The most famous Bible verse concerning the definition of religion is the one found in Hebrews 11.
The word ‘hope’ is the secret to understanding if you have faith or not. The Bible informs us that hope is the material, the character, the most important ingredient, of religion.
For the normal person, ‘hope’ is a wishing to get a result that we don’t think to be likely. Much as in when you’re pulled over by a police officer for speeding and you mutter to your partner, “I hope he does not give me a ticket.” Or when eyeing dark thunderheads quickly filling the skies and you say, “I hope it does not rain.”
So a much better definition of biblical faith is: The awaiting something which you think will happen and are relying upon its occurrence.
It lies in what you think will occur and what you’re relying upon to occur. A casual study of Hebrews 11 will show the several times that someone acted upon a promise that God gave. Abraham traveled to a distant land with the expectation of finding a city built by God. Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his own son trusting and believing that God would raise up his son from the dead. Noah built an ark predicated on his belief of the rain and flooding.
Romans 8:24-25 – For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen isn’t hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Allow me to make a statement here: When there’s absolutely no hope, then there’s absolutely not any faith.
Among the more powerful examples or examples of religion is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” There’s a lot of hope in that verse, much that’s looked ahead, and much that’s counted upon to occur later on.
Too many people fear when things go wrong. They pray, they go to Church possibly, they might even read their Bible. But they’re trying to get God to take away the issue. They grasp their thin straw of faith-or what they believe religion is-and ask God to remove the burden, the circumstance, the pain, or the maintenance. This isn’t faith.
Faith says, “God, I believe you have a plan in all this. I am not sure what it is, but I will search for it. I feel that you know what’s happening to me. I know you could turn it to good. So, Father, I will search for that great.”
That’s faith. Faith is where you but all of your eggs in the basket of what God will do. It’s the reliance upon a promise of God, the strong expectation of God’s intervention, deliverance, and work. If you’re not looking forward to, or trusting in God’s promises, then you do not have faith.
Where there’s no hope, there isn’t any faith!
When difficulties, trials, or burdens come your way, find a promise of God to cling to. Patiently wait for this, and really count on it. Then you will see God coming through in miraculous ways.
Everyone who has ever seen the mighty power of God directly involved in their unique lives has done so through religion. That religion, however, was based on a hope, a promise of things to come.
The question to ask yourself, to decide if you have faith, is what exactly are you hoping for? What guarantee of God are you clinging to? What things to come are you relying upon?
Without hope, there’s absolutely not any faith.