Friday, August 16, 2013

Faith and Hope / Heart and Mind

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  

Jesus gave parables about the purpose of being built on a strong foundation.

 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.   Matthew 7:25 

The foundation on which we are to build is the word of God.  Apostle Paul lists six parts of the foundation on which we arr to build:  

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  Hebrews 6:1-3.

The second of the foundation doctrines is "faith toward God.” "Faith toward God" refers to your attitude toward God. Some men hate God and rebel against Him. Others are afraid of Him. Your attitude should be one of faith toward God. Faith and repentance are both necessary for genuine conversion. To turn to God without forsaking sin is not true repentance. To try to forsake sin without turning to God in faith ends in failure. 

In order to fulfill the will of God, you must first have faith.  Jesus took time to pray for Peter:

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  Luke 22:32

Jesus didn't pray that Peter develop eloquent speaking skills or that he become a great leader.  He prayed that his faith wouldn't fail!  His belief in God and his consistency in doing the will of God was paramount to the assignment he was given.

The ministry of Apostle Paul to the unsaved was:

Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

Both repentance and faith toward God are necessary for salvation.  Faith keeps us consistent against all odds.

Faith means to believe and have assurance of something. To believe means to have trust. The words "faith, believe, and trust" all mean the same thing when we use them in relation to God. The Bible describes faith:

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

The Amplified Bible adds to this description:

Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. Faith is perceiving as real what is not revealed to the senses.
(Hebrews 11:1)

Faith gives assurance that the things promised in the future are true and that unseen things are real though they do not yet appear.

Faith is not to be confused with hope.  Faith differs from hope. Hope is a desire or attitude of expectancy concerning things in the future. Faith is belief in something you cannot see but have assurance you already possess. Hope is in the mind. Faith is in the heart:

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8)

In this verse faith is associated with the region of the heart as a breastplate. Hope is a helmet associated with the head. Hope is a mental attitude of expectancy about the future. Faith is a condition of the heart producing belief in God:

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
(Romans 10:10)

Faith is not the same as "mind over matter" which is taught by some religions. "Mind over matter" teaches that man can overcome all problems in the real world [the world of matter] by using his mind, reason, or willpower. These teachings are man-centered.  They rely on self and not on God. "Mind over matter" is not based on the Word of God.  Faith is God-centered, not man-centered. It is a gift of God, not something man produces through self-efforts of his own mind.

It is not enough to accept the Gospel with the mind. This is not true Scriptural faith and does not produce change in your life.

True Scriptural faith, believing with the heart, always produces change in your life. The result is something experienced in the present, not something hoped for in the future.

(Biblical Studies)


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