Today "faith" is almost always a religious word. When we speak of having "faith," we think in religious terms. "Having faith," to many, is experiencing something religious. Associating "faith" with a religious concept or expectation may or may not be biblical.

Often, when people discuss faith, we misunderstand each other. Why? We associate different concepts with the word. Those differing concepts are foundations for different meanings. When we use different meanings as we discuss the same word, we will misunderstand each other.

Does no common, everyday English word exist that accurately reflects God's meaning for faith? Yes, that word exists. In "every day language," faith is trust. Biblically, talking about having faith is speaking of trust. Declaring faith in God is declaring trust in God.

In some circumstances, that trust is a quiet dependence. We trust God exists. We trust God to keep His promises. When we experience crises, trust quietly depends on God's presence and has confidence in His care.

In other circumstances, that trust is an active, confident initiative. When we understand the God we trust wants us to behave or serve in specific ways, we actively behave or serve those ways. That is "obedience." We actively behave in godly ways and serve God's purposes because we trust God.

Why were we baptized? If our motives were biblical, we trusted God to use Jesus' blood as He promised (Ephesians 1:7). Why do Christians repent when we realize sinfulness? We trust God's promise of forgiveness when we realize and confess our failures (1 John 1:9).

Spiritual maturity produces an awareness that sin and evil are a part of us (Romans 7:7-25). The truth about "self" is distressing. The harder we try to destroy evil's presence in our lives, the more aware we become of our sinfulness. Instead of sinking into despair, those alive in Christ trust God. The person alive in Christ understands being in Christ destroys condemnation (Romans 8:1).

In the first century, extremely ungodly people turned to Christ for forgiveness and new life. No one can be in worse spiritual condition before conversion than were the Christians at Ephesus. Read Ephesians 2:1-3, 12. Note their horrible condition prior to conversion. Then read 2:4-9. Note what God did in Christ to change their horrible condition. Verse 10 stressed God changed them for them to serve His purposes. What did they need to do? Trust God's promises. Trust God enough to serve Him.

In our lives, the issue is uncomfortably simple. Do we trust God?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 8 July 2001

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