ABC’s of Receiving and Growing Faith
Updated: Jan 7
What is Faith According to Scripture
In the Bible, faith is often described as confidence or trust in God, or in the truths and promises of God. It is generally seen as a virtue and is important in Christianity. That, perhaps, is the understatement of the last two thousand (2,000) years! In the New Testament of the Bible, faith is required for salvation through Jesus Christ. This free gift was wrought through his death and resurrection.
One example of the role of faith in the Bible is the Letter to the Hebrews, which speaks of faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). This passage suggests that faith is a kind of assurance or conviction that allows us to hope for and trust in things that are not yet visible or proven.
In addition to belief and trust, faith is also often linked to action and obedience. For example, James 2:17 states that "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." This suggests that faith should be manifested in the way we live our lives and in the choices we make.
Here are a few examples of faithful people in the Bible:
Abraham: Abraham is considered the father of faith in the Bible. He is praised for his faith in God, as demonstrated by his willingness to leave his home and follow God's call to a new land. Abraham is also known for his faith in God's promise to give him and his wife Sarah a son, despite their advanced age.
Moses: Moses is known for his faith in God and his obedience to God's commands. He is most famous for leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.
David: David is known for his faith in God and his trust in God to deliver him from his enemies. He is also praised for his repentance and seeking of God's forgiveness when he sinned.
Mary: Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also an example of faith in the Bible. She is praised for her willingness to accept God's plan for her life and for her trust in God's promise to send a savior. Her son, Jesus, would launch the Christian Church.
Paul: Paul, also known as Saul, was a faithful follower of Jesus and played a key role in spreading the message of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. He is known for his faith, even in the face of persecution and hardship.
Here are a few examples of people in the Bible who struggled with or lost faith:
Job: Job is a biblical figure who struggled with faith in the face of great suffering. At the beginning of the Book of Job, he is described as a righteous and faithful man, but as he experiences a series of disasters and losses, he begins to question God and his faith is tested.
Peter: Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, struggled with faith at times. When Jesus was arrested and crucified, Peter denied that he knew him, despite having previously professed his belief in Jesus as the Messiah. Later, however, he regained his faith and became a leader in the early Christian church.
Thomas: Thomas, another one of Jesus' disciples, is sometimes known as "Doubting Thomas" because he initially refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he saw him and touched his wounds.
Elijah: Elijah, a prophet in the Old Testament, experienced a moment of doubt and despair after a confrontation with the prophets of the false god Baal. He fled into the wilderness and begged God to take his life, but God comforted him and restored his faith.
As we can see, there are those who have great faith and others who struggle in this area. However, and this is something to remember, even those listed as “faithful” above, had struggles as well and those listed as “strugglers” had great faith moments. Always remember that your least faithful moments need not define the rest of your life. As you can see, some of the Bible’s greatest figures had their moments of both great faith and less faith.
Is Faith Only for Christians
No, but our faith is the only one which will allow us into God’s presence! However, “faith” is not exclusive to Christianity and is an important aspect of many different religions and belief systems. While the content of faith may differ among different traditions, faith generally refers to a belief in something or someone, often a higher power or deity, and trust or confidence in that belief.
In Christianity, faith is centered on belief in God, particularly as revealed through Jesus Christ, and trust in God's promise of salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection. In other religions, faith may be focused on different deities or principles, but it serves a similar purpose as a source of guidance and meaning in life.
This surely does not suggest that other so-called “faiths” are valid! Only that the word “faith” is not exclusive to Christianity. Here is what non-Believers in Jesus Christ should know, however. Their lack of faith in Him will cost everything.
Scripture teaches that those who do not have faith in Jesus will not receive the salvation that he offers. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as the only way to God, and belief in him is seen as necessary for salvation.
For example, God's Word in John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This passage suggests that belief in Jesus is necessary in order to have a relationship with God and receive the gift of eternal life. Similarly, in Romans 10:9, it states that "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
This passage links salvation with belief in Jesus as Lord and the fact of his resurrection. It is important to note that while belief in Jesus is seen as necessary for salvation in Christianity, this belief is not the only factor. Many Christian traditions also emphasize the importance of repentance, or turning away from sin, and following Jesus in obedience. Just remember – Christians cannot work “for” salvation but we work “because of” salvation.
How Do I Receive Faith in God
In Christianity, faith is a gift from God and is not something that can be earned or attained through our own efforts. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." This passage suggests that faith is a gift from God that is received through his grace, or unmerited favor.
There are certain things that can help us grow in faith and draw closer to God. Some ways to build your faith receive faith in God may include:
1. Reading the Bible: The Bible is a source of guidance and inspiration for Christians, and reading it can help us better understand God's will and character. 2. Praying: Prayer is a way to communicate with God and can help us grow in our relationship with him. 3. Worshiping: Participating in worship services and other forms of corporate worship can help us focus on God and build our faith. 4. Serving others: Serving others, particularly those in need, can help us see God at work in the world and strengthen our faith. 5. Being part of a faith community: Belonging to a community of believers can provide support and encouragement as we grow in our faith.
