The Application of Faith
Previously we considered in this series the definition of faith, or what faith is. However, there are many who have no problems in that area. Their problem lies in how to apply this faith, or to discover what faith does.
This application of faith in the daily life may be understood a little better if we look at three aspects of it.
Consider faith intuitively first. This is the germ of faith. Intuition is defined as “direct knowledge,” and touches three fundamentals. By this all men have the knowledge of a God above them, of a self within them, and of a life beyond them. Nowhere in the Scriptures has God written words to prove His existence. Why is this? Because He has inscribed it in the fleshy tables of the heart of every man. We are not born as atheists or agnostics. These diabolic errors are planted in the minds and hearts of men, growing their rank stalk and bearing their bitter fruits. True we are born as sinners, but sinners with the capacity to know God. By the intuition of faith we believe that God is; That is, the existence of God. This enables us to receive right thoughts of God.
Then comes the education of faith, by this we learn what God is. The majesty of creation and the wonders of nature witnessing universally as to the power and wisdom of this God. This is the expression of God and enables us to feel a sense of obligation to God. The Psalmist gives us the language for this aspect of faith, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him…”
But to discover who God is demands revelation, the revelation of God to the soul. This is the experience of God through faith which enables us to know God, to worship God and to enjoy Him, just for Himself. This is the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit.
If faith intuitively is the germ of faith, the faith subjectively describes the joys of faith. This is the result within myself.
Subjectively faith receives from God. Just as the women in Hebrews 11 received their dead raised to life again, through faith, so, it is thus we receive the gift of God, even eternal life. Subjectively faith rests in God, depending on His promises to be made good in God’s time and way. Subjectively, faith re-assesses values in the presence of God. Moses evaluated the treasurers of Egypt beside the reproach of Christ and chose the greater riches of eternal reward… by faith.
It might well be that faith has more to do subjectively in the life of the believer, than objectively through the believer. Faith may have more to do with peace than power, rejoicing than results, attitudes of heart than answers to prayer.
However, viewed objectively faith does produce results outside of the believer’s own life. We might think of this aspect as the duties of faith.
The highest exercise of faith is of course worship. As Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice, so it is by faith, exercised objectively, to go out of ourselves as it were, we too are enabled to respond to God in worship.
The outcome of the first exercise of faith should follow into the next, as in Hebrews 11, Enoch follows Abel with the life that pleases God and seeks to walk with Him. At least this is the spiritual order, tragically with many of us not so often the order of our own lives.
This then is inseparable from the next exercise of faith; obedience to God. Reading on in Hebrews 11, we see this in Noah and in Abraham. Faith exercised objectively for Noah, meant obeying God in matters “not seen as yet.” For Abraham it meant obeying God in matters not known as yet.
So then to summarize, faith enables us intuitively to know God; faith enables us subjectively to enjoy God and the things of God; faith enables us objectively to worship, please and serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.