As elementary as it sounds, to fully understand what it means to be a follower of Christ, we must have a proper understanding of the concept of faith.
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God
(2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
2b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof
(2) : complete trust
Above is the definition of faith as I understood it most of my life. After all, isn’t that what is taught for the most part in American society? Futility would result from trying to count in my mind the number of times I’ve heard the phrase “Faith is the evidence of things unseen” or “When you believe in something for which there is no proof, that is called ‘Faith.’” Catchy, right? I mean in our modern, technologically-advanced lifestyle, we’re used to the “what you see is what you get” mentality of the physical. So it would make sense that a spiritual concept, ‘Faith,’ be defined as “What you can’t see is what you get.”
Logically, it makes sense. A spiritual concept would imply the unseen definition of the material. The problem lies in the fact that the scriptures were not written using the English definition and understanding of words. The various authors of the compilation of books we call the Bible were educated in Hebraic tradition and the Judaic religion, so their definition wouldn’t be the equivalent of ours.
Emunah – Faith
“The Hebrew root aman means firm, something that is supported or secure. This word is used in Isaiah 22:23 for a nail that is fastened to a “secure” place. Derived from this root is the word emun meaning a craftsman. A craftsman is one who is firm and secure in his talent. Also derived from aman is the word emunah meaning firmness, something or someone that is firm in their actions. When the Hebrew word emunah is translated as faith misconceptions of its meaning occur. Faith is usually perceived as a knowing while the Hebrew emunah is a firm action. To have faith in God is not knowing that God exists or knowing that he will act, rather it is that the one with emunah will act with firmness toward God’s will.”
-Ancient Hebrew Research Center
This is the definition of faith that would have been in the minds of the early disciples. When Jesus taught faith only as substantial as a mustard seed can move mountains, He wasn’t creating a televangelist style message. Many folks have heard T.V. preachers solicit for donations (they call it a ‘seed of faith’) in return for answered prayer, this is a severe manipulation of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was trying to explain to his followers, ‘If you have enough faith to take the first step toward God’s direction, the impossible will become possible.’ Sitting and staring at an obstacle won’t move it, yelling and screaming about it won’t move it, and throwing money at it won’t move it… taking the first step in faith will move it.
Faith as is taught today waters down the message to a point that makes absolutely no sense to those interested truly following in the way of Jesus. It’s no wonder that anyone can point at scripture and say that it contradicts itself. When the basic concepts of Christianity are incorrectly communicated, the whole thing falls apart.
Trying to separate faith from action is like trying to separate water from oxygen, oxygen is a component of water… action is a component of faith.
Faith and actions have been separated as two completely different teachings. The overriding thought in today’s church is that faith is a requirement for salvation, but not works. While that statement is correct, it relies on a false definition of faith. Whenever you hear someone separate the two like that, that person is teaching a gospel different from that of the one Jesus taught.
Legalism? No… just a simple concept that is fact.
Belief + Action = Faith