Ultimately, faith is a journey, and it may take time and effort to grow in our relationship with God. It is important to be patient and seek out opportunities to grow in faith.
In Christianity, faith in God and faith in Jesus are closely related and are often seen as two sides of the same coin. Belief in Jesus is an essential aspect of faith in God in Christianity, as Jesus is seen as the Son of God and an essential part of the divine nature.
However, belief in Jesus is considered to be “the” essential aspect of faith in God in Christianity, as Jesus is seen as the means by which God revealed himself to humanity and offered salvation. Therefore, faith in God and faith in Jesus are inter-connected. It is even bigger than this but this article is not one for “strong meat.”
Why People Refuse to Have Faith
It is impossible to know God without faith as an essential component of your identity. There are many reasons why people might refuse to have faith or struggle to believe in something. Some may be skeptical or have questions or doubts that they feel have not been adequately addressed. Others may have had negative experiences with religion or spirituality in the past that have caused them to lose faith.
In some cases, people may simply be more inclined to rely on reason and evidence rather than faith, and may find it difficult to accept beliefs that cannot be proven through scientific or empirical means.
Additionally, people may be resistant to faith for personal or cultural reasons. They may have different values or priorities, or may be resistant to beliefs that are different from those they were raised with.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why some people refuse to have faith. It is a complex issue that can be influenced by a variety of factors, including individual temperament, experiences, and cultural influences.
In some religious traditions, it is believed that losing faith and not regaining it can have serious consequences, particularly in regards to salvation or eternal life. For example, in Christianity, faith in Jesus is seen as necessary for salvation, and a lack of faith may be seen as an obstacle to receiving the gift of eternal life.
That being said, it is important to note that faith is a complex and personal matter, and it is not always easy to define or measure. Some people may experience moments of doubt or uncertainty, but this does not necessarily mean that they have lost their faith entirely.
It is also important to remember that faith is a journey, and it is not uncommon for people to go through periods of doubt or uncertainty as they seek to grow in their relationship with God. In many cases, faith can be restored and strengthened through difficult experiences or through the support and guidance of others.
What if I Reject Jesus
In Christianity, belief in Jesus as the Son of God and savior of the world is essential. Therefore, rejecting Jesus as a savior or denying his deity is viewed as a rejection of the Christian faith. Anyone so doing and having not repented will end up in Hell and the Lake of Fire. These are Jesus’ own Words and not mine! So much for “nice guy” Jesus you have been lied to about. In the Christian faith, one's spiritual life is measured on whether they receive Jesus or not.
That being said, it is important to note that faith is a complex and personal matter, and it is not always easy to either receive or keep! This is coming from me, a Preacher and Pastor! Some people may have questions or doubts about their faith, and this does not necessarily mean that they have rejected Jesus or the Christian faith. Ever heard of the Disciple Peter? What about John the Baptist who began to doubt while in prison?
It is also important to remember that God's grace and love are boundless, and it is never too late to turn to him and seek forgiveness. The one caveat is you must be living when this happens. If you are struggling with your faith or have rejected Jesus, it may be helpful to seek guidance from a pastor or other Christian leader, or to talk to someone you trust about your concerns and questions.
There are several instances in the New Testament where Jesus is rejected, or his teachings are rejected by others. Here are a few examples:
1. The Pharisees and other religious leaders: The Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders often opposed Jesus and rejected his teachings. They accused him of blasphemy and sought to have him arrested and put to death. 2. The crowds: While Jesus was popular with many people and often drew large crowds, there were also times when he was rejected by the crowds. For example, in John 6, many of Jesus' followers abandoned him when he taught that he was the bread of life and that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life. 3. The Roman authorities: The Roman authorities, particularly the Governor Pontius Pilate, ultimately rejected Jesus and sentenced him to be crucified. 4. Judas Iscariot: Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' disciples, ultimately betrayed Jesus and turned him over to the authorities.
These examples show that Jesus was often rejected by those in positions of authority or influence, as well as by some of his own followers. However, despite being rejected by many, Jesus' teachings and message have had a lasting impact and have been embraced by billions throughout the last two thousand (2,000) years.
As I conclude, here are three (3) things to think about with respect to faith.
1. Faith is in Jesus Christ is the most important consideration in ones life. Without it, one is doomed to an eternity away from God's presence.
2. Faith can provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and can give us hope and comfort, particularly in times of difficulty or uncertainty. It can also serve as a source of guidance and direction, helping us to make decisions and navigate the challenges of life.
3. Some people may struggle with faith or have questions or doubts, and it is important to be patient and seek out opportunities to grow in faith.
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