A Short Essay On Faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11: 1.
Throughout the Bible, faith is mentioned almost everywhere so it must be an important trait to be reflected in our lives and not just by mouth only. Salvation is the only thing that really matters and faith is what guard’s our salvation. And we need to do everything possible to guard this gift that He has given us by grace, which is in two parts, firstly God is guarding it in Heaven and we have to do our part to the best of our ability and guard it here. If we live by faith, which means living for the promise that is unseen and above us and not by sight, which is only earthly and of no value whatsoever. If we allow Satan to take it from us while we are here, we won’t get to collect it when we stand before Him.
Hebrews 11: 1 – 40 is a complete chapter dedicated to telling us what faith is and gives an account of those who have passed before us and is encouraging to read. I particularly like verse 13, which says: These all died in faith, not [yet] having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. And who can say that they didn’t experience similar struggles of their own at times – after all, they were only human too and suffered the same things as we do and is no different today. Just as God was the same yesterday, is today and will be tomorrow – so is Satan, until his end and this is not a game with him. This is my hope that I can achieve what they did and hopefully, it is yours too.
And Ephesians 2: 8, 9 tells us: For by [God’s] grace are ye saved through faith; [in Christ] and that [salvation is] not of yourselves: it [Jesus] is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. This gift is such a precious thing, it’s not something you can visibly see but you can see the evidence of it in those who are living for Him. In Hebrews 11: 6 it tells us: But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Faith is a fragile thing at the best of times and must be maintained vigorously. When the storms of life come – and they will, it is so easily lost. How we stand up to the tests will determine our reward. It isn’t a one-off thing and then you forget about it – it is ongoing right up to your last breath. And this will always come down to what you value the most – are you just living for the things of today, which are only perishable and mean nothing, or for the promised rewards tomorrow and is forever. It isn’t something that we have to face alone to overcome all the difficulties this life will throw at us – and there will be many trials and tribulations soon to come but God has promised He will not leave us alone. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. Isaiah 49: 10.
And 49: 15 says in part, yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. There will be many doubts and fears in these days and many times we will have to see things through faith and not by our own eyes.
Two of my favourite verses are in John 3: 16, 17 and says: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. Anyone with just the slightest hint of compassion cannot read these verses and not be overwhelmed in love for Him – I know I can’t.
The moment we believe we are all given the Holy Spirit as a gift from Jesus. Faith is not a visible or physical thing that you buy over the counter and like everything pertaining to God and Jesus it is a spiritual thing. And as we grow and mature in faith we will become aware of ‘the Spirit’s workings’ teaching and guiding us, even correcting us so that we may be found worthy to be presented before Him without blame. Above all; we need to show that we bear the marks of Jesus upon and within us. If we don’t take pains to show others who we are living for, we are just containing it within and that is self-centredness. It is our given responsibility to help others in this fight, if they will listen.
Faith is increased by prayer and studying His word as much as you can and if you neglect either of these requirements, you will only grow so far. There will never come a time when you think you know it all. Belief is only the beginning and I’m sure that you can understand even in an earthly example it’s not quite the same. Believing that an earthly object or something similar will not increase your belief that it is – simply because it is – but faith will increase if you feed it. Matthew 13: 3 – 8 speaks of the sower and the 4 types of ground where the seeds fell and each soil type only produced a certain growth. Faith starts off small but the more you feed it, the more it will grow. Faith has to be fed in order to grow and as a simple analogy – a seedling will quickly die without sufficient watering.
Romans 10: 17says, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Sadly in this late age of Laodicea that we find ourselves in, finding a good place to hear the word has become very difficult even now and will get worse as the day draws near but we can all exhort one another to continue. Matthew 18: 20 says, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Finding sound teaching in the coming days will become harder and harder and many will ignore certain scriptures for whatever reasons and blindly revere the salaried men within the church system and follow vain traditions. Attending churches will not guarantee salvation, nor is it a pre-requisite.
Amos 8: 11, 12 tells us: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
In the latter days there will be a dearth of good, sound teaching not found anywhere and many who are genuinely seeking truth will depart the church visible because of their fallen nature, in favour of reliable Bible reading and online ministries such as ichthys.com and some will just desert them completely. The Bible is the only source of legitimate truth and Satan doesn’t want you to know it in any measure. Human nature being what it is, reading the Bible is often put off in favour of other pastimes but just remember, it’s Satan who puts up the detour sign and we must try very hard to overcome that. How much you give in to that will determine your level of growth and possibly your salvation as well. If you knew what governs your salvation and the little it costs to gain it and the rewards promised, which are beyond compare, wouldn’t you do your best to attain it?
Having faith and holding on to faith are not quite the same. Having faith is believing that the Bible teaches us about God and Jesus and is true; holding on to faith is more about the battle each and every one of us will experience in one way or another once we’ve made a conscious decision to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. And to win this battle we need to believe in a power outside of ourselves. In our own power we are very weak and we are not strong enough on our own, Satan will easily make ‘short work’ of you and he is a master deceiver. We were all in the battle even before making this decision – we weren’t completely aware of just how much we were kept bound. No-one can attain salvation in their own volition or power without having accepted Jesus as your saviour – it’s just not possible and it begins with a simple prayer from your heart and then repenting after that, which is changing your spiritual direction. There are many who may think their sins are so bad they are unforgivable and that is not true and you know who is telling you that. There is no sin so great that He won’t forgive if we confess them in genuine remorse and once confessed they are forgiven and don’t have to be said ever again. Having a contrite heart means it has been bruised, hurt and injured or crushed and God delights to heal it. A broken spirit and a contrite heart God will not despise. Psalm 51: 17.
Romans 10: 9 tells us, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, [which is telling others] and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For such a reward, it’s not a big demand is it?
Another couple of favourite verses are in Hebrews 12: 1, 2 and is good to think on, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We can be so thankful that Jesus knows our every weakness, (as does Satan) and we will all fall from time to time but you can rest assured He will always help us to our feet and encourage us to continue. I’m sure you can see that as a beautiful picture. You may not be aware of those around you who are watching your walk but be assured, there is a great cloud of witnesses above you who are rejoicing in heaven and cheering you on in this race. The rewards promised far outweigh the alternative.
We have not yet resisted unto blood and some may have to.
These verses mean so much to me as I’m sure they are to you – He is the anchor to our soul.