Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Faith Comes By Hearing

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
In the Biblical concept of faith, faith is believing what God has said. That means that faith is integrally related to the Word of God. If it is not related to the Word, then it is not faith.

According to Paul’s statement above, which he addressed to the Christians at Rome, there is a particular way in which faith arise within, or comes to a person. There are also particular ways in which it may not be said that faith comes.
1. Faith does not come by seeing. Paul said, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Some people say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But the trouble is that our eyes can so easily deceive us. We do not see in order to believe, we believe in order to see.

2. Faith does not come by feeling. Biblical faith is not an emotion. It may often be accompanied by an emotional elation, but it is not itself an emotion. Real faith endures even when the emotional high fades away. Emotions do not lead us into faith, but faith leads us into healthy emotional balance.

3. Faith does not come by thinking. Biblical faith is not a matter of the mind, but of the spirit. It is not antithetical to thinking, or logic or reasoning, but it transcends them. Faith goes beyond where our limited thoughts can take us. We do not understand in order to believe, we believe in order to understand.

4. Faith does not come by will-power. Biblical faith is not a matter of volition. It is not a choice, though it may involve a choice. It is not a matter of “bucking up” and believing. A faith driven by will-power may be very sincere, and yet be sincerely wrong. Faith must have a proper basis. We do not make something true by choosing to believe it, we discover the correct choice by believing the Word of God.
Faith comes by hearing. Hearing is receiving what has been spoken, and what we receive by hearing settles into our spirits. However, Biblical faith does not come by general hearing, receiving anything and everything that we hear. For we might hear the wrong thing and end up believing the wrong thing.

“Faith comes by hearing” is a very important truth. But the second half of Paul’s statement is equally important: “Hearing by the Word of God.” It is only when we hear and receive the Word of God that true Biblical faith comes to us.

The Word of God comes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When we hear the Word, the Holy Spirit takes and plants it in our spirit, and faith begins to arise within us.

The Word of God is our starting point for faith. Get into your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. Receive the Word and meditate on it. Let it settle into your heart and instruct your emotions. Let it transform you by renewing your mind. Let it direct your will and every choice you make.