Some Christians and non-Christians have falsely taught that faith is belief based on nothing at all. This implies that humans originate or manufacture faith.
Others have falsely taught that faith is based on physical evidence. They contend that true faith comes when we examine physical evidence and draw a conclusion. It seems as if they think that faith is a product of the human intellect.
They’ll take Romans 1:20 out of its context and use it to make their point. This verse does say that the invisible things of God are clearly seen through the things that are made. However, it doesn’t say that faith cometh by examining the physical evidence and reasoning to a conclusion. And they leave out verse 19, which says that what can be known about God is plain to them because God has revealed it to them.
They’ll use Acts 1:3, which says that Jesus showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs. However, Acts 1:3 doesn’t say that these proofs were the source or the basis of anyone’s faith. We can be certain that the Father drew those who believed, and their faith came by the utterance of God. Often, God speaks to us through seeing a miracle or hearing someone speaking by the Spirit of God. In this case, they saw the miracle of the resurrected Lord and heard Him as He spoke by the Holy Spirit. None of the real faith originated in the human intellect.
These are the two main ways of defining “faith” incorrectly. The amazing thing is that those who sincerely confess that Jesus Christ is Lord have real faith even if they philosophize about faith in these ways. No one can confess that Jesus Christ is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. They just don’t realize how they have this faith. For God’s wonderful gifts, we don’t need to understand them fully to partake. However, by teaching about faith incorrectly, they hurt themselves and those who listen to their false definitions.
Real faith has power. Real faith establishes our understanding of reality on a firm foundation. But fake faith is powerless and worthless. When this powerless faith is substituted for real faith, it’s dangerous and destructive.
In a world regulated under a secularist, naturalist mindset, much of the church has slumped toward a kind of fake faith, a make-believe faith. Real faith isn’t pretending. Without the living Christ active in our lives, faith becomes a mental exercise in which we make ourselves believe in various things.
Real faith isn’t a leap into the darkness that lands us in the light. Real faith is not belief without evidence. Real faith isn’t a mental exercise. Real faith is supernatural assurance and knowledge of truth that comes when God speaks to us. Christ leads, teaches, and corrects everyone who will listen to Him and follow Him. Whoever seeks Him finds Him. All may come. He speaks through Scripture and every means mentioned in Scripture.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17 King James Version
If faith comes by hearing the word of Christ or the word of God, then it’s important for us to know what God means by “word of God.” What term was translated as “word?” It’s the Greek term “rhema.” What does “rhema” mean? Rhema means utterance.
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon defines it as “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word.” It’s “any sound produced by the voice and having definite meaning.” It’s “speech, discourse, what one has said, a series of words joined together into a sentence (a declaration of one’s mind made in words), an utterance, a saying of any sort as a message, or a narrative.”
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2
Jesus authors our faith. He originates it. We don’t. He’s also the finisher or completer of our faith. Notice how different this is from the make-believe faith that skeptics call “belief without evidence.”
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1 King James Version
What Greek term was in the original text that the King James translators rendered as “substance?” The Greek term is “hupostasis.” What does “hupostasis” mean? It means essence. It means reality as opposed to concept.
What about “evidence?” What word is in the original text? The Greek word is “elegchos.” Elegchos is absolute proof.
Therefore, real faith is absolute by nature. It’s absolute proof. It’s substance or reality. The reason it’s absolute and powerful is that Jesus Christ originates it. Faith comes when we hear the voice of God through Scripture. God speaks to us through Scripture. Through Scripture, He tells us about other methods beyond Scripture by which He speaks to us. Faith also comes when He speaks to us through those methods. By faith, we know that the Bible is the utterance of God without error. By faith, we know that God never contradicts Himself. That means that one Scripture never contradicts another Scripture. It also means that no other form of revelation will ever conflict with any part of Scripture. For instance, God will never state one truth through Scripture and contradict that truth by revealing something contradictory in His creation. That is to say, true scientific observation will never conflict with Scripture.
Real reason is also absolute. Real reason also goes beyond inductive reasoning that can only speak of probabilities. It goes beyond the pragmatism of science that never deals with truth but only with what works in the natural realm. Real reason goes beyond opinion to absolute knowledge of the truth. However, the intellectuals have told us that no one can know anything absolutely. We’ve been discouraged from seeking absolute truth.
Sound reason requires true premises because we can’t use unproven claims to prove other claims. And yet, the secularists say that sound reason doesn’t require true premises. They say that we can begin reasoning by establishing assumptions on which we all agree. What are assumptions? They’re unknown beliefs that we accept as if we knew that they were true. They aren’t known, but we pretend that we know them. In a sense, we deceive ourselves when we assume.
Without true premises, our reasoning isn’t sound. With inductive reasoning, we can only speak of probabilities. With true premises and valid deductive reasoning, we can advance to the knowledge of the truth. We can’t know everything, but we can know some things with certainty.
The Connection between Real Faith and Real Reason
If we have to start our reasoning with assumptions or presuppositions, we can never go beyond opinions. Our reasoning will never be stronger than our assumptions. Since assumptions are unknowns, where does that leave us?
However, the real faith takes us beyond assumptions and presuppositions to substance, truth, and absolute proof. The real faith is able to do this because it comes from the utterance of God. This is the same utterance by which God brought the universe into existence. The wonder is that we can have this assurance and certainty right now. With that knowledge, we can reason rationally. We can have sound reasoning. We can know the truth and the truth will set us free.