James Norman (25 Apr 2011)
"A Question: How did Jesus define faith?"


In my previous post I asked whether we had real expectation of changed circumstances because of the Abrahamic Covenant flowing down to us.

Changed circumstances is my need and my question.

Evangelical Christendom seems to define faith as “God doesn’t really give you substantive help, and faith is you trusting that not-getting-help is His good and loving purpose for you.”  And I cannot dispute that Scripture is clear that whatever –  even frightful – circumstance you find yourself in you should have faith in God and his love.  But in Scripture there is so much – tidal waves – of promise for changed circumstances that seem activated by faith.  So much so that (without doing an exhaustive search) I think I see what Jesus’s own definition of faith seemed to be.

It seems to me that Jesus’s definition of faith was a belief that God CAN and WILL change your circumstance of need.

Take the boat that was about to sink in the storm – and Jesus was asleep in the front.  The men cried out in fear for their lives.  Jesus chided them for their lack of faith – clearly he was saying “You did not need to have fear because you should believe that I COULD and WOULD save you.”  That was how Jesus defined faith.

The woman with the flow – “Your faith has made you well.”

The Roman soldier said “There is no need for you to go – just say the word and the healing that I am asking for will occur even over a distance.”  Jesus said, “In all of Israel I have not seen faith like this.”

“Keep asking the judge until you get what you want.”

And “Even with a little faith – so small as to be like a mustard seed – you will command impossible circumstances and they will change – the mountains will be moved – and nothing will be impossible for you.”

While there is clearly a need to trust God in our every circumstance, we see from these and many other Scriptures that Jesus related faith not to “faithful acquiescence to bad circumstances” but to getting those circumstances changed.

Do you want to weigh in on this?