My New King James Version Bible has 291 references to the word, ‘faith’. That indicates faith is an important aspect of God’s Word, but what is faith?
Perhaps the best definition can be found in Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ It also suggests ‘substance’ can be translated as ‘realisation’, and ‘evidence’ as ‘confidence’.
Substituting these words, the text becomes: ‘Now faith is the realisation of things hoped for, the confidence of things not seen.
Realisation is the making or being made real of something imagined or planned. Faith looks forward to something that will become a reality. It is visualised, with the sure hope it will become a reality. The person with faith is ‘confident’ of the outcome. There’s no wavering with strong faith.
Yet in the Gospel of Matthew we find Jesus speaking to people with little faith: 6:30; 8:26; 14:31 and 16:8.
Matthew 6:30 comes within the context of worry or anxiety about future provision, and Jesus explains that His Father provides for ‘the birds of the air’ (v 26). He gives them their food, and because He ‘clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven’ He will clothe those with faith. (v 30)
Matthew 8:26 is when Jesus and His disciples were in a boat that was being overwhelmed by heavy seas. He ‘rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.’ He said, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith.” The disciples asked the question, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (v 27)
Matthew 14:31 is also about an occasion when the disciples were in a boat that was being buffeted by heavy seas, and was about to sink. Jesus walks over the seas to the boat, and told them to “be of good cheer,” and, not be afraid. (v 27) Jesus commanded Peter to come to Him; Peter stepped out of the boat in faith and started walking towards Jesus, but took his eyes off Him and focussed on the elements of which he was fearful. Failing to trust Jesus, he began to sink. Jesus held him by the hand and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v 31)
Peter’s faith had wavered to doubt. The two cannot be together. Faith must vanquish doubt. Faith is trust and belief in the outcome.
We must trust our Saviour who died on the cross (Matthew 27:35) to bring us to Himself. He rose from the dead so that we can trust Him. (Mark 16:6)