Is faith, “believing what you want to believe, yet cannot prove?”
Michael Ramsden, the author of “Faith is …”, writes,
Sadly, many people, including some Christians, live with this definition of faith.
Suppose you tell a friend that you have faith in her. What does that mean? It means two things. First, you are sure the person you are talking to actually exists. And second, you are convinced she is trustworthy; you can believe what she says and trust in her character.
It is in this way that the writer of Hebrews talks about faith in God. Faith is knowing that God is real and that you can trust in his promises.
Michael concludes the article with a challenge to be real and honest as Christians, and to grow in our relationship with a real and true God.
The Christian gospel invites you to delve into reality. It commands you to be honest in your commitment to know that which is true. Is Jesus real? Who did he claim to be? Is he really alive today? Faith comes in response to knowing the answers to these questions, even as Christ is calling you near. But don’t stop after the initial introductions! Just as you are able to put more trust in other people as you grow to know them, so faith increases as you grow in your relationship with Christ. There is a God who is real and true, and He is calling you unto Himself. The great joy of the Christian faith is found in the person who invites us to trust and believe.
I affirm this emphasis on faith being placed in a person: the person of Christ. The Gospel is Good News about persons in relationship: ourselves and Christ. Perhaps Anselm’s phrase to describe Christian exploration of faith, ‘Faith seeking understanding’ can be adapted to ‘Faith deepening relationship’?
How do you go about describing your faith?
Michael Ramsden is Joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and European Director of RZIM (UK). Read his, “Faith Is…,” on page 10 of Newsletter (Trinity Term 2010) from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
[Anselm lived from 1033-1109 and was Archbishop of Canterbury.]