The Importance of Faith and Belief


Is Your Faith Really in God?

All of us have a measure of faith we are told in Romans 12:3. This is clearly indicated by what we say and what we do. What we have put our faith in is a result in what we believe about it. Therefore belief is a key component regarding where or in what we have put our faith. Both faith and belief are important for life but they are separate things with different functions. However, faith follows belief.

Hebrews 11 is called the Faith Chapter of the Bible. It is an abbreviated record of people who have put their faith in God and some people who didn’t. It also makes it clear that Christians are to be a people with their faith in God.

Verses 15 and 16 of Hebrews 11, makes it clear that where, or in what ,we put our faith is based on what we believe. It is also clear that what we believe is based on our thinking. Therefore, we direct our faith with our belief based on our thinking..

For instance I might think one day I will want to retire. After all retirement is a popular topic in our culture particularly with people my age. So, in my thinking I determine I will need a lot of money to retire. Given my age my thinking tells me I will need to make a lot of money quickly. This is fear entering into the thinking, process. So now my thinking starts to explore the options that are available to me. For instance, I could put money in a savings account and let the interest build up but given the present interest rate my thinking tells me that is not a viable option. Another option would be to buy a lottery ticket. After all, somebody wins the lottery! Maybe I could join a lottery club where they talk about the latest strategies for picking winning lottery tickets and have guest speakers come to the meeting to tell us their secrets, for a fee of course. Oh and they just happen to have a book for sale on how to be a winner in the lottery.

As you can see, jumping the gap from thinking  I could win the lottery to believing I can win the lottery is a process and the result is that I have put my faith in what I believe and am acting on my faith by going out and buying the ticket.  But the question is, “have I really thought this through?” What is the truth? It would be wise of us to put our faith in something that was true.

In His prayer recorded in John 17:17, Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” ESV

Sanctify means to set apart. In this case He is asking God to set His followers apart from the thinking of the world and guides them with the Word of God. Earlier in John 8:31&32 we read, So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” ESV


To abide one must hear and then think followed by believing and then remain in that thinking and belief. The Apostle Paul illustrates this in Romans 1:16 where he says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek. For in it the righteousness of men of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ESV

Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 where God tells Habakkuk that wrong thinking often inflates the ego like a hot air balloon that is carried away in the wind currents. The person who does this will put his or her faith in the wrong thing ultimately to their disappointment and harm. Let’s read the entire verse. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” ESV

As I said in the beginning what we say and what we do indicate where or in what we have put our faith. This is a result in what we believe based on what we think about, we have read about, heard from others, social media, and so on. What we read in the Bible and hear from or about God is the starting point in our walk with God. In Genesis 15 we read that God revealed Himself and His plan to Abraham. In verse 6 we read, And he believed the Lord and He counted it to him as righteousness. ESV (In this verse “he” means Abraham and “He” means God.)

In order to be saved and have eternal life with God we must be righteous. How can we do that? We can’t do that on our own. Jesus did that for us on the cross. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Let me paraphrase. For you and me God gave His Son Jesus, who was without sin, to pay the price for our sin by taking our sin and placing our sin on Jesus. Jesus being without sin was righteous thus when we believe He paid for our sin and make Him our Lord by putting our faith in Him we become the righteousness of God that is required for salvation. Let’s look at verses 17-20. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ESV

Paul didn’t always think this way nor did his word and actions show that he had his faith in Jesus. Instead he had his faith in his ability and achievements. His words and action flowed from what he believed. If you are interested you can read about what he was like before he met Jesus in. Philippians 3:1-11; Acts 9,  26; 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ESV

In the Law we read in Deuteronomy 17:6, On the evidence of two witnesses or of three the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. ESV

Paul’s words and actions, based on his thinking and beliefs, were evidence enough to condemn him to death or separation from God. The same is true for each of us. That is why I am grateful that Paul didn’t stop there in verse 23. God offers each of us a pardon that results in our spending eternity with Christ Jesus. Clearly this is a demonstration of God’s love for us.

Have you received His offer of forgiveness of sin and eternal life? The purpose of my writing this is to get us to think, to believe, and put our faith in Jesus. We are saved by faith and not by works as Paul tried to do as he told us in Philippians 3. However, our works will be evidence of where our faith is. In Paul’s case we read in Romans 6 that Jesus is now his Lord and in 2 Corinthians 5 he is now an ambassador for Christ. That is what a new creation resulting from faith looks like.

Do you know where your faith is?

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 ESV