A. THE DEFINITION OF FAITH.
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20).
“…And shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
What is saving faith? It is a faith from the heart. Faith means belief and trust. It is the assent
of the mind and the consent of the will. Intellectual faith is not sufficient (James 2:19; Acts
8:13,21). A person may give intellectual assent to the gospel without committing his life to it.
Belief in the heart is essential (Romans 10:9). Intellectual faith means the acknowledgment that
the gospel facts are true; heart faith means the willing dedication of one’s life to the obligations,
which these facts involve. Faith as trust implies also an emotional element; thus saving faith is
an act of the entire personality involving intellect, emotion and will.
The FAITH that SAVES is a LIVING faith that WORKS. It is not just a mental assent. It is a
FAITH UNTO OBEDIENCE. Without repentance it is impossible for a man to believe to the
saving of his soul. Likewise without obedience it is impossible to believe.
FAITH, REPENTANCE, OBEDIENCE are all necessary and essential, and you cannot have
two of them without the third. This truth clearly explains many things, which could not be
understood otherwise. The story of the conversion of the Philippian jailer makes this plain.
B. THREE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF FAITH.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee” (Psalm 9:10).
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Faith rests upon the best of evidence, namely the Word of God. Faith is no blind act of the
soul; it is not a leap in the dark. Such a thing as believing with the heart without the head is
out of the question. A man may believe with his head without believing with his heart; but
he cannot believe with his heart without believing with his head too.
“And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master thou hast said the truth; for there is one God;
and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:32).
In order to possess saving faith, there must be an assent in the heart to the Word of God.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”
A man may know Christ as divine, and yet reject Him as Saviour. Faith is the consent of the
will to the assent of the understanding. Faith always has in it the idea of action movement
towards its object. It is the soul leaping forth to embrace and appropriate the Christ in
whom it believes.
FAITH connects the GRACE OF GOD and the SINNER. FAITH is the HAND, which
takes what GOD OFFERS.
C. THE SOURCE OF FAITH.
There are two sources of faith: divine and human.
“…But to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…faith” (Galatians 5:22).
“To another faith by the same Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:9).
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)
Faith is a gift of God’s grace. God wills to work faith in all men, and will do so if they do
not resist the Holy Spirit. We are responsible not so much for the lack of faith as for
resisting the Spirit who will create faith in our hearts.
What can man do to possess faith? We shall consider THREE things that man can do in
order to have saving faith.
a. HEAR THE WORD OF GOD.
By studying God’s Word, attending Bible Studies, and hearing the preaching of God’s
Word, a man may receive faith. References: Acts 4:4, Romans 10:17 and Galatians 3:5.
b. FAITH MAY COME THROUGH PRAYER.
The disciples prayed for faith and the Lord said that He prayed that His disciples might
have faith. Many times faith will come directly in answer to prayer. References: Luke
17:5, Luke 22:32 and Mark 9:24.
c. FAITH GROWS BY THE USE OF FAITH.
Faith will increase and grow stronger if faith is put to work. We must use the measure
of faith that we have if we desire more faith. References: Matthew 25:29, I Peter 1:7.
D. THE RESULTS OF FAITH.
Salvation with all of its aspects and phases is a result of faith. Our whole salvation with its
fruits is dependent upon faith.
E. THE PROPER ORDER.
FACT, FAITH, FEELING – this is God’s order. Satan would reverse this order and put feeling
before faith. All goes well as long as the proper order is kept. Feed FAITH with FACTS, not
with FEELING. Steam is of main importance not for sounding the whistle but for moving the
wheels. If there is a lack of steam, blowing the whistle will not help; we need more water and
more fire under it. So it is with FAITH.
The question is sometimes asked: Which happens first, repentance or faith? Does a man
believe before he repents, or does a man repent before he believes? It is the writer’s opinion that
they take place at the same time. A person cannot repent unless he believes, and he cannot
believe unless he repents.
F. STEPS IN RECEIVING FULL NEW TESTAMENT SALVATION.
It might be profitable to consider the steps a man takes in order to receive full New Testament
Salvation. This embraces all of the following steps and none of them can be deliberately and
willfully omitted. Read from the bottom to the top:
8. Resurrection and Rapture.
7. Live a Holy Life, Holiness.
6. Receive the Holy Ghost.
5. Be baptized by immersion in the Name of Jesus.
4. Repent of sin, confession, restitution, etc.
3. Believe on Jesus Christ, Faith.
2. Be convicted of sin; realize the need of salvation.
1. Hear the Word of Life, the Gospel.
SELF HELP TEST
A. Write a full definition of faith.
B. Place the correct word in the blanks of the following groups of words:
Faith _________________ Obedience
Fact _________________ Feeling
Knowledge _________________ Appropriation
Repentance _________________ Holy Ghost
Give, in order, the steps a man takes in order to receive full New Testament Salvation.