“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Faith is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. It is also something that gets twisted a lot. For example, Jesus says in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Prosperity preachers will twist that verse every which way they can to turn Jesus into a magical wish granting genie. In the context of Matthew 21 Jesus had just cursed a fig tree because it had no fruit and it immediately withered. The reason Jesus cursed the fig tree is because it had leaves, which would typically indicate that there should also be fruit, since the leaves and fruit appear around the same time. The point that Jesus is making is that a lot of people have the appearance of being followers full of faith, but they aren’t bearing fruit. If you are truly following Jesus by faith, then your prayers will align with His will, and He will indeed give you what you ask for!
I’m not sure who originally said it but many of theologians have said “Faith is taking God at His word.” There are a lot of things that we can see in scripture that our simple minds cannot understand. For example, the Trinity, how can God be three-in-one. How can God be “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being” (Baptist Faith & Message 2000)? I don’t know how that is, but I do know that Bible shows us that God is indeed Triune and I believe it by faith. I also see in Scripture that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent and I am none of those things. God is greater than I am. I am bound to the laws of physics, math, time, and nature but God is not! I believe that God is triune because He says that He is.
A product of the enlightenment (an intellectual movement beginning in the 17th century that focused on reason and science) is that man began to believe himself to be too smart to believe in God. It was very much a time when faith was thrown out because man basically believed that if there was a god it was himself. This led to an impossible task of trying to explain the world without God. Darwinism is a product of the enlightenment as an attempt to explain creation without God. Hebrews 11:3 (ESV) says “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” No human being was an eyewitness to creation. By faith we understand that God created the universe. Faith leads to understanding. Evolution has not been and cannot be proven. In fact, evolution is extremely far-fetched, and the only way one can truly believe it is if they have faith that there is no God. I personally do not have enough faith to believe that the evident order around us comes from chaos, and that we are simply the product of trillions of years of random chemical reactions. You cannot sell it to me that the words that I am writing right now that you are able to read, understand, and process are random and ultimately meaningless.
If we want to know how best to live in this world it will take faith. We will need to take God at His word. If we want salvation from our sins and to truly know love and joy, we will need to have faith that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV). “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11 ESV).
Trevor Williams is the Lead Pastor at Ector Baptist Church in Ector, TX.