Faith, Hope and Love
I Cor 13:13 “And now these three remain: FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. But the greatest of these is love”
In this study, God willing, we will study what Faith, Hope and Love is; this will be a continuous article and it will be updated as the teaching is revealed by the Holy Spirit.
Man is a triune being consisting of Body, Soul and Spirit.
Hope is for the Spirit (Heart), Faith is for the Soul (Mind) and Love is for the Body (Physical). Out of all Love is the greatest as this comes out physically into the world. Hope and faith is operated internally.
I was brought up in a strong Christian family. However, I have been trying to understand what faith is for a very long time. Many people have different definitions of faith. None of which are false, yet I could not pin point to a simple explanation.
Sure in Christ we should have a simple explanation not a complex one where we don’t know the real meaning and everything is grey
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
I have asked many Christians to explain to me what faith really is; they all explain different facets of faith, but none were able to offer me a simple explanation. This is the same case with the Church, we listen to many sermons stressing that we need to have faith, almost every sermon has a mention about faith, yet I could not clearly understand what faith was about, until very recently. Most important, I could not understand enough to apply to my daily life!
Before proceeding, please take a few moments to think in your own mind on what your definition of faith is and how you can use it in your day today life;
Background to faith?
To start our revelation about what faith is, let us look to the one place which has all the answers, the Word of God which is the Bible!
Heb 11:1 (KJV) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
This one verse can explain to on the real meaning of faith
The four key words in the verse are “Substance > Hope“ and “Evidence > Not seen“ and the two sub words are “Things” and “Now“.
Before we proceed we need to know the meaning of the two sub words Things and Now;
We see that faith is for things. Things come from Greek word Pragma meaning, a collection of deeds or actions or matters or affairs. So faith is applicable for matters in other words matters on earth. Faith is applicable for earthly “things”. Things hoped for and things not seen.
Faith is applicable for our current affairs, it is a present thing, not the past nor the future, “Now” it is applicable for now, what you are going through in this very moment.
Let’s proceed to study the four main words to know what faith is;
(Hoped for) – We will study about Hope in detail later, but for now, Hope is the inner desire for a desired end which is not self-achievable.
We all hope for things. This “waiting period” in positive anticipation while you cannot do anything is Hope
In other words you want something to happen and you have the inner desire for that to happen, “things” but you know it is not achievable by you and you just hope or desire that it will come to pass soon.
The word hope is from the Hebrew word tiqvâh. The literal meaning is a cord. Hope has a beginning, waiting and an ending, just like a cord or string.
Hope starts off with a promise or desire which is the beginning, then there is a waiting period which is the middle part and finally there is a fulfillment.
Three elements of Hope
1) It is linked to a “Promise/Vision/Need”
Hope (and Faith as we will study now) always is applicable or is in effect or comes into play with a “promise” or “vision” or “things” hoped for. Without a promise there is no hope (and faith). Biblically always hope is linked to a Promise.
2) It is applicable for the “Future”
It is also applicable to our “future” not the past. One cannot say I hope for a better yesterday, one can say I hope for a better tomorrow. The future is the waiting period till fulfillment.
3) It is not self-achievable, meaning you cannot do it yourself alone.
Hope is for a situation which is not self-achievable. Let’s say you have a friend you have not seen in years and you don’t know where the person is, so you can say “I hope I see the person someday” Now if you know the person is (where he or she lives) you will not make that statement. You will go and see the person.
Likewise a poor man will say I hope I will find sufficient money to give my daughter in marriage, if he has a huge bank balance he will not make that statement.
This waiting position or the connecting cord from “Promise/Vision/Need” to “Delivery/fulfillment” is called Hope.
We need to remember these three important elements of Hope to know about faith.
1) It is linked to a Promise/Vision/Need”
2) It is applicable for the “Future” (there is a waiting period)
3) It is not self-achievable, meaning you cannot do it yourself alone.
Now that we have an idea of Hope, let’s go to the KEY point.
What is faith?
The “process” of “how you react” > internally (to yourself) and externally (to the world) > during hope (from now or present to that point in the future of fulfillment) > is faith
The waiting period is Hope; the way you react while you wait (in Hope) is faith.
We will look at a simple example.
Let’s say that you are expecting someone to your house, and let’s say that person gets late to come and you get fidgety and worried. Someone with you, maybe your spouse or friend may say “have some faith please, the person will come soon”. The point here is in a moment in the future you want the person to come well and healthy (your wish to be granted at a future time). In other words a longing for a particular situation or a particular wish (thing) to be fulfilled based on your liking.
The liking and the waiting or the inner desire is Hope, the way you are reacting is FAITH.
When you spouse says “have some faith please, the person will come soon” what it means is that, you need to react like it is going to happen or it has happened, in other words stop worrying (Internal reaction) and start preparing a meal for the person who will arrive shortly (external reaction). The preparation of the meal is your faith more precisely Faith + Works (or faith in action, as we will learn below)
Now since you have a basic idea lets go in deeper
Faith = “the substance of things hoped for” + “the evidence of things not seen”
|When God says he will do something in your life (thing) or you pray something to happen in your life, when you hope for something by the word >||We will not clearly know the process of how it will happen, we will not know the details but we know for sure that it will happen (or he will do it) >Isa 55:10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
Isa 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
|All we will know for sure is the substance will be maintained. Not the exact process/details as we imagine in our minds.Isa 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.Isa 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.|
The key thing which differences Faith and Hope is the Substance, faith is the process of reacting and hope is the process of waiting. The physical base or point or aim of reaction is the substance.
Substance, “the substance of things hoped for“. The substance is what we see or the extract of the promise. The action part is aimed at the substance, A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the first step is the substance. When God gives a promise we have to move in action, our initial step is based on the substance. For example if God said he will give you a new job, start applying, if God said he will give you a promotion start working hard. If God said he will do give you a Christian life partner start looking for one. The first step in our faith is aimed at the substance.
The substance may not give you the full picture clearly but it is a place to start, it does not reveal all the intricate details of God’s plan but it is a tangible point of action for you to start in a feeble way with prayer.
When Abraham was given the promise of a son, he did not know how it is going to happen (details), but the substance was maintained. Abraham may have thought that it will happen naturally and quickly, he may have even done everything humanly possible, but to realize that they could not have a son. He possibly did not imagine that he needed to wait so long, even to the point that his wife requested him to accomplish the promise through her servant. Eventually through years of waiting and faith building he got his promise. The “substance” was maintained not the details as Abraham would have imagined.
When Joseph was given a promise that he will be a higher than his family (by a dream) he did not know that he will be Governor of Egypt one day. He was very eager to share his dream, as he may have thought that his father and brothers will see something special in him and directly and send him to a school or place of higher education, he even may have thought that his brothers will recognize his calling and will support him. However, nothing of those happened. The “substance” was maintained but he was taken through a circuitous path to get there. Same with David, Moses, Children of Israelites journey, the list goes on and on.
The word “substance” comes from the Greek word hupostasis which means the underlying structure like a foundation which is not visible. When God gives a promise or we pray and hope for something by the Word, we know that ‘the substance of things hoped for’ will remain. Not the exact micro details as we imagine in our human minds but the substance of the things you hope for will be fulfilled.
So let’s track back, you get a promise or you want something to happen to you in the future backed by the word based on God’s will, faith is the process of reacting to the situation while and before that happens. Maybe not exactly the way you want it to happen, but knowing and seeing that God will retain the “substance” of it and accomplish your hope.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. Meaning now faith is the substance of that hope, not the exact details that we envision in our human minds.
the evidence of things not seen –
As we go on reacting and waiting for the thing hoped for to happen, we start seeing evidences around us.
What is evidence? Evidence word here comes from the Greek word Elegchos which means “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested conviction” You see evidence in courts of judgment. Evidence is pieces of information which leads to a conviction or judgment, i.e. a proof of a certain end. Same way as Abraham waited for his promise, he saw evidences around him. He was living! That itself was proof. He was rich in materials so that he was being groomed to provide for his future “unseen” son. His wife’s character was being formed and she was being made a better “unseen” mother. All these were evidences directing to the accomplishment of the hope.
