A. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are to believe capacity for the salvation of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word: Jun . 6: 37, 44;Acts. 11:21, 24; 13:48; 14:27; 15: 9; 2 Cor 4:13; Eph. 2: 8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Peter 1: 2.
B. Whereby, and the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, prayer and other means appointed by God, that faith increased and strengthened: Ro. 10: 14.17; Lk. 17: 5; Acts. 20:32; Ro. 4:11; 1 Peter 2: 2.
A. By this faith, a Christian believes to be reliable all revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and it perceives excellence superior to all other writings and all things in the world, it shows the glory God in his attributes, the excellence of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his works and operations; and thus, the Christian receives ability to trust your soul to the truth and believed. Acts. 24:14; 1 Thes. 2:13; Psalm 19: 7-10; 119: 72.
B. And also acts differently depending on whether the content of each particular passage: yielding obedience to the commands. 15:14 June.; Ro. 16:26.
C. Shuddering to threats: Is . 66: 2.
D. And embracing the promises of God for this life and the next. 1 Tim. 4: 8; I 11:13.
E. But the main actions of saving faith have to do directly with Christ: accept, receive and rest in him alone for justification, sanctification , and eternal life, under the covenant of grace: Jun . 1:12; Acts. 15:11;16:31; Gal. 2:20.
A. This faith, albeit in a different level and may be weak or strong: Mt. 6:30; 8:10, 26; 14:31; 16: 8; Mt. 17.20; I have 5:13, 14; Ro. 4:19 20.
B. It is, however, still at its lowest level, different in kind and nature (as is all other saving grace) from the faith and common grace of those believers who are only for a time: Stg. 2:14; 2 Peter 1: 1; June 1 5: 4..
C. And as a result, though often attacked and weakened, it is , however, victorious: Lc. 22:31, 32; Eph. 6:16;1 June 5. 4
D. growing in many until complete safety: Psalm 119: 114; I have 6:11, 12; 10:22, 23.
E. Through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith: Hebrews 12: 2.
Jesus once said that if we have the faith of a child can not enter the kingdom of heaven. Faith like a child is a prerequisite for membership of the kingdom of God.
There is a difference, however, between faith like a child and childlike faith. The Bible calls us to be babes in evil, but mature in our understanding. Saving faith is simple, but not simplistic.
As the Bible teaches that justification is by faith alone, and that faith is a necessary condition for salvation, it is imperative that we understand what this saving faith.
Santiago explains clearly what it is not this faith: "My brethren, what shall it profit if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds can faith save him?" (James 2:14).
Santiago is distinguishing between the profession of faith and the reality of faith. Anyone can say they have faith. While we are called to profess our faith, profession alone will not save anyone. The Bible makes it clear that people are able to honor Christ of lips while their hearts are far from Him. The faith of lip service to, without any manifestation of the fruit of faith is not saving faith.
James continues: "So, if it has no works, is dead, being alone" (James 2: 17). James describes the dead faith itself as a faith no avail. It is futile and vain and does not justify anyone.
When Luther and other Reformation declared justification by faith alone, they realized that it was necessary to give a detailed definition of saving faith. They defined saving faith based on certain constituent elements.
Saving faith is composed of information, intellectual consent, and personal confidence.
Saving faith involves the content. We are not justified by believing in anything. Some have said, "No matter what one believes, if and when it is sincere." This feeling is radically opposed to the teaching of the Bible. The Bible teaches us that what we believe is very important. Sincerity alone is not sufficient for justification. We can be sincerely wrong. Sound doctrine, at least with respect to the fundamental truths of the gospel, is a necessary ingredient of saving faith.
We believe in the Gospel, in the person and work of Christ. This is an integral part of saving faith. If our doctrine is heretical in the fundamentals, we will not be saved. If, for example, we say we believe in Christ but deny His deity, not possess justifying faith.
Although it is necessary to have a correct understanding of the fundamental truths of the gospel to be saved, a correct understanding of them is not enough to be saved.
A student can get top marks in a test of Christian theology, understanding all the truths of Christianity, without personally say are true. Saving faith includes the affirmation of the mind to the truth of the gospel.
But even if people understand the gospel and affirm or confirm their truth, still can not reach reach the salvific faith. The devil knows that the gospel is true, but hate with every fiber of his being. There is an element of trust in the salvific faith. It implies a confidence and personal dependence on the gospel. We can believe that a chair will support our weight, but did not display a personal trust in the chair until the time we sat on it.
