Faith (according to the Bible) is…
…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
I believe that faith is good, faith is positive and faith is necessary!
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
However, is this the full story..?
Well, the Bible also tells me that faith is nothing without… these three:
Why? Let’s look at them one at a time:
Faith is nothing without… Resurrection
It’s essential to remember why faith is even possible…
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
1 Corinthians 15:17 NKJV
In Eden, Adam and Eve sinned. Because of that sin they were put out of the garden to live a life of hard work and subjection to death.
Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the way of reconciliation to God. Jesus (God’s son), a mortal with human nature, committed no sin and completed God’s will and purpose. He waits at God’s right hand to return and establish God’s Kingdom on earth.
If none of this is true, then our faith is empty, according to 1 Corinthians 15: 17
Faith is also nothing without… Love
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2 NKJV
The Greek language (the language of the New Testament) has several words to express different kinds of “love”, including:
- Eros – Romantic, passionate
- Mania – Possessive, dependant
- Agape – Unconditional, selfless
The “love” expressed in 1 Corinthians 3 was Agape – selfless, unconditional love, a love that puts aside all thought for our own wellbeing.
Jesus learned his behaviours from God. He imitated God in every way. Look at how Jesus put aside all thought for himself when he demonstrated his love toward us…
Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love [agape], as Christ also has loved [agape] us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice…
Ephesians 5: 1-2
Jesus clearly put agape into practice. He died for us!
He truly knew his Father and demonstrated the ‘selfless’ agape love toward us. We need to demonstrate the same behaviours – learning, like children, from our Heavenly Father.
“have not love, I am nothing.”
Finally, Faith is nothing without… Works
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:26 NKJV
First of all, what are Works?
Works are the outward demonstration of something we believe in. In this case, the practical effect of faith in action.
Faith and works are like a person in the Arctic with a warm jacket. Owning the jacket doesn’t keep us warm – wearing it keeps us warm. Wearing the jacket (faith) demonstrates we understand its purpose – it wouldn’t make sense not to.
So we might grow faith through a knowledge of God, however our actions complete our faith. Jesus demonstrated his faith in action, ultimately, in how he died. But it was evident in his life as well.
What about people who do good things with no knowledge of God – are they still good works?
They are, but they are not building faith. It’s faith in God that gives us the hope of His Kingdom. To receive His Kingdom we need to be known by Him, and that means imitating His behaviours (as Jesus did).
And so, to be reconciled to God, as Jesus was, our faith needs to be in God and grounded in the resurrection, in love and in works. And “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV