NATURE AND ROLE OF FAITH IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN
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The study was to investigate the nature and role of faith in the life of a Christian in Assemblies of God, Rivers District. The primary concern here lies between the nature and duty of faith in the lives of believers today. The research area was strictly confined to Assemblies of God Church in Rivers State with a total population of 100. After employing the Fard formula postulated by Yaro Yamani, (1964), a sample size of 80 was carefully drawn. However, when the questionnaire was administered 70 were correctly filled and revenue which is the based for analysis in chapter four. The sampling technique in a strict sense was stratified sampling method. Primary and secondary sources of data were the major sources of data collection, and chi-square (x2) tool was used in validating the research hypothesis formulated. The study revealed that faith is fundamental in Christian’s life and conduct. Faith remains the one thing which above all others Christ recognized as the paramount virtue. It was concluded that in faith all other graces find their source in a Christian. The researcher recommends that every true Christian should emulate the nature of faith of the early believers and that of Christ on his Heavenly Father.
1.1 Background to the Study
The one decisive thing in Christianity is faith, Christianity itself has always regarded faith as constituting its essence. Reasons why whoever becomes a Christian has always been asked, do you believe? Faith here becomes a necessity in Christendom, where a believer without faith cannot be seen as a true believer. Faith has ever terminated with trustful reliance, not on the promise but on the Promiser, not on the prepositions which declare God’s grace and willingness to save, or Christ’s divine nature and power, or the reality and perfection of his saving work, but on the saviour upon whom, because of these great facts, It could securely rest as on One able to save to the uttermost. Jesus Christ, God the Redeemer, is accordingly the one object of saving faith, presented to its embrace at first implicitly and in promise, and ever more and more openly until at last it is entirely explicit and we read that “a man is not justified save through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16).
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). “But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in Christ, then, lies at the heart of the Christian way of life. But what exactly is this faith and what exactly is it role in a Christian life? What vision of ultimate truth does it set before us? What ideal way of life does it propose for us? And how does one imbued with that vision and that ideal, along with the wisdom they promise, look upon the main alternatives proposed by philosophers who have sought wisdom outside the framework of faith in Jesus Christ? These are some of the questions this study intends to proffer answers to, which thus differs at least formally from that of the many studies which have been trying to show that faith in Christ is reasonable by standards of rationality that have some purchase even on non-believers. The Bible was written for people with no real faith. We all begin with a minus. If we have no faith, reading the Bible produces it, and if we have some faith we get more the same way. We don’t acquire faith first and bring it to scripture. Scripture encourages faith “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Faith in Christianity is often discussed in terms of believing God’s promises, trusting in his faithfulness, and relying on God’s character and faithfulness to act. Some of the definitions in the history of Christian theology have followed the biblical formulation in Hebrews 11:1: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. As in other Abrahamic religions, it includes a belief in the existence of God, in the reality of a transcendent domain that God administers as his kingdom and in the benevolence of the will of God or God’s plan for humankind.
The Christian life is a life of faith and this faith is much more than mere belief, but rather confident action. A Christian faith knows only one direction known as forward. If a Christian should backslide or wander from truth and joy, it is a lack of faith. Strong faith will not faint in adversity (Prov. 24:10), reason why some scholars believes that The Old Testaments is not primarily for children, but for adults to build faith by examples (Romans 15:4; I Cor 10:1-11). Jesus once asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8.) Yes! Us! Faith is not something Christians need to learn: it is something they need to exercise.
Walking in doubt is like going back to a Victorian age. We need a radar and faith provides it in this world of uncertainly. “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith’ (Romans 1:17). Believe God! It is life’s knowledge and experience across the area of faith as widely as I can, whether people are well along the road or just and share treasures with them I have collected over a life time. The plus life, one morning Jesus walked along the shingled edge of Lake Galilee and beckoned too few local fishermen. He said, “Follow me!” (Matthew 4:19). At the moment everything began for them. Until then “Everything” had only been fish and then it became people, action, and changing world history, with ever-increasing faith, ever-increasing effects. Jesus did not call them, smiles and wear sackcloth. Jesus didn’t want to turn folk into stick in the – mud’ people. He wasn’t so conventional himself! The disciplines caught His bubbling spirit, which challenged the stuffy establishment. He showed them new things, especially faith and love, and them they conquered the world. The primary truth about God is that He is the Deliverer, the emancipator, and the saviour. He is God only to the free. Faith is a venture that turns life into an adventure. Doubts get us nowhere. They are mooring ropes. Believing God means we cast off, like ships designed for riding the high seas and going somewhere. Faith inspires. Doubt paralyzes. Faith says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” unbelief does nothing, faith is God is exciting.
