In the Image of God


What is Faith?

Part I


In this ground breaking newsletter, we will learn some amazing facts about faith.

Faith is not what most think it is. Chanting, singing hymns, or speaking in tongues do not work it up. Faith is not blind. The only ones blind are those poor trusting souls whom the powers that be in “religiondom” have deceived. Yes, faith has to do with proper respect for and understanding of authority. Yes, it is loyalty. But what most do not understand is that faith is based on evidence, fact, knowledge, and science, as you will soon see.

The Faith of Abraham Was Based on Fact

“What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” (
Rom 4:3 )

Paul’s statement is a crucial basis for New Testament faith, because we are adjured to have the faith of Abraham as regards Jesus.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (
Gen 1:3)

That God created the universe is incontrovertible. Anyone looking into the heavens has to know there is the Creator. If the stars, the sun, moon and the planets do not convince, then the physical creation of planet Earth must demonstrate the Nature of the Creator. The atmosphere, natural resources, water, and climate all testify to the deity of God. The high mountains, which are formed various ways mostly in the dim past. Some are scrunched together; others are formed from volcanoes; some are blasted into the heights by earthquakes.

Peter talks about the visible universe being made from the Invisible. Was he also referring to the invisible atoms and other subatomic particles making the visible universe?

Any objective observer must be persuaded that there is a Creator.

When we look at life on planet Earth, we are even more convinced of God’s goodness and mercy. He created a perfect environment for human beings, not just animals and plants. Everything necessary for life and life more abundantly is abundantly found on our home planet. Not only did he give us food to live but also food to enjoy. Clothing to protect, feel good, and look fine. Volumes can be written about the life forms on Earth for use and for pleasure. “Tiger, tiger burning bright, in the forest of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” Blake posited.

Even more wonderfully made is the human being. Scientists still do not know the basics of our bodies.

God created the world. Only the stubborn fools would deny the existence of God.

So Abraham knew God existed. He had the facts and proof. It is called the creation. He did not work up faith or just take it on faith. He knew, without a reason to doubt. He also knew he could trust God. He created a planet so livable and good; how could He not be trusted.

So when God promised Abram (his name at that time) that his progeny would be like the stars in the sky, the visible ones, Abram knew God could and would do it. He had the proof — the creation.

Even so Abram questioned God. Sara was past menopause, and he was old. His estate would go to his servant. No, God responded. Look at the stars, that is, look at the creation, God reminded Abram. God did not say trust Him. No, He offered Abram proof. Not proof that He would have a child, but proof that if God said it, He could and would do it. Amen!

Then God gave Abram more proof. Abram cut certain animals in half as God commanded. When Abram fell into a deep sleep, God reiterated His promise in a vision and then had a smoking pot and blazing torch pass between the pieces. God could even do the mundane. Yet, not mundane because this very action is the Hebrew definition of covenant.
Abraham’s faith passed to his son and grandson and eventually to Moses and Israel. Again God did not just tell Moses and the children of Israel to take it by faith. He wrought spectacular wonders ending with the slaughter of the first born of the families of those who did not put the lamb’s blood around the entrances to their homes. Those faithless ones did not learn faith from the facts and evidence God showed them by his miracles, which God did so they would believe. Faith is based on fact, not some mystery.

If God did the wonders, they must believe His promises. He already kept His other promises; they must believe the promises not yet occurred. Why not? Promises do not have to be fulfilled immediately and on the spot. Some need time. You know — it is not soup yet.

But we cannot see the wonders and miracles that Abram, Moses and the children of Israel saw. We do not, or did not, live then; we live now several millennia after the miracles. But we have written evidence, sworn testimony, of the miracles written in the Bible. We have proof of the miracles — the Old and New Testaments. Courts accept written documentation; so should we. Besides, look up at the stars and try to count them. Look at the planet Earth. How good it is!

Faith comes from the Hebrew aw-man. Which means to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain, once (
Isa 30:21) to go to the right hand.

Aw-mar’s root comes from aw-man. It means to say, answer, command (-ment), declare, demand, promise, report, and speak, verily.

What God commands or promises can be believed — He demonstrated His faithfulness by His Works.

(See:
Gen 15:1-17, Exo 4:5, 14:31, Psa 18:30, 106:12 111:7, 146:6, Jonah 3:5, Rom 1:20-23.)