When you study characters of the Bible, once God promise certain things, it did not lead smoothly to the fulfillment, in fact the complete opposite happened, but eventually God brought it to pass.
We have read and heard about the Miracle of the red sea of how God split the red sea and took the children of Israel to the other side. Many believe when Moses lifted his staff the red sea split in an instant. However this is not the case. Unseen to the Israelites, God worked throughout the night parting the red sea. The Israelites did not see this, it was unseen.
Exo 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Note the words “all that night” God was working behind the scenes throughout the night.
We see and feel only what our body can perceive! Which are basically glimpses of the truth, and in most cases we hardly know what happens beyond our physical span of control. God works while we don’t see anything. That is our key to faith! knowing that he is working. Miracle is not an instant moment. The fulfillment can be instant but the process of the miracle takes time and energy and although we don’t see anything happening, God is working behind the scenes, unseen.
Deu 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God
So to finally summarize
- Faith is for a thing
- Faith is “applicable” for a hope and promise or vision with regards to our future
- Faith is the “process” of how we “react” internally and externally from now until the time of fulfillment.
- Faith is knowing that the substance will be maintained and not the exact details as we self-envision
- Faith is seeing evidence around us while we wait (in Hope)
- Faith is knowing that God is working constantly unseen to us in the background to give what we hope for
I pray now that you know what faith is, so now you can start applying to you day to day walk by his grace.
Truths of Faith
Faith is alive only by Deeds
Jas_2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Jas_2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
In the previous explanation we learned about faith, noted we leant faith is the process or reacting, an action targeted towards a substance;
This is where ‘deeds’ come in. Without deeds or action our faith is dead.
The Holy Spirit reminded me strongly about the word substance, see our action or deeds should be focused on the substance.
When God gives you a promise or you have a biblical hope, then things may not always go the way you think it will. Sometimes the complete opposite may happen, that is when your action has to still proceed based on your original hope and promise. When you do this people may think you are completely insane. But you still proceed with your actions or deeds.
When God told Noah to build an ark, there was nothing called rain at the time, people had not even seen it. There were only springs and oceans. Hence when Noah was building the ark on dry ground, people were mocking at him, but we all know what came to pass.
God promised Abraham a seed, it did not happen for a very long time; in fact he was only getting older to a point where both of them could not have children at all, however he never gave up! He led his life knowing that he will get the seed in due time.
When David was anointed king at the age of seventeen, his life changed, he was safe in his father’s house, but matters changed for the worse just after the promise, he became a marked man by King Saul, imagine a country’s leader wanting to kill you personally, certainly the situation looked hopeless, but he never gave up!
When Joseph saw the dream he will be a King, the complete opposite happened, he became a servant but he never gave up.
They continued their works/actions/deeds as if their promise was already fulfilled or knowing for sure that it will be fulfilled.
Remember everything may work the opposite way, but your action should justify faith, your deeds should edify the promise or hope and not nullify it.
We should get up in the morning and do everything based on our faith and not based on what we see
2Co_5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Fear imparts in us when faith departs from us
Mar_4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
I was personally praying about a particular thing for my life. Jesus had promised me something but the complete opposite started happening. I asked the Lord to guide me and the Holy Spirit showed me what my problem was. The biggest challenge for Jesus is not correct, mold and deliver my promise, but to change our mindset! The moment something does not happen according to my understanding or plan, I react, get angry, get annoyed, get worried, fall sick, and fear enters me. Hence God has to gently move me from promise to fulfillment.
Let’s say for example God has promised to take you to a new country and prosper you there. First thing that may happen is you may get fired from your job (because for one you will never resign naturally). The moment that happens, fear enters you and everything falls apart, you think the worst has happened, that God has given up on you and that Satan has started attacking you, some may even think that God is attacking them. Then you start applying for other jobs, nothing comes through, then you think that God surely forgotten you, you may even think why does bad things happen to good people. Then you wait in that situation for months or years, mourning and groaning until you come to a point that you agree and accept. You think to yourself, whatever happens it is okay, then you see a small opening and you get a break, where someone miraculously gives you an overseas job and you gleefully move ahead to the new country. The day you got fired, if we have great faith knowing that it had happened based on God’s plan and do not fear or fret, who knows, the fulfillment may have happened in a few days, instead God had to gently guide which took years.
If we learn to have faith and react better without fearing it will only make it easy for Jesus to do what he has promised or what you hope for easily and quickly. Instead we are so sensitive that God has to gently move us from promise to fulfilment, for our own benefit. For Abraham it took 15 years, for David it took 13 years, for Joseph in took 15 years, for Moses it took 40 years! Even in our trials if we can hold our ground and not fear and whatever happens even in the opposite direction, if we can learn to focus our deeds to edify the promise then Jesus can do his task much quicker and easier. Usually we are the stumbling block here, nothing to do with Jesus.
First mention in the Bible about “Faith” was in Deut where God was displeased with the children of Israel as when God wanted to take them to the Promised Land they rebelled and did not give into God’s will. Their action nullified the promise and did not edify the promise
Deu_32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
Faith is needed in the New Testament and not so much in the old testament
In the KJV version of the Old Testament the word faith is just mentioned twice, that’s it! In the New Testament is all over, in fact it is mentioned 245 times. Why is that? Old Testament faith was not needed as we were following the law or a command (period of conscience and law), basically you follow the command and you will get your promise.
Gen_17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
In the New Testament the old law was broken, we are above the law. We are in the period of Grace, which is above the law, your fulfillment happens regardless of how you react as Jesus paid the ultimate price.
Rom_3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
All previous laws come under just two.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The boundaries of these two laws are wider than the ocean, that is why we need faith in the new testament. In fact we cannot please God at all without faith in the New Testament
Heb_11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:
We need to have faith in everything we do, it is all about faith from the time you get up to go to sleep, in fact whatever we do without faith is SIN
Rom 14:23 for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Therefore we must learn to practice faith to basically everything.
Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
He we see a dual role, each one is very distinct.
An author is a person who authors or writes, he creates something new as he wishes from blank pages. Likewise Jesus knew us before we were born (Psalms 139 chapter) . He beautifully writes our faith story step by step, day by day and chapter by chapter. Nothing for us to here at all, he will do everything.
Rom_12:3 according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Finisher is a person who completes a job to perfection! This is where point 2) above can help us, as our faith is perfected through trials and situations, we must learn to trust and do the right thing without wavering or getting disheartened.
Faith comes by hearing
Rom_10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The source of faith is the word of God in other words, Jesus!
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The word comes into us by hearing, actually hearing and reading. In the olden days people could not read and write much, in fact that is why there was a lot of preachers who go and speak and preach, as the people hear the word they got saved. Today it has changed with Bibles printed and available everywhere and internet, emails. Smart phones and all audio devices which is available.
So we must at all times read and hear the word of God and increase our faith. Most important we must also not only hear but tell so that the faith is passed to non-believers.
Faith can be hereditary
The beautiful thing about faith is if you work with Jesus and when your faith gets cultivated to a perfect point, where God wants it to be, even after your time on earth, it can pass to your children’s children. Therefore it is worth every effort you make to build your faith, not only will it take you to heaven but also it will be a treasure of inheritance to your children.
2Ti_1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Faith will be tested.
The testing instrument of faith is called a trial. Only a trial perfects faith with the intention of making it praise worthy, honorable and glorious
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
In the Old Testament the trial came with a command, the trial was to certify, check or ensure that we did not break or deviate from the command.
In the New Testament, a trial comes to produce, refine and secure faith, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Faith is created, authored and perfected by the trial which actually produces a better or more refined faith! Faith does not produce a trial, trial produces and refines faith.
Isa 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Faith provides your needs
When it comes to our daily needs such as Job, Money and Food and other materials needs, we must have faith that God will provide for us.
