~ This is some stuff I put together on paper. I need to keep thinking about it. Its sort of a taxonomy of faith.
(1) Non-Religious (i.e. secular) faith & Religious faith: At a most basic level, both non-religious people (atheists included) and religious people have faith
Non-Religious faith consists of things such as
(1.1) a scientist’s belief that atoms exists, even though s/he has never seen one or belief that the sun will rise again tomorrow (i.e. induction)
(1.2) having trust in a person (e.g. friend, spouse, co-worker) or even a pet that they will not fail you somehow (e.g. Jane is solid worker. I think she can finish on time.)
(2) Faith That God Exists: Then at another most basic level, you have faith at least that God exists.
(2.1) Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
(2.2) Christian faith and non-Christian faith (e.g. Islam, Jainism, etc.) involve this (2) on some level.*
(3) Faith as a Body of Knowledge: In considering (2.2), we can see that quite often a worldview or religion is spoken of as faith. So a Buddhist might say to a Muslim, “What is your faith? Mine is Buddhism.”
(3.1) Jude 3 – Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
(4) Saving Faith: This is when you repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior.
(5) (Modes of) Living Faith: This is the faith that you exercise in daily life in order to get through life’s ups and downs
(5.1) Active & Passive Faith: You exercise active faith exercised when you have to actively do something. When God told Abraham to go “to the land that I will show you”, Abraham up and went. He trusted that God knew what He was talking about and that God would help him get there. Passive faith is exercised is when the only thing that you can do really is wait. You are passive. So when God told Abraham that he would have a child of Promise, then all Abraham could do was wait – for years!
(5.2) General & Specific Faith: You exercise general faith when during a trial, you do not know what the specific outcome of the trial will be and so you fall back on things like God character, His goodness, His Promises and so on. You may not know if Rohit will get healed or not, but you can trust that God will do what is best. We see specific faith exercised in the story of the woman with bleeding – one of my favorite stories btw.
Matthew 9:21-22 – “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.”
~ This woman specifically knew what she wanted and specifically knew what the outcome would be. She did not reason to herself, by saying “If it be Jesus’s will, then I will be healed. If not, then not.”
(5.3) Instantaneous & Continuous Faith: Sometimes you exercise faith in one and only one instant in time and then get on with life. I call this instantaneous faith.
John 5:49-53 – The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”
On the flip side, sometimes you have to exercise faith continuously.
Matthew 14:25-31 – Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. … Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
~ Peter had to keep his eyes on Jesus continuously. Like so with the following incident:
Exodus 17:11 – “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.”
~ There is also a parallel with prayer, which at a very basic level is an expression of faith. Some prayers you only need to pray once or maybe twice. Other prayers, you may pray for years or decades. Note:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Exodus 14:15
I.e. The Egyptians were closing in on the Israelites and Red Sea lay before them. Moses seems to have started to pray and the Lord was like, “Hello? Stop praying and get going.”
(5.4) Simple (i.e. childlike) & Complex Faith: The story, up above of the woman with bleeding, illustrates a childlike faith. My life … sheesh … on the other hand has been a tangle of complicated, complex faith. Both see results, its just that in the latter, you may stress out a lot more. (I need to think about this more.)
(5.5) Gift of Faith & the Grace of Faith (*): Some people have a special gift of faith. The rest of us have the grace of faith. I think that the gift of faith is super rare. This is one verse that describes the gift of faith:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” ~ Mark 11:24
~ I like to call it proleptic faith, but this is a bit of a cumbersome term to some people. Alternatively prophetic faith describes it as well.
(*)Note: I picked up this particular distinction from George Müller (1805-1898) who claimed only to have the grace of faith. I think if you have the gift of faith, then you can exercise both the gift as well as the grace. However if you have the grace of faith, you can only exercise the gift on occasion.
(5.6) Communal/Social Faith vs. Individual Faith … still thinking about this