Commentary On Faith
Conclusion: Classic Faith
Perhaps more than having faith is what we do with it.
How it affects our ordinary every day life.
Make no mistake, People are seldom willing to die for something which they are unwilling to live for.
Key Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (NKJV)
Lasting faith may have more to do with commitment than it does with mere conviction.
Can I interest you in some bible trivia?
In the King James version of the Bible, the word faith is found only two (2) times in the Old Testament. Once in Deuteronomy about people who have no faith and once in Habakkuk about the just living by their faith.
In the New Testament the word faith is found a total of 229 times.
Matthew 12 Galatians 20 Philemon 2
Mark 5 Ephesians 8 Hebrews 31
Luke 12 Philippians 4 James 12
John 0 Colossians 5 1-2 Peter 7
Acts 14 1-2 The 12 1-3 John 1
Romans 34 1-2 Tim 26 Jude 2
1-2 Cor 13 Titus 5 Revelation 4
In all of this I find it most interesting that in the Gospel of John, perhaps the most evangelistically used book of scriptures in the whole bible, the word faith is never found, not even once. When searched for, the closest derivative of that word found in the book of John is the word ‘faithless’, and this word is only found once. (John 20:27)
Yet John’s Gospel demonstrates great faith. This faith we see in the Gospel of John is not necessarily a mere admission of a conviction but rather lifestyle, a habit of acting out our convictions in daily living.
While studying and considering why John had not chosen to use the same aggressive, take it to the limits, swear to my own hurt and not be denied approach to teaching faith, I found the answer. Again, I saw John more interested in the ordinary every day lifestyle of a Christian more than the spectacular, extraordinary moments some of us face from time to time.
Perhaps the one scripture he knew about faith in the bible of his day told him that the just would life by their faith. (Habakkuk 2:4) Maybe this is why the only time he mentions the subject in his gospel was to show a rebuke to Thomas because Thomas had to have a spectacular demonstration before he would believe. John called this ‘faithless’. The implication is that if you have to be shown or have proof beforehand, one cannot call it faith.
John’s approach to life was not one of always being in need of a miracle, but rather the doctrine of abundant life, a life in no need of a miracle. How did John teach this? He used a different word.
The Greek word most translated ‘Faith’ in the bible is the word: Pistis
Faith - Greek Word: Pistis = Conviction of the Truth
John never used this word in his gospel. Rather he chose an outcropping of this word - a derivative - the Greek word: Pisteuo
While Pistis means to have a conviction of the truth,
Pisteuo means to have a commitment to the truth
Greek Word: Pisteuo = Commitment to the Truth
There is a difference.
For other writers of the New Testament it was a strong desire to have us trust God. For John, it was his strong desire that we try him.
John’s choice of Pisteuo instead of Pistis, is translated in his gospel as the variations of the word believe.
To believe: In the Old English of the King James Bible days, the word believe is the opposite of the word belie. Belie means to live a lie; to not be what you are.
The word believe means to live what you be: Be-live, if you will.
John, although he did not use the word faith not even once, he did use the word believe 86 times.
Lets look at some of these while we have the time. Perhaps more than having faith is what we do with it.
Maybe we should be questioning ourselves and others not as to what they believe, but rather what they are doing about it.
One of my favorite uses of this word is the scripture found in a key evangelistic verse - perhaps the greatest evangelistic verse in the whole bible.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
More than just whoever is convicted of the truth about Jesus, but whoever commits himself to that truth is saved.
This is more in line with the whole counsel of the word of God concerning the doctrine of salvation.
First one is convicted of truth but conversion takes place when a commitment is made by an act of the will and not just by a revelation of the mind.
Even the demons are convinced there is a God however they are not committed to Him. There is a difference!
This carries on through out life and discipleship as we see in:
John 14 NKJV
12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
This belief spoken of by John is more than a conviction, it is a commitment.
In conclusion of our Commentary On Faith series, suffice it to say that we have not at all exhausted what the whole bible has to say on this simple subject.
Simple, you say! Yes simple.
Trusting in and committing to God through His revealed Son, Jesus, is the most simple and at the same time the most powerful decision any person can ever make.
Have you trusted God with your life, family and future?
Are you committed to Him, His Word, Will and Way, above all else?
Like the Apostle Paul, we should all have as our goal to:
Fight a good fight;
Finish our race;
Keep the faith!