Faith is a common word. While this can be a good thing because it means people are talking about faith in general, it can also be a bad thing because our understanding of the Christian faith can become defined by general assumptions rather than biblical language.
So, here are some phrases regarding faith from the Bible that remind me what Scripture has to say about this word.
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6)
The Lord abounds in faithfulness. That’s the place to start when we talk about faith!
Why? Faith is like trust, it is best to have when someone is trustworthy. If no one was trustworthy, I’d caution you from trust. But there are trustworthy people, so trust is a good idea because it helps us form relationships.
And there is One who is completely faithful–the Lord. That’s why we should have faith; He abounds in faithfulness.
2.) Breach of Faith / Breaking Faith
“What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the Lord?” (Joshua 22:16)
“When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord…” (Numbers 5:6)
The phrases “breach of faith” and “breaking faith” show us that faith is a relational thing. When we sin, we betray the relationship we have with God.
The word breach reminds me of the phrase breach of contract. And in this sense, faith is a thing that needs to maintained or consequences will ensue. This is true, there are certainly consequences to breaking faith in the Lord, which we will see in the next point.
Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were faithless to the Lord God of their fathers, so that he made them a desolation, as you see. (2 Chronicles 30:7)
This verse from 2 Chronicles shows us a sobering truth–there are terrible consequences for faithlessness. Choosing to not have faith in the Lord is not an innocent act. The Bible tells us that God brings His judgment upon those who are faithless.
In the first point, we saw the Lord is slow to anger. Our Lord is incredibly patient, and His forbearance is unmatched. So we know that when God brings judgment on those who have sinned against Him, we can trust that God did so in the right way and at the right time.
4.) Faith in Jesus
We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
The Bible is not vague about the Christian faith. The Christian faith is not faith in the world. It is not faith in humanity. It is not faith in yourself. The Christian faith is faith in Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back to the first point again. We have faith because God abounds in faithfulness. It is His nature that necessitates this response in us. If we have this idea that God created us to have faith in general, to be ambiguously optimistic about the world, then we are missing the point of why we were created!
We were created to have faith in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
5.) Little Faith
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:30, see also 8:26; 14:31)
This point and the next one show us that Christians can have varying “amounts” of faith. Here we see that Jesus says His listeners have “little faith,” implying they are listening to His words and they have plenty of room to grow in their walk with Him.
6.) Great Faith
Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Matthew 15:28, see also 8:10)
And here we see that Jesus commends a woman for having great faith.
Both the people with little faith and the woman with great faith believe in Jesus Christ. They both hear His words. But who do you think brings greater delight to Christ? The one with greater faith!
May we all be like the apostles who wisely said:
“Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)