Earlier, we saw that Hebrews 11:1 says faith is two things:
1. Faith is the belief in something you can’t see (“the evidence of things not seen”).
2. Faith believes something will happen that hasn’t happened yet (“substance of things hoped for”).
Why do you believe it will rise tomorrow? It’s because it has always risen before. What would you think if the sun didn’t rise? You’d wonder if the earth had stopped rotating. It seems that faith is based on two things: experience and understanding.
In both examples of faith, the first and easiest thing to rely on is experience, that is, we see the results of the cause. This is called experiential faith.
When it comes to the faith in the unseen, we see the results when we run tests. When it comes to faith in a future event, we look to the past to rely on what we have seen because the hoped for event hasn’t happened yet. Experience is powerful, but it is shallow.
If something happens 10 times in a row, how confident would you be that it would happen the 11th time? Probably close to 100%. Let’s say it fails to happen. How confident are you that it will happen on the 12th occurrence? Probably a lot less than 100%. While experiential faith is wonderful, it can disappear in an instant.
For example, in Mark 6, Jesus fed “five thousand” men. Then the disciples get in a boat and are having a hard time making progress against the wind. Jesus walks on water and gets in the boat. Verses 51 and 52 say this:
He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed among themselves, and marveled;
for they hadn't understood about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
They had an experience with Jesus, yet they lost their faith as soon as they had adversity because they didn’t understand. They didn’t have understanding-based faith…