The trust will also understands the mind. Have saving faith requires us to love the gospel truth and we want to live it. We trust in the sweetness of heart and love of Christ.
Considered technically, personal trust could be a corollary or a projection of intellectual consent. The devil can accept the truth of certain facts related to Jesus but do not accept them at all. Does not accept the love of Christ, nor craves. But whether we differentiate or combine the intellectual acceptance and self-confidence, the fact still stands that saving faith requires what Luther called a vital living faith and personal trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.
1. Saving faith is like a child but not childish.
2. The mere profession of faith is not enough to justify a person.
3. Saving faith requires intellectual acceptance of the truth of the gospel.
4. Saving faith involves a personal trust in Christ and love for Christ.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES FOR REFLECTION
Matthew 18: 3, Romans 10: 5-13, Ephesians 2: 4-10, 1 Thessalonians 2: 13, James 2: 14-26.
Saving personal faith in how they understand the Scriptures, it involves more than mere knowledge. Of course, we must have some knowledge of who Christ is and what he has done, because "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" (Rom 10: 14).
But knowledge about the facts of life, death and resurrection of Christ for us is not enough, because people can know the facts, but rebel against them or not like.
For example, Paul tells us that many people know the laws of God, but do not want them, "You know well that righteous decree of God who do such things deserve death; However, not only they continue to practice them but also approve of those who practice them "(Rom 1: 32).
Even the demons know who God is and know the facts about the life of Jesus and his saving work, because James says, "Do you think that there is one God? Magnificent! Even the demons believe and tremble "(James 2: 19). But certainly that knowledge does not mean that the demons are going to save.
In addition, simply knowing the facts and approve or agree that they are true is not enough.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus had come from God, because he said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, because no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him" (Jn 3: 2 ).
Nicodemus had assessed the situation, including the teachings of Jesus and his extraordinary miracles, and had drawn a correct conclusion from these facts: Jesus was a teacher who had come from God. But that alone did not mean that Nicodemus had saving faith, because we still had to put his trust in Christ as Savior; still he had to "believe in him". King Agrippa is another example of knowledge and approval without saving faith.
Paul realized that Agrippa knew and apparently approvingly saw the Jewish Scriptures (what we now know as the Old Testament). When Paul was appearing in court before him, he said to Agrippa: "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I am aware yes "(Acts 26: 27)!. But he had no saving faith, because he responded to Paul: "A little more and convince me to become a Christian" (Acts 26: 28).
In addition to knowledge of the facts of the gospel and the approval of those facts, in order to be saved, I decide to rely on Jesus to save me. In doing so he went from being an interested observer of the events of salvation and the teachings of the Bible to be someone who comes into a new relationship with Jesus Christ as a living person.
We can therefore define the saving grace as follows: Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not only a belief in some data, but personal trust in Jesus as savior. As will be explained in the following chapters, salvation is much more than just the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but when someone comes to rare Christ initially once he realizes the extent of the blessings of salvation to come.
In addition, we could correctly summarize the two main concerns of the person who trusts in Christ as the "forgiveness of sins" and "eternal life with God."
Of course, eternal life with God includes issues such as the declaration of righteousness before God (part of the justification, as explained in the next chapter), adoption, sanctification and glorification, but these things can be understood in detail later. What most worries an unbeliever who comes to Christ is the fact that sin has separated him from communion with God for which we were created. The unbeliever comes to Christ for that sin and guilt are eliminated and enter a genuine relationship with God that will last forever.
The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just believing the facts about Christ. Because saving faith in the Scriptures involves this personal confidence, the word "trust" is better for use in contemporary culture term that the word "faith" or "belief".
The reason is that we can "believe" that something is true without any personal commitment or dependence involved in it. I can believe that Canberra is the capital of Australia, or 7 multiplied by 6 gives 42, but without any personal commitment or reliance on anyone for the mere fact believe it.
The word faith, on the other hand, is sometimes used today to refer to an almost irrational commitment to something despite the strong evidence that exists against a kind of irrational to believe something we're pretty sure that's not true decision. (If your favorite soccer team continues to lose games, someone may try to encourage you to "have faith" even though all the facts point in the opposite direction). In these two popular ways, the words "believe" and "faith" have an opposite direction to biblical sense.