We becomes what we were born to be only when we are “born again” by faith in Christ Jesus. Christ said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The world’s greatest book on freedom is the Bible. The very idea of freedom came from the Bible not from Greece or Rome. Remember God made the first free nation ever seen on earth, Israel, and He wants to put a sense of liberty in our very soul. God opposes tyranny. The Gospel makes us the freeborn sons of God.https://projectsolutionz.com.ng/payment/
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are many problems that weigh on the life of a Christian and very often they goes in search of the truth that lies behind these problems. For one to say that Christianity “focuses” on Jesus Christ is to say that somehow it brings together its beliefs and practices and other traditions in reference to a historical figure. Few Christians, however, would be content to keep this faith merely historical. Although their faith tradition is historical i.e., they believe that transactions with the divine do not occur in the realm of timeless ideas but among ordinary humans through the ages the vast majority of Christians focus their faith in Jesus Christ as someone who is also a present reality. They may include many other references in their tradition and thus may speak of “God” and “human nature” or of the “church” and the “world,” but they would not be called Christian if they did not first believed, accepted and have faith in the name of Jesus Christ. The key philosophical issue regarding the problem of faith in the life of a Christian is to work out how the authority of faith and Christianity interrelate in the process by which a religious belief is justified or established as true. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the nature and role of faith in the life of a Christian.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the nature and role of faith in the life of a Christian, to aid the completion of the study, the following specific objectives were formulated:
- To investigate the importance of faith in the life of a Christian.
- To investigate the role of faith in living a successful Christian life.
- To evaluate the role of pastors in growing the faith of Christians.
- To ascertain if there is a relationship between personal believes and Christian faith.
1.4 Significance of the Study
It is imperative to find out how a Christian or non- Christian can benefit from this work? Is it of any usefulness to human life and salvation? Yes. This work is written for the general reader who wants to know more about these questions: It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of significant importance to the Christendom, as the findings intend to spell out the importance and advantages of the effectiveness of faith in the life of a Christian. The findings will also be of great importance to the academias as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge. And finally the study will be of great importance to students, teachers and the general public.
1.5 Research Questions
To aid the completion of the study, the following research questions were formulated by the researcher to guide the study:
- Does pastors play any significant role in growing the faith of Christians?
- Does faith contributes to devoted Christian life in Assemblies of God Church in Rivers District.
- Is there any significant relationship between personal believes and Christian faith?
- Does the effectiveness of faith has any effect on the growth of Christian life?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
For the purpose of this research work, the following hypotheses were tested;
H0: Pastors do not play any significant role in growing the faith of Christians
H1: Pastors do play a significant role in growing the faith of Christians
H0: There is no significant relationship between personal believes and Christian faith.
H2: There is a significant relationship between personal believes and Christian faith.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study centers on the nature and role of faith: its effectiveness, influence and practice in Assemblies of God, with particular reference to Assemblies of God in Rivers District. In the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some limitations which limited the scope of the study;
Pastor’s Reluctance: In most cases the Pastors of the selected Assemblies of God Church often feels reluctance over providing required information required by the researcher. This results in finding information where the structured questionnaires could not point out.
Researcher’s Commitment: The researcher, being of full time student spent most of her time on other academic activities such as test, class work, assignment, examination etc which takes average focus from this study.
Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also a major hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to lay hands on several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Faith is confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief in which faith may equate to confidence based on some perceived degree of warrant.
It also includes a belief in the New Covenant. According to most Christian traditions, Christian faith requires a belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, which he states is the plan of God the Father. The precise understanding of the term “faith” differs among the various Christian traditions.
A Christian is a person who follows or adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.