The Gospel has a conception of faith different to that of modern secular conception or that of some modern Christian orthodoxy as well.

Jesus spoke much about faith.  For instance, He told some people who He had healed of ill-health, that their faith had healed them.  He stated that it was unbelief in other districts had resulted in not many miracles there.  He preached the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand and urged people to (repent and) believe the Gospel.  He spoke in definitive terms about knowing God and His will, but this knowledge neither replaced nor clashed with the need for faith.

Faith is presented as something that is essential in drawing near to God, and as a choice we make, and as a moral imperative since “what is not of faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23)

Paul tells us that the Gospel message is the power of God for salvation for all who believe it, and that Christ’s death was about engendering faith in us.

I make sense of all of this, by understanding faith as confidence and trust in another person, including especially, God Himself. All relationships depend on mutual faith/trust/confidence.  The main differences in a relationship with God compared to a relationship with other people is that God is a Person on whom we are ultimately completely dependent on, and who is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in His universe.  Consequently, we expect more of him, and reciprocally, by reason of his knowledge of all our thoughts and feelings, He is able to expect more of us too!  Thus the faith required to have a relationship with God is greater and more wide-ranging and more profound in it effects on us and upon the relationship than the faith required to conduct one’s human-human relationships (ranging from seeing people on the TV news, through relating to strangers on the web to raising children and sharing the years with a life partner).

The quality of all our relationships is directly proportional to the mutual trust, confidence, belief or faith in the other exercised by the members of the relationship.  This is the reason, I believe, that Jesus and the Scriptures emphasise faith so much – because faith is the backbone of relationship.  If we are to enjoy God fully forever, our faith in God needs be maximised.  As the kite only flies against the wind, and as muscle only increases against resistance, so faith can only grow in the times where doubt is also possible – against, or in the midst of suffering.

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