor? The prophets who were protected from the sword, or those who died by the sword?
How is it that even though these all had true faith in God, some were kept alive, while others were killed? Why some lived like kings and others wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents? Why some stayed where they were and yet others had to leave? Because TRUE Christian faith is to trust in God NO MATTER WHAT, and to believe that whatever God's will is, then that should be done. You see, God must be glorified in all things, and sometimes He will get just as much glory in someone dying in faith, as someone that lives in faith. Hebrews 11 is teaching us that faith has nothing to do with what is happening around you, ie, whether you live or die, stay or leave. It's teaching us that true Christian faith is what is happening INSIDE you. What is Christian faith? True Christian faith is when you are devoted to Christ Jesus and trust God, whether you live or have to die. True Christian faith is doing the will of God in your life, no matter what the consequences. Don't base your faith on man's wisdom, but on God's power:
1 Corinthians 2:5 ...'your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.'
Some of us will continue to live, doing great things for God in faith and bringing glory to His name and the name of Jesus, and yet some of us will have to sacrifice our lives in faith for God's glory. This is why we need to focus on life eternal with Christ Jesus, and not on this world.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 ...'Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; though the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food; though the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.'
Do you have that true Christian faith? Are you willing to go through whatever God leads you to do, no matter how good or bad it gets? This is what Christian faith is.