There are many issues that could be considered under this category of “Introductory Matters.” We’ve briefly looked at a definition of faith, how everyone (to some extent) lives by faith, what’s meant in the Bible by “belief,” the danger of heresy, etc.
Let’s spend one more post on this issue of FAITH. But not in the sense of one’s belief or trust in the Lord. The expression “the faith” is used in the Scriptures to refer to the content of truth which has been revealed by God.
We noticed earlier Jude’s challenge to “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (Jude 3). Notice the expression: the faith.
That same expression is used about 19 times in this way:
Gal. 1:23- “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
Eph. 4- 4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Acts 14- 21 “They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.”
Acts 16- 4 “As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.”
2 Cor. 13- 5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
I Cor. 16- 13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
2 Tim. 4- 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
We are told to reprove false teachers that they may be “sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13). In later times some will fall away from the faith (I Tim. 4:1). Believers are to be nourished on the words of the faith and sound doctrine (I Tim. 4:6). I Timothy 6 says 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Later in that same chapter we read: “20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”
Galatians 3:23 speaks of the time “before the faith came we were under the law.” In chapter 6 we read “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (the household of the faith).
In Acts 6 we read, “7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
In Romans 10 we read, “8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith (literally “the faith”) that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Luke 18:8 asks, will Jesus find the faith upon the earth when He returns”
Summary: The faith is something some want to destroy! There is one faith we must acknowledge. We are to encourage others to remain true to the faith, to stand firm in the faith, to keep the faith. Churches are to be strengthened in the faith. We are to engage in self-examination to see if we are in the faith. False teachers need to be reproved so they may be sound in the faith, for some will fall away from the faith; some will wander away from the faith. Some will depart from the faith.
A question: What will you do today to spread THE FAITH to others?