What is Faith? by R.C. Sproul

What is Faith?
Joseph J. Adrian

What is the nature of faith? Enoch walked with God. Noah was a just man. They both had faith and the nature of that faith was that ". . . they desired to please God." Why was Enoch taken and did not see death? "Enoch was translated [by passing physical death] . . . because . . . he pleased God." Hebrews 11:6 declares that ". . . without faith it is impossible to please him." Those who have faith strive to live——in every aspect of their lives——in a way that pleases God. What was the evidence of Noah's faith? He built the ark and he believed God (that judgment was coming because God had revealed it to him). His faith could be seen in his submission to God and his obedience——"in reverent fear, Noah set about to do exactly what God commanded." True faith does not just hear God's Word, but the believer acts upon it.

There is an unseen world, that is not visible to our physical eyes (at least not in this life). God reveals things about the future in His Word that we know will surely come to pass. Angels and Heaven exist, but we cannot see them——"by faith we see that they have substance because God has given them existence, by His creative power." Faith, according to Hebrews 11, is ". . . the evidence of things not seen." What is the evidence for these unseen things? That God says they exist and He reveals it in His inscripturated Word, which is certain and can be trusted. The One who has revealed it cannot lie. Just as the future will one day be present (according to His Word) there is an unseen spiritual world that is real and exists because God gives it substance and being. God's Word is powerful and one of the means that He uses to accomplish His will. No one's conversion is exactly the same but there is one thing they all have in common-—". . . the role of the Word of God." "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).

In Chapter Three, "A Gift From God," R.C. Sproul notes that when The Westminster Confession of Faith addresses "Saving Faith," it uses this expression—-"the grace of faith whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls . . ." Why did they call it the grace of faith? "It calls faith a grace because it comes to us as a gift from God-—something that we cannot buy, earn, or merit in any way."

R.C. Sproul brings his considerable theological and philosophical gifts to answer this crucial question: What is faith? He is very helpful on this.