Ask a scientist to describe sight and he might show you a dissected eye and explain how it works. YOU would probably show me a beautiful sunset or a rainbow or a library full of books to read - something that is SEEN by the eyes. I doubt you would show me a picture of an eye. Somehow, when it comes to faith we turn into scientists and start dissecting. It's a good way to take the life out.
Trying to define faith by a synonym doesn't work, either, because a word that means the same thing only tells you the same thing! Here's our logic: faith = dependence; choosing to depend = exercising faith. It is circular reasoning and revolves around ITSELF. Adding a phrase like “in Christ” cannot salvage this flawed concept; for it turns the focus on the dependence and NOT on Christ. This is why we ask: how much? how long? how sincere? how dedicated? how accurate? etc. But faith is understood by what it is dependent UPON.
Consider a tree by a river (a very scriptural picture, by the way). Its roots have grown deep into the fertile ground - it is dependent upon the soil. It is the difference between a choice and a factual relationship. The tree lives in this dependence. We, too, have been brought into a dependent relationship, for we have been put into Christ. The mistake is TRYING to live, instead of just LIVING; TRYING to depend, instead of being aware that we've been made dependent. In doing so, we reinforce the false concept that WE created the dependence. Believing this makes us trip all over ourselves in an attempt to be “humble”. Talk about diffusing the sense of the miraculous!!
BOTTOM LINE: If you are one who believes in Christ, then you have been made alive in Him - AND YOU ARE DEPENDENT UPON HIM FOR YOUR VERY LIFE. It makes no difference if you feel it or even understand it. The good news of Jesus Christ declares this reality to you for the purpose of bringing confidence to you so that you can live in the awareness of what is already true about you. Trying to be what you already are will only bring confusion. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. Jim