What Does Faith Actually Do?

Colin Smith
Colin Smith
2013 29 Nov

Evangelicals have always stressed the wonderful truth that we are justified by faith.  We have rightly placed great emphasis on justification by faith and not by works.  But we have not always had a good grasp on what faith actually is.

Hebrews 11 gives us a long list of the heroes of faith, men and women who are models or examples to us of what authentic faith looks like.  Study this chapter and you will see that faith is always more than bare belief.  Faith is active.  It does things…

Faith Understands

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command.” Hebrews 11:3

The Psalmist says, “I have more insight than all my teachers for I meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:99).  The Holy Spirit gives wisdom that cannot be gained by the intellect alone.  It is possible to have the most brilliant mind, and yet to live like a fool. 

Faith Offers

“By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.” (Hebrews 11:4)

Faith will lead you to great sacrifices—denying yourself and costly commitment.

Faith Builds

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” (11:7)

Faith initiates great projects that will be the means of advancing God’s redeeming purpose in the world.

Faith Obeys

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (11:8)

Faith will lead you to embark on great ventures into the unknown.

Faith Longs

“They were longing for a better country--a heavenly one.” (11:16)

Faith is a forward-looking grace.  It will keep you fixed on heaven.

Faith Blesses

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” (11:20)

What a blessing to have a father who is a man of faith, a mother who is a woman of faith.  Faith leaves a legacy, bringing blessing to your children and all God places around you.

Faith Worships

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.” (11:21)

Faith will lead you to worship.  Here is this old man at the end of life.   He is dying, but he looks up to God and he worships.

Why does faith do all these things?

Faith is like a living tree bursting with fruit!  Where does all this life and energy come from?  Why does faith understand, offer, build, obey, long, bless and worship?  Faith unites us to Jesus Christ.  Faith is the bond by which we become His, and faith is the way in which Christ, and all that is His, becomes ours.

This week's Scripture:  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.  Romans 3:28

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Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.