Faith

Posted

11/08/09

Faith

Definition:
"Faith is the assured expectation
of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not
beheld." (Heb. 11:1) True faith is not credulity, that is, a readiness
to believe something without sound evidence or just because a person
wants it to be so. Genuine
faith requires basic or fundamental knowledge, acquaintance with
evidence, as well as heartfelt appreciation of what that evidence
indicates.
Thus, although it is impossible to have real
faith without accurate knowledge, the Bible says that it is "with the
heart" that one exercises faith.—Rom. 10:10.

Why do many people not have faith?


Faith is a fruit of God’s
spirit, and God gladly gives his spirit to those who seek it. (Gal.
5:22; Luke 11:13)
So persons without faith are not seeking that
spirit, or they are doing so for a wrong purpose or are resisting its
operation in their lives. Many things influence this:Lack of accurate
Bible knowledge:
The Bible is a product of God’s spirit, being
inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Sam. 23:2) Failure to study it
hinders any development of true faith. Although church members may have
Bibles, if they have been taught the ideas of men instead of the Word of
God, they will lack real faith in God and his purpose.
To solve life’s problems, they will be
inclined to rely on their own ideas and those of other humans.—Compare
Matthew 15:3-9

.Disillusionment with religion: Many have been disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the churches
of Christendom, which claim to teach God’s Word but fail to live in
harmony with what it says.
Others were adherents to a
non-Christian religion, but they saw bad fruitage from its practices or
found that their beliefs did not really help them to cope with the
problems of life. Lacking
accurate knowledge of the true God,
such persons draw
away from everything related to religion.—Compare Romans 3:3, 4;
Matthew 7:21-23.


Do not understand God’s
permission of wickedness:


Most people do not understand why
God permits wickedness and so blame him for all the bad things that
take place.
They do not realize that man’s inclination toward
badness is not because of God’s will but because of the sin of
Adam. (Rom. 5:12)
They
may be unaware of the existence of Satan the Devil and of his influence
on world affairs, so they ascribe to God the vile things perpetrated
by Satan. (1 John 5:19; Rev. 12:12)
If they are to some extent
aware of these things, they may feel that God is slow about taking
action, because they do not see clearly the issue of universal
sovereignty and do not grasp the fact that God’s patience down till
this time affords them an undeserved opportunity for salvation. (Rom.
2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9) Also, they do not fully realize that God has a set
time when he will destroy forever all who practice wickedness.—Rev.
22:10-12; 11:18; Hab. 2:3.Lives dominated by fleshly desires and
viewpoints: Generally, persons who lack faith that has real substance
have devoted themselves to the pursuit of other interests.
Some may say that they
believe the Bible but they may never have thoroughly studied it or may
have failed to meditate appreciatively on what they read, on the reasons
for it, and how it applies to everyday life. (Compare 1 Chronicles
28:9.)
In some cases, they
failed to nourish the faith they had but, instead, allowed a desire for
unrighteous things to dominate the inclination of their heart so that
they drew away from God and his ways.—Heb. 3:12.


How can a person acquire
faith?


Rom. 10:17: "Faith follows the thing heard." (Compare Acts 17:11, 12;
John 4:39-42; 2 Chronicles 9:5-8. A person must first find out what the
Bible says, and he will strengthen his conviction if he examines it
carefully so as to be convinced of its reliability).


Rom. 10:10: "With the heart one exercises faith." (By meditating on
godly things to build up appreciation for them, a
person impresses them on his figurative heart.


Faith is strengthened when a person acts on God’s promises and then
sees the evidence of God’s blessing on what he has done.—See Psalm
106:9-12.

Illustration:
Perhaps you have a friend of whom you would say: ‘I trust that man. I
can count on him to keep his word; and I know that if I have a problem,
he will come to my help.’ It is not likely that you would be saying
that about anyone you met for the first time yesterday, is it? He would
have to be someone with whom you had long association, someone who had
proved his dependability time and again. It is similar with religious
faith. To have faith, you
need to take time to get to know Jehovah and his way of doing things.

Taken from a wt

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