“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God…repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…” (Hebrews 5:12, 6:1).
Just as every language has an alphabet and every sport has its fundamentals, God’s revelation—both Old and New Testaments—has first principles which are foundational to a correct understanding of God and His will. Hebrews 6:1-2 identifies six. Each will be given its own consideration.
Faith in God is essential to being well-pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:6). Like a healthy and fruitful tree, faith has three essential ingredients.
The roots of faith are conviction. Its taproot is the passionate conviction in your heart that God is, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Without these convictions growing in the rich and deep soil of God’s word, there will be no stability to your life. The storms and trials of human existence will uproot and destroy you.
The trunk and branches of faith are trust. As the seasons of life come and go, your trust in God and His goodness ought to be ever increasing—like the annual growth rings produced in a healthy tree. Longer life ought to result in greater trust.
The essential fruit of faith is obedience. Faith without works of obedience is profitless, of no practical value, dead, and demonic (James 2:14-19). Only the foolish believe otherwise (James 2:20). No example of faith in the Scriptures—male or female, Jew or Gentile—was ever justified before God without obedience (James 2:21-25). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
This elementary understanding of faith and its essential ingredients of conviction, trust, and obedience is an integral part of this elementary principle of Christ.