Heb 11:66 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. NIV
Faith must be a pretty important thing. It’s impossible to please God without it. What if we were to spend our lives without accurately understanding what faith is? The consequences of such an error could be pretty serious.
I want to begin by talking about what faith is not. Faith is not mental assent to right doctrine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for right doctrine. I don’t think any of us set out to be heretics on purpose. But conceptual agreement with true doctrine is not the same thing as faith. I think it’s important to point that out because a lot of people think they have faith because they think true things about God, but that’s not the case. The reality is you can acknowledge true doctrine and not actually have faith at all.
Doctrine is information. Information lives in your brain cells. It is entirely possible to store all the right information in your brain cells and yet actually believe something completely incongruent with that right information. For instance, you might know and affirm the doctrine of God’s omnipresence (God is fully present in all places at all times) and yet actually believe that God is quite distant from you personally. You might know and affirm the doctrine that God is love, and yet believe in your heart that God does not really love you on a personal level. You might know and affirm the doctrine that you were created in God’s image, but be quite convinced that you bear another image entirely. You might know and affirm the doctrine of justificatioin by faith alone and yet believe in your heart that you need to try harder to be good so that God will approve of you. You might know and affirm the doctrine that God has plans for you for a future of hope and yet believe in your heart that God is against you.
Are there areas in your life where what you know to be true from the Bible and what you actually believe to be true in your heart don’t match?