Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Definition of Faith

     As I was continuing to read The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, I came across this section in the chapter, The Path of Progress: Reckoning, that really made an impression on me. So up until this point, what had been presented were the awesome Divine facts about Christ's death and how His Blood and the Cross dealt not only with the sins that we commit but also with our very nature as sinners. So what happens after we believe these facts to be true but we still experience old desires and temptations?

     What really impressed me in this section was the choice presented: Are we to believe in the intangible Divine facts of the spiritual realm... or in the tangible facts of the natural realm? A good point mentioned is that there is no mention in the Bible of sin being removed from man or eradicated. So naturally, sin will be something that man will have to deal with his entire natural life. So how can we make real in our experience what is true in Divine fact?

     "Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) To substantiate is to make a substance real in experience. Just as sight and hearing are faculties that make colors and sounds real to us, faith is the manner in which intangible Divine facts are made real in our experience. But what exactly is an experience? It mentions that God does not give individuals, individual experiences. Rather, all spiritual experiences are just us entering into what God has already accomplished through the process Christ went through. This may seem very deep and abstract, and it is! But it's really cool! Our spiritual experiences don't come from our own effort or something we need to do, but they are in Christ! God has done everything in Christ and we too are in Him! So to experience the Lord is to realize in time the eternal things. Wow!

 Please feel free to expound on this point! I feel like it is so enjoyable, but I can't fully explain it. :)


  1. Amen sister! I really enjoyed the point about having faith and experiencing the Lord. In my own experiences, I can testify that I've tried to almost force myself to have these spiritual experiences, but since I was trying so hard to reach such an experience from my own self, I wasn't ever really gaining any real experiences of Christ! It was just too hard to do on my own, so when all I had was faith and an open heart (not even seeking a spiritual experience), I found myself able to have spiritual experiences! Praise the Lord that it's so easy to experience and enjoy Him as our life and reality!

    (I hope this made made sense in my head!)

  2. Amen! That's so true! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  3. The footnote on Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is the substantiation of things hoped for. Hence, it is the assurance, the confidence, the confirmation, the reality, the essence, the supporting ground, of things hoped for, the foundation that supports the things hoped for.

    Faith is also the conviction of things not seen. It convinces us of what we do not see. Hence, it is the evidence, the proof, of the things not seen."

    Wow, so faith is the evidence and the proof of our experiencing the Lord.

    Basically faith = God is real

  4. Wow! Thanks Joseph! I didn't think to look for a footnote! They are always so helpful! :)

  5. Footnotes really are helpful! :-D

    Here's another:

    "Faith, love, and peace are three crucial virtues in experiencing and enjoying the Savior’s salvation. Faith is brought forth by knowing the Savior in His saving power and virtue. Love comes out of this faith and brings in peace; then we follow the Savior. In following the Savior in our living, faith and love bring us peace that we may enjoy the Lord’s life and grow in it." (Luke 7:50 note 1)

    Like how it links together faith, love, and peace.

  6. Awesome! Thanks Daniel for sharing! Yes this matter of faith and love reminds me of a really good footnote for Titus 3:15. "Faith is for appreciating, substantiating, and receiving the unlimited riches of the Triune God; love is for experiencing, enjoying, and living out the immeasurably rich Triune God." :)

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I remember enjoying this point as well. That chapter is based on the verse Romans 6:11 - "So also you, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but living to God in Christ Jesus." The word reckon means doing accounts or bookkeeping. We can only reckon accomplished facts, not wishful fancies. We are dead to sin and living to God, and these are accomplished facts because they have already been experienced by Christ!

  8. I was reading "The Overcoming Life" today and it was talking about faith is the substantiation of things hoped for and brother Nee was explaining it but I just did not understand. This really helped me understand it more!

  9. Leon: Right! That's really good :)

    Jy: I'm glad we can help one another understand and enjoy the riches of Christ :)