Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is Faith?

We are supposed to have faith. It is the first principle of the gospel. But do we really even understand what faith is? It is somewhat of an abstract concept.

A while back I set out on a study of faith and shortly after my studies died down with hardly any conclusions made. This last Sunday during Sunday School faith again peaked my interest and I have since done some more studying. I have reached some conclusions but know there is still much to learn about this basic and necessary principle of the gospel.

So here is what I discovered:

My main goal was to come to an understanding of what it truly means to have faith:

The dictionary shares many definitions of faith including the following:

1 - confidence or trust in a person or thing
2 - belief that is not based on proof
3 - belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion

I felt that they all held a portion of what faith entails but I felt like something was missing. I ended up turning to a different type of dictionary, the Bible Dictionary, where I formed my own definition of faith:

A confident belief in something or someone based on correct knowledge, that moves its possessor to some kind of action.

In other words, to have Faith in Jesus Christ is to have confident belief in Him that moves us to be obedient and/or righteous. So I determined that it is not enough to just believe in Jesus Christ, to have faith, we must follow Jesus Christ.

The Bible dictionary shares a lot about What Faith IS:
  • Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true.
  • Faith is to have confidence in something or someone.
  • Faith is a principle of action and power.
  • Faith is more than belief.
The Bible dictionary also shares a lot about How to Obtain and Strengthen Faith:
  • Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith.
  • Strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Faith comes by righteousness.
  • All true faith must be based on correct knowledge.
  • Faith must be cultured and sought after until it grows from a tiny seed into a great tree.
And lastly, the Bible dictionary shares the Effects of Faith:
  • By faith one obtains a remisssion of sins.
  • True faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical or mental action.
  • Faith carries an assurance of the fulfillment of things hoped for.
  • Lack of faith leads to despair, which comes because of iniquity.
Through this process I have started to realize that a principle which I thought I understood I am far from grasping fully.

The remaining portion of this Sunday School lesson we covered the rest of the Fourth Article of Faith which reads:

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I am beginning to realize that there are many aspects of the gospel that are seemingly so simple that I have overlooked the room for greater understanding and application. And faith is definitely one of those seemingly simple principles that I have overlooked.

I challenge us all to look more closely at our gospel knowledge and study out and come to understand the principles and ordinances necessary for our salvation. I challenge us all to share our testimonies more that our words might be the kindling that sparks the beginning of another's faith. I also challenge us all to continue to seek after faith, to culture our faith, and to develop our faith by our obedience.

Coming soon will be a sister post on Hope.

5 comments:

Christa said...

I love this post! I come from a small southern town where I have heard people say "once saved, always saved." My best friend is a sub-teacher at our old high school and she's heard kids say I get saved in the morning and than sometimes I have to get saved again in the afternoon.
I have had people tell me that I believe that my works get me to heaven. I try to tell them yes ans no, I believe that my faith in Christ will change me and cause me to do good works, and I will go to heaven, but good works alone don't work, just as faith in Christ without works is dead.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! Again I just loved this post! I'm using your definition the next time I have this conversation! I love definitions!

Valerie said...

I really love the bible dictionary and its wise words and, of course, your thoughts about faith.

Becoming LDS said...

Thank you both for your comments.

Christa,
I am also a huge fan of definitions. I actually keep a dictionary by the side of my bed, as crazy as that sounds. The true meaning of a word can completely change how you look at something.

Valerie,
I have just recently started to dig into the Bible Dictionary there are so many wise words to be found. It seems as though the Bible Dictionary sometimes is forgotten but it has so many wonderful hidden gems. I plan to share more from it in the future.

Adam and Melissa said...

I just found your blog and I have already spent hours looking through and reading your amazing posts. Thanks so much for sharing. I have been really getting into FHE and your blog is going to help so much. Thank you!

Me, Myself and I said...

http://ldslistings.blogspot.com/