Theme: Christian Living – Faith
This week’s category is “Christian Living.” In the three previous week’s readings when we have visited this category we’ve read on discipleship, becoming a Christian, and prayer. Another of our categories is “Bible Themes.” In those three week’s readings we’ve read about sin and forgiveness, worship, and grace. This week’s theme could easily fit in either of those categories. Faith is certainly among the greatest of Bible themes and it must also define Christian living; after all, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Truth be told, there is much overlap not only between Bible Themes and Christian Living, but among many other categories and themes as well.
Could it be any more plain; could it be any more forceful? “And without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:6).
We could add to that the fact that our salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), God justifies the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26), faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4), and that faith is our assurance and conviction (Heb. 11:1).
That we truly understand faith, then, is of supreme concern. Is it not, though, one of those terms and concepts with which we are so familiar that we assume understanding?
“Everybody knows what faith is.” Do they? Really?
Faith that saves and sustains and secures us is the faith we want and need.
Readings and Introductory Comments:
This, of course, is the great “Faith Chapter” of the Bible. The chapter is actually an extended discussion of the concluding thoughts of chapter 10. The readers are being encouraged to endure and not “shrink back” because “we are…of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (Heb. 10:39, NASB). Chapter 11 is a description and discussion of that kind of faith.
In it, numerous examples of Bible characters—starting with Abel and ending with the prophets—are used to demonstrate this faith. In a sense, the entire Bible is about showing and teaching and building faith. So it is that faith truly does originate in the word (Rom. 10:17).
John 20:24-31; 8:12-30; 11:17-27
The very purpose of the Gospel records, according to John, is to produce faith in Jesus as God’s Son. Our reading will cover not only that portion of John’s Gospel as he explains this truth, but also a couple of occasions when express confessions of faith are made in response to Jesus’ works.
Romans 3:21-26; 4:1-25; 5:1-11; 10:5-17; Galatians 2:15-21; 3:1-14, 23-29
One of the great theological challenges and debates of the early church had to do with the nature of our justification. Paul argued that justification was by faith, as opposed to being by works of the Law. Both Romans and Galatians address this critical point and go to great lengths in their discussion of faith.
2 Corinthians 5:4-10; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter. 1:3-9; 1 John 5:1-12
Quite expectedly, faith is a frequent topic throughout the epistles. These readings represent but a sampling of all that could be read on the subject.
- What is faith? (v. 1)
- What do we understand by faith? (v. 3)
- What must we believe about God? (v. 6)
- For whom is God not ashamed to be called their God? (v. 16)
- What had those who were commended through their faith not received? (v. 39)
- Whom does Jesus say is blessed? (v. 29)
- What is available “by believing”? (v. 31)
- What is the consequence of failing to believe in Jesus? (v. 24)
- What did Martha confess? (v. 27)
- How do we receive the blessing of Jesus’ sacrifice of propitiation? (v. 25)
- What is God able to be to the one who has faith in Jesus? (v. 26)
- In whose footsteps are we to walk? (v. 12)
- Why does our justification depend on faith? (v. 16)
- What do we have since we are justified by faith? (v. 1)
- Into what have we gained access by faith? (v. 2)
- By what are we justified? (v. 9)
- On what stipulation is salvation available? (v. 9)
- Who will be justified by works of the law? (v. 16)
- If righteousness is through the law, then what is true? (v. 21)
Galatians 3:1-14, 23-29
- Whose son are those who are of faith? (v. 7)
- How shall the righteous live? (v. 11)
- Since faith has come, what is no longer true? (v. 25)
2 Corinthians 5:4-10
- How do we walk? (v. 7)
- What is the condition of faith apart from works? (v. 17)
- Is a person justified by faith alone? (v. 24)
1 Peter 1:3-9
- Through what are we able to be guarded by God’s power? (v. 5)
1 John 5:1-12
- Who has been born of God? (v. 1)
- What is “the victory”? (v. 4)
- What has one done who does not believe God? (v. 10)
- What is faith? (Give as an encompassing description as possible)
- How is “my faith” to be distinguished from others’? How is it not to be distinguished?
- Here’s one from Jesus: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)