The Basis of our Faith
What is the basis of our faith? What is it founded on? If we want to build a life of faith then it needs to have the right foundation. This study looks at how our faith is founded in God’s faithfulness and how this is the basis for real peace.
Building our faith on the right foundation.
As we have already noted in “Faith: What is it?”, the faith of a Christian is not simply blind belief. Our faith is founded on our experience with God as we have come to know Him and have seen Him act in our lives. Some have made a dangerous move in attaching their faith in God to the scientific evidence that indicates that God is present. However, even the knowledge of scientists who are Christians is not infallible and the danger to us is that, having based our faith on some plausible sounding theory, our faith is shaken if some evidence arises disproving or changing that theory. Science is great for confirming our faith but not as a foundation for it. Our faith must be on the right foundation or it will fall when the foundation we have tried to use is shaken.
Is faith important in daily life?
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28v19).
Having faith daily in God is definitely important.
“And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught hold of him, and says to him, O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
“And he said to them, Where is your faith?And, being afraid, they were astonished, saying to one another, Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:25).
The fact that the Lord Jesus reproved the disciples for their lack of faith at times shows how important He considered it to be. He even prayed for Peter, knowing that he was about to enter a time of much testing and that he would deny the Lord when He says “but I have besought for thee that thy faith fail not; and thou, when once thou hast been restored, confirm thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). He reproved the Pharisees and scribes for paying more attention to details and rules than important matters like faith.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these ye ought to have done and not have left those aside” (Matthew 23:23).
God’s faithfulness to us is our foundation.
So what is the foundation for our faith as we live out our daily lives? The Lord Jesus appeals to our appreciation of God’s own faithfulness to His people. Jacob could say “I am too small for all the loving-kindness and all the faithfulness that thou hast shewn unto thy servant” (Genesis 32v10). Moses could say “He is the Rock, his work is perfect, For all his ways are righteousness; A God of faithfulness without deceit, Just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). The Psalmists often speak about God’s faithfulness to them e.g. “For the word of Jehovah is right, and all his work is in faithfulness” (Psalm 33:4) and “Jehovah, thy loving-kindness is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Psalm 36:5). In fact, so great was the appreciation by some of the psalmists of God’s faithfulness to Israel even when Israel had not been faithful to Him, that they wanted to tell others and sing about it, e.g. “I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:10), and Ethan says “I will sing of the loving-kindness of Jehovah for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness from generation to generation” (Psalm 89:1). God’s faithfulness is particularly seen amongst His people, e.g. “And the heavens shall celebrate thy wonders, O Jehovah, and thy faithfulness in the congregation of the saints” (Psalm 89:5).
The wonderful thing about God’s faithfulness is that it comes from His unconditional love for us. It is intricately connected with His love and loving-kindness. In the Psalms this is especially seen as the writers wrote the Psalms from their own experience.
“For Jehovah is good; his loving-kindness endureth for ever; and his faithfulness from generation to generation” (Psalm 100:5)
"He hath remembered his loving-kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:3).
God also promises concerning David in Psalm 89:
“And my faithfulness and my loving-kindness shall be with him, and by my name shall his horn be exalted.” (Psalm 89:24)
"Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor belie my faithfulness” (Psalm 89:33).
Yet David even accepted that God was faithful in afflicting Him, “I know, Jehovah, that thy Judgments are righteousness, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me” (Psalm 119:75). It is an important point to realise that God sometimes has to righteously discipline us in His love to help us to lose our dependence on pleasures and objects in this world so that we can enjoy His blessings and presence in a greater way. Paul reminds us that “No temptation has taken you but such as is according to man's nature; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make the issue (or way of escape) also, so that ye should be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
How does knowing God’s faithfulness affect my faith?
When we see how much God cares for us and how faithful He is to us then our faith in Him is strengthened. The foundation of our faith is our knowledge of God’s faithfulness to us and His people. The more experience we have of His love and care for us, the greater will be our faith as we learn to entrust everything into His care on a daily basis. The basic principle of this trust is given by the Lord “But if God thus clothe the grass, which to-day is in the field and to-morrow is cast into the oven, how much rather you, O ye of little faith?” (Luke 12:28, see also Matthew 6). If we seek to serve Him then He will ensure we have what we need to survive. He will protect us “But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
A good thing to remember however, is that even where our faith or faithfulness towards Him fails His character of love and faithfulness towards us will never fail because God cannot fail. “For what? if some have not believed, shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect?” (Romans 3:3). “If we are unfaithful, he abides faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
“God is faithful, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). How faithful He has been to us in saving us from our sins and bringing us near to Him! It is certain that once He has started working in us that He will not forget us but will ensure He finishes it “He is faithful who calls you, who will also perform it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
God’s word is also faithful too. This means that it is totally reliable and can be trusted. Paul stresses this when writing to Timothy to remind him that the basis for everything we do as Christians should be founded on God’s Word. “Faithful is the word, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first” (1 Timothy 1:15) and “The word is faithful and worthy of all acceptation” (1 Timothy 4:9).
This should make us desire to be faithful. Being faithful to God and to other Christians is seen as a commendable feature. Paul was considered faithful and thus was given greater service, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me power, that he has counted me faithful, appointing to ministry him who before was a blasphemer and persecutor, and an insolent overbearing man: but mercy was shewn me because I did it ignorantly, in unbelief. But the grace of our Lord surpassingly over-abounded with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14). If we believe that God is faithful it will give us strength for serving Him in faith just as Sarah, at an old age “received strength for the conception of seed, and that beyond a seasonable age; since she counted him faithful who promised” (Hebrews 11:11). God has promised and He will keep His promises. His faithfulness to us provides us with the real basis for our faith. The more we experience God’s faithfulness, the greater our faith and trust in Him for every circumstance will grow.