True faith rests on who God is and what God says in His Word. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The word “assurance” is the Greek word “hupostasis’” which refers to that which stands up under to hold something up. You might have seen some translations refer to it as “substance”. It is the foundation or ground which one builds his hope. This word was used in a legal sense referring to documents that were stored in archives giving proof to one’s ownership of property, therefore allowing him to build on it. You could say that faith is the title deed of things hoped for.
What we hope for is ultimately found in God’s Word. There can be no greater assurance of our salvation than this! Our faith rests upon God and all that He has promised in His Word. Our faith in Jesus Christ is our title deed which guarantees us the possession of salvation. This faith is not only the foundation on which we build our hope (because of who God is), but our assurance that what we hope for (God’s precious promises) will indeed come to pass.
To help us better understand this, the writer of Hebrews adds, “the conviction of things not seen.” The word “conviction” is the Greek word “eleghos” and comes from a word meaning to prove in a court room that which is true. You might have seen it translated as “evidence”. Here it means to be so persuaded and assured about something that you would be willing to act upon it. Even if it defies what your physical senses tell you! The Believer acts upon his belief because he is convicted that it is true. To the world, faith would seem to be nothing more than presumption. However, to the Believer, faith is not merely a leap in the dark, it is a firm foundation on which he stands and builds his hope upon.
Biblical faith is produced by the Holy Spirit working in the Believer’s heart assuring him that what God says and who God is can be trusted and stood upon in tough times. Paul said in Romans 10:17, “so faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” The Holy Spirit of God quickens the Word of God within our hearts, producing an absolute assurance in what God says and a divine persuasion to act upon it. Faith is not produced by man but by God! Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” The word “faithfulness” should be translated “faith” because it is the Greek word “pistis” which means faith (instead of “pistos” meaning faithful). Faith is literally the fruit of God’s Spirit working in our hearts. Without Christ living in our hearts in the person of the Holy Spirit, living by faith is absolutely impossible. As you surrender to who He is and what He has said in His Word, He will give you a divine enablement to trust Him. Faith in what God has declared gives the soul absolute assurance and firm conviction of the reality of things that the natural eye has never seen. Yet, these unseen things are as real to the man of faith as anything that he can see, feel, taste, smell, or hear. In fact, through faith, they become even more real. Though his senses might deceive him, he knows the Word of God to be absolutely infallible.
What are you going through right now that would cause you to believe your senses over the Word of God? Are you willing to be persuaded that God’s truth supersedes your present reality? Go to the Lord right now and yield to His sovereign control of your life. Admit to Him that although you may not understand what He is doing, you are willing to trust who He is and what He has said in His Word. The prayer of faith is not as concerned with the outcome of the circumstance as much as it is convinced of the goodness of God, regardless of the outcome. I am reminded of a great hymn of faith by Frances R. Havergal. The last two stanzas read like this and remind me of what a life of faith is all about.
“Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet, it’s treasure store.
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”
Ever, only, all for Thee!
To hear Wayne’s first message in the “Faith Is…” series, click on the following link: