Romans 8:24 – 28
Paul was the Apostle to the Romans so the entire epistle is germane to his definition of faith. These particular passages are, in my mind, especially coherent and have special implications for the meaning of faith (despite the potential for contemporary linguistic subterfuge introduced by the word “hope”). (It might even be argued that the word hope is today effectively deprecated as a diluted form of “faith” although I see that as a linguistic issue only).
Much searching through various translations, particularly later than (KJV), strike me as blatant obfuscations precisely because of these implications. Just as one might refer to the corporeal, the social and the spiritual, for the cited passages in Romans, we might refer to “hope for ourselves”, “faith in spiritual principals” and “love of all things working together for good”.
At a very objective level it is possible to infer that:
1. Adherence to certain principals can not be seen as immediately beneficial to ourselves, however necessary they are for our common welfare.
* 8-24: For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
2. Faith, as evidenced by patience, especially in times of adversity, arises from the emotional acceptance of those principals.
* 8-25: But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
* 8-26: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
3. Our common vulnerabilities and motivations i.e. infirmities make it impossible for us to fully rationalize such principals, but that, in context, the doctrines of Christianity provide a framework for living compassionate, peaceful and responsible lives (I would contend that other religious doctrines provide similar frameworks).
* 8-27: And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints (I understand “saints” to be in specific reference to Christians) according to the will of God.
* 8-28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.