Walk By Faith

Steve Stevens

According to Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the word walk in the Old Testament comes from the verb dārak which denotes walking on a path (Deut.1:36; Josh. 14:9), treading on a winepress (Neh. 13:15), or bending a bow (Psalms 7:12), and may be translated “march, walk, tread, or bend.” The forcefulness of the term is evident in the stomping of grapes and the pulling of a bow. A lifestyle of obedience requires an intentional or forceful walking. A second verb used in the Old Testament is hālak, which describes motion, primarily of humans. This root is found over 1500 times in the Old Testament. It is also used in a metaphorical sense to describe actions or the process of living, especially following in the ways of the Lord.

The word walk in the New Testament is peripateō and means “to walk around.” Figuratively, this word refers to the way Christians behave or conduct their daily lives (Mark 7:5; Eph. 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:7).

Faith is not a worldly action. It has its roots in another world—the unseen world. Faith is confidence, trust, and certainty made possible by God’s gracious act in sending Christ. It is the negation of self-will and the renunciation of self-achieved righteousness. According to Balz and Schneider, “it is by no means, however, the mere acceptance of facts” but a subordination to Jesus as Lord (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 3, 93). Faith is “an act of holding fast to God’s promise without consideration for one’s self, one’s possibilities, or one’s accomplishments” (95). 

To walk by faith is a forceful, intentional choice to live according to the will and promises of God. Look at the example of Noah. What did Noah see in his generation? He saw evil working in the lives of men and women continually. He was conscious of the evil surrounding him because he “walked with God.” Evil appears as such only in divine light. Noah built the ark for the salvation of his family not because of what he could see around him. He saw his neighbors eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. It was business as usual among men who were calloused to the corruption of the race of humanity. Noah built the ark because of what he could not see: God, Divine Holiness, Divine Righteousness, and Divine Wrath. Hebrews 11:7 records, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet (emphasis mine—SS), moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Look at the verbs: “being warned,” “moved,” and “prepared.” Faith took action! Genesis 6: 13 begins, “and God said unto Noah” while Genesis 6:22 ends, “thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

Let us make a deliberate, intentional, forceful choice to heed the warnings of the Lord. Let us refuse to be conformed to the world which surrounds us. Let us steadfastly hold to the promises of God with full certainty that He will perform what He has spoken. Faith in God is honored by God. “The just shall live by faith.”

May we walk by faith, “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” As Noah looked by faith to the God of heaven in his generation to guide him safely through the coming judgment, so let us walk by faith in the reigning Son of God to bring us safely through the coming judgment and into heaven itself for all eternity. -P.O. Box 351, Hundred, WV 26575.

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