Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
What is faith? It is trust, assurance and confidence in God. Living faith is shown by service and obedience to God. How can we i increase our faith?
Some may argue that James’ teaching that we should obey the commandments of God is teaching that we are saved by works. That is not the case. The apostle Paul makes this clear when he says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Paul clearly understood and wrote that no one could earn salvation and that faith itself is a gift from God. Yet in the very next verse he went on to say that we are God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (verse 10).
Like James, Paul knew living faith would be accompanied by service and obedience to God and His laws. Paul wrote in Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”
What is the difference between faith and belief?
Many in Christianity today use the words faith and belief interchangeably. But is there a difference between these words in the Bible?
Generally they are synonymous, and sometimes they are translated from the same Greek word. Actually, the only time the word belief appears in the New King James Version of the Bible, it is translated from pistis, the word for faith (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
But the word believe can carry a different shade of meaning.
The apostle James wrote in his epistle about what he called dead faith. Dead faith is when one believes in God, but does not obey His commandments.
James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20, emphasis added).
Here believe is translated from a related Greek word, pisteuo. James contrasts simple belief with living faith.
As Christians, we must strive for living faith—belief in God demonstrated by good works according to His laws and commandments. If we simply believe in Jesus Christ, believe that God exists and believe that He is the Creator God, we’re on the same level of belief as the demons!
But if our belief in these things inspires us to be obedient to God and changes the way we live our life, then we truly have faith and will be considered faithful if we consistently increase and grow in our relationship with God.
God gives faith to those who seek it
Faith is increased by drawing closer to God through prayer and the study of His Word, the Bible.
Paul told the Philippians to “be anxious for nothing [don’t worry], but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The members of the Church of God in Philippi believed God’s Word, and they obeyed His commandments. As they listened and followed Paul’s instruction on giving their cares to God in believing prayer, their faith (belief and trust) was increased.
Another way faith is increased is by reading or hearing examples of faith in the Bible publicly expounded. This is mentioned in Romans 10:17. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Today, we have the complete Word of God in many different translations. The Bible is God’s inspired Word to mankind. When we read the Bible, our faith (confidence and assurance) in God and Jesus Christ to answer our prayers and bring us through impossible situations increases.
What is faith? To summarize, faith is trust, assurance and confidence in God and Jesus Christ. Living faith is not just believing that God exists. It is demonstrated by one’s service and obedience to God.
God will increase our faith if we fervently ask Him for it and seek to draw closer to Him in prayer and the reading of His Word.
Learn more by studying the other articles in the “Faith” section.