Part 3: An important distinction

By Robin Schumacher

This proper comprehension of faith now leads us to make a very important distinction where faith is concerned. There is a difference between faith that and faith in.

For example, if I say I have faith in my wife, what is it that you hear me saying? Do you think I'm saying "I believe there is an ontological being living with me who is my spouse"? Of course not. Instead, you understand me to say "I trust my wife. I have complete confidence in her and believe her in what she tells me, what she's promised me, and how she acts toward me."

Without question, where faith is discussed in Scripture, it mostly relates to this 'faith in' side of faith, which is why in various interlinear Greek/English New Testaments you'll see it listed in the text as the word 'trust' and not 'faith'. But you do occasionally see both types of faith mentioned in Scripture such as, again, in Hebrews, when the writer says, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is [there's faith 'that'] and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him [and there's faith 'in']" (Heb. 11:6).

The fact is, Christians have nothing to fear from good science and philosophy where the 'that' side of faith is concerned. Good science and good philosophy walk in unison together towards a personal Eternality from which everything came. Our faith is in response to a God that is real and true; not one who is imagined but a as Francis Schaeffer said, a God who is there. And the more you realize how real God is, and how true He is to His character and His word, the more you will trust Him. But the less convinced you are, the less you will trust Him. In other words, the weaker your faith 'in' will be.

Next: Part 4: What it takes to have faith

Faith, The Series

Part 1: What is faith?
Part 2: Defining faith
Part 3: Faith that and faith in–an important distinction
Part 4: What it takes to have faith
Part 5: The biblical concept of faith

Image Credit: Jean Edmonds

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Reposted 5-20-13