God’s Faithfulness

We trust God because He has proven His faithfulness in every way imaginable. He created the Earth in a perfect way to sustain human life on the planet, which means air, water, plants, animals, temperature, climate, natural resources, locations, seasons, and so forth. Then He kept all His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, and the Israelites. He redeemed Israel from the slavery of Egypt because of the promise He made to Abraham. And He kept His promise to provide redemption for all mankind. His Truth and faithfulness are renowned.

His faithfulness to His covenant is conditional upon the obedient love of believers. Yet, He gives rain in due season to the good and the evil. In spite of all the evil in the world, God only destroyed the people from off the Earth once, with the flood of Noah. People certainly deserve greater rebuke than God normally gives. He is faithful and hopes that people will repent, come to their senses; so that God can bless them physically and spiritually.

God is particularly faithful to His covenant stemming from Abraham, which promises Jesus and the New Covenant in which the Law is written on believers hearts. The promise to Abraham results in Jesus who died for our sins and was resurrected to life. These actions made it possible to enter the new Promised Land — the Kingdom of God.

(See:
Deut 7:8, 9, Psa 111:7, 31:5, Isa 49:7.)

Jesus’s Faithfulness

God faithfully provided His Son as our redeemer. Jesus responded by never, never ever departed from loyalty and faithfulness to God and us.

Jesus is the precious corner stone of faith mentioned in Isaiah. That unmoving stone, who is Jesus, has a trust that will never be challenged or dissuaded.

An interesting Hebrew word that is rooted in faithfulness is immar, which means bringing forth a lamb. Of course, that faithful lamb is the metaphor for Jesus, the faithful one. Another word rooted in faithfulness is right hand, which the psalmist says refers to Jesus who now sits at the right hand of God.

Faith, in the New Testament, very much has to do with Jesus, his faithfulness and ours toward God through him.

We have evidence and proof of Jesus’s faithfulness. It is called the Gospel found in the New Testament and other accounts of Jesus’s and the Apostles’ life and times.

(See:
Isa 28:16, 43:10, Psa 80: 17, 89:21.)

The Faithfulness of the Law and Covenant

Not satisfied with providing for man’s physical needs, God determined to find people faithful to Him to whom He could reveal His plan of salvation. The beginning of His plan was revealing to mankind the Words of Life, His Commandments. If, He told those early faithful, people would faithfully keep the commandments, He would faithfully bless them with material goods, but, more importantly, with understanding, wisdom and courage.

The blessings of the Law extend from one end of the universe to the other, from the beginning of the Bible to the end, from promised salvation after Adam sinned to the second Adam who destroyed sin and death.

God’s Law is faithful, and those who attempt to keep it honestly and with a good heart will be given all that is necessary to succeed in adhering to the Law with its concomitant promises. God challenges us to prove His promises by keeping His Laws; see if He will not pour out blessing beyond our imaginations.

(See:
Psa 19:7, 93:5, 18:30.)

Faithfulness and Trustworthiness Is. . . .

. . . Based on the knowledge of God

The power of God’s Word develops our faith. God’s Word teaches us about God. We need to know who Our Father is to know who we are, made in His image. With this knowledge, we also learn our relationship with Him. As good as our earthly fathers are, they pale in comparison with our heavenly Father.

God being faithful in all His ways, our knowledge of Him develops our faithfulness. Thus, David prayed from his heart for and expected knowledge of good judgment because he trusted in the Commandments. The only way for us to know God is by keeping His Law, by which we also grow in faithfulness and the strength of our commitment. The knowledge of God’s Commandments keeps us from sinning and being disloyal to Our Father. God wants knowledgeable followers, who are loyal and faithful.

God says to us, here is the way, travel on it, even if it be narrow and less used.

(See: Psa 25:5, 119:11, 66, Isa 30:21, Pro 24:5, 23:12.)

. . . Found in Those Who Fear God

Not all, as we have seen, want to have anything to do with God even though they know God exists and rewards those who obey Him. The willful, the arrogant, the selfish, the greedy, the idolaters will adamantly refuse to acknowledge God much less adhere to His principles.

For the few, knowledge of God inculcates fear of Him. These are willing to test God’s Word by obeying Him and reap the rewards. These few eschew and hate dishonest gain because they are true to God’s Word. They look up into the heavens and know that the Creator, who created this wonderful Earth, perfect for human habitation, must have a great love for the perfidious creatures deceived into disobedience. Therefore, they stand in awe and bow down in obeisance. They have faith.

(See:
19:9, Exo 18:21.)

