Upon completion of this post you will be able to:
- Write the Key Verse from memory.
- Define faith.
- Identify different types of faith.
- Define the term “faith toward God.”
- Explain why faith toward God is important.
- Explain how faith can be increased.
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 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. The ministry of 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 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 defines faith as:
…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Amplified Bible adds to this definition:
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.
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 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…(Romans 10:10)
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.
MIND OVER MATTER:
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.
TYPES OF FAITH
There are different types of faith.
This is a natural trust in things that have proven stable. For example, faith that the chair on which you are sitting will support you. This faith is not “faith toward God.” It is a natural faith in certain things around you that you have learned by experience are usually dependable. The following types of faith are what we mean when we speak of “faith toward God”:
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Sanctifying faith enables the believer to live a holy life after conversion. You will learn more about sanctification in the last chapter of this study as we discuss going on to perfection.
Faith toward God includes sanctifying faith which is believing you can live a holy life. You do not do this by your own strength but through the power of God which dwells within you.
Faith is one of the weapons for defense against your spiritual enemy, Satan:
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16)
Satan will try to attack your faith by sending “darts” of unbelief into your mind. Having faith toward God provides a spiritual defense to these attacks.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
Faith toward God, combined with true repentance, is saving faith. Salvation is knowing, believing, and personally accepting the Gospel message. Saving faith requires a personal response toward God. No person can respond on behalf of another. Each person is saved by his own response to the Gospel.
Faith is a fact. It is the gift of God to men to enable them to be saved:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God… (Ephesians 2:8)
But faith is also an act. Each person must act upon the faith given him by God. Faith toward God is your response, your action by faith toward Him.
After you have experienced “faith towards God” and become a believer, the spiritual fruit of faith and the gift of faith both increase your faith toward God. The gift and fruit of faith are discussed in detail in the Harvestime International Institute course entitled “Ministry Of The Holy Spirit.”
The doctrine you are studying is called “faith toward God.” It is not just faith in general, but it is directed faith. You can have misdirected faith. Misdirected faith can be in…
For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. (Psalms 146:3)
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)
They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. (Isaiah 42:17)
Trust ye not in lying words…Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. (Jeremiah 7:4,8)
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalms 20:7)
Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. (Psalms 52:7)
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)
Having faith is not enough. Your faith can be misplaced. True faith is directed faith. It is “faith toward God.”