With faith in the unseen (e.g., magnetism and gravity), we saw that faith is built through a theory based on the results of a series of experiments, that is, through trying to understand it. When we can’t see the causes, we learn to control them by setting up many situations and determining the results. We are finding the boundaries. This process is intentional and is focused on gaining understanding.
With faith in the “yet to happen”, we believe because we understand what causes the result we are looking for. For example, we understand the sun rises because the earth revolves. We are confident that the sun will rise because we have understanding why it does.
This faith is harder to shake when something goes different than planned. Instead of losing faith, we realize that we have probably exceeded a boundary or happened upon a different condition. Rather than feeling helpless and wondering if everything is going to go back to how we expect, our response would be to understand what was different. With the understanding-based versions of both applications of faith (unseen and future event), we are focused on understanding more, not less.
Jesus said blessed are those who haven’t seen and yet believe. (John 20:29) Why? The disciples initially believed Jesus because they saw him. Their belief was based on experiential faith. The Gospels show they didn’t have understanding-based faith. That’s why they panicked and lost their faith when Jesus was crucified.
We are blessed because even though we can increase our faith experientially, our faith in Jesus begins as understanding-based. In fact, our understanding-based faith makes us look at the disciples and wonder how they could have lost hope so quickly. We may even say, “Why didn’t they understand what Jesus was doing?”
We’ve seen that faith is active. Faith is a cause whose results are seen in our actions. One of the directions we are given when we ask how get closer to God is “to have faith”. While faith is a cause, in order to intentionally have faith, we must look at faith as an effect. Faith is the effect of what causes? In other words, how would you have (and grow in) faith?
Faith is a result (effect) of our experience and understanding. This means increasing your experiences with God and growing in your understanding through the Bible would intentionally lead to growing faith. It is possible for you to have more faith in the next five minutes. How? Get more experience with or understanding of the object of your faith.
Understanding and experience cause faith and faith is one cause of salvation.