Our Faith:The Victory that Overcomes the World(2)
I welcome you once again to this platform.Let’s go straight to today’s business:
Faith in Greek language is /pistis/ which means trust,reliance,moral conviction,assurance.
Does it then mean that the Hebrew language definition of faith is different from that of Greek? No,not really.Both actually define the same thing from different perspectives.While the former sees faith from the perspective of its composition/content(what faith is made of),the latter sees it in terms of its action or what it does.It is like someone trying to explain an iron rod to a man born blind.The rod can be described in terms of its structure and function to the man.
So,faith’s structure is what I blogged in Part 1,it must be steady,stable,constant,uncompromising, unyielding. Up till today,this definition of faith has not been altered.It is not an Old Testament thing.However, the New Testament opens our eyes to the other aspect of faith:
That faith is an action word.Faith is not passive,it does something. Faith is a noun in English but in its Biblical usage it acts as a verb:It does ‘something’.I will highlight the verbs that explain faith in action in the rest of this article for emphasis.
Let’s go back to the story of the paralyzed man that was let down from the roof which I narrated in Part 1( Read it here):
“When Jesus saw their faith /pistis/ , he said,“Friend, your sins are forgiven.”-Luke 5:20
What did Jesus see? He saw their faith(pistis) in action.The men that brought this paralysed man did not just have a mental trust/reliance on Jesus or a mouth confession of their belief in Jesus,they demonstrated it in their uncompromising,steadfast,unyielding resolve to get the paralysed man to Jesus.Likewise,trusting in God for a miracle must not be passive.It must be seen in your action.How?
“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?””Yes, Lord,” they replied.Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”;and their sight was restored.”-Matt 9:27-30
The blind men had trust in Jesus but they needed to put this in action by not giving up when Jesus didn’t answer them on the road.They came to meet him indoors and persistence paid off for them eventually.Most importantly,Christ only healed them according to their faith(pistis) that was put in action.
Let’s see another example of faith(pistis) in both structure and action:
“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart,daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.”And the woman was healed at that moment.”-Matt 9:20-22
Matthew didn’t tell us much about what made the woman to come to the conclusion that she only needed to touch the hem of Christ garment.Luke recorded it this way:
“She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak,and immediately her bleeding stopped.”Who touched me?” Jesus asked.When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”-Luke 8:44-45
There was a huge crowd and the woman could not even get Jesus’ attention.She couldn’t talk to Him about her predicaments(her refractory bleeding and financial loss to doctors) but she didn’t give up.She thought to herself :“If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed”. She didn’t stop there she acted out her thought:”She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.”
Faith/pistis/ in God,contrary to what some people think is not an abstract or passive thinking.It is real and active.It prompts you to do ‘something’ based on your trust in God.
Let’s put all these in the popular Hebrew chapter 11’s perspective.I will quote part of this chapter and I will want you to use the definition of faith/pistis/(trust,reliance etc) to complete the sentence for a better understanding:
By faith/pistis/ Abel brought God a better offering. Why? He relied on God.
By faith/pistis/Enoch pleased God and was taken away…Because he trusted God!
By faith/pistis/ Noah built an ark to save his family…Because he relied on God
By faith/pistis/ Abraham obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…Why? He had a conviction about God.
By faith/pistis/ Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice…Why? He had assurance on God.
Likewise,the examples given above can be recapped this way:
By faith/pistis/ the friends of the paralysed man removed the tiles to bring him down the roof…
By faith/pistis/ the two blind men followed Jesus indoors…
By faith(pistis) the woman with hemorrhage touched the garment of Jesus…
Faith(pistis) made all of them to do ‘something’.What is faith making you to do?Faith should not make you passive.Faith must be put in action:
By faith you give to people…
By faith you apply for a job…
By faith you register for an exam…
By faith you build a house…
By faith you buy a car…
By faith you overcome the world…
By faith I see you on Wednesday for the continuation of the series…