The Bible tells us that without faith, we have no relationship with God and cannot please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
The great chapter on faith in the Bible, Hebrews 11, begins with these three verses: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible" (Hebrews 11:1–3).
Our faith is granted to us by God (Ephesians 2:8–9). It is a gift. We cannot earn faith or create it out of nothing. God is holy and we are not. There is nothing we can do on our own to be holy or to earn favor from God. It is only our reliance upon Jesus as our Savior that grants us access to God.
The only thing that separates those people who belong to God and those who do not is faith. It's not the level of evil or the level of goodness each person has. It is only our relationship to God through Jesus—and that takes faith.
First Peter 1:8–9 encourages believers, "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." Faith and salvation are inextricably linked.
As we get to know God through the Bible, our faith in Him grows more relevant and full. As we exercise our faith, it grows stronger, like a muscle. This is the only way we can grow in our trust in God and understand such verses such as James 1:2–4 and Romans 8:28.
James 1:2–4 says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." God often uses the hardships of this life to build our faith.
Romans 5:1–5 is a similar encouragement: "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." By faith, we are justified (declared righteous) before God and brought into relationship with Him. It is also faith that helps us endure suffering, trusting that God can and will use it ultimately for our good and His glory, as Romans 8:28 promises.
Read Hebrews 11. This chapter defines faith, then gives several examples of people who trusted God, including Abraham, Noah, Rahab, and others. Our article only touches briefly on all the Bible has to say about faith. Faith is central to the Christian life—beginning at the moment of salvation and carrying through our entire journey with God. Because our faith is in God, we have a sure and firm foundation.
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