4.2.1.5 Faith

The word "faith" is not mentioned in the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament. Wherever we find this term in modern translations, the original words used were "trust", "loyalty", "obedience", "confidence", or "certainty". All of these meanings are implicit in the single word "faith". In Hebrews 11: 1 we read: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (see 1.4).

Faith always starts with God, who reveals Himself through His word and His works. As long as human beings trust God completely, they are able to obey God. Disobedience caused mankind to sin and therefore incur guilt before God. Ever since, mankind has had a broken relationship with his Creator. For any human being who desires to enter into fellowship with God again, it is indispensable to believe (Hebrews 11: 6).

For the models of faith in the time of the old covenant, salvation still lay in the future (Hebrews 11: 39). When God revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the Old Testament promises were fulfilled. Thereby faith acquired a new dimension: it was now directed at the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Through faith in Him, it is possible to be reconciled to God and enter into fellowship with Him.

The Son of God demanded this kind of faith: "... believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14: 1). He emphasised the consequences of unbelief in all its implications: "For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8: 24).

Great things are promised to those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and accept Him: they will "not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16).

True Christian faith is always based first and foremost on God's grace of election and revelation. This is evident from the profession of Apostle Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", and Jesus' response: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16: 16-17). Faith is a gift of God as well as an obligation for human beings. If they accept God's word, trust in it, and act accordingly, then their faith is alive and will lead to salvation.

SUMMARY

Faith is a gift of God which constitutes an obligation for human beings. When human beings accept God's word, trust in it, and act in accordance with it, their faith is alive and leads to salvation. (4.2.1.5)

The beginning of faith is always God, who reveals Himself through words and works. (4.2.1.5)

Through faith in Jesus Christ it is possible to be reconciled with God. (4.2.1.5)

See also