Faith is the Conviction of Things Not Seen

The definition found in Hebrews 11:1 also states that faith is the “conviction of things not seen.” Thus, if we can see something or perceive it with our five physical senses, faith is not required.

Suppose someone said to you right now, “For some reason that I can’t explain, I have faith that there is a book in your hands.” You would, of course, think that something was wrong with that person. You would say, “Why, you don’t need to believe I have a book in my hands, because you can plainly see that I’m holding a book.”

Faith is of the unseen realm. For example, as I’m writing these words, I believe that there is an angel near me. In fact, I’m certain of it. How can I be so sure? Have I seen an angel? No. Have I felt or heard an angel fly by? No. If I had seen an angel or heard or felt one, then I wouldn’t have to believe there was an angel near me—I’d know it.

So what makes me so certain of the angel’s presence? My certainty stems from one of God’s promises. In Psalm 34:7, He promised, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” I have no evidence for what I believe other than God’s Word. That is true biblical faith—the “conviction of things not seen.” The people of the world often use the expression, “Seeing is believing.” But in the kingdom of God the opposite is true: “Believing is seeing.”

When we exercise faith in one of God’s promises, we often face circumstances that tempt us to doubt, or we go through a period of time when it looks as if God is not keeping his promise because our circumstances are not changing. In those cases, we simply need to resist doubts, persevere in faith, and remain convinced in our hearts that God always keeps His word. It is impossible for Him to lie (see Tit. 1:2).