The word trust is closer to the biblical concept, since we are familiar with trusting people every day. The more we get to know a person, and we see in that person a lifestyle which justifies confidence, the more we feel encouraged to put our trust in that person fulfill what it promises, or act in ways that we can trust.
The full sense of personal confidence is found in several passages of Scripture in which the initial saving faith is expressed in very personal terms, often using analogies drawn from personal relationships. John says: "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" Jn 1: 12).
John speaks of receiving Christ in the same way we receive a guest in our home. John 3: 16 says, "or that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John uses here a striking phrase when not simply says: "Everyone who believes him" (that is, to believe that what he says is true and trustworthy), but rather says, "whoever believes in him" . The Greek phrase eis auton pisteuo could be translated as "believe in him" with the sense of confidence going in and rests on Jesus as a person. Leon Morris can say:
"Faith, for John, is an activity that brings men out of themselves and makes them one with Christ." He understands the pisteuo Greek phrase eis as a significant indication that the faith of the New Testament is not only an intellectual assent but includes a "moral element of personal trust": An expression that was rare or perhaps nonexistent in the Greek secular world outside new Testament, but it was very appropriate to express personal trust in Christ that is involved in saving faith.
Jesus speaks of "go to it" in several places. He says, "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and whoever comes to me, I do not reject him "Jn 6: 37).
He also says: "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" Jn 7: 37). In like manner, he says: "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light "(Mt 11: 28-30).
In these passages we have the idea of going to Christ for acceptance, living water to drink, and rest and training. All this gives us an intensely personal image of what is in saving faith.
The author of Hebrews asks us to remember that Jesus is alive in heaven and ready for us: "Therefore is able to save completely those who through him closer to God, because he always lives to intercede for them" ( I 7:25). Jesus appears here (as many times in the New Testament) as someone who is alive in heaven, always able to help those who come to him.
Reformed theologian J. 1. Packer cites the following paragraphs of British Puritan John Owen written describing Christ's invitation to respond in personal faith.
This is something the word he speaks to you to you: Why die? Why perish? Why do not you have mercy on your own soul? Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong, in the day of wrath to come?
Come to Me and be saved; Come to me and I will sweeten from all your sins, sorrows, fears, burdens and give rest to your soul. Come, I beg you, Let All The Indecision, All The delay; Do not miss More For Another Day; Eternity is at your doorstep. Do not hate me To The Point Of You Want Perish rather than accept my release.
These things and others like are what the Lord Jesus Christ continually declares, proclaims, pray and urges the souls of sinners. It does so by preaching the word, as if present Contigo, as if between us, and speaks personally to each.
He has appointed ministers of the Gospel to appear before you and interact with You In His Name, And You Extend the invitation They Dan In His Name. (2nd Corinthians 5: 19-20) '
With this concept of the true faith of the New Testament in mind, we can now see that when a person comes to Christ trusting him, all three elements must be present. There must be some basic knowledge or understanding of the truths of the gospel. There must also be approved of those truths, or agree with them.
This agreement includes the conviction that what the gospel is true, especially the fact that I am a sinner in need of salvation and that Christ is the only one who has paid the penalty for my sin and gives me salvation. It also includes the awareness that I need to trust in Christ for salvation and that he is the only way to God and the only means provided for my salvation.
This approval of the truths of the gospel will also involve the desire to be saved through Christ. But all this still does not come to saving faith. That comes only when one takes the decision itself will depend on Christ and put their trust in him as Savior. This personal decision to trust in Christ is something you do with the heart, the central authority of all being that makes the commitments of one person.
Contrary to the current secular concept of "faith", the true faith of the New Testament is not something that gets stronger by ignorance or by believing against the evidence.
Rather, Saving Faith is consistent with the knowledge and true understanding of the facts. Paul says, "So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom 10: 17).
When people have true information about Christ, they are better able to put their trust in him. In addition, the more we know about him and about the character of God as revealed in Christ, we are more able to put our trust in him. So faith is not weakened with knowledge, but should increase with true knowledge.
In the case of saving faith in Christ, our knowledge of it comes by believing in a reliable testimony about it. Here, the reliable testimony that we believe are the words of Scripture. Since they are formed with the same words of God, they are completely reliable, and obtain a true knowledge of Christ through them.
This is why what "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17). In our daily life we come to believe many things when we heard the testimony of a reliable and trustworthy person. This kind of decision is even more justified here, when God's words give us that testimony and we believe it.