Fundamental Doctrines of the Bible - Faith
The word "Faith" is largely a New Testament word, being only mentioned twice in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:20 and Habakkuk 2:4). This does not mean however, as some have inferred, that godly men and women in the Old Testament did not exercise faith. Look at the great roll call of faith in Hebrews 11: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and others are all said to have received from God "By faith."
The English word "faith" in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek word Pistis meaning "moral conviction of religious truth-assurance, belief, fidelity."
Yet faith is not a quality that is an end in itself. In the Bible, faith is always connected to God, particularly with regard to what God has said, promised, or offered by grace.
Here are some examples from the Scriptures:
"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through FAITH in His blood..." Romans 3:24-25
"And Jesus answering saith unto them, have FAITH in God." Mark 11:22
"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:4-5
"Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by FAITH without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:28
Faith is commonly said to consist of three main elements:
- An intellectual element
- An emotional element
- An element of the will
The intellectual element involves a recognising of the truth of God's Word (illuminated by the Holy Spirit) and a basic understanding and accepting of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The emotional element or assent is a strong conviction that grips the soul. One would expect this from any person who has been humbled by the reality of Christ's sacrifice and their own unmerited salvation.
The element of the will is a decision to accept the testimony of God above the testimony of men and consequently, to surrender the soul in complete trust to Jesus Christ.
When it comes to the salvation, we talk of "saving faith," which the Apostle Paul says is "the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
It must be understood that this gift of faith is given by God, in response to faith. A lost sinner must reach out to God in such a way as the three elements describe. As the Bible instructs us, "Draw nigh (near) to God, and He will draw nigh to you." James 4:8
Through faith we are able to be made "partakers of the Holy Ghost," and taste "the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come."
As John Wesley said, "God heals all our Atheism by the knowledge of Himself, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent; by giving us faith, a divine evidence and conviction of God, and of the things of God in particular, of this important truth, 'Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me.'
Verses for Memorizing and Meditating Upon: