What Is Faith?

Faithful Martin Luther King Jr.

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is one of the most central parts of our relationship with God. No matter who we are, no matter what our walk in life, there will be trying times for us. These difficult moments test our faith and trust in God. Our faith is tested daily — by terrible news stories that remind us of death and cruelty, by personal troubles, by the human failings of our family and friends. And yet the more we live in faith, the better we are able to make our way in the world, to trust in God and his ultimate plan for the human race.

Faith makes us stronger, braver, better. Faith helps us through times of trouble and allows us to help others going through their own sets of trials. What exactly is faith? It is the trust that God exists, and by following him, we look forward to a world beyond this one — the kingdom of God, where we will live in peace with him forever.

Biblical Definition of Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:1 – 3

What is faith? Everybody talks about it, but few take the time to define what it is. The Bible offers a definition from the letter to the Hebrews. Faith is not merely holding to certain teachings, such as that God exists, but rather it is a strong conviction that the world around us is part of a greater plan, God’s plan. Faith means that although at times the world looks chaotic and uncontrolled, we feel deep down that this chaotic world is not where we truly live. Rather, our existences are guided by God’s strength and power.

With faith, the world is more than just a wild place of cruelty and power struggles, of seemingly meaningless deaths and hardships. We are more than mere animals with animal desires. A world seen through the eyes of faith is a world in which each one of us — along with everything that happens to us — has meaning as a part of a great plan. Faith means that there is more to the world than what we see with our eyes.

Moreover, faith is not just a mental agreement. As the rest of Hebrews 11 illustrates, faith drives action. If we believe there is more to life than what we see, true faith will drive our values, decisions and actions to align with our belief.

Faith in Difficult Circumstances

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Jesus Christ here reveals the power of faith. In a difficult and often chaotic world, something as simple as faith can change everything. Think about the great men and women throughout history who have changed the world for the better — Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. Without their faith in God and their courage to act on it, where would we be today? It is only through faith that we can see the world as it ought to be.

The stories on the evening news are not the ultimate reality. Instead, God’s final reality is a heavenly kingdom to which we aspire. If we keep our eyes on him and make decisions based on faith, we become agents of a God who can move mountains. Faith is based on the objective Word of God. In fact, faith is crucial to our daily walk with God. We must remember that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Article drawn from the NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament.

niv essentials of the christian faith new testament

NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament

The NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament is perfect for outreach and evangelism. It includes specially written articles that give an overview of fourteen key tenets of the Christian faith, such as Who Is God?, Why Go to Church?, What Is Faith? and What Is God’s Plan for Me? Learn More