What’s the difference between “believe-ism” and true Christian faith? In this episode, Jeff explains how to distinguish between the two, and he points out how we can more fully entrust ourselves to Christ and walk in faith, uncertain as life may be.
How Do We Live by Faith?
- Hebrews 11:1 – “1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
- What does faith mean?
- Faith and belief are different.
- Faith is more comprehensive than belief.
- 3 primary ways to use faith.
- Faith as a gift received from God.
- Faith as our personal assent to the truths of the Catholic faith.
- Faith as the content to divine revelation.
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 – “7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
- This doesn’t mean walking by blind faith.
- What is Faith?
- In Hebrew it is emunah, in Greek Pistis.
- Exodus 17:12 – “12 But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set.”
- The word “steady” in Hebrew is “emunah”
- So faith is equated to being steady and enduring.
- God is faithful.
- 1 Corinthians 1:9 – “9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- 2 Timothy 2:13 – “13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.”
- Deuteronomy 7:9 – “9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations”
- Hebrews 3:5-6 – “5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. 6 Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.”
- Jesus is also faithful.
- The basis of our faithfulness is God’s faithfulness
- Habakkuk 2:4 – “4 Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.”
- God gave us Jesus as a concrete example of faithfulness.
- CCC 346 – “In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant. 214 For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.”
- When you witness gravity working you are seeing a sign of the unshakable faithfulness of God.
- We speak about belief and faith in Mass, especially in the Creed.
- It is a reminder of what we believe but it is not a simple checklist of what we believe.
- It is a way of entrusting ourselves to God in a powerful way.
- CCC 150 – “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature.”
- The word “steady” in Hebrew is “emunah”
- Faith and belief are different.
The Two Aspects of Biblical Faith
- Faith is intellectual.
- Our minds make a mental assent to what God has revealed.
- Faith is a personal entrusting of ourselves to God.
- James 2:17 – “17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
- CCC 1062 – “In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word “believe.” This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why “Amen” may express both God’s faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.”
- CCC 1064 – “Thus the Creed’s final “Amen” repeats and confirms its first words: “I believe.” To believe is to say “Amen” to God’s words, promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the “Amen” of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian’s everyday life will then be the “Amen” to the “I believe” of our baptismal profession of faith”
- CCC 142&143 – “142 By his Revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.” The adequate response to this invitation is faith. 143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.”
- CCC 53 – “The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously “by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other” and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.”
- Hebrews 11:2-12 – “2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”
More Great Resources from Jeff
Find free blogs, videos, and resources about Scripture and the Catholic faith at http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/.
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For an easy way to transform your approach to reading Scripture, check out Jeff’s Bible Timeline Chart.
For an illustrated resource introducing God’s love story to children while helping them to understand how the Catholic Church is the body of Christ on Earth try The Great Adventure Storybook.
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