Questions & Answers – How can you tell the difference between Faith and Presumption

Let us think about what faith is. The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Another writer said, “We honor God when we take him at his word, and walk out by faith, believing that he means just what he says.” The Review and Herald, March 19, 1889. Faith has substance and it has evidence. It is believing just what God says and acting in accordance with His desires.

It is important that we have faith in God. We are told that “Without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. Then again, we read, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3.

We believe that the Bible is the word of God, and Jesus said that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. If we believe and live by every word in the Bible, we should have faith. When we pray, our supplications should all be in accordance with the will of God.

One way to help us understand the will of God is to meditate on the words of Jesus that He said when the lawyer asked, which is the greatest commandment? “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:37–40.

Boiling it all down, we might just say that faith is believing God, and doing His will. When we pray, we should pray according to the will of God, and He will hear and answer.

As for presumption, I looked in three different dictionaries and found many explanations, but I will just quote a few definitions here: “Boldness, supposition, audacity, acting unwarrantable.” In other words, having confidence in something in which there is no surety.

For example, Satan tempted Jesus by asking Him to jump down from the pinnacle of the temple, saying that the angels would protect Him. There was no necessity to jump, and God had not told Him to jump; therefore it would have been presumption to ask the angels to save Him, since God had not told Him to jump, and there was no purpose in it other than to show off.

It has been said that “presumption is when you claim the promise but do not fulfill the condition.” God’s promises are sure, and we need to have faith that He will fulfill His word. If we expect answers to our prayers, they must be within the will of God. And we must have faith in God that He will do that which is best in the light of eternity.

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