Faith is based on fact
(Heb 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is based on fact. Nobody can have true faith in something which is not a fact. Now the verse says, “faith is the substance …” A substance is something which exists, something which has reality. Faith is that quality which allows you to take hold of already existing realities, even though some of these realities may be, at the moment, unseen.
Faith does not create the reality, it is important that we understand this, but faith provides a channel by which we may lay hold on reality. It is important to remember that whether we believe or not, that reality is there. Sometimes we get a wrong perspective of faith because we do not understand what James says in James 1:6,7
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:6-7)
In Luke 8:43-48 we read the story of the woman who had an issue of blood and touched the hem of Jesus' garment. This is one of the stories in the Bible that I had to struggle with to some extent because there are some questions there for which I did not have answers. Here we see that the faith of the lady told her something: “If I can only as much as touch His clothes, I will be made well.” She did not plan to ask Jesus for healing, neither did she expect that He would find out when she touched Him. What she was after was the healing and her plan was not to ask Jesus for anything, her plan was to take something out of Him. She was even planning to do it secretly. This was the faith which the woman had. She had the faith that there was something existing in Jesus and she could take it if she wanted it. Was this wrong faith, or was it right faith? The thing is, her faith worked! How could it be wrong faith when it worked?
Notice that even Jesus supported what the woman did and commented on the rightness of her faith. First of all He says, “somebody touched me …” how does He know? He says, “I perceive that something (virtue) has gone out of me.” He didn't say, “I healed the woman,” He didn't say, “I rewarded her for her faith.” According to what He says, we are made to understand that it was not He who healed, but the woman who took the healing!! Then He says, “thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace …” This opens up a whole new world of thinking to our minds; Is God waiting till we have enough faith before He will act? Is it God who needs our faith before He will act, or is it we who need faith to take what is already there?
Remember the original point; faith is based on fact! A fact is an already existing reality. If it does not exist, if it is not already true then it cannot be a fact. Faith is the taking of what already exists. When we exercise faith we are not asking God to do something, we are laying hold on what God has already done. So God is not measuring our faith and saying, “when you reach 75 percent it will be good enough,” or, “you need to pump up your faith a bit more.” In other words, God has already provided the miracle, but the experience of that miracle is waiting on the hand of faith to take it.
When a person becomes a Christian does God save Him at that moment? Is that the moment when God provides salvation for that individual? The truth is, God saved all men two thousand years ago at Calvary, in Christ Jesus His Son. Salvation is not something which God has to accomplish all over each time we believe, it is only the moment when we lay hold on what has already been provided. It is when we, by faith, accept what is already true. When we appeal to people to turn to Christ, we are not making an appeal to God to do something, we are asking them to believe the truth. It is their faith which must take hold of the truth.
It is not God who needs our faith before He can bless, it is we who need faith before we can lay hold on the already given blessing.