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Christian Faith: 10 Essential & Life Giving Aspects

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Christian Faith: 10 Essential & Life Giving Aspects
Christian faith comes by reading the Bible. Every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit and we engage with Him interactively as we read.

Christian Faith: 10 Essential & Life-Giving Aspects

Christian Faith is essential for salvation and walking with Jesus.

Faith is powerful, transforming, miracle-working, and key to seeing the kingdom of God.

Here is an accepted description of Christian Faith:

Within Christianity, faith, in one sense, is often discussed in terms of believing God’s promises, trusting in his faithfulness, and relying on God’s character and faithfulness to act….

Christians agree that faith in Jesus lies at the core of the Christian tradition and that such faith is required to be a Christian.

The Bible is our source of Christian Faith

In the King James Version, the word “faith” occurs 247 times. This compares with “love” 311 times, “grace” 170, and “hope,” at 130. But love, grace, and hope serve both as nouns and verbs, while “faith” is only a noun. Its verb form is “believe,” mentioned 304 times for a total 551.

The Bible defines Christian faith for us in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, widely known as “the Faith Chapter”

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Christian faith is different than natural faith

We are born with natural faith. This natural faith assumes:

  • we will be welcomed into this world,

  • that we will be fed, clothed, and cared for

  • that our needs will be met that

  • when we cry, we will be heard.

As we grow older, we learn who is helping us and this innate faith turns into more noble things, like trust, fidelity, and loyalty, and our parents are the objects of this natural faith.

Later we trust teachers, those in authority, and those we love. We develop faith in institutions and leaders and in political and philosophical positions.

The Bible recognizes the value of this natural faith in the Ten Commandments and of being “faithful” in natural relationships and to the circumstances of our lives.

But Christian faith is something more.

Christian faith has God as its object

Natural faith is in natural things and does not look to God as its object. Indeed, St. Paul* tells us that nature itself is manifest evidence of God’s existence and that refusal to recognize Him defines us as “fools” and leads to sin and a “reprobate mind.” (Romans 1:19-18)

(An asterisk* after a name means that person is one of the two hundred short biographies in SPIRITUAL LIVES.)

The Epistle to the Hebrews clearly explains the essence of the Christian faith, the absolute basis for a relationship with God:

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. – Hebrews 11:6

The rest of the chapter goes on to catalog fifteen men and women who were champions of faith and serve as examples for us.

Christian faith in the Old Testament

All fifteen named in Hebrews 11 were Old Testament figures with outstanding faith, but Abraham* is especially important as the “Father of Faith” and forefather of Jesus.*

Although there had been people of faith before, that faith was corrupted and disappeared by the time God called Abram out of Ur and promised to make of him “a great nation.” (Genesis 12:2)

It was a unique situation. Ur was a land of idolatry, and Abram was 75 years old and had no children. But he believed God and obeyed His call. He traveled over one thousand miles to the land of Canaan on foot and was still without a child, yet St. Paul says God counted his faith as righteousness (Romans 4:6)

He continued to believe that God would keep His promise, and He did, 25 years after Abram’s call.

Abraham* and Sarah* had Isaac,* the son of that promise when he was one hundred years old and she ninety.

But Abraham’s greatest act of faith was still to come. God told him to take this long-awaited child and offer him up as a sacrifice. The knife was in Abraham’s hand when an angel stopped him and showed him a ram to take Isaac’s place.

Hebrews (11:19) tells us Abraham acted believing God was able to raise Isaac from the dead and that his act was a figure of Jesus’ Resurrection.

This is an important linkage to Jesus as the One Abraham was obeying. Jesus Himself confirmed this:

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. – John 8:56-58

St. Paul* shows us this clear linkage to Jesus again with Moses:*

and the children of Israel were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink:

for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:2-4

There are over eighty theophanies (appearances of God) in the Old Testament, and each one is a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Jesus. Jesus Himself pointed out the many passages referencing Him as Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus and tells us plainly He was active before the world began.

How blessed we are to have this knowledge that the saints of the Old Testament saw only “darkly, as through a glass.”

But this helps us understand that the faith of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 was true Christian faith.

Christian Faith in the Gospels

Both Matthew and Luke give Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham* in their Gospels. Jesus came to His people to affirm the promises of Scripture and marvels at their “little faith,” and “unbelief.”

He shows people the power of faith to work miracles and tells us that even His mighty power is limited by unbelief.

