In this post, we will take a look at what is meant by “faith toward God.” We are continuing to look into the 7 Foundational Experiences for All Believers. We are told in the scripture that we are to go on from repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. It is very important to note that we cannot function properly or accurately in faith toward God until we have repented from dead works. Many times we attempt to repent in a general sense and fail to understand that our repentance from dead works must be specific and made toward God. In other words, we do not repent in a broad or generic manner and when we repent we do not do so to Christ but to God. We repent as noted here in this verse from “dead works”, which are all acts & activities that are not based upon repentance & faith. So, what does the text say?
The phrase “faith towards God” is one of seven foundational experiences for all believers listed in Hebrews 6:1-3. According to the Precept Commentary, “Faith” is (G4102) (pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. The term implies both knowledge and action. One may receive knowledge of a certain truth and may even offer verbal agreement, but “trust” or “confidence” is not said to be present until one’s behavior reflects that truth.” The late Derek Prince wrote that faith is, “Inward conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness and persuasion in God and all He says (Heb. 11:6). It always originates directly in God’s Word & is always directly related to God’s Word. Biblical faith is a condition of the heart, not of the mind (1 Thess. 5:8; Mark 11:23; Rom. 10:10) It is in the present, not in the future. Hope is for the future!” “Hope is an attitude of expectancy concerning things that are yet to be,” says Derek Prince.
“Toward” (G1909) (epi) can be translated as “by which you turned”. The Amplified Paraphrase reads, “…faith [by which you turned] to God.” God is always the object of our faith (Mark 11:22). When Jesus came on the scene preaching, His message was “Repent and Believe! (Mark 1:15)” Repent and by faith or belief turn to God. The message of the Apostle Paul included “Repentance towards God, and faith to our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 20:21). Additional scriptures which also confirm this are Acts 5:31; Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6; 1 Peter 1:18-21.
In context, the writer was exhorting the recipients to have faith in nothing or no one else except the God of scripture! Those who received this letter were tempted or had succumb to the temptation of relying upon and having their confidence Old Covenant rituals, dead works and even themselves. Not unlike the day in which we live where in addition to men having faith in themselves instead of God as well as in other things, many have faith in “faith”. But biblical faith has one object and only trusts in the one, true God!
I believe one the keys to properly understanding and applying this principle is to know that repentance must precede faith. In other words, we must repent from anything else or any other act that does not originate from faith in God and be and do only those things that are indicative of true, biblical faith in Him. One way of viewing faith is “obedience to the revealed will of God.” In this instance, we repent of our disobedience and then turn to obeying His will and way. We must repent of and renounce our allegiance and confidence in everyone and everything but God! And then give ourselves to living in agreement with His Word, His revealed will to us. This is faith toward God! He is our Source! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith! We place our hope and trust in Him alone! There is no authentic, biblical faith without repentance and then placing our confidence, trust and reliance in Him. It is the only way to stay on target!