What we Believe
Foundations for Christian Life
No.4 - Faith and Confession
FAITH - Study verses: Hebrews 11:6, Romans
"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards
those who earnestly seek him." "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the
message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
The bible makes it very plain that faith is essential
for the Christian life. In addition to our study verses, two other verses make
this clear. Rom.14:23 - "...and everything that does not come from faith is
sin." Heb.12:2 - "...Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
WHAT IS FAITH? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, "Now faith is
being sure of what we hope for and certain of things we do not see." Think
about that for a moment then let's see how the Amplified version of the bible
puts it. "Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of
things (we) hope for, being the proof of things (we) do not see and the
conviction of their reality - faith is perceiving as real fact what is not
revealed to the senses." The famous words which open this chapter are not
so much a definition as a description of faith. They tell us what faith does
rather than what it is. The result of faith is that it furnishes us with a
secure foundation on which our hopes can rest and with a conviction that those
things exist which are not earthly or temporal and which, therefore, we cannot
see. So, faith is accepting God's word as truth, and acting upon it. See James
2:17-22. Remember, faith is:-
Hope is something we would like to see
take place. See 1 Corinthians 13:13, where faith and hope are listed together.
NOT IMAGINATION OR WISHING THINGS INTO BEING.
Faith is not something
worked up by exciting human emotion, or some kind of fantasy to escape into.
See Romans 4:17-25 where it says Abraham faced the facts and trusted God.
JUST BELIEVING. To believe is to accept a given fact,
based on the evidence of our feelings. But with faith we cannot work ourselves
up to believe; the Holy Spirit must place the ability to believe in our hearts.
Faith is seen in what we do because we believe. See James 2:17. Faith is a
total dependence on God and a willingness to do his will. It is not something
we use to put on a show for others. It is complete and humble obedience to
God's will, readiness to do whatever he calls us to do. The amount of faith
isn't as important as the kind of faith - faith in our all-powerful God.
HOW AND FROM WHERE DOES FAITH COME ?
If we read Hebrews 12:2, again we see that Jesus is
the source of faith, "Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and
perfecter of our faith..." This is further explained in Romans 1:17. Having
already said that faith is sourced in God's word, we have the first key in
answering the question, "How and from where does faith come?" Our study verse
Romans 10:17 explains it more plainly, that it is by hearing and receiving the
word of God. The second key is accepting or believing; look at the example of
Noah accepting the word God spoke to him. See Heb.11:7 and also Gen.6:
ROOT of Noah's faith - he was warned by God.
RESPONSE of Noah's faith - he was moved in holy fear and built an ark.
REWARD of Noah's faith - was the salvation of his family.
The evidence that we are accepting God's word is
clearly explained in John 8:31-32 which says, "If you hold to my teaching, you
are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set
you free." This is what happens to us when we come to God with faith as Hebrews
CONFESSION - Study verse: Romans 10:9
"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
Our salvation is undoubtedly secure as we are prepared
to acknowledge and confess our allegiance to Jesus Christ. Jesus said,
"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my
Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before
my Father in Heaven." (Matt.10:32-33). So we can see it is extremely
important that we are witnesses to what Jesus Christ has done in our lives.
Witnesses are those who, in a court of law, give testimony to, or confess, the
truth. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be witnesses, "But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth."
According to Vine's dictionary of New Testament
words, the word 'witnesses' means:-
1. Those whose lives and actions testified to the
worth and effect of faith, and whose faith received witness in scripture, or 2.
One who bears witness by his death.
We should be people who give witness to Jesus by:-
a) What we say - 2 Cor.5:17-20.
b) How we live - Mark 16:20,
Paul is a good example from the bible:-
did he witness? Acts 26:22-23 - testifying both to small and great.
did he witness? Acts 9:20 - at once.
How did he witness? Acts 13:16-41 -
he reasoned and explained the scriptures, he gave the facts scripturally.
Did he share his own experience? Acts 26:9-21 - He told his own personal story,
how he felt.
We also need to confess our faith, give testimony to
what we believe to be ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
PREPARING YOUR TESTIMONY. Your testimony should give
glory to Jesus and be witness to the life-changing gospel of grace. Here are
some practical hints that may help you:-
- STRUCTURE - your testimony using the before, how
and after method, if that's appropriate.
- NO TANGENTS - don't go off on tangents, keep to the
- NO JARGON - use words your listener will
- USE EXAMPLES - give details of people, places,
events that add interest and make it real.
- BE LIVELY - start in a lively way, don't be dull or
- BE HONEST - don't exaggerate.
- NO COVER UP - of problems and difficulties you have
- SPEAK ABOUT JESUS - so it becomes clear how your
listener may also respond to him.
- AVOID BEING CRITICAL - especially of other churches
- HIGHLIGHT - the good things God has done and is
doing for you.
REMEMBER - IN ALL THINGS GIVE JESUS