Faith is a word that is so interchangeable in the English language. We sometimes use the word “hope” or “trust” or “wish” instead of faith for example. Sometimes we even use the word “faith” when describing a church that one belongs too or maybe a denomination.
So, is faith different than hope, trust and wish? I believe that they can be used in totally different ways sometimes meaning something like this, “I hope it doesn’t rain in the morning as I want to wash the car then.” This sounds more like a “wish” than faith or hope.
Quoting Merriam Webster’s definition of faith, we see that as a noun its simple meaning is: The belief in the facts and truth of the Scriptures.
One of my favorite verses is found in Hebrews 11:1 ESV: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Faith, as described by David Guzik’s Bible Commentary, is like the sense of seeing. Our ability to see something gives us the evidence that something is true or factual. Mr. Guzik goes on by quoting another man named Morris who says that “faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses.”
If we can see something with our eyes is there really any need for faith? It is obvious that what we see is true as we see it and we can even direct another’s attention to what we see so they can observe it too.
So, when we see the word “hoped for” as found in the scripture above, it provides us with the opportunity to spiritually see things and then trust that what we are seeing spiritually is something that we can understand as truth. To me, this is saying that this hope is something that we may have wished for in the past or even in the future, but now we know that it is a fact and is true even though we do not see it at the present time.
Faith then helps us in understanding things or maybe having convictions that even though we do not physically see something, we can believe it to be true. As an example, we may be able to see a thunderstorm coming. Even though it may not have started raining we know we need to get to a place that is safe and dry.
This verse gives me reason to hope and wish for the things I read in my Bible. I hope it does for you too so that we can be assured of what we read in the Bible is factual and true, even though we have not seen it in the present time.
Much like the example of the thunderstorm, we know from news stories that people that remain out in the weather could be struck by lightning or may even get washed away in a flash flood. Faith gives us that spiritual heads-up to seek the safety of God’s Word, the Bible.