With Doug Mamvura
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
In Hebrews 11:1 God tells us what Bible faith is. Moffatt’s translation of this verse reads, “Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.” Another translation says, “Faith is giving substance to things hoped for.” Still another translation reads, “Faith is the warranty deed, the thing for which we have finally hoped is at last ours.”
There are a number of kinds of faith. Everyone, saved or unsaved, has a natural, human faith. But here God is talking about a scriptural faith. He is talking about a Bible faith. He is talking about believing with your heart. And there is a vast difference between believing with your heart and just believing what your physical senses tell you!
Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality.
For example, you hope for finances to meet the obligations that you have to pay. Faith gives the assurance that you will have the money when you need it. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” You hope for physical strength to do the work that you must do. Faith says, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Ps. 27:1). Faith will say about itself everything that the Word says, for faith in God is simply faith in His Word.
There is no need for one to live in sickness, poverty or bondage as a born- again believer because God has already made provision for all our needs (2 Peter 1:3). God’s grace is available to all those who believe in Him and it never runs out. However, in order to access that grace or provision, the access code is Faith: “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith…” (Romans 5:2).
When we go back to the definition of faith, we are told it is “the evidence of things not seen”, please note that it doesn’t say evidence of things that don’t exist. Our challenge most of us is that we walk by sight, not by faith. We are guided by what we see, hear, smell, feel or taste, yet the Bible says the just “shall live by faith”.
We are spiritual beings who live in a body and have a soul. This means that if we are to have an intimate relationship with our Father, it has to be done through the spirit. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
When we walk by faith, we know that God is faithful and just to do whatever He has promised in His Word. We have to take His Word as is because His Word is Truth. “His Word is forever settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
Faith is therefore appropriating what God has already provided as a result of the finished work of the cross. These things are already there. They do exist not in the physical realm but in the spiritual realm. You therefore need faith to draw them from the spiritual into the physical realm. You have to believe that these things are already there based on the Word of God.
Many people want to get something and then believe they’ve got it. But you have to believe you have something and then you receive it. The Bible says in Mark 11:24, “Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”.
This passage illustrates one of the main differences between a God-kind of faith and a human faith. A natural, human faith, which everyone has, believes only what it can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. God’s kind of faith can believe in things that cannot be seen.
Jesus was making this God-kind of faith a prerequisite to receiving answers to prayer. You must believe that you receive your answer “when you pray,” not when you see the thing you’ve desired.
You may say that you know God’s Word is good, but you never will really know until you have acted on it and have reaped the results. And this is what I am trying to tell you that faith is.
Faith is giving substance to the things hoped for. You have to act on God’s Word and hope for whatsoever you want in line with God’s Word, and your faith then gives substance to what you had hoped for. Faith says, “God is the strength of my life.” As you act on God’s Word, if you are sick or weak, faith will definitely give substance to that for which you hoped for which is healing or restoration.
A lot of people just hope and stop there. And that won’t work. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. If you say, “Well, I hope God heard my prayer,” and that’s all you do, He didn’t, and there won’t be any answer. But your faith can and will give substance to the answer to that prayer.
Remember this: Hope says, “I will have it sometime. “Faith says, “I have it now.”
John Wesley said, “The devil has given to the Church a substitute for faith which looks and sounds so much like faith some people can’t tell the difference.” He called it “mental assent”.
Many people see what God’s Word says and acknowledge that it is true but it is only with their minds that they are agreeing. And that will not get the job done. It is heart faith that receives from God. Notice what the Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth…. ” (Romans 10:10).
Jesus said in Mark 11:23, “. . . whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart [this doesn’t say a word about the head], but shall believe [that is, with the heart] that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. “
You may ask, “How can I tell whether I have heart faith or whether I am just agreeing with my head?” If it is merely mental agreement or mental assent it says, “I know God’s Word is true. I know God promises me healing or the Holy Spirit, but for some reason I can’t get it. And I can’t understand it.”
Real faith in God’s Word says, “If God’s Word says it is so, then it is so. It is mine. I have it now.” Real faith also says, “I have it when I can’t see it.”
Our text declares that faith is “the evidence of things not seen. “One who has not prayed in real heart faith might say, “I don’t see the thing about which I have been praying, so it hasn’t come to pass.” If the thing had come to pass if you had it you wouldn’t have to believe it; you would know it.
You must take the step of believing to come to the place of knowing. Many want to know it first and then believe it. That is, they want to know it from the standpoint of its having come to pass. But we know it from the standpoint that God’s Word says it is so then it materialises.
Notice what Jesus says in Mark 11:24, “Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” Now notice that the having comes after the believing. Most people want to turn that around. In common, everyday terms Jesus said, “You have to believe you’ve got it before you get it.” That is real faith.
If a person sits around and groans, sighs, gripes, and complains, waiting for something to happen, waiting until he can detect that every symptom is gone and all the flesh corresponds with his faith before he starts believing God, he is out of order, and he will never receive what he hopes for.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: email@example.com or Twitter @dougmamvura