Is faith eternal?

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jeff brewer | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Sep 23 2013 8:42 AM

i had a congregant come to me after a service to ask me a question about faith.  They said they had been in a study that week  and the one leading the study stated that in heaven there is no faith and hope, only love.  They asked me what i thought.  I addressed the point of faith from the perspective of it being both a noun and a verb in the Greek, pistos and pisteuo.  I said that it seems to me that you would always have faith as it is a by product, a possession of your exercise in belief or trust which is the understanding for the Gk. verb for faith.

I hopped on Logos first thing this morning and the only help i could find was in Grudem's Systematic Theology which has as a footnote in Chapter 52 on Gifts of the Holy Spirit, "Some argue that faith and hope will not endure in heaven, so 1 Cor. 13:13 only means that faith and hope last until, not beyond, Christ's return.  However, if faith is dependence on God and trust in him, and if hope is a confident expectation of future blessings to be received from God, then there is no reason to think that we will cease to have faith and hope in heaven. (See Carson's good discussion of faith, hope, and love as "eternally permanent virtues" in Showing the Spirit, pp.74-75)

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Fall-Guy | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 9:16 AM

jeff brewer:
i had a congregant come to me after a service to ask me a question about faith.  They said they had been in a study that week  and the one leading the study stated that in heaven there is no faith and hope, only love. 

I have never thought of or heard that question. I have no idea which answer is correct.

Another question I have wondered about is, Will There Be Free Will in Heaven?: Freedom, Impeccability and Beatitude

I can not afford $75 to discover the author's answer.

Posts 155
Pedro | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 9:48 AM

Here is Spurgeon's take on it:

12, 13. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;

Three abiding graces. Some have said that faith and hope will not be found in heaven. Why not? Why not? It seems to me there will be plenty of room for them—plenty of space for them. Am I to be an unbeliever when I get to heaven then? Am I not to believe when my disembodied spirit goes to heaven? Am I not to believe in the resurrection of the dead? Am I not hopefully to expect it? Am I not in heaven to believe in the second advent of Christ? Am I not to be hoping for it? Am I not to believe in the complete conquest of Christ, and that he shall reign from the river, even to the ends of the earth? And am I not to hope for it? To miss faith and hope in heaven were to miss two things which the Apostle expressly tells us are the abiding things.

Spurgeon, C. H. The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons. Vol. 62. London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1916.

logosres:mtpserms62;ref=Page.pp_393-394;off=2737;ctx=se_childish_things.$0A~12,_13._For_now_we_s

I think that we need to make a distinction between heaven and the new heavens and new earth (consummation.)

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 9:52 AM

jeff brewer:
i had a congregant come to me after a service to ask me a question about faith.  They said they had been in a study that week  and the one leading the study stated that in heaven there is no faith and hope, only love.

The response requires a good Biblical understanding of three concepts that people think the understand, but usually need to understand more deeply: what is faith, what is hope, and what is 'heaven' (and is 'heaven' the best word for what we're talking about).

I've done extensive studies on the word "faith" and especially the underlying Greek word pistis (πίστις). I would encourage you to look at the range of meaning that pistis has, including the concept of faithfulness.

I'd encourage the same with the word for "hope" and the underlying Greek word elpis (ἐλπίς), which is an even stronger word than the wishy-washy English word which sometimes is used to express a wish, without any connotation of expectation, if not a wish that is against expectation (as in "I hope the Cubs win the World Series this year." Wink). That Greek word should be understood as hope with strong, if not unwavering, expectation.

The third thing to explore is the concept of "heaven." I assume the congregant means the afterlife and/or what will the afterlife will ultimately be after Christ returns and all is complete (I'm bypassing a large eschatological discussion to get to the point). That is, the intermediate state and then the new heaven and the new earth (my reading of Scripture leads me to believe our eternity will be spent on the new earth, not in 'heaven').

There is an assumption that we will not need faith or hope in the afterlife. Where does that come from? Why should we not understand the afterlife as a place where faith/faithfulness and hope/expectation are still a normal part of life? What little we know about the afterlife from Scripture leads me to believe we probably cannot even begin to imagine how wonderful it would be. And if that's the case, we are in no position to decide what it will be like and whether this discussion even has any meaning (not that it isn't fun to try and figure it out anyway).

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 9:56 AM

It probably depends on what you mean by faith. If it's the Heb 11:1 faith, it seems as though that would disappear in eternity. The part that believes in what is intangible seems like it would necessarily be satisfied in the consummation. Yet I think there's a deeper sense of faith than just that. If you open up the BWS in Logos, you see the other nuance about pistis: trust, confidence, assurance, promise. Those things would not go away in eternity; in fact, they would become stronger.

My apologies if this breaks the rules of the forum.

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