21 Days of Faith – Day 1

Day 1

Responding to Day 1:

Looking that the various translations of this verse, it’s evident that faith is being given two definitions here.

Faith in this verse is the word pistis, which can also be translated as “to trust.” I prefer this translation because too many people associate faith with “blind faith,” which is belief without evidence, something I don’t believe the Bible at all calls for. The word that pistis is derived from means “to be persuaded,” which makes sense here. Faith means to be persuaded about something’s truth. In this case, God’s promises.

ConfidenceConfidence in yourself means trust (faith, persuasion, belief) that you can do the thing. In this verse the Greek is hupostasis, which also translates as “assurance,” “substance,” and has the connotation of being the “underlying reality” of something. So whatever follows in this verse, faith is its foundation. Thus faith should be a foundational aspect of my life, especially in regards to what’s coming in the rest of Hebrews 11:1.

Hope: Hope is an anticipation of something yet to come. The Greek here is elpizo, which means to expect something. In English, the word “hope” usually implies that you want something to happen, but it might not. “I hope I win the lottery,” despite the odds being very against you. Christian hope isn’t like that. It’s expectation of something that is sure to come. There’s something called the Blessed Hope, which is the return of Jesus. Even though we know it’s going to happen, it’s still a hope because it could be tomorrow or it could be a thousand years from now. So until then we’re waiting, expecting, hoping. My life should be one of this assured hope, looking for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises in the form of the Second Coming. Should I die before Jesus’s return (which I’m not entirely sure I will) then I still have the hope of a heavenly afterlife.

The first definition thus is: faith is the basis for expecting that God will carry out his word, with the conviction that he will indeed do it.

Assurance: In English, it’s a synonym for confidence. In Greek it’s elegchos, which has meanings like proof, persuasion, evidence, conviction. Basically things that make you say “Yes, this is convincingly true.” I think it’s actually kinda funny that a verse which is often used to justify the idea Christianity requires blind faith uses a word like this. In my life, this should manifest as a high confident stance regarding what’s going to be expressed in the next word.

Things we cannot see: Actions/deeds (pragma) we can’t perceive (blepo). There’s a “blind faith” pun to be made here. The things referred to here might mean things God is presently doing across the globe that I could never know about, or actions of angels and demons that I can never perceive. This could also refer to future events (see: the Blessed Hope).

The second definition thus is: faith is being persuaded about things we can’t perceive.

Reflections

There are a lot of things that we can’t quite understand. Christians know that Jesus will return, but we don’t know how. We know that his promises will come to pass, but we don’t exactly know how. Faith is trusting that God will accomplish those things even if we’re not in on the details.

This sounds like blind faith, something I am quite against. But blind faith assumes there’s zero evidence to believe the things hoped for will come to pass. Faith is necessary because the unfolding of God’s plan, from the perspective of a single human, is slow and contradictory and confusing and doesn’t seem to actually do anything. You need to trust that despite the uncertainty and apparent failures, things are still going to turn out right. But it’s not blind, because there is in fact evidence, some objective and some subjective. Jesus is the primary evidence for Christians, in terms of the Old Testament prophecies he fulfilled, as well as his own resurrection.

Unfortunately, I’m not much of a faith person. I don’t like the whole “just believe things will turn out right” spiel. I’m not like that only with God, I’m like that with myself and basically everyone. So maybe this is day 1 of something that will lead me to think harder about trust, faith, and why I react toward them the way I do.