“Faith is not believing in something you can’t prove, as so many people define it. It is, biblically speaking, reliance. A rock-solid, truth-grounded, promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from sin.” (Gilbert, Greg. 2010. What Is the Gospel? Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 74)
I came across this statement recently while reading Greg Gilbert’s book together with my wife. It stood out to me because I thought of a few close people in my life who view faith similarly…as checking your brain at the door, or that believing in Santa Claus is no different than believing in Jesus Christ.
I love Gilbert’s definition of faith. It is solidly biblical. The great ‘roll call of faith’ chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11, begins, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The author of Hebrews uses ‘assurance’ and ‘conviction’ to describe what faith is. Faith described in the bible is a far cry from merely ‘believing in something you can’t prove,’ because believing in something you cannot prove certainly does not lead to assurance and conviction. In Hebrews 11, we see the results, or fruits, of faith: we see assurance, we see conviction, and we see ‘rock-solid…trust in the risen Jesus.’
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11: 32-40)
This faith that the Bible describes here in Hebrews sounds like the latter definition that Greg Gilbert puts forth: “a rock-solid, truth-grounded, promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from sin.” It is a gift from God. This is the faith I desire to be evident in my life. Christian, let us live with assurance and conviction, an utter reliance on the risen Christ. This is true faith! The faith that comes from God.