Faith forum: What’s the difference between belief in God and faith in God?
How do you define ‘belief’?
The Rev. Shaun LePage, pastor, Community Bible Church, 906 N. 1464 Road:
You know airplanes take off every day. All around the world people fasten their seatbelts and let a complete stranger take them 32,000 feet in the air. You also know the vast majority survive. With your feet on the ground, you say, “I believe I would survive if I flew on an airplane.”
Is this how you define “belief?”
Many people “believe” Jesus Christ really exists. Many believe he is who he claimed to be – God himself and the savior of the world.
But that’s not biblical faith. That’s just mental assent. An acceptance of the facts. The Bible says demons “believe” in this way (James 2:19).
Biblical “faith” is very different. Biblical faith goes beyond mental acceptance of the facts. Biblical faith is like actually buying a ticket. Biblical faith is like boarding a plane, like fastening your seat belt and trusting that pilot to take you up and back down again. Biblical faith is trust – putting your eternal destiny in the hands of this Jesus who claims to be the only savior of the world.
Jesus said in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” One who believes in this way is trusting Jesus Christ with his eternal destiny. More than 60 times, the New Testament tells us “eternal life” is given to those who put their faith (trust) in Christ alone for salvation.
So, the real question is, do you simply accept the facts as true, or are you trusting Christ with your eternal destiny?
– Send e-mail to Shaun LePage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith, belief, sides of same track
The Rev. Rene Brown, pastor, Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio:
The words “faith” and “belief” are similar words.
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines faith as a belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to his will for one’s life. Nelson also says belief is to place one’s trust in God’s truth. A person who believes is one who takes God at his word and trusts in him for salvation.
I like to look at faith and belief as a train on a track. There are two sides to a track, and they both are needed for the train to safely make it to its destination.
Faith and belief are not something you can see. It’s like electricity – if you stick your finger in an electrical outlet you may not see it, but you will know it’s there.
Faith and belief are two sides of the same coin. There are at least four Greek words for faith, and the one most commonly used is pisteuo, which means persuasion. The root word is peitho, which means to convince.
The word belief in Greek is pistis, which means confidence or trust. In essence, the words are one and the same. When people have faith or a belief, it simply means they are convinced by the facts. We all have faith in some form or another. Either we are convinced by the facts of life, the facts of our background, education or even the facts about what we know about God.
Based on those facts, we exercise our faith or belief as we go throughout life. I often say faith is chicken gravy without seeing chicken bones. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
– Send e-mail to Rene Brown at email@example.com.