"Without [Belief] it is Impossible to Please Him"

The Hebrews writer stated, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).  When we think about faith, and our belief in God, I wonder if we really understand what the Hebrews writer meant, do you?  The Bible has much to say about the subject at hand.  In fact the Bible has some strong statements we need to consider.

What is faith, what will happen if we don't possess faith, and finally how do we attain faith that will please God, and keep us until we die?  Paul once stated, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).  This would be the negative reason why we should want to know the God of this world.  But, what about the positive reason when we think about faith or the motive that should move us to our love for God and His word and way.  The apostle John stated, "...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).  I believe this verse alone should establish our motive for striving for the eternal crown of righteousness verses the corruptible crown of despair (II Timothy 4:8 and I Corinthians 9:25).

What is Faith?

When you think of faith what comes to your mind first?  Many answers could be noted of those in the secular world, but what does the Bible teach about the subject?  How can we define faith in a Biblical way, or scriptural way?  Hebrews 11:1, gives us our definition, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  First, faith is a substance of something that we hope for, or something that gives us hope.  Second, it is evidence, or conviction (ASV, 1901) of things not seen.  When we look around us in the world alone, we see order and not chaos.  When we look around us in this world we see balance, and not imbalance.  There is design in our world, there is purpose in our lives, and these reason's alone should establish some bit of faith in us.  The apostle Paul spoke about this in Romans where he stated, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..."(Romans 1:20).  Then again the Hebrews writer said, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Hebrews 11:3).  Most sensible people based upon facts and not fiction will believe in God, and not atheism or an agnostic system of unbelief.  Therefore faith means, "firm persuasion, conviction, trust, reliance, confidence," and the same basic word for "faith" gives us also the word "belief".  The world alone is not enough, though it does prove there must be a designer for the design, but we need something more and this will be addressed in the last section of how to attain faith, and keep it until we die.

What is the Consequence of not having Faith?

As already stated, Paul said that those that know not the Lord will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of our Lord (II Thessalonians 1:8-9), but what about those that believe in the Lord and don't obey the Lord?  That is, they believe the Bible, believe the words and even claim they are a Christian, but will not obey the plain simple commands of it.  For example, all those in the denominational world that have tried to cut baptism out of the plan of Salvation, what will be the consequence of not believing, and obeying the Lord?  What if we decide what is and isn't necessary for our lives, and avoid what the Bible teaches, is this faith?  Can a person really know the Lord and not obey the Lord?  Jesus said, "if ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). The apostle John wrote later in his gospel account, "and many other signs did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:  but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30-31).  What does John mean when he say's "believing?"  John goes on to say later in his life, that the things that he wrote for us were written that we would know what we know by keeping the Lord's commands, and anyone who said I know the Lord and did not keep His commands was a liar and the truth was not in that person (I John 2:3-4).  Well, we know what the outcome of all liars will be (Revelation 21:8).  The consequence of not having faith is eternal!

How do we Attain Faith that will Keep us Unto Death?

Faith is not faith without obedience.  We must understand this before we can understand the rest of the matter.  In order to be called a Christian one must follow after Christ and His example.  Not only should we follow after Christ, we should follow after Christ message through the revelation of the Holy Sprit, by the apostles (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; Acts 2:42).  Jesus certainly laid a foundation for you and I to pattern after, but what about the rest of the matter?  Before Jesus was sent to the Cross, He told His apostles that they would be delivered the rest of the message of Salvation (see previous passages; Luke 24:45-49).   Because Jesus had to die on the cross to be that perfect sacrifice, and not one of a bull or goat which could not take away the sin's of the world (Hebrews 9:11-14), the apostle's would be responsible for finishing the Revelation of Christ to the world (II Peter 1:15-21; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13).  When Jesus commissioned the apostle's in Matthew 28:18-20, He stated, " ...All power is given unto me in heaven and earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost {Spirit}:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."  When the apostles received the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2, they received their authority and started their evangelistic work from Pentecost and didn't stop until the Revelation of John was completed, thus capping off "inspiration" until the Lord returns again.

The question is, how do we attain faith, and understand what the Lord intends for us?  Paul said, " For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand the mystery of Christ)" (Ephesians 3:1-4).  The question is answered as it was stated nearly 2000 years ago, when we read we may understand the mystery of Jesus and the cross.  "So then Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).  We should always grow in our faith, and the only way we can do this is to abide in the principle of study (II Timothy 2:15).  This is how we renew our minds and approve what is acceptable and pleasing unto God (Romans 12:1-2).  This is how we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18).  This is how we will be faithful unto death, as John exhorts us to do, in Revelation 2:10.  How do we attain faith?  Through the all sufficient word of God, that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified (II Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 20:32).  This is the way we can attain our faith, and remain faithful unto death!

Please e-mail me (Bryan Braswell) if you have any questions: bngbraz2@aol.com

©2001 This paper may be freely distributed as long as there is no cost to others and no changes to the content of any material in this paper.

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