. . . Found in Dependable Individuals

Faithfulness and loyalty are intrinsic in certain individuals because they were trained properly by their parents or developed that character due to their insight into the ways of success or good living. Certain people can be trusted. They will keep their word, which is freely given without coercion, because it is in their best interest to cultivate the reputation of a people who says what they mean and mean what they say. They stand tall unlike the ones who promise everything to make themselves look good but forget or don’t care what they said after they walk away. We can think of a president who appears to act this way.

The trustworthy individuals will only give their word after careful thought whether they can and will do what they say. Once spoken, it is as good as done. We see that trustworthy characteristic derived from the ultimate trustworthy Person, God, who always keeps His Word freely given. God did not have to make promises or develop covenants; He is the Creator. He did because He wanted to and because it was in our best interest.

So God looks for the people He can trust to do the right thing whether anyone is looking or not. He searches for people He can trust to learn of Him and to follow His ways regardless of what others may think. He will help them to grow in reliability and trustworthiness.

(See:
Pro 25:13, Daniel 6:4.)

. . . Proved by Words and Deeds

God says that cursed is the person who does not do the words of the law. Amen, which is from the Hebrew aw-mane, means truly, faithfulness, Amen, so be it, and truth.

Blessed is the man whose way is blameless, walks in righteousness and speaks the truth from his heart. Say, Amen. Blessed is the man who praises God’s faithfulness and salvation to the congregation. Say, Amen. The Lord is close to those who call upon Him in Truth. Say, Amen.

(See:
Deut 27:26, Psa 15:2, 41:13, 40:1071:22, 145:18.)

. . . Developed by Training in Faithfulness

Chanting or speaking in tongues or singing hymns does not work up faith. God trains people in faithfulness. He trained Moses by first making him prince of Egypt. Then He sent him into the hills to tend sheep. When Moses was fully trained, God sent him to Egypt to lead God’s People into the Promised Land.

Examples abound in the Bible. Hebrews 11 list the brightest and best people trained by God in faithfulness. When we choose to believe God’s promises as Abraham did, God will begin to train us to be faithful servants. God molds us as the potter the clay. He does not let us go without training in the same way the Army trains its soldiers before going into battle. For we too have an enemy, which can be defeated only by the faith God develops in us.
The Hebrew word descended from faith is aw-mats, which means to be an expert (in the sense of training) and a cunning workman.

(See:
Deut 3:28, 31:6, Psa 27:14.)

. . . Shown in Courage and Faithfulness

Aw-mats’ means to be alert, physically and mentally, i.e. courageous.

God told Moses to commission Joshua to take his place, and He told him to encourage and strengthen him because he needed to lead this contentious people to the Promised Land. Joshua did lead the people according to God’s Law and Way.

. . . Not Found in the Faithless

Not all the people in the Bible exhibited faithfulness. Notable was the first king of Israel, Saul, who rather than being courageous in God’s Way let the people dissuade him from what is right.

Even the children of Israel, who saw the wonders and miracles God wrought, kept on sinning. They choose not to be faithful to God. For whatever reason, they would not trust God. They despised the pleasant land. Apparently, they preferred the slavery, idolatry, and suffering of Egypt. Some people would rather have what they are comfortable with than try something new. You know the story of the old shoe, though falling apart, is preferred to getting a new show that would not be as comfortable, at least at first. There are true stories of old people who refused to leave their old neighborhood even when the neighborhood changed and became dangerous, and their friends left or died. If we refuse to move into God’s Realm (His Neighborhood), we, too, are left in a dangerous and deadly neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the people disloyal to God will never know the honor and blessing they miss by being unfaithful and undependable individuals. They, further, miss out on the Kingdom of God.

(See:
Psa 78:32, 37, 106:24, Deut 1:32.)

. . . Seen in Faithfulness, Love, and Righteousness

David says that love and faithfulness meet together while peace and righteousness kiss one another. Then David says something I previously said: he said that faithfulness arises from the earth.

As Abraham looked at the sky to appreciate the creation and the Creator, David saw the creation and the Creator springing from the earth. Clearly, the Creator shows His love both in the creation of the universe as well as the bounty that abounds from the earth. No matter where we look, we see the loving hand of God permeating our world. That is faith!

Amen, it is true, that justice and righteousness are the foundations of God’s throne because we understand the creation. His faithfulness and love go before him.

(See:
Psa 85:10, 11, 89:14.)

Amen.

Gil Kovacs

See: What Is Faith? Part 2

Please E-mail me any comments or questions at kov@mediaone.net.

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