What is "The Faith"?
What is faith? Is there a difference between this and ‘the faith’? This study looks and ‘the faith’ and how it characterises us completely as Christians.
Faith and ‘the Faith’.
There are two things that defined as faith in the scriptures. You will often find references to the faith of a saint or church/assembly as well as references to “the Faith”. ‘The Faith” is hard to define. It is the basis upon which a Christian lives their lives. It is really the Christian way. If we are following the Lord and living lives founded on the scriptures, then we are walking in ‘the Faith’. It is the path of actions, attitudes and the spirit ordained by God in which we are to be living. The Lord added many to the faith and so it is something in which all Christians are involved in together. “The assemblies therefore were confirmed in the faith, and increased in number every day.” (Acts 16:5).
‘The Faith’ has always come under attack and great efforts have been made to turn people away from it. “But Elymas the magician (for so his name is by interpretation) opposed them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith.” (Acts 13:8). “Now in the same manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, thus these also withstand the truth; men corrupted in mind, found worthless as regards the faith.” (2 Timothy 3:8). Those who oppose the gospel and the truth are found to be worthless to “the Faith”. Those who walk in ‘the Faith’ can expect to be maligned for doing so.
Characteristics of ‘the Faith.
There are some distinct characteristics mentioned in the Bible that are found in following ‘the faith. These are:
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was very greatly multiplied, and a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith.” (Acts 6:7).
This is where we recognise that we are nothing before God except what He has made us to be. We judge and repent of our sins and recognise that all our value before God is what we have been made in Christ. “Examine your own selves if ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: do ye not recognise yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“Only they were hearing that he who persecuted us formerly now announces the glad tidings of the faith which formerly he ravaged” (Galatians 1:23).
One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). “Until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
We will be fed spiritually by thinking and meditating on the “words of the faith”, i.e. the scriptures. “Laying these things before the brethren, thou wilt be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which thou hast fully followed up.” (1 Timothy 4:6).
Staying true to ‘the faith’.
There is a danger that we can fall away from ‘the Faith’ and therefore we must be determined to keep ourselves in ‘the faith’. A Christian cannot lose their salvation but we have to be on our guard nonetheless.
“But the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some shall apostatise from the faith, giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). There is much of this today as many people who once held dear Christian values but had no personal relationship with the Lord Jesus are turning their back on all that is good and true.
Therefore, it is important to stand strong and in the face of much opposition to contend for the faith remaining true to God’s Word which has been given once and to which nothing need to be added or removed. “Beloved, using all diligence to write to you of our common salvation, I have been obliged to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Paul was able, as he neared the end of his life, to say, “I have combated the good combat, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7). We should aim to be able to say the same when we end our own lives.