Faith (dictionary definition)
noun (Not a verb. If it were a verb it would imply work.)
1.confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5.a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6.the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7.the observance of an obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8.Christian Theology: the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Thy faith…note that this was not faith that Jesus had, but it was faith that she had. Did her faith save her? Yes, Jesus says so. But use common sense, does this mean that she saved herself? No, of course not, it means that Jesus saved her because she had faith in Him.
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
Whose faith saved this man? Was it Jesus faith? Jesus said: thy faith hath saved thee. Because it was the man’s faith that saved him, did the man save himself? No, of course not.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Did this man have faith? Yes, he had faith in Jesus, otherwise he would not have said Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Note that he was saved in the manner of Old Testament saints. When saved people die today they do not go to paradise first…they go to heaven immediately. This man was saved because he had faith in Jesus. He wasn't saved because he belonged to the First Baptist Church, or the Methodist Church, or any other church. He didn't belong to any local church.
6 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. "Without faith..." whose faith is this referring to? Our faith.
1 Thess 1:2-3
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
Work of faith…does this mean that faith is a work? No, this means work done because you have faith.
1 Thess 3:10
10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Perfect that which is lacking in your faith? See faith definition #3.
Ephesians 2:8-9, says:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We are saved by God, because of His grace toward us. It is by His grace through our faith. It is our faith in Jesus Christ, but some people would have us believe that it is not our faith but that it is Jesus’ faith. Now, it is true that Jesus was faithful to do that which He came to Earth to do, that is to die on the cross for our sins. But we must have faith in Him, we must trust in Him. Because of verse nine, above, nothing pertaining to our salvation can be by any work on our part, so some people erroneously say it is the faith of Jesus, and they cite:
1 Thessalonians 5:24,
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
To understand the context in this verse it is necessary to read the preceeding verse,
verse 23, And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is faithful to do what? He is faithful to sanctify you wholly and preserve you blameless. See faith definition #7.
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus was faithful to do what He came here to do, that is to die on the cross for our sins. He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Everyone has faith of some kind. My dog is faithful to me, I am faithful to my dog, but this is not the faith that Ephesians 2:8-9 refers to.
Ephesians 2:8, says:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith… It is God’s grace but our faith. We must trust in the finished work of Christ. We must make a choice, to have faith in Jesus or to reject faith in Him. Jesus doesn't make this choice for us.
The faith that is essential is the kind that we find in Acts 26:18 where Jesus said:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Our faith that is in Jesus. See faith definition #1 and #8.
According to the dictionary:
Etymology: Middle English werk, work, from Old English werc, weorc; akin to Old High German werc work, Greek ergon
Function: noun, verb, adjective.
1. activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a. sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result, b. the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood, c. a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity.
2. a. energy expended by natural phenomena, b. the result of such energy - sand dunes are the work of sea and wind, c. the transference of energy that is produced by the motion at the point of application of a force and is measured by multiplying the force and the displacement of its point of application in the line of action.
3. a. force applied multiplied by distance an object is moved equals work b. force, applied in pounds x distance moved, in feet = work, expressed in foot pounds.
The word faith does not measure up to the dictionary definition of work. No energy is transferred, therefore, faith is not a work. Faith is a belief that a person holds. Yes: one believes, or no: one does not believe. It’s analogous to, “Do you like chocolate or not? Yes or No.” It requires no sustained physical or mental effort. No work takes place.
The book of James makes it abundantly clear that faith is not a work. People are in error when they cling desperately to the idea that faith is a work.
James 2:14 says, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
James 2:17-18, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
Obviously, according to the word of God, faith is not a work. The point James is trying to make here is that good works are evidence that a person has faith, but faith by itself without works is not proof that a person has faith. Do you like chocolate? If you chew up and swallow a pound of chocolate every day this is work and it is evidential proof that you do like chocolate.
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
If the Lord is not willing that any should perish then why would He not give everyone faith? The fact is that God gives us the ability to have faith but He does not give us faith handed out to us on a silver platter. God wants us to choose to have faith in Christ of our own free will. God doesn’t force faith upon us. It’s our choice to make, to believe in Him or to reject Him.
According to God’s word we are not saved by any work on our part. Since some men believe that faith is a work these people, therefore, grasp at straws to claim that Ephesians 2: 8-9 means it is Jesus that provides the faith…that God the Father provides the grace and God the Son provides the faith. This is in agreement with Calvinistic views. Wouldn’t this be another gospel?
Did you choose to believe in Christ or did some unseen power force you to believe, as the Calvinists would have you believe? God doesn’t force us to believe in Him. We choose to believe in Jesus of our own free will.
When God permits us to make our own choices He is not giving up any of His sovereignty. God, of His own permissive will, gives us permission, to make our own choices. Do you believe in Him or not? It’s your choice. Faith is not a work.
Romans 12:3, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
“…dealt to every man the measure of faith.” This does not mean that God forces faith upon us, this means that God has given every man the ability to have faith in Him. God has not forbidden some people to have faith in Him.
In Romans 3:3, with reference to unbelieving Jews, For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? In this instance the expression ‘…faith of God…’ doesn’t mean faith given by God, it means the Faith of God, like The Jewish Faith, or The Christian Faith. See definition #5. Those people who claim that Ephesians 2:8 means ‘Jesus faith’ like to point to this verse as proof that Jesus provides the faith we need to be saved. But one can see that this is simply a case of those people twisting scripture to fit their own private interpretation.
Can a person be saved in a church that is different from your own? Yes. A church never saved anyone. Only Jesus can save. A person can be saved in the middle of the Sahara Desert, he doesn’t have to be in a church. The thief on the cross wasn’t in any church, in fact he was mostly surrounded by unbelievers. For a person to be saved he must have faith in Jesus. That is, to believe that we’re sinners and that we cannot save ourselves, but that Jesus died on the cross as our substitute and then arose from the grave three days later. We’re not saved by what we know, we’re saved by who we know. Do you know Jesus? We don’t have to hold a PhD in Theology to be saved, we just have to know Jesus.