Faith is dependant upon true repentance, both for sinner and saint. No person is able to have faith towards God and find His forgiveness, or receive His mercy and pardon through Christ and at the same time be unwilling to forsake the sin which God condemns. Many do not come to godly faith because of insincere or half hearted repentance. After sincere repentance the Holy Spirit is ever ready to bring us to a state of faith towards God.
Acts 20:21 (NIV) I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Mark 1:15 (NIV) “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The principle of faith involves the believer spiritually, mentally, physically and in the person’s relationship to the material existence.
Heb 10:38 (NIV) But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
The Bible teaches what godly faith is, where it comes from and how to obtain it.
THE FOUNDATION OF FAITH
Godly faith is built upon the foundation of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ
(John 17:3 NIV) Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Not to know about, hear about or read about but to know as a companion and friend. This is someone who is closer than wife, husband, brother or sister, an intimate friend with whom one talks and listens to constantly. Upon this foundation godly faith may be built.
(1 Cor 3:11 NIV) For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
WHAT FAITH IS NOT
i Not Presumption:
This means to suppose to be true without positive proof, to take for granted, taking liberties, overconfident. Presumption imitates faith. For example:
Lev 10:1-2 (NIV) Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorised fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
It would have been presumption for Peter to attempt to walk upon the water before receiving a Word.
Mat 14:28-29 (NIV) “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Presumption calls out, ‘ If others can do it so can I’. It LOOKS and SOUNDS like the real thing but it is not so.
ii. Not mental assent:
This is exercised in the intellect, a ‘ head ‘ faith. Giving mental assent or agreement to doctrines or beliefs of the church with no true agreement in the heart, is an ego function. James calls this mental assent, ‘ the faith of the devils ‘ i.e. dead faith.
James 2:17-20 (NIV) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?
It is possible to believe the Bible truths 100%, yet lack faith to appropriate, receive and experience these same truths.
iii. Not natural faith:
All men live in their natural lives a walk of faith. We have faith that the sun will come up, that food will satisfy, that the train driver will get us there and so on. This is in the natural world of the sense life. ( seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling. )
Such natural faith is inadequate to receive the great truths of the Bible. It takes God’s faith and this is beyond the temporal realm.
i What the word faith means:
The word simply means, ‘trust, assurance, confidence in another and their words; be it God or man. Faith towards God means to trust Him, to trust His Word, to have assurance in Him, that His Word is true, that He will keep His Word and do it. The Greek word for faith has a root meaning of both faith and believe.
… faith (pistis) – faith, belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness.
… believe (pistueo) – to trust in, put faith in, confide in, rely on, to intrust to, to commit charge of, or power of.
ii. The Bible definition of faith:
Heb 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
iii. Bible faith is a spiritual sense.
This spiritual sense is exercised in the realm of the spiritual. It trusts itself wholly to things unseen, invisible and eternal. We have natural senses but also spiritual senses. These are the senses of eternal faith. e.g.
taste: Psa 34:8 (NIV) Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
smell: Psa 45:8 (NIV) All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.
feeling: Acts 17:27 (NIV) God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
hearing: Rev 2:11 (NIV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
These senses need to be trained. We learn how … by training !!!
Heb 5:14 (NIV) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
WHERE BIBLE FAITH BEGINS
Heb 11:6 (NIV) 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.
Scriptural faith begins with trust in an invisible God.
John 1:18 (NIV) No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. ( i.e Jesus.)
1 Tim 4:10 (NIV) (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Tim 6:16 (NIV) who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
Faith is the connecting link between the Creator and the creature. No person witnessed the creation in the beginning but all men see the creation as it is in this physical realm of space time. Humankind has the intelligence to know that this world did not and could not come into existence by itself. We are aware that the pattern supports the idea of a created existence.
Rom 1:19-20 (NIV) since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Behind creation a creator and this person is God. God rewards the seeker by revealing Himself. Through the ages it has been so but in the last days He has spoken to us through His Son, the Word became flesh. The Word has always been impressed on the ages of time and continues for us to find and grow in knowledge and wisdom by studying and being aware of the Word.
The Creative Word:
Gen 1:3 (NIV) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Ps 19:1-2 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
John 1:1-3 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The Spoken Word: God spoke to the Patriarchs. (face to face and audibly)
The Prophetic Word: the Word came through the prophets to the people.
The Written Inspired Word: the Law, the Psalms, the prophets.
The Incarnate Word: the Word made flesh
The Living Word: the Word by the Holy Spirit in the church.
The Infallible Word: the Testament Revelation.
These sources are always by a twofold revelation: by the Word, through the Spirit.
