Understanding Faith

This is a guest post by Adam King. Adam is a recently ordained graduate of Piedmont International University, and a new father. Adam and I had the opportunity to go with our pastors to Alistair Begg’s Basics Conference in Ohio last spring, where we forged a true friendship over our shared appreciation for theology and coffee.

K2,_Mount_Godwin_Austen,_Chogori,_Savage_Mountain

Faith, at first appearance, is the simplistic means by which someone becomes rightly related to God. In keeping with reformed thinking, we should certainly understand that it is simple to enter into covenant relationship with God by faith only, not by any works or complex human effort. However we should not quickly assume that faith itself is simple. One way to demonstrate the complexity of faith is by asking a few Christians to define faith from the Scriptures, there will certainly be a wide variety of answers and exposition.

My own typical approach to defining faith was to turn to Hebrews 11 and quote “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11.1 may be a good starting point for helping understand what it means to have faith, but as I study and continue my walk as a Christian, the simplistic faith seems to become more complex. The question, “is my faith dependent upon reason and logic, or independent of it?” and any ensuing answer proves the complex nature of faith.

So how is the Christian to understand faith? I do not claim to have the answer but can offer an approach I have found helpful, which is, do not try to define faith, but dive into the Scriptures and look at the stories of people who lived lives pleasing to God. I believe this is exactly what the author of Hebrews intended in writing Hebrews 11 and concluding it with his statement in 12.1-2. What does 12.1-2 tell us? That the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11 are all examples to us, and we would do well to follow them by laying aside every sin and weight that will cause us to trip and fall in the race of our lives, not forgetting the one who is the champion of our faith, Jesus.

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