Scripture tells us “without faith it is impossible to please the Lord.” (a) [See endnotes for Scriptures] Since we all want to be pleasing in the sight of the Most High Eternal One, we must ask, what is faith? Is faith a religious belief system we adhere to, such as Judaism or Christianity? Is faith a gift we receive from God and stir up to become active? Or is faith a way of life that we commit to follow?
According to Scripture, these questions identify partial truths, as neither is completely correct. Yes, faith can be a mental response to a system of religion. Faith is also received from God and we activate it. It can simply be a positive response to God’s guidance. However, faith is more than a belief or believing. What is the Way of Faith?
We begin our search by recognizing what scripture says: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.” (b) When we hear a word from God, faith is activated in us by our agreement. Faith is our agreeing response to what God is saying in our various moments.
Surprisingly, the word ‘faith’ does not appear in the Old Testament KJV. It does appear in the NASB four times and each time it comes from Greek words that speak of firmness. Yet, faith is in the New Testament over 240 times and comes from the Greek pistis, which means steadfast, assurance. Thus, the word ‘faith’ in both Testaments speaks of a firm steadfast assurance that affects how we live.
Faith is a firm conviction of a reality that is not yet fully visible. (c) While faith includes believing, faith is actually based on what God ‘is’ saying, doing, and directing. We can believe in or for anything, but it is not Scriptural faith if God is not currently speaking it to you as a present truth. (d)
The first generation of Israelites delivered out of slavery failed to enter their full salvation for one reason: “The word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” (e) As a people, they chose to not hear directly from God or respond to His Voice. (f) God’s spoken word was not activated in them as an assuring faith, so His instructions became a Law to obey.
Faith involves more than believing a Law or ascribing to a belief system: “For when the Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law…they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” (g) So “The Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.” (h) Think about it, non-Israelites were walking in the Way of Faith!
Faith is our agreeing response to what God is saying in our various moments.
Faith Through Generations
Every living person has a deposit of God’s Spirit, the spirit of life. As explained in my book, Created to Relate, we all have five spiritual senses. Our inner self can ‘hear’ what the Spirit of God is saying and ‘see’ what He is currently or desiring to do. (i) We can ‘feel’ His anointing presence, ‘taste’ His presence as sweet honey, and even ‘smell’ the aroma of His presence. (j) Our senses enable us to walk in the Way of Faith day by day.
Abraham illustrated faith as hearing God speak and allowing it to be a steadfast assurance. The New Testament states: “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness…that he might be the father of all who believe…For the promise…was…through the righteousness of faith.” (k) Abraham’s steadfast walk in the saving Way of Faith saw him through difficult times.
When Abraham’s family of three generations (Isaac, Jacob, 12 sons with kids) moved to Egypt, with all their helpers, there were just 70 people. The Exodus occurred three generations later, (l) fulfilling the foretold 400 years. (m) The invitation to live under God’s guidance as free people brought together a mixed multitude with 600,000 men of war age. (n) If each had a spouse and two children, there were at least 2.5 million oppressed people in the Exodus. The people responding to the Way of Faith became known as God’s people Israel.
Almost 2000 years after Abraham, God renewed His call to faith with a New Covenant. Jesus Christ became the “author and perfecter of faith.” (o) When the religious leaders rejected Jesus, they were told their oversight of the Way of Faith would be taken away and given to a more responsive and fruitful people. (p)
During the feast of Pentecost, celebrating the release from Egyptian captivity, the call to faith in God-in-Christ was proclaimed afresh and over 3000 people were immersed in God’s presence. (q) During the first years, responders spoke of it as “The Way.” (r) It was reported that this Way of Faith turned the world’s perception of God upside down. (s) By the time the 12 Disciples passed from this earthly life, followers of The Way began to be called Christians.
Three hundred years later leaders gathered into Nicene Councils to form sanctioned beliefs. Nearly two hundred years afterwards, what had become the official religion, declared Scripture could only be read by leaders in Latin. Removing Scripture from people solidified a control over the Way of Faith.
After 1000 years, a Reformation began restoring the reality that salvation is a matter of faith, not adherence to the practice of religion. The newly invented printing press began printing Bibles in the languages of the people. The Way of Faith once again began to affect how people lived.
The Great Awakening Revivals that began in 1735 revealed that we can actually experience God’s presence. This spiritual awakening is commonly referred to as “born again,” or a “rebirth from above.” (t) God continually draws us into an active fellowship with His presence as the Way of Faith.
Everyone is equipped to interact with God, experience His insightful presence, and walk in the Way of Faith.
Day by Day Faith
While faith involves believing our Bible, it does not mean we can assume everything in the Bible is appropriate for every situation we encounter. The Way of Faith is experienced when a thought is quickened (comes alive), we sense we’ve heard from God, and we become steadfast in it.
Walking in the Way of Faith enriches stability yet gives us flexibility to do what is right in situations rather than following a written word. For instance, do we “turn the other cheek” and allow an abusive tyrant to continue? Should we “not kill” when an enemy intends to kill us? Do we insist a child “respect and obey” parents in all situations and at any age? Our walk in faith allows us to make appropriate choices.
Ideally, we come to know God as more than our Lord, King, and Judge. We can know God intimately as our loving Father, who wants to share His insight and “lead and guide” us into more mature images and likenesses of His heart. The Way of Faith is an assuring day by day walk in fellowship with God.
The Way of Faith is an assuring day by day walk in fellowship with God.
a) Hebrews 11:6; b) Romans 10:17; c) Hebrews 11:1; d) James 1:22-25; 4:3; e) Hebrews 4:1-3; f) Deuteronomy 5:24-25; g) Romans 2:14-15; h) Romans 9:30; i) Deuteronomy 5:24; 2 Corinthians 3:18; j) Acts 2:43; Psalms 34:8; 119:103; 2 Corinthians 2:14; k) Romans 4:9-13, 16; l) Exodus 6:14-20; m) Genesis 15:13; Acts 7:6; n) Exodus 12:37-38; o) Hebrews 12:2; p) Matthew 21:43; q) Acts 2:41; r) Acts 9:2, 27; 16:17; 18:25-26; 19:23; 22:4; s) Acts 17:6; t) John 3:16