THE SOURCES OF TRUE GODLY FAITH
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
This is a fundamental teaching for any who seek to understand the source of faith. Faith can only rest on the Word of God. To have faith in God is to trust the Word of God.
1 Th 2:13 (NIV) when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
Faith is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 3:22-26 (NIV) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
The Word of God is also personified in the Lord Jesus.
John 1:1-3 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
When the discipes learnt that Jesus was to leave them and return to the Father they were concerned that they would lose touch with their Master. Jesus reassured them.
(John 14:22-23 NIV) Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
a. Keeping God’ Word is the mark of a disciple.
b. Keeping God’s Word is the test of the disciples love.
c. Through the Word heard and obeyed Christ manifests Himself.
d. Through the Word the Father and the Son come together into the life of the disciple.
Receiving the Word
Pslm 25 gives a description of the person who will be able to receive the Word as a blessing and as an instruction from God.
(Psa 25:8-9 NIV) Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
(Psa 25:12 NIV) Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
(Psa 25:14 NIV) The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Hearing the Word of God.
It is not natural hearing but exercising the spiritual sense of hearing which enables us to hear the Word of faith; God’s Word first, then hearing, then faith. God’s word does not bring faith immediatelty. First must come “hearing”. Perhaps hearing could be described as an earnest desire to understand, a willingness to think it over, to pay attention, to meditate about meanings, a sincere openness to receive teaching.
From this attitude which must be born in a love of all things pure and godly, faith begins to grow. Hearing causes or initiates a process in the soul from which faith slowly develops. The disciple needs to devote time to the hearing of God’s Word. The unhurried ,meditative searching of God’s Word in daily devotion is the birthplace of great faith.
It is important to understand that faith works by love.
Gal 5:6 (NIV) The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
In Heb.11, the ‘ faith ‘ chapter, we read of many great men and women of God who did this and that by faith, but these deeds were always preceded by a word from God. e.g. Noah received an instruction to build. Noah demonstrated his faith by his obedience and built the ark.
The Apostles did not ‘ step out in faith’ to heal the sick etc. and try to imitate the ministry of Jesus. They waited and received a Word and the ability. Faith acted upon that Word and the church is the result. First THE WORD.
GROWING IN FAITH
As we go from grace to grace, from one glory to another, so also we go from faith to greater faith.
Mark 4:28 (NIV) All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
Rom 1:16-17 (NIV) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Eph 4:5 (NIV) one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
i. Saving Faith
This is more passive, involves trusting the Word of God. This is God’s gift to the repentant sinner that they might be saved.
Eph 2:8 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-
This is a looking to Christ fully for salvation. Not by self doing, not by works but reliance only upon grace. (God’s unmerited favour)
Heb 11:4 (NIV) By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
ii. Active faith — Obeying the Word of God.
This next aspect of faith is to obey. There is a time for passive faith, for trusting the Word. That realm where God does not want us to do anything and this is where we can do nothing but trust the Lord. But then God asks that we obey. Passive faith trusts the Word, active faith obeys the Word. In passive faith you trust God to do, and He does it and fulfils His Word in your life. In active faith God tells you to do, then He works, in and through you, to bring His Word to pass. e.g.
Heb 11:30 (NIV) By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
a. God knocked the walls down (passive faith said that He would)
b. They marched. (active faith)
iii. Gift of Faith
The Faith of the Spirit—Speaking the Word of Faith.
This faith is given by the Holy Spirit as He wills to those He desires to move in the Gift of Faith. It is one of nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those who have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit are to seek to receive these gifts that they might minister more effectively. The Gift of Faith is a supernatural manifestation of the faith of God, a divine fragment that creates. It may create things, remove or change and act in the realm of the miraculous. It is the faith of God not just faith in God. This gift shall have whatever it says; not prays.
Mark 11:20-26 (NIV) In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Num 20:8 (NIV) “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
iv. Doctrinal Faith
Teaching the Word of Faith — Revelation of the Word.
Paul calls it the word of faith which we preach. Whatever aspect of the gospel is preached it is essentially the word of faith. So it is that we live by faith, we live by the word. Faith is the Word. Believing and accepting the facts and doctrine of the Bible as the infallible truth of God, obeying, cleaving to, and living these truths. This is true doctrinal faith. Scripture simply calls this ‘the faith ‘
Acts 6:7 (NIV) So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Rom 16:26 (NIV) but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—
Col 1:23 (NIV) if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
1 Tim 4:1 (NIV) The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2 Pet 1:1 (NIV) Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
iv The Spirit of Faith:
Faith perfected – Fullness of the Word made flesh.
This is the ultimate of faith as shown in Jesus.
Isa 11:1-5 (NIV) A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.