Scripture defines faith (πίστις) as the substance of that which is hoped for, the conviction of accomplished deeds not seen in Hebrews 11:1. It is therefore not an attitude or belief that is dictated by probability, that is wishful thinking based upon a desire, want, or need; rather, it is a conviction based upon a promise.

Substance is referring to the underlying essence by which something exists. Christ is the exact image of God in the flesh. Through His life the fundamental nature of God was made visible to humans, Hebrews 1:3.

Conviction is the act of presenting evidence to persuade a person’s mind to believe in the truth. This evidence is established upon accomplished deeds that are not seen. We see this demonstrated in the actions of God when He determined to show the heirs of promise the immutability of His determination by giving two immutable facts, it is impossible for God to lie and making an oath based upon His word, Hebrews 6:13-18. The conviction of faith is therefore based upon the facts related to accomplished deeds that God has done.

Therefore, faith is the essence of that which is hoped for, and by the conviction based upon the facts of the promise that hope is based upon, the individual expressing belief will act according to their confidence in the person making the promise.

Many times in Scripture Jesus called out the faith of those around Him, especially of those who would not normally have faith. When a Centurion, a Gentile, asked Jesus to heal his servant, he expressed faith in the fact that Christ is the Messiah promised to the Jews by only asking that Jesus speaks the words, for one who is of authority only needs to speak and it is done (Matthew 8:7-10). This Centurion knew the promises related to the Messiah and that He would heal the nations, for he had to have had a bases for his faith. It was not presumption or wishful thinking. When Jesus said He would come, the man expressed believe in Christ based upon the deeds He had already accomplished, knowing that if he only spoke it, his servant would be healed. A faith that should have been expressed by the Jews to whom Christ came to fulfill the promises of God to them.

For us today, we are given promises and based upon our trust in these promises we have faith in God. The gospel of the Christ, which involves the gospel for salvation, has within it the inherent ability to save a person (Romans 1:16), and the righteousness of God is revealed through it out from faith, into faith (Romans 1:17). This salvation comes by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8). The Jews had a promise from God and therefore a faith, so they were coming out from a faith, where the Gentiles were without a promise; therefore, they came into a faith. However, both of these faiths are based upon the facts of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), for salvation is not offered by any other (Acts 4:12).

How we live expresses our faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). It is just words coming out of a person’s mouth. One who takes God at His Word is going to act accordingly. This is not someone that lives by law, for that is not a life based upon the promises from God because He said we live out from faith. The law is not out from faith (Galatians 3:12). The one living out from faith is going to keep Christ’s commandments; Believe on Christ, 1 John 3:23, Love other Christians, John 13:14, abide in Christ, John 15:1-4. When we are abiding in the Son of God, we will love other saints and use the fruit of the Spirit, against which there is no law, Galatians 5:22-23

Because faith is the substance by which the conviction of a promise is brought to reality in our lives, we are to put on that faith as a breastplate, along with love and the helmet of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8. These are not fictitious things, but actually protecting our heart, mind, and actions based upon God’s instructions for our lives.

Faith can be used for a specific doctrine, such as how to have victory over Satan, or as a general description of one’s belief in the promises God has given to us. In 1 Peter 5:9, the Apostle Peter writes that we are to resist Satan by the faith. The faith is described in Ephesians 6:10-18, also known as the armor of God. This armor is based upon promises related to our salvation and will overcome the methodologies of Satan who is seeking to devour us by persuading our minds against the truth and getting us to do his will.

Faith has always been a part of our relationship with God. For it is impossible to please Him without faith, Hebrews 11:6. By faith we understand the ages were framed by Christ, Hebrews 11:3. By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice to God than Cain, Hebrews 11:4. By faith Enoch walked with God, Hebrews 11:5. By faith Noah built an ark that saved his family, Hebrews 11:7. By faith Abraham left his home country and dwelt as a sojourner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:8-10. By faith Sarah received strength to bear a child, Hebrews 11:11. These and so many other saints all died in faith, not having received the promise because they cannot be made complete before the Church is made perfect, for those of the Church are of the first fruits of the resurrection, Hebrews 11:39. Therefore, they will all be raised after the dispensation of grace is fulfilled and the Church is resurrected, to receive their promises from God.

Since faith is the substance of that which is hoped for, and hope is always based upon a promise, let us make sure that what we are claiming is based upon God’s Word to us. Not what He said to Israel, or to other saints of any other dispensation, for we are of the household of grace and our faith is based upon the promises given to the Church. We therefore have heavenly promises, not earthly ones.

By faith we have victory over sin in our lives by reckoning Christ’s death and resurrection to us and therefore walking in the newness of life we have in Christ. By faith we overcome Satan by putting on the armor of God when he attacks us, which protects our minds from his lies. By faith we live a life that is set apart from the world system for in Christ we have died to it; therefore, we use it, but do not abuse it. Therefore, we are not involved with being manipulated in our lives by the desires from the flesh and eyes and the pride of biological life. By faith, we love other saints, fellowship with one another as we walk by the truth, and partake of a quality of the divine nature as we add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, love, and fondness for other saints. For in doing these things we will never be unfruitful in the full experiential knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life that I live out from faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for me.