Principle - Faith
Principles of the Doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)
i) Repentance from dead works, ii) Faith toward God, iii) The doctrine of baptisms,
iv) The laying on of hands, v) The resurrection of the dead vi) And eternal judgment
In recent articles we are looking at principles of the doctrine of Christ. We will now look at Faith Toward God. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith makes the unseen spiritual things of God “tangible” to us in the physical world. With no faith the promises of God do not exist to a person. With faith, God's promises are as sure and certain as the existence of a rock.
Most Bible students are familiar with Hebrews 11:6 which says without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Apparently it is possible for one to “come to God” but not “believe” or truly have the faith he needs in God. In our language we might call this “going through the motions”. This person might just assemble with the saints and pray as a formality, but not truly have a strong underlying trust in God.
People are in one of two situations. They either have 1) no faith or 2) some faith (whether that be a strong or weak faith). No matter which situation they are in (no faith, strong faith, weak faith) we all need to grow in faith. Godly people sometimes feel challenged on how to grow. They might buy different products like books or attend various events in an attempt to grow. There is really only one way to grow. Romans 10:17 says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith comes by hearing the word of God. That might be reading the Bible yourself, assembling with the saints, or having fellowship with saints. A couple of the best ways to grow are to faithfully assemble with the saints (Heb 10:25). and to study your Bible (Acts 17:11). Other methods that involve the word of God (like a book with some Biblical references) might be beneficial, but they will not be as effective as the two methods we have already listed. Going straight to the Bible or to an assembly of God's people is like eating the “real product”.
Even if you have the “proper faith” you might still feel like you are struggling. This is because Satan will sometimes try your faith (with evil) in an effort to get you to sin. James 1:3 shows even the Lord will try your faith to produce patience. Fortunately the Lord will not tempt you with evil in His effort to try your faith (James 1:13).
Finally, let's not forget the often overlooked item we can use to aid in our faith. Prayer. Just as Paul prayed that he might help perfect what was lacking in others' faith, we can pray for our own faith (1 Thessalonians 3:10). I'm sure Paul was praying for the wisdom and opportunity to know what portions of God's word to teach that others might grow. We can pray that we might hear and be presented with those things in God's word that will help us.
Lord willing, in our next article we will look at the doctrine of baptisms.