FAITH

(Acts 16:31.) 

WITHOUT faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is absolutely necessary 
to salvation (Mark 16: 16). It is the first command of the 
gospel (Acts 16:31). It must precede baptism (Acts 
8 : 36, 37). In this discourse we desire to find out what 
faith is and how it is produced. 

1. What is faith? 

a. In its narrowest sense, it is the belief of testi- 
mony. Those nations which have had no positive reve- 
lation know nothing of Jesus Christ (John 20:30, 31). 
Where there is no testimony, there is no faith. 

b. In a broader sense, it is absolute confidence in 
God. It is taking Ood at His word (Heb. 11). In this 
chapter the blessings of faith are recited and the 
meaning of faith illustrated in the lives of the ancient 
men of God, who walked by faith, and not by sight. 

c. In its broadest sense, it is "the substance of 
things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen" (Heb. 
11:1). "Substance" means that which stands under, 
and supports, a structure. Faith is that which supports 
all of our hopes. It stands under our hope of immor- 
tality and eternal life.  

"The evidence of things hoped for 9 9 means the as- 
surance that such things do exist. I have never been 
in Boston or Paris or Berlin, but I have the evidence 
that these cities are in existence. I have never seen 
Jesus Christ in person, but I have the evidence con- 
tained in His wonderful teachings and promises. 
Where? In the word of God. 

2. How is faith acquired? Calvinism teaches that 
men are as dead spiritually as was Lazarus physically; 
and that, since it required a special miracle to raise 
Lazarus from the dead, it requires miraculous influence 
to save a sinner. If this be true, there is no such a 
thing as human responsibility; and all men should be 
saved, as God is no respecter of persons. But it is not 
true, as the following Scriptures will prove: 

a. John 17 : 20. How do we believe ? Through their 
(the apostles') word. 

b. John 20:30, 31. These things were written to 
make you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 
Believing, you may have life through His name. 

c. Acts 15 : 7. Their believing a result of hearing. 

d. Acts 17 : 11, 12. The Bereans searched the Scrip- 
tures daily. Therefore many of them believed. 

e. Rom. 10 : 17. This clinches the matter. 

Faith is not produced by prayer. It is not a direct 
gift from God. It comes from hearing the Word. 

3. What must men believe to be saved? (John 20: 
30, 31; Acts 8: 37.) Belief in Lutheranism, Calvinism, 
Methodism, or any other "ism," will not bring any 
remission of sins. The faith that will save is the be- 
lief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. This faith 
comes from the investigation of testimony. 

4. The scope of faith. 

a. It stretches from the cradle to the grave. The 
infant's faith in mother. The pupil's faith in the 
teacher. 

b. It controls the business world. 

c. It makes the home life happy. 

d. It lightens the burdens of life. 

e. It makes the soul happy at the coming of death. 

5. What is the object of faith? "That we might 
have life through his name." Notice that by faith 
only we do not have life; but we may have life, and 
have it more abundantly, if our faith is strong enough 
to lead us to obedience (John 3:14-17; 20:30, 31). 

"To as many as received him, to them he gave 
the power to become the children of God" (John 1: 
12). They are not children of God by faith alone; 
but they have the power to become such after believ- 
ing in His name. 

Faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:17). Faith 
alone makes merely a disciple. We must repent and 
be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), 
in order to get into Christ, and be Christians (Gal. 
3:27). 

Faith is a continuous thing. Repentance is faith 
willing; confession is faith speaking; baptism is faith 
acting; prayer is faith communing; and the Christian 
life is faith serving. Hence we are saved by faith as 
a system that leads to the very portals of eternity, 
where it becomes a faith realized (Gal. 2:20; 3:26; 
1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Pet. 1:9).