Mat_6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Recently I was thinking, do you know the number of books written on business, making money, investments etc. you walk into a bookstore and you will see a huge collection of books, in fact these are the best sellers. Yet in the Bible very few chapters and verses talk about success in business, work place or making money. Just a handful of versus in fact, yet there are sections and chapters on Faith, Hope and Love, fear of God, wisdom etc. Ever wondered why that is?
Man works from morning to evening which is majority of our time on earth, even in the Old Testament we were to work 6 days and give the 7th day to God. Would it not make sense to focus the bible on the 6 days of work? The world needs money and so does everyone who lives in it. Why would the Holy Spirit not want to mention more about our economic life in the bible?
The answer is very simple.
The easiest thing for God to do is to make you successful economically, if needed over night! he can give you all the money you need in an instant. But if he does that chances are that you will lose your soul
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
It is important for you to build your spiritual character through faith, hope and Love and then when you practice faith, slowly God will start providing all what you need in good measure.
Focus on the process and not the results, that is why the Bible teaches us the process and not the results of worldly fame and fortune.
Mat_9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Mat_9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Mat_15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
How can faith heal?
Remember we spoke about actions focused at the substance.
When you are sick you have to take action, if you have fever you cannot sit on bed and say my faith will heal me, you have to take some remedy action like taking something to make your body feel better, when you start taking the action God stars working.
There is nothing more wrong than a person who says they have faith and does nothing. God wants you always to do something
Lets look at an example
Act 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
We all know this verse well. What happened instantly the lame man got healed right? Wrong!
lets read the subsequent verses
Act 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
He did not get healed instantly there was Something which Peter did in faith
He took him by the right hand and lifted him up and then the lame man got healed.
when Peter did this action, the lame mans feet and ankle bones received strength. If he was lying in a fallen state, this would not have happened, his action of lifting him by the right hand certified the Faith and put the healing in place.
I have seen countless people falling sick and dying because they miss this point, yes faith heals without a doubt but it is the action which is done by faith which starts the healing process.
So today if you have a sickness don’t just wait lying around, do whatever is needed to heal yourselves with faith and you will see the miracle happening. However small or big the action does not matter. As you can see at the beginning of this point, three people are healed by Jesus, what was their action? They came to see Jesus for the encounter because of the faith they had. They did not stay at home and ask for healing or send someone else. They were so sure in faith that they came and met him. It is very important to get the action rolling into place.
If you have Diabetes stop saying God has healed me and start eating Sugar. Yes say God has healed you and stop eating sugar. If your womb is barren don’t say God has healed you and do nothing, yes say God has healed but go and consult a learned person and get the right consultation and do what is needed. If you have a high pressure take the right remedies. All your conditions must have a point of action. It is people who do not understand the bible and the word or in most cases too lazy who just say and do the opposite or don’t do anything!
Faith can come to a non believer too
We may think that faith only is for expert Bible believers and long time Christians. That is just not true. In fact it is the opposite. The new comers or people have not converted can have the greatest faith.
Luk 7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Luk 7:2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
Luk 7:3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
Luk 7:4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
Luk 7:5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Luk 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Luk 7:7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
Luk 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Luk 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Luk 7:10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
Here Jesus talks about the Centurion who was not a Jew, in fact this man was not even religious, he is a commander and he is using war lingo and saying I commend by soldiers like wise command for me. and what Jesus say to all the disciples and all the people who were following him
I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
So this man who knew nothing about the Kingdom of God had the greatest faith
The people who knew the most even had little faith, in Jesus’s time there was none closer to him than Peter. Peter was with Jesus all day long and he saw all the miracles that Jesus performed.
Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Yet Peter doubted when the moment came.
Christianity is also called faith
Our walk with Jesus, our church or our Christian life is also called the faith, it should not be confused with our daily life faith. Christianity is called faith as we again follow something which we do not see but we know which exists. our life on this earth with the hope of seeing Jesus one day also faith.
Act_6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith .
Act_14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith , and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Act_14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
Act_16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
I pray that you were blessed by this article on Faith
Please watch this space for continuation.
To be continued…
Enemies of Faith!
What is Hope?
What is Love?