“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
Generally, faith is the persuasion or conclusion that something is true based on evidence – and which generally produces responsive trust in our thinking and shows in our actions.
Unfortunately, some people think that faith is just a guess about things when we don’t really know. Others think that it is just a feeling. And others think it is just knowing things that are true.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 ESV
We are tempted to not examine our own faith. We are tempted to avoid self-examination. Some of this is simply that we just don’t think about it, but sometimes we’re afraid to express our questions and doubts. Some of this fear is of others thinking badly of us, but some of it may be that we wonder if there are really good answers. Ignoring or burying doubts is not the way to truth – and it is risky because doubt can grow to a point that it is overwhelming and becomes closed to reasonable evidence, answers, and study.
Jesus never asked people to have blind faith (faith without evidence). Jesus said that His miracles were evidence (Jn 14:11). Luke says that Jesus presented many convincing proofs (Ac 1:2-3). Jesus said that His resurrection would be His ultimate proof that He is the Son of God (Mt 12:38-41). Why offer proofs? Because true faith isn’t blind or something you just know or feel. Faith isn’t seen, but it is a reasonable conclusion based on evidence.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1 ESV
So, evidence based faith (a conclusion we have drawn because of what we know) gives us assurance that what we hope for (what we don’t have yet) will truly happen. Evidence based faith gives us confidence about the things God tells us about that we don’t see yet.
This is why we need to challenge and grow our faith. We need to go back to the word of God that is the source, evidence, and foundation of our faith (Ro 10:17). It will build both our knowledge of God and our trust in Him. dd