This is a two-part series
Faith in Christ Jesus is not positive thinking. Positive thinking is not faith.
What is faith and why is it important to Christians?
NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. – Heb 11:1
“FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for” these words can be interpretted one way and another. In this post I want to highlight how NOT to interpret these words. I hope to explain what “conviction of their reality” we should have.
In that passage we are encouraged to
be convinced it is real
have assurance of the thing we hope for
consider the proof of the things we do not see
What is this THING? What is it we are to assume is REAL? That is the key… it’s a THING that we are to consider real.
In the ESV the word “faith” occurs 27 times in the OT and 230 times in the NT… and considering that the OT is much much longer than the NT with far more books and stories… how can this be?
Because the OT is focussed on being right with God through laws. But in the NT we are made right with God through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. So that is why in ten times fewer pages, the word faith is mentioned ten times more.
We are to have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Do not confuse faith with positive thinking
This is positive thinking: I am getting better every day in every way.
This is faith: when Jesus Christ died on the cross 2000 years ago, my sin was paid for and He took all the consequences of sin to His cross.
Can you see the difference? In the first one I am hoping in hope itself. It’s just positive thinking and even if it has very big improvements in my life, it doesn’t set me free from my sin and from the consequences of my sin and the sins done to me etc.
The first is positive thinking, the second is me focussing my faith on Jesus Christ as my Saviour and redeemer. The difference is that faith is focussed on a FACT. Positive thinking is occult because it is trying to conjure up something that is not there.
How does faith work?
Imagine 3 people. Experience, faith and fact. If faith keeps his eyes on fact then experience will follow faith.
When faith focusses on a fact (Jesus’ death abolishes sin and sets it aside) then the experience of that truth follows that faith.
BUT. If your positive thinking focusses on something you want to make a fact, it may indeed materialize… but you are deep in error.
Experience follows faith, so make your faith follow the facts as presented by what Jesus Christ did on the cross 2000 years ago.
May I recommend you read the second part of this post Why we DON’T get the promises (What is faith Pt 2)