News and Views from Jerusalem

Faith and/or Belief. What’s the Difference?

The Scripture says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Many confuse ‘belief’ with ‘faith’, but these two are quite different things.  Belief has no substantive value and stands alone; therefore it cannot bring anything into existence.  Faith, on the other hand, needs works to accomplish its’ ends, for faith without works is dead

[From the examples in Hebrews 11] we see that each time there was faith, it was followed by active works, not just a passive belief.  Today many believe that ‘God is doing something in Israel.’ However, they feel that there is nothing to be done by themselves or by others until Messiah comes, at which time He will miraculously change the world, making all things new. Therefore, relieving us of any responsibility and allowing us to just continue to live our lives as we see fit, just as they did in the days of Noah.

The faith of a man named Hertzl, with a Gentile minister in the back ground constantly encouraging him, gave birth in the early 1900’s to the idea of a national Jewish homeland in the very Land promised to Abraham.  Faith in this ‘idea’ brought the first pioneers to the Land where their faith gave them the strength needed to clear the Land, drain the swamps and turn the desert into a garden that eventually supplied Europe with fresh fruit and vegetables.  The faith of many pioneers established a place of refuge for the beleaguered masses escaping not only the devastation of Europe but the oppression of Muslim controlled Arab countries.  In 1967 Israel drove back 5 Arab nations intent on her destruction, and the Old City of Jerusalem, after 2,000 years, is back in the hands of Israel. We could speak of the many wars and terrorist attacks that Israel has endured and survived.  We could extol the faith of the millions who have come from the North, East, South and now even the West, for it is this faith, through the works of return, which has made and is making this country a great leader among the nations.

But we see the same lack of faith that caused the spies to cry, “There are giants in the Land” taking hold on some in this generation, causing the faith of their fathers to be set aside. We see some of Israel’s leaders wandering in a political wilderness. Just ‘believing’ that God has given them the Land, as many here do, will not enable them to keep it.  There are ‘works’ that must accompany faith in order for the will of God to come about. Israel cannot wait complacently for Messiah to come and make everything all right. Nor can we, who among the nations wait for his coming, simply sit idly by and relax in our ‘belief’ that a better day is coming.  Jesus said the Kingdom of God is at hand and that men must press their way into it.  If, as is proclaimed by many, these are the Last Days, then be assured the Kingdom of God is at hand and we must be about our Father’s business, doing the work of pressing our way into it.  This includes actively exercising our faith in God’s plan for Israel by doing works, lest our faith become dead and we be left with just a belief. Come let us labor in the Kingdom and show our faith by our works as many who have gone before us have done.