Faith is a tough subject because there are so many ideas out there about it. The devout Muslim for instance shows their “faith” by becoming a suicide bomber. Another person has faith by believing their church is true, even if it means ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Another teacher I once read taught that faith was believing that something you wanted to be true actually was true, until it became true.
The Bible of course teaches a lot about faith, and in some ways seems similar to the examples I mentioned above. For instance Romans 4 tells us that Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he (God) had promised, he (God) was able also to perform.” The writer of Hebrews adds more to this equation when he wrote “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Later on in chapter 11 he continues by saying: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
The difference between the examples I mention above and biblical faith though lies in the source of that faith. You see, biblical faith is always based on someone, and is backed up by facts.
Let’s look at Abraham who is often mentioned as an example of biblical faith in the New Testament. The very first time we see Abraham in scripture we see him talking with God. (Genesis 12) Spend some time thinking about that. Abraham had faith because God had promised Him directly to do what He said He would (in this case provide a heir). So, Abraham’s faith was based firmly on who God was, and on what God had promised Him.
That’s why too, biblically speaking, a Christian can have full confidence that God will save Him. John 3:16 (among many other verses) tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His Son, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. As a Christian I can’t be totally sure (fact wise) that there is eternal life, but there are things I can do to find the facts in this promise: first I can search out the history of the Bible and come to know that it is trustworthy—above and beyond any real doubt. Then, I can seek out this God and find out more about Him: is He trustworthy? Does He have a track record of keeping promises? (The answer is yes.) Is there evidence that He exists? (Yes again.) Finally, because I can believe God, and because I can believe His Word, I can believe this promise. These are the “facts” behind my faith, just as Abraham’s meeting God, and hearing His promise firsthand were the “facts” behind Abraham’s faith.
Again, and again, and again in the Bible we see Jesus affirming the fact that He is truth. He’s very, very interested in truth (He actually says that He IS truth) and because He is interested in truth, He wants us to seek out the “facts” that we can firmly base our faith on. That’s true and biblical faith, and it’s the faith that pleases God.