would possess faith. Furthermore, the apostle continues, saying: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will make you firm and keep you from the wicked one.” (2 Thess. 3:2, 3) How the Lord does this, and what is required on your part to be made strong in faith, are some of the important matters discussed in the following article.
Faith and Determination Needed to Please Jehovah
“Without faith it is impossible to please . . . God.”—Heb. 11:6.
1. In what respect are all normal babies born equal?
WHEN it comes to faith, all babies are born equal. All are without faith. Equal too are all newborn infants in their state of complete faithlessness, in that all have the same mental capacity, if normal, for developing faith later in life. The seed of faith must first be planted, then watered, nourished and cultivated, if it is to grow and flourish. This explains why some acquire faith at an early age, others later in life, while still others die of old age as faithless as the day they were born.
2. What resemblance does faith have with other treasures?
2 In certain respects faith may be likened to a treasure, for indeed it is of precious value. It is not, however, a hand-me-down inheritance from one’s parents, but is a treasure one individually accumulates throughout his lifetime, and is in proportion to the effort one puts forth to increase it. And as with other treasures, it can easily be lost or destroyed if not carefully guarded and protected.
3, 4. (a) How do the dictionaries define faith? (b) Upon what authority should your faith be based?
3 How then would you define or describe faith? What is this mental quality that all normal persons have an equal ability of acquiring, this substance that must be cultivated, this treasure that is precious beyond monetary comparison, this sacred possession that can be lost or destroyed, this spiritual condition of the heart that is required of all who will receive everlasting life?
4 Dictionaries define faith as the mental acceptance of a proposition as true, based on the authority of another, rather than upon one’s own knowledge, reasoning or experience. Thus one may be said to have faith in Jehovah God, faith in his Son Jesus Christ, and faith in God’s Holy Word the Bible. The child that has faith at first rests such on what its parents and others teach it. Later, the child learns that its parents and teachers are not always right, and so it seeks higher authority upon which to base its faith. Indeed, if anyone is to have a strong unshakable faith it must be founded on that which is higher than human authority.
5. (a) What is the apostle Paul’s definition of faith? (b) Explain how the Greek word hy·poʹsta·sis fittingly describes faith.
5 The apostle Paul defined faith as “the assured expectation [Gr., hy·poʹsta·sis] of things hoped for, the evident demonstration [Gr., eʹleg·khos] of realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1) Jehovah has made many promises of things yet to occur. One may hope that such things will come to pass, but such expression may only be a whimsical wish, not real faith. Faith is more than just an expectation. It is expectation that is assured to such a degree that it is able to support, uphold and guarantee that what is hoped for will become a reality. This is the meaning of hy·poʹsta·sis, a word common in ancient papyrus business documents in reference to guarantees placed on the transactions.
6. Show how faith may also be defined by the Greek word eʹleg·khos.
6 Or stated in another way, faith is “the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” The human eye at present sees no evidence of global paradisaic conditions here on earth. However, those with faith that such will shortly be a reality, have proof or evidence that can be demonstrated (eʹleg·khos) to back up their belief in such a promised global paradise soon to come. So with them it is not just a childish wish, a hypothetical or philosophical dream. The evidence these with faith have is so powerful that it is able to refute what appears to be to the contrary. It brings to light and makes evident what is not openly discerned. It is able to stand the pressure of antagonists and the test of skeptical cross-examination, for it cannot successfully be overthrown or proved wrong.
7. How does one commentator view the apostle’s definition of faith?
7 Commenting on this first verse, chapter eleven, of Hebrews 11:1, Marcus Dods says: “Substantially the words [hy·poʹsta·sis and eʹleg·khos] mean that faith gives to things future, which as yet are only hoped for, all the reality of actual present existence; and irresistibly convinces us of the reality of things unseen and brings us into their presence.”—The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. IV, page 352.
8, 9. (a) For what special reason is there a lack of faith on the part of many today? (b) Nevertheless, what divine direction is given for mankind?
8 But “faith is not a possession of all people,” as the facts presented in the previous article amply prove. (2 Thess. 3:2) Especially is this so since the historic year 1914. The prime reason, the last book of the Bible says, is because Satan and his demons have been cast out of heaven down to the vicinity of the earth. (Rev. 12:10-12) However, in this “time of the end” Jehovah does not abandon mankind to these Satanic forces without providing divine direction for the right course to follow. Two chapters farther on in this series of visions in Revelation, John says:
9 “And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.’”—Rev. 14:6, 7.
10. How does a great crowd, in response to this angelic proclamation, demonstrate their faith?
10 The book of Revelation also assures us there would be a “great crowd” out of all these national groups who would respond to this proclamation of good news. These would prove they had faith in God by fearing and worshiping him, even amid a world without faith. We read: “And, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb . . . And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”—Rev. 7:9, 10.