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Faith and hope

The truth about faith

Faith and HopeGod’s Word teaches that “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Based on this verse, as Christians we need to have understanding and revelation of what faith is.

Why must we have understanding? The reason is that it is through our mind, our intellect that we understand that faith pleases the Lord. Why must we have revelation? The answer is that without the revelation of God in our spirit, we may have intellectual understanding and mental knowledge, but it will not produce life within us. Only under the light of God can we really have a living faith that is effective and agreeable to Him.

The desire to understand the nature of faith makes no sense unless we believe that God exists (Hebrews 11:6). Although God has also provided this ability for us, He gave each man an initial faith (Romans 12:3b) so that he could believe in his existence and that He resurrected Jesus, His son and savior (Romans 10:9), but is also the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

The Bible defines “faith” as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). To be sure of is to be confident of, to bring into existence, to materialize. Faith is the certainty of the realities that we cannot see nor feel and the giving of substance to anything for which we hope. Where should our hope come from? The answer is from where apparently nothing exists, from the invisible realm. Some things exist but we do not see them with our natural eyes, or we fail to take possession of what rightfully belongs to us although it is already ours, as in the case of physical healing, since God’s Word already confirms that Jesus has already healed us (1 Peter 2:22-24).

Faith is a conviction, a demonstrable certainty that testifies of the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people, even in this age, when we see the acts of God whether through deliverance, provision or healing. Through these proofs we can be certain that God is powerful to fulfill His promises (Romans 4:21).

Faith is the surrendering of ourselves without reserve to the realities of God, to His ordinances, His commandments, to obey His will faithfully above all, and to act in coherence with our inner conviction. Finally, faith is acting in accordance with the Word of God. We cannot disassociate faith with His Word, since faith is putting the Word of God in action.

The difference between faith and hope

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

We can conclude that faith is different from hope; otherwise, there would be no reason for the author to separate them. The majority of Christians err concerning the fact of this difference.

Let us examine a clear example of this difference. If you are sick, do you believe for healing right now or do you hope that one day you will be healed? If it is a chronic sickness, you may even hope to be healed. However, in some cases such as when the sickness is terminal, either you get healed or you die. In such a case, would you be so calm as to say that you hope to be healed, when you are desperately praying for God to heal you immediately, before it is too late?

We must separate faith from hope. While the first is for right now, for the immediate moment, the present time, the second speaks of the future. For this reason in Hebrews 11:1 we read, “faith is the substance (the taking possession of) of things hoped for”. To hope is to wait, and faith is grabbing on to the unrealities of hope and bringing them to the dimension of reality.

Faith is active, while hope is passive. Faith needs an active attitude, a decision on your part. For example, suppose that you believe that God can help you find a job; however, if all you do is wait (hope), you will continue to be unemployed. However, if contrary to this, you search for a job diligently, then God will act and you will find that for what you seek. This is faith. It is to act in accordance with the Word of God.

There are various examples in the Bible of people who have had faith, and in these passages, we can perceive a common element in all of them. In all of them, after hearing a Word, the hearers took action in accordance to what they heard. There is a good example of this in Luke 5:18-25, when the Lord Jesus healed the paralytic. Jesus said, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (Verse 24). What did he do? Verse 25 answers: “Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” He acted in accordance with the word that he had received.

You can see for yourself in various other Bible passages where someone was able to do something or to receive something, whether divine healing or a victory in God, just as David overcame Goliath and Joshua in the victory over Jericho etc.

Hope as we have already said is passive. Hope does not require us to take action. Yet of course, hope is necessary in the Christian life. How can we live without the hope of one day seeing God face-to-face, that Jesus will come back and unite us with him in praise and worship? However, we must exercise faith to experience our salvation and healing and not only hope for salvation or healing. We are baptized by the Holy Spirit by faith and not by hope.

Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24)

See how the verb “to receive” is in the past tense, therefore, this means that God grants our requests when we believe in our hearts. For this reason, we should not hope to receive what we ask for, because if we truly believe in our hearts, we will receive the answers in the present and not in the future. Most Christians are defeated at this point: because they don’t believe in their heart, they don’t take possession of this word. Most of the time, they make requests in prayer with a mere mental acceptance devoid of any faith for receiving an answer. To accept the Word of God merely with the mind is not to believe in the heart.

In Romans 2:29 we read: “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter”. We perceive then that to believe in the heart is to believe with the spirit, and also with the inner man through an inner conviction. This is true biblical faith: the faith of God that says, “Let there be light! And there was light.”

In Mark 11:25, we have a condition for the answer. It deals with withholding forgiveness to someone who has offended us. In this case, the lack of forgiveness can block the answer. However, if this is not true in your case and if you are in fellowship with your brother and with God, the Word guarantees us an answer. Let us take possession of the truths and promises of God’s Word!

Faith is remembering that in the kingdom of God everything is based on promises and not on emotions. When you take possession of healing by faith, for example, you may not feel any emotion. You may still feel symptoms of sickness in your body, but you have an attitude of healing, of certainty that you have received the answer and above all you trust in God and in His Word.

May God speak precious truths such as these to our heart. May we take possession of these rich spiritual truths and follow God in a life of victory, abundantly full of faith and hope.

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