“Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.” (Reference: Habakkuk 2:4 )
One of the important things Christians strive for is to be righteous. The definition of righteous, what God considers to be righteousness, and the righteousness of God are all themes that commentators and those who cite scripture spread significant time on. The historic Anabaptists were no exception. Menno Simons, who was an important figure as the Anabaptist faith reached it peak, spoke of the characteristics of the righteous and how they became that way. “Such people are changed in their hearts, renewed and of a different mind; yes, transferred from Adam unto Christ. They walk in newness of life as obedient children in the grace which is manifested unto them. For they are renewed, have become poor in spirit, gentle, merciful, compassionate, peaceful, patient, hungry and thirsty after righteousness. They strive after eternal life and with good works. For they are believing, born of God, are in Christ and Christ in them; they are partakers of His Spirit and nature, and live according to the Word of the Lord by the power of Christ which is in them. This is according to Scripture to be really believing, to be Christian, to be in Christ and Christ in us.”
This historic Anabaptists believed that faith was both a gift and a source of power. One did not develop faith on one’s own, but asked for and received faith as a consequence of belief. What is the difference between faith and belief? That is an interesting questions. And if you asked every historic Anabaptist and every modern Anabaptist/Mennonite, you would probably get the total amount of differing answers as the amount of people you asked. Of course, there may be some significant overlap. Belief means, briefly, that you have heard of or thought for yourself a pattern of understandings that explain life, God, spirituality etc. These are your beliefs, and you believe them and direct your life according to them. Faith is the ability and task to seek to these beliefs when challenged, for example what happened to the historic Anabaptists. Now beloved, faith and belief can be interchanged back and forth in as far as meanings – hence the diversity of answers and opinions if you were to ask many people. Faith is usually what is in the heart, spirit, and gut. Belief is mainly in the heard, although it can aid, support, and inform faith. Theirs your answer from me. Ask others, or ask yourself – what is faith and belief to you? What do you believe in and have faith in? And most importantly, does this lead you to the righteous that God would accept?
May you beloved have good beliefs and strong faith to sustain you throughout your life. Selah!