What is Faith
To have faith, has several meanings. Biblically, it refered to trust, obedience, and credence based on authority.
Examples of biblical style faith
In greek mythology, there is a famous story, of a man who made a deal with the god of the underworld, to get his love back, the only condition, was that he never look back, to see if she was following him out, as he left.
He looked back, because he did not believe the god. She was condemned forever.
“Even the Demons admit that and Tremble”- St.James
To state that Leonardo Divinci was a good artist, is to state the obvious. To state that a life saver is a life saver, or “your” life saver, is simply to state fact. To call God, God, or admit such, is simply to admit the truth. To call the Life guard, your Life guard, is one thing, to give complete trust and control over to him, is another. In Shakespeare, Iago, admits that Othello is his leader, but does not act as such. The bible declares that all liars go to hell, both those who lie with words, and those who lie by living sinful lives.
To declare, or truly admit that Jesus is Lord, is in fact, to act as though he is, while believing such. To believe he rose from the dead, is to live a life, of faith. The word for doubt, and sin, has often been translated interchangeably- two translations of single verses. To sin, is to disobey God, all not of faith (trust, belief, obedience), is sin. Every act, not of faith- is sin.
To not Love God, with all one’s strength, heart, mind, body, and soul, and your neibour as yourself, is…
To violate Charity (a lifestyle of giving underserved love- note- Love constists of many parts including Justice), is to sin. God is Love, and so, to not love, is to not know him.
Love, is a basis of faith.”Charity (modern translations- love) is all-believing” I corinthians 13
We, as christians do not believe all things, but do believe God, based on our love and obedience. Faith, is a symptom of grace. Sneezing is a symptom of a cold, but just because one sneezes, does not make one sick. Faith, according to the bible, involves deeds. In fact, faith is simply the response to God, via being inabled, we are given choice.
“11 But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted.
12 There are eunuchs born so from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by human agency and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’ ” Mattew 19 New Jerusalem Bible
That does not mean, that we don’t purposely deceive ourselves, and reject the obvious. The bible notes many who are purposely ignorant as to God. It also notes in Romans chapter I “28 In other words, since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their unacceptable thoughts and indecent behaviour. ” New Jerusalem Bible
Thereby, sin, and doubt are perfectly interconnected, and faith and good works/deeds are married for the Christians. This is shown further in John 3 v 16, where all who actively and continually believed (obeyed, believed the message of, trusted) in Christ, would not perish, but have eternal life. The Greek present/future and past tenses are very noted in this verse. The connotation, is almost, that as long as one is actively and continually believing (obeying, believing the message of, trusting) Jesus, this person, is in salvation. The interestiung thing, is who these people are. Again- those whose deeds were righteous, did so- a few verses later- why? To show themselves obedient to God (”to show that what they had done was in obedience to God”). Those who decided to treat Jesus words as fake, were those who would be judged by them, and who did what was evil.
Faith A deeper symptom
Faith, is a symptom of God’s work in our life, however- if it is not shown in deeds, just as lust has to be endorsed to be sin, faith- is worthless. The house on sand falls down. The seeds in shallow ground quickly surcome to worries, as the farmer sows. As God commands, that we obey him, and as “love does no harm to its neibour but fulfills the law”, any act contrary to “charity”, is an act of doubting God. So long as one truly believes the message, there is no need to lie, or steal, or cheat, and to pursue one’s own interest, as in fornication (premarital sex) or masturbation, is foolish. Such a person does not believe that God rewards what is good, and punishes what is evil.
Abraham -a Faithful servant
A good summary of what faith is, is found in Abraham. He is credited as righteous, because He trusted in God. His trust was not just lip-service (condemned as worthless, even evil, by God). His faith, was found in his action. His act of faith saved him. Not because he was anything himself, but because he believed God, and proved it in action (”for faith without deeds is dead” St.James - Epistle of James).
Hebrews 11 verse 8 best decribes Abraham’s obedient faith, which is an antitype, a mold for our faith.
“8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going.” New Jerusalem Bible http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=45&bible_chapter=11
Faith, over appearance -action on faith
Even, the prostitute, Rahab, was justified by her acts of Trusting in the voice of God.
Note, that all who the bible, especially in Hebrews 11, credits with faith, are those who acted on their beliefs, risking everything, based on trusting the Great Law Giver.
It was not their own acts, alone, but action, in prayer and trusting, hoping, loving belief, that saved the biblical heroes. Faith, is the first step into salvation, and one of the things, required (perhaps even to an extent in baptism of desire), for salvation.
Rejecting the Gospel
Finally, faith is a demonstration, of whether one belongs to God or the devil. Jesus notes that some belonged to the devil (”he was a liar from the begining”), because they are liars.
He says that his sheep hear his voice, and recognise it and obey it. Faith, ultimately, could be summized in obeying the voice of God, and right Conscience, and in such, believing the voice you know to be true, rather than purposely pretending it to be false.