He tells those He has healed or forgiven that their faith has saved them or “made them whole.” The principle He gave them shows the remarkable potential faith has:

According to your faith be it unto you. Matthew 9:29

Faith is powerful enough to overcome the impossible: If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20

Jesus has Almighty power and tells us He could call twelve legions of Angels to help him. Yet when Peter is about to deny Him, He does not use these powers. Instead, He prays for Peter, prays that his Faith will be strengthened (Luke 22:32). How important our faith is! Let’s pray with Jesus that ours will be strengthened.

But before we can go there, we must have Christian faith, and this comes only from God by the power of the Holy Ghost.

John* does not use the noun “faith” once, but he uses the verb “believe” (-th, -d,-ing) ninety-eight times, more than all the other Gospels combined. This active verb form is centerstage in Christianity’s best-known verse, John 3:16

In that chapter, Jesus tells one of the most learned religious leaders that he cannot see the kingdom of God because he does not meet the essential requirement: Ye must be born again!

How does this happen? It comes via the Holy Spirit, it is God-given, but it is not of faith. The Spirit opens our eyes so that we may SEE the kingdom of God. Many get this far but do not enter in, i.e., they do not pass from death unto life, they are not saved because they do not believe! They have no Christian faith.

But anyone, “whosoever” Believeth in Him has everlasting life.

I like the archaic form “believeth” because it expresses a continuing action, an ongoing faith in Jesus. resting on His Word.

Without this faith, we will perish but with it, we have eternal life. It is a simple choice, a straight-forward directive from Jesus: Be not afraid, only believe.

Christian faith in the Epistles

The word “faith” occurs 197 times in the Authorized version of the New Testament (“love” =127), so it was a big issue in these early days of the Church. James, the brother of the Lord, wrote about it in 45 A.D. in his general epistle.

He begins by teaching that our Christian faith is tested by trials, and these are meant to exercise and build our faith, strengthening it.

St. Paul* adds that Christian faith protects us from evil and urges us to take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. – Ephesians 6:16

Both Peter and Jude see our Christian faith as under attack and command us to contend for it (Jude 1:3)

John* takes it one step further and sees our Christian faith as an offensive weapon

this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

Why do you suppose there is such a fierce and ongoing attack on Christian faith? Because it is the means we must use to accept God’s grace

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8

This was a different salvation than what the Jews were practicing. The grace of God was always there and every one of those saved in the Old Testament was saved by it, but they had come to believe that it was obeying the Law of Moses* that justified them.

And even after Jesus came and taught them that it was simply believing in Him that saves us, they wanted to bring in their old religion to the church. They wanted to compel Christians to practice the Law even though they had been freed from it. St. Paul* puts it concisely:

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:28

What a freeing message this is, this message of Christian faith. It led to the salvation of Augustine, Martin Luther*and John Wesley freeing them from the bonds of legalism and works justification. And that same Christian faith is operating in our lives today, not only saving and justifying us, but giving us entry into the presence of Jesus and filling us with the Holy Spirit.

Christian faith: how do we get it?

As we have seen above in Ephesians, Christian faith is a gift of God. Before we knew Him, we were lost in sin and without hope. But Jesus came to save us. He washed our sins away on the cross of Calvary. But that blood that cleanses us from sin must be applied to our hearts. How does that happen? St. Paul puts it like this:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:13-14; &17

We get Christian faith by reading the Bible. Not only is its text inspired by the Holy Spirit, but as we read, we engage in an interactive relationship with Him. We get to know Jesus the same way we get to know others, by spending time together.

Christian faith and works

While he was head of the Church at Jerusalem, James wrote these words:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. -James 2:14-18

These works that James is talking about are the very good works that Paul says God ordained for us to walk in. There is no contradiction.

Christian faith: a final word from Jesus

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:29

What an enormous blessing we have, to simply believe in Jesus and His Word. Not only do we have eternal life, but access to His presence and His power. Through Christian faith, we can be healed, restored, forgiven and bring others to the Lord. Our faith activates our prayer, brings us peace, and gives us access to this promise:

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. – Jesus in Matthew 21:22

God bless us all and strengthen our faith. Our lives will be blessed, and doubts and fears will flee!

FAITH came singing in my room one day,

And other guests took flight,

Fear, anxiety, grief & gloom

Fled out into the night.

I did not see how this could be

‘til FAITH said quietly, “You see,

They really cannot live with me!”

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