What Is Faith and Why Is It So Important?

Exactly what is faith? In God’s word, we learn what faith is and why it’s so important.

When it comes to being a Christian, there are few things more important than faith.

But exactly what is faith?

After all, people use the word in all kinds of situations. Members of sports teams have faith in each other. Investors have faith in particular companies. When someone isn’t sure if they can accomplish a task, we say to them, “I have faith in you!”

In order to truly understand faith, we need to turn to the Bible. In God’s word we learn what faith is and why it’s so important.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Faith?

There are significant differences between generic faith in a person or thing and Biblical faith. In fact, a person can have a broad, vague faith that God exists and still be miles away from the faith described in the pages of Scripture.

James 2:19 memorably makes this point when it says,

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”

There’s nothing particularly special about believing in God. Even demons believe that there is God! So what does true, Biblical, God-honoring faith look like?

Faith Is Believing In God’s Character

The Bible tells us what God is like. It makes His character clear to us. Some people say that God is too great and mysterious for us to understand Him. And while God certainly is great and mysterious in certain ways, He has revealed His character to us in the pages of Scripture.

For example, in Leviticus 11:45 we read,

“For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

Deuteronomy 32:4 says of God,

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

1 John 4:16 says,

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

These verses are just a few of the hundreds in Scripture about the character of God. The Bible tells us that God is holy, loving, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, generous, faithful, perfect, and many other things.

True faith believes in and responds to the character of God. We believe that God is good even during tough times when it feels otherwise. We believe that God is faithful even when we can’t see how things will work out. We believe God is holy when we’re tempted to give in to sin and that He is just when it seems like evil is going unchecked.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"When your eye is right, it responds to light. When your ear is right, it responds to sound. When your heart is right, it responds to God, and that response is called F-A-I-T-H. Faith is the heart’s response to God. That is the reason the Bible says, “Beware lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” Unbelief comes out of the heart. Faith honors God and God honors faith."

Sin is almost always the result of not believing in the character of God. Adam and Eve sinned because they doubted the character of God. Satan convinced them that God was holding out on them and being less than good.

What is faith? Faith is believing in the character of God and then acting accordingly.

Faith Is Believing In God’s Promises

In addition to believing in the character of God, faith is also firmly believing God’s promises. From beginning to end, the Bible is full of promises from God.

For example, in Romans 10:9-10 it says,

“...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Philippians 4:19 says,

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:28 says,

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

God’s promises flow out of His character. We know that God is good and always speaks the truth. We know that He cannot lie and that every word He says is fully and completely true.

True faith believes in all of God’s promises and lives in light of them. We believe that God will save us from our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, even though our sins are many. We believe that God will meet all our needs, even when things seem tight. We trust that God will work everything together for our good, even though we can’t possibly see how.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible. Doubt sees the obstacles; faith sees the way. Doubt sees the darkest night; faith sees the day. Doubt dreads to take a step; faith soars on high. Doubt questions, “Who believes?” Faith answers, “I”!

When we have faith, we look beyond what we can see to what God has promised. Instead of trusting and hoping in what makes sense, we trust in God and all that He has committed to do on our behalf.

What is faith? Faith is completely resting in the promises God has made to us.

Why Is Faith So Important?

Why does faith matter so much? Hebrews 11:6 makes it clear:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Without faith, we simply cannot please God. Faith in God’s character and promises motivates us to love and obey Him. When we don’t have faith, we start to believe bad, untrue things about God. We believe that He’s not good, loving, and faithful. We start to think that He doesn’t care about us and can’t give us the joy He promises. We begin to wonder if He’ll really meet our needs and work things for our good.

Doubting God almost always leads to disobedience of God. After all, why would we want to follow and obey a God who isn’t good, just, and loving? Why would we trust a God who isn’t faithful and true? Without faith, we will wander from God.

This is why Hebrews 10:23 says,

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

We must hold fast to the truths about God revealed in Scripture. We must maintain our faith.

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We Don’t Rely On The Strength Of Our Faith

It’s important to note that our hope is not in the strength of our faith. There will be times when our faith is weak and other times when our faith is strong. Sometimes faith will come easily and other times we’ll have to battle for it. Ultimately, our confidence is in God, not in our faith.

When you plug in an appliance, electricity flows through the cord and into the appliance. The power comes from the electricity, not the cord, and a lot of electricity can come through a very small cord.

Faith is the cord that “connects” us to God. Even when our faith is weak, God is still strong.

In Mark 9, a man came to Jesus and asked Him to heal his son. Jesus said to the man, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The man replied to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” In response, Jesus healed the man’s son.

Jesus didn’t reject the man’s faith, even though it was mixed with doubt. Jesus responds to even small, weak, doubt-ridden faith. Our hope is not in the amount of faith we have but in the One in whom we have faith.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

Don’t put faith in faith, put faith in Jesus. The devil used to pull that trick on me. He used to say, “Adrian, how do you know that you really believe enough?” It shook me at first, but God taught me to turn the tables on him. Now I agree with the devil. I say, “You know, devil, you are right. My faith is weak, but Jesus is wonderful. I am not putting my faith in my faith. I am putting my faith in Jesus.”

Faith in God and His promises is critically important. But we must not make the mistake of putting faith in our faith.

Our faith is in God and only God.

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