What is faith?

The question, in relation to salvation, has been asked, “What is faith?”

I thought I’d try to answer the question in this post.

From http://dictionary.reference.com

faith [feyth]

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
9.  in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.

1200–50; ME feith < AF fed, OF feid, feit < L fidem, acc. of fidēs trust, akin to fīdere to trust. See confide
I think of faith as trust – belief in someone. In this case, when speaking about faith required for salvation, it is faith in Christ’s saving work on the cross – that God sent His Son to be born, live a sinless life despite being tempted, suffer and die for our sins, was buried and was resurrected on the third day to show His power over death. But it is belief with conviction. It is belief held to such a degree that it engenders change. This belief will be expressed in our lives through changing our minds about God and the saving work of Christ and it will engender obedience to Christ. If we have faith, we will have evidence of it in our lives.

Faith does not require works. It engenders works.
There IS a slight difference.

Jesus said we have to believe in Him to have eternal life (Jn 3:14-18)
Paul said we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:9-10).
James said faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26)
Paul also taught the need to change, turn to God and prove repentace through deeds (Acts 26:20).

But it is belief held to the degree where it can be called faith or confidence that we need to be saved. Should someone live longer than the instant they come to have the belief spoken of by Christ (which Pail and James term faith) it will engender them to put their trust into practice through obedience to what Christ taught, including calling upon Christ verbally and through through baptism.

However, since Christ said we need only to believe to have eternal life, I must take Him at His word and say we only need belief. Therefore, I think if a man dies before putting that belief into action, they were saved if they had the belief spoken of by Christ, and so have eternal life.

Some posts I’ve written regarding faith:

7 Responses

  1. Perhaps, instead of faith, one should examine the Greek pistis.

    I do agree, but the way, that Faith engenders works, because faith without works is dead.

  2. yeah. I have not found a resource I like to replace the old biblestudytools.com interface. I dont like the new one.

  3. I tend to agree with you about that one…. further, not sure the value of defining a word only according to usage in the NT, especially since that creates a circle.

  4. Bibleworks does it, if I understand what you mean. Ill try to run a study on it tomorrow.

    • I can see the terms in Greek and Hebrew. And if I buy the resources for the OT for logos, I can run it there and see the greek in the OT, I think. But, I meant online. I tend to do most of my research online these days.

  5. […] God works, as I’ve been working on a study of faith, belief, and evidence of faith, having recently posted on this topic. I also have a listing of posts I’ve made on faith as […]

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