We are taking a brief detour from Samuel Walker’s Schemes for Personal Instruction in this week’s episode. While his work is incredibly helpful, we wanted to spend some extra time talking through the biblical understanding of faith and repentance before moving forward with Walker.
Spend any amount of time listening to the language of America’s religious culture and you will quickly find that faith is often mentioned, but rarely defined. For some it is synonymous with wishful thinking. Others consider it nothing more than having a positive attitude. But the Bible offers us true descriptions and definitions of faith.
John and Matthew begin this week’s episode by defining faith from Hebrews 11. It is so simple, but so deep. Fortunately, we are not left with definitions alone. God also provides us with many examples.
One such example is Abraham. He was given a seemingly impossible promise. Although his body was as good as dead, God said he would father nations. In addition, all the world would be blessed through his seed. Although everything in his environment gave him reason to doubt or diminish God’s promise, he held firm and believed until the end of his life.
Along the discussion, John and Matthew share many Scripture passages and resources. Links to everything, along with a detailed outline of their discussion, are under Show Notes
0:00 John and Matthew recap where we have been so far in our evangelism series. If you have missed any episodes, you can find links to all the previous episodes under Show Notes. So far, we have used Samuel Walker’s as our anchor. But we are leaving Walker for the next few episodes as we focus on the God-given gifts of faith and repentance. In this particular episode, we discuss how the Bible defines and describes faith. If faith is the way God has made for us to lay hold of all that God has for us in Christ, then it is an issue of life and death.
4:00 Our first description of faith comes from Hebrews 11. This passage is so simple and so deep. Faith is tangible, experiential. It is responsive and never has an initiative quality to it. There are pagan concepts of faith that must be guarded against.
7:00 One instance of the pagan understanding of faith is positive thinking. But this thinking only impacts us, not others and certainly not God. While it may make your life easier, or even make others like you more, it has no eternal effect.
9:00 So often in religious circles, the emphasis is on the amount of our faith. That is wrong. It is no the amount of faith we have the saves us. It is the object of our faith that matters.
14:00 John and Matthew begin to look at an example of faith in an individual life: Abraham. He listened to the promise of God and lived on that promise, in spite of all the things around him the seemed to evidence God would not keep His promise. Not only did Abraham believe the promise, he believed in the immensity of the promise.
17:00 Like Abraham, there is a gap between the time we heard the promises of God and when we will receive them. And, like Abraham, we must live upon those the Word of God, even if nothing else in our lives seems to back it up. John and Matthew discuss some of those promises and share how we must live upon them today.
20:00 Faith, at its most basic, is a belief in God. It is a belief that what God says about Himself is true. It is a belief that what God has said about me, His child, is true. But faith is never alone. Faith is always accompanied by fruit.
23:00 The Christian life is accompanied by experiences. These are not to be confused with the experiences of false religions and cults. But God gives experiences to the Christian that are rooted in faith in Him. All these experiences, that are described for us in Scripture, are born out of faith. We don’t have faith in or because of our experiences, but we have experiences because of our faith.
27:00 Although we aren’t basing this or the next few episodes on Walker’s Schemes of Individual Instruction, he does still have some help. Matthew shares one quote from Walker that is especially helpful to us in this conversation.
Some of you who watch the podcast via our YouTube channel have mentioned that you enjoy looking at some of John’s books on his bookshelves. For this week’s Supporter Appreciation Episode, we give you a tour of John’s office and ask him to take some of these antique books down to give you a look at them.
Other episodes in this series: