Is it the same to believe as it is to have faith? We use terms loosely in our modern day. I love chocolate or I love my car or I love you, but do will really love chocolate or a car? I think not. I enjoy the taste of chocolate and the way a car handles or looks. We like one car over another for many reasons and we like chocolate over other flavors for many reasons too. Actually I prefer white chocolate over milk chocolate and I despise dark chocolate, but the conversation isn't really about chocolate or cars.
What is the meaning of faith and what is the meaning of believe? Can we use them interchangeably? This is an important question because we do, in Christian circles, use them to mean the same very often, yet the truth is, they are quite different, both in their dictionary meaning and the meaning as used in the Bible. The full definitions, dictionary and Biblical, are at the end of this writing.
The word believe is verb and in the dictionary is to both accept as true and to hold as an opinion and in the Scripture believe comes from the word greek word faith (G4102) and is to have faith in or to entrust in. The word faith is a noun and means to put confidence in and believe on the principals of God without proof, per the dictionary. The Scripture defines faith as the persuasion in, credence on, and moral conviction of God's truthfulness by the reliance upon Christ. Therefore, believe is the action (verb) of entrusting in and faith is the what (noun) that we trust in. In another words, we believe (accept as true) the things of God and we live by faith (the moral conviction of God's truth) for example, the reliance of Christ for salvation. No man is saved and going to heaven without the work of Christ. We accept it and we know it is true. One is to acknowledge it as true and the other is to rely on it's truthfulness.
We can acknowledge the truth, but not rely on it. The Scripture says the demons do this: James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” They believe in the truth of Christ that He is, but they do not know it as true in that they do not rely on Him. Why make such a fuss over the meanings of two words? One's eternal home may rely on it!
The words faith and believe are often used in separate verses, however, they are also used together. Below are examples of such:
Even our salvation is not of our own faith [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God], rather the faith of Jesus Christ. Notice in the verses outlined above: Romans 3:22 – the righteousness of God which is by faith of Christ given to those that believe [accept as true]. Galatians 2:16 – we are not justified by the works of the law, but the faith of Christ as we believe [accept as true] in Christ. Galatains 3:22 – all are under sin and by faith of Christ to them that believe [accept as true] the promise is given. Our faith, the faith that saves us, is the faith of Jesus Christ and it is given to us when we believe [accept as true] Jesus Christ for who He is, the one and only true and living God who came to earth and lived among us as a man to show us the way to God and to be the ultimate sacrofice for sin, once for all, that we may once again have communing with the true and living God our Creator and redeemer. The faith we do have as mentioned in the verses outlined above and throughout Scripture is, in fact, the faith which is given to us when we believe [accept as true] Jesus Christ!
Consider the faith chapter, Hebrews 11, using the definition of faith in place of the word faith and see the passage in a new and rewarding light. It is reprinted for you at the end of this writing. It was their reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God that enabled them to do all that they did. Is this not so with us today? How many of us will stand for someone or something without having faith? Do we first not have to believe [accept as true] in the cause or the person?
Many years ago I believed my brother and placed my faith in him. We, together with my mom, had a business plan. My mom and I started as we awaited my brother to join us, per the plan, but sadly he withdrew without notice and left us to bare the burden of his share of the costs. We, my mom and I, still to this day have not recovered. Then my dad more recently offered to do a business with me, offering to help us out of the mess my brother left us and we created the plan and began to implement it. He to withdrew. He became fearful of the risk, which was minimal, yet there. Again I found myself in the place of having believed and placed by faith in someone, only to be betrayed a second time.
Believing in and placing our faith in anyone has it's risks, yet we do it almost daily: if we marry, we are committing an act of believing that our spouse will be committed to only us and we exercise faith in such by the act of marriage to each other; if we work for someone, we are doing the same, we believe they will pay us as they have said they will so we act in faith and do the work. Opportunities for believing and living by faith surround us all the days of our lives, yet we are hesitant to place our faith in God, our very Creator! This is not only of the lost, before they become saved, but of Christians once saved. We fear loss, as my father did and we do not act. The loss may be financial, such as mine, a job loss, a loss of a relationship such as a friend or family member not wishing to associate with us, it may be political loss, it may be a grade for a student, or any number of things. Only you know what fears hold you back.
Fear can cause us to become motionless. Fear is powerful. I've suffered many years because of fear. I never asked the girl I grew up with out on a date due to fear; I didn't want to lose our friendship. Guess what? We grew up and she married another guy and I lost more than a friend. I didn't stand up for Christ at work in the lunch room when they were attacking the Savior. I lost an opportunity for someone to hear about Christ. I didn't say what I honesty thought regarding the way my father treated me or others in his life because I feared his rage and losing my inheritance. In September 2008, I disinherited myself regarding my dad's estate and in doing so I was free! I was then able to boldly stand up to him and tell him things that needed to be said. To list how fear has held me back could fill a number of pages. The only way to confront fear is head on.
