Torrey - Man -10.1- What is faith?

I. WHAT IS FAITH?

MEANING OF FAITH IN GENERAL

Hebrews 11:1 RV — "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen." (Other versions read, "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.") (Compare to verses 7, 11, 17-19, 22, 30 — "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith .... By faith even Sarah herself received power to conceive seed when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised: . . . By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a parable receive him back .... By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel: and gave commandment concerning his bones.") Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction (or proving, putting to the test) of things not seen. The foundation upon which this assurance of things hoped for rests, this conviction of things not seen, is God's word.

MEANING OF "FAITH" WHEN USED IN CONNECTION WITH PRAYER.

James 1:5-7 RV — "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." Mark 11:24 RV — "Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them."

Faith, in prayer, is the firm expectation or assurance, free from all doubts, of getting what was asked for.

The prayer of faith counts the thing asked for as if it were already a reality, because God has heard the request and granted the thing asked, and what God has granted is as really ours as if we had it already in our possession in actual experience.

Compare to 1 John 5:14-15 — "And this is the confidence; that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him," and to 1 Corinthians 3:21 — "Therefore let no man glory in men: for all things are yours."

MEANING OF "FAITH" WHEN USED IN CONNECTION WITH GOD.

1 John 5:10 RV — "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning His Son." John 5:24 RV — "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life." Acts 27:22-25 — "And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me." Romans 4:3 — "For thus saith the Scriptures? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Compare to Genesis 15:4-6 — "And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LOAD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.") Romans 4:19-21 RV — "And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb: yea, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."

To believe God is to rely upon or have unhesitating assurance of the truth of God's testimony, even though it is unsupported by any other evidence, and to rely upon or have unfaltering assurance of the fulfillment of his promises, even though everything seen seems against fulfillment.

It is "taking God at his word." Faith is not belief without evidence. It is belief on the very best of evidence, the word of Him who cannot lie ( Titus 1:2). Faith is so rational that it asks no other evidence than this all-sufficient evidence. To ask other evidence than the word of Him "who cannot lie" is not rationalism, but consummate irrationalism. 2 Chronicles 20:20 — "And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." John 14:1 RV — "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me."

To believe in God is to rely upon or put confidence in God Himself. When we believe God, we trust His word; when we believe in God we trust Himself. When we believe God, we fix our eyes on what He has said ( Romans 4:20); when we believe in God, we fix our eyes upon what He is, upon His person, upon Himself.

There are two Hebrew words for "trust" and "faith." The first, translated "believe" and "trust," means primarily, in the transitive, "to prop," "to stay," "to support"; in the intransitive, "to stay oneself." The second word, translated "trust," seems to mean "to cast oneself upon." When we believe God, we stay ourselves upon His word; we stay ourselves upon Himself.

MEANING OF "FAITH" WHEN USED IN CONNECTION WITH JESUS CHRIST.

John 14:1 — "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." Matthew 9:21-22 — "For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour." Matthew 9:29 — "Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to thy faith be it unto you." Matthew 15:25,28 — "Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me .... Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Matthew 8:8-10 — "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel." Luke 7:48-50 — "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." John 14:12 — "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

Faith in .Jesus Christ is relying on or putting confidence in Jesus Christ. It is the assurance that he will do the things sought of him or take care of the matters entrusted to him ( 2 Timothy 1:12). It is simply relying upon him for these things. What Jesus Christ is relied upon for varies in different cases. (In the several cases cited above, it was for care, healing, sight, help, the healing of another, pardon, and power.) What he is relied on for, that he will do. Matthew 9:29 — "Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you."

Relying on Christ for healing brings healing, relying on Christ for help brings help, relying on Christ for pardon brings pardon, relying on Christ for power brings power, relying on Christ for victory brings victory. What we have a right to rely on him for is determined by his character and his definite promise.