When we consider the words believe and faith, we sense intuitively that a relationship exists between them. For a belief to operate in the power of faith there must be trust, without doubt.
Mark 11:23. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Matthew 21:22. And whatever things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive.
The very thing that you put your trust in will in the end stand in judgement of you.
John 5:45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses in whom you trust.
Where you place your trust defines your hope for the future and eternity. The Greek translated trust is also almost equally translated as hope.
Romans 8:24 & 25. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes[G1679, trusts in] what he sees? But if we hope[G1679, trust] for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.
In this is our blessing:
John 20:29. Jesus said to him, Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
So then what is the common root for both faith and believing? The answer is the primary verb “to persuade”. This word appears 17 times in the book of Acts alone.
Here are two examples of Paul converting souls by the faith of Jesus Christ.
Acts 18:4. And he was debating every Shabbat in the synagogue, trying to persuade both Jewish and Greek people.
Acts 19:8. He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly with persuasive arguments about the kingdom of God.
This is why the Gospel must be presented in the pure, original form, that those who hear are persuaded by Grace from the God of Love, as expressed through His Son Jesus Christ.
Paul expressed his intentions clearly:
1 Corinthians 2:1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
There are many other ways to persuade someone, such as this first time the word appears in the Gospel.
Matthew 27:20. The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas, but to destroy Jesus.
This persuasion was probably accomplished through intimidation, as the people would not want to oppose the leaders who accused the Lord before Pilate. Barabbas was a thief, a murderer, and an insurrectionist who was set free on the occasion of Christ’s trial before a Gentile.
This is to say that a common way for people to be persuaded is through some claim to authority. The Apostolic teachings were constantly being opposed by false teachers who claimed to have authority from Jerusalem.
In Galatia and many other Greek locations, new believers were being told that they must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. Here Paul opposes this doctrine in his letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 5:7-9. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
After insisting that they not be persuaded by these instructions from those who claim authority to add to the Message, he uses the analogy of leaven. Even as Jesus warned His disciples to beware of “the leaven of the Pharisees”. Paul instructs us using the same imagery.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.