Why do we place faith and belief in our friends, family, employers and not our God? I am asking this of myself at the same time I am you. Maybe it is because we can see them. Maybe it is because when things go wrong, we can hold them accountable. Surely, we cannot go to the thrown of God, literally, and stand in His presents and question Him as to why we lost our job or why our child died so young or why our spouse had a, change of mind, and decided to leave. As for my brother and father, I could go to them, expose their failure to perform per our business agreements, but I, nor we, can go to God and look Him in the face and demand an answer! Even if we could, it would not be the wise thing to do nor in our best interest to do so. We can read about Job and how he questioned God and see the answers God gave him and see how mercifully God was in dealing with a very confused man. Job did not know of Satan's attack on his integrity. Therefore, he did not understand the evil God brought on him, yet, God rewarded him in the end because God knew the whole story!
With my brother or my father, I cannot fully understand or know the reasons for their betrayal and I may never know. I know only what they have told me, but deep under there may be reasons which they do not share. There may be good reasons or there may be impure motives for their betrayal, yet, this we can know for a fact: with God, when it appears as a betrayal, such as was the case with Job, there may be pure and good reasons! We know this for a fact: with God, if we suffer, it will bring good in the end, it will bring good throughout the trial and it is for our good as we will grow closer to God through the trial, IF, we respond as God would have us to do!
As for my brother, I could have shamed him before his friends, I could have sought revenge, I could have asked God to bring judgement upon him. Instead, I pray for him that he and his family will be blessed and that God will mercifully show him the truth about what he did to us and about who he is as a person before the Lord Jesus Christ. I did likewise with my father. I turned down the opportunity to sue him for five accounts of failure to perform regarding our business together. Instead, I sent him a letter releasing him from any future legal action I could take. I did this out of love! Love forgives the betrayals against us. As for their failures to perform both morally and ethically, that's between them and God.
God is in charge of the outcome. God knows all the facts. God will deal with each of us according to our sin. For God loves us and in that love, He disciplines us that we may grow in likeness to Christ.
There have been some that say my ill fortune was do to sin in my life. There have been some that say, I am suffering as Job did. Then there is God: He knows the whys and He is in control of the events of my life. As I face financial misfortune, God has His hands on me and He controls how much the loss will be and how much the pain will be and when the trial will end and if in the end, what the recovery will be.
Do not misunderstand me, all of my financial misfortune is not due to my brother or my father or the fact I have cared for my mom since my stepfather's death over 20 years ago. There were opportunities where I could have placed my faith in God and did not, I tried to fix the situation myself! Any true Christian knows when we try this, we make it worse not better! Thankfully, God doesn't let us flounder around forever! God steps in, in His time once we've placed our faith in Him and Him alone! Not in our abilities, not in our friends or family or church. God wants to rescue us for ourselves and He is patient enough to wait until we can see our need to go to him!
Faith [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] is obtained by our belief [accept as true] what Christ has done and when we believe, nothing is impossible, for by faith we please the living and true God! Now, we may not agree with or like the outcome, but we must accept it and rely confidentially on God through it and in doing so, we can obtain the peace and joy of God even while we are in the eye of the storm! James 1:2-8 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Our faith is not the popular name it and claim it faith because our faith is a reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God and He will do according to His plan to bring out His purposes that we may see Him for who He is: GOD.
I am very grateful for both my brother and father because it was their betrayals that taught me I could not do it on my own! It was only after the plans were folded and I had nowhere else to turn, did I stop long enough to see I was relying on my own strength to succeed financially and not the strength of God.
“Now [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe [accept as true] that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God]. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God]ful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God], not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God] subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through [reliance and confidence in the truthfulness of God], received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
Believe is defined in the dictionary as a verb:
accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of : the superintendent believed Lancaster's story | [with clause ] Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
accept the statement of (someone) as true : he didn't believe her or didn't want to know.
[ intrans. ] have faith, esp. religious faith : there are those on the fringes of the Church who do not really believe.
( believe something of someone) feel sure that (someone) is capable of a particular action : I wouldn't have believed it of Lois—what an extraordinary woman!
[with clause ] hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose : I believe we've already met | things were not as bad as the experts believed | humu-humu are, I believe, shrimp fritters | ( believe someone/something to be) four men were believed to be trapped.
Believe in the Bible is most commonly the greek word, pisteuō, with the greek word number 4100 and is defined as: From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ):—believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Faith is defined in the dictionary as a noun
complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one's faith in politicians.
strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
a system of religious belief : the Christian faith.
a strongly held belief or theory : the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.
Faith in the Bible is most commonly the greek word, pistis, with the greek word number 4102 and is defined as: From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.