Definitions of Faith / Saving Faith

Status
Not open for further replies.

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I think it would be useful to compile a running list of quotes from reformed people on the definition of faith and/or saving faith.

By faith we understand the habit or principle which God the Holy Spirit pours into the hearts of the elect together with a new nature as its first and most important element by which believers obtain out of Christ and passing into them from Christ the ability to receive all the impressions which the divine Word makes upon this faculty and accordingly to be itself, active.

Alexander Comrie, (from a sermon entitiled Does Assurance Belong to the Essence of Faith? by Joel Beeke. The following note appears after this quote: "Personal translation from Kersten, Reformed Dogmatics 2:404; taken from HC 428- 29."

Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

John Calvin, Institutes, Book 3, Chapter 2, Section VII
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Faith may, therefore, be defined to be the persuasion of the truth founded on testimony. The faith of the Christian is the persuasion of the truth of the facts and doctrines recorded in the Scriptures on the testimony of God.

Charles Hodge Systematic Theology, Part III, Chapter XVI
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q72: What is justifying faith?
A72: Justifying faith is a saving grace,[1] wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit [2] and word of God,[3] whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,[4] not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel,[5] but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,[6] and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.[7]

1. Heb. 10:39
2. II Cor. 4:13; Eph. 1:17-19
3. Rom. 10:14, 17
4. Acts 2:37; 4:12; 16:30; John 16:8-9; Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1
5. Eph. 1:13
6. John 1:12; Acts 10:43; 16:31
7. Phil. 3:9; Acts 15:11


The Heidelberg Catechism
Question 21. What is true faith?

Answer: True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, (a) but also an assured confidence, (b) which the Holy Ghost (c) works by the gospel in my heart; (d) that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, (e) are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits. (f)

(a) James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (b) 2 Cor.4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Eph.2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph.2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph.3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Gal.2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Heb.11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb.11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Heb.11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb.11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: Heb.11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb.4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Matt.16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Philip.1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Rom.4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Rom.4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Rom.5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom.10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom.4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Rom.4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. Rom.4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: Rom.4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; Rom.3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom.3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (c) Gal.5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Matt.16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 2 Cor.4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Philip.1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. (d) Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 1 Cor.1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. (e) Rom.1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Gal.3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Heb.10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb.10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Gal.2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (f) Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Rom.3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom.5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Religious faith is belief of the truth on the testimony of God. It includes, (1) Notitia, knowledge; (2) Assensus, assent; (3) Fiducia, trust.

A.A. Hodge Outlines of Theology, Chapter 30
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Westminster Confession:

Chapter XIV.
Of Saving Faith.

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,(a) is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts;(b) and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word: (c) by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.(d)

(a) Heb. 10:39.
(b) II Cor. 4:13; Eph. 1:17, 18, 19; Eph. 2:8.
(c) Rom. 10:14, 17.
(d) I Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32; Rom. 4:11; Luke 17:5; Rom. 1:16, 17.

II. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein;(e) and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands,(f) trembling at the threatenings,(g) and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.(h) But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.(i)

(e) John 4:42; I Thess. 2:13; I John 5:10; Acts 24:14.
(f) Rom. 16:26.
(g) Isa. 66:2.
(h) Heb. 11:13; I Tim. 4:8.
(i) John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11.

III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong;(k) may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but gets the victory;(l) growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ,(m) who is both the author and finisher of our faith.(n)

(k) Heb. 5:13, 14; Rom. 4:19, 20; Matt. 6:30; Matt. 8:10.
(l) Luke 22:31, 32; Eph. 6:16; I John 5:4, 5.
(m) Heb. 6:11, 12; Heb. 10:22; Col. 2:2.
(n) Heb. 12:2.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, pp. 16-17 (1558, 1992)

How faith is necessary, and what faith is

We are at this point such enemies of our own salvation, because of our natural corruption (Rom 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14), that if God had merely contented Himself to tell us that we shall find our salvation in Jesus Christ, we would only mock it; thus has the world always done and will do until the end (1 Cor. 1:23-25; John 10:20; Acts 2:13; Luke 23:35). Even more, if He added nothing more than to tell us also that the means whereby we experience the efficacy of this remedy against eternal death is to believe in Jesus Christ, that would profit us nothing (John 3:5-6). For, in all this, we are more than dumb (Ps. 51:15; Is 6:5; Jer. 1:6), deaf (Ps. 40:6; John 8:47; Matt 13:13), and blind through the corruption of our nature (John 1:5; 3:3; 9:41). It would be no more possible for us even to wish to believe than it would be for a dead man to fly (John 12:38,39; 6:44).

It is necessary therefore that with all this, the good Father, who chose us for His glory, should come to multiply His mercy towards His enemies. In declaring to us that He has given His own only Son so that whosoever takes hold of Him by faith should not perish (John 3:16), He creates also in us this instrument of faith which He requires from us.

Now, the faith of which we speak does not consist only in believing that God is God, and that the contents of His Word are true:- for the devils indeed have this faith, and it only makes them tremble (James 2:19) -- But we call 'faith' a certain knowledge which, by His grace and goodness alone, the Holy Spirit engraves more and more in the hearts of the elect of God (I Cor. 2:6-8). By this knowledge, each of them, being assured in his heart of his election, appropriates to himself and applies to himself the promise of his salvation in Jesus Christ.

Faith, I say, does not only believe that Jesus Christ is dead and risen again for sinners, but it comes also to embrace Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16,39; Heb. 10:22, 23; 1 John 4:13; 5:19, etc). Whosoever truly believes trusts in Him alone and is assured of his salvation to the point of no longer doubting it (Eph. 3:12). That is why St. Bernard said, conformably to the whole of Scripture, what follows, "If you believe that your sins cannot be blotted out except by Him against whom alone you have sinned, you do well. But add yet one point: that you believe that your sins have been forgiven you by Him. This is the testimony that the Holy Spirit gives to our heart, saying, 'Your sins are forgiven you'."

The object and power of true faith

Since Jesus Christ is the object of faith, and indeed Jesus Christ as He is held forth to us in the Word of God, there follow two points which should be noted well.

On the one side, where there is no Word of God but only the word of man, whoever he be, there is no faith there, but only a dream or an opinion which cannot fail to deceive us (Rom 10:2-4; Mark 16:15,16; Rom 1:28; Gal 1:8-9).

On the other side, faith embraces and appropriates Jesus Christ and all that is in Him, since He has been given to us on the condition of believing in Him (John 17:20,21; Rom 8:9). There follows one of two things: either all that is necessary for our salvation is not in Jesus Christ, or if all is indeed there, he who has Jesus Christ by faith has everything. Now, to say that all which is necessary for our salvation is not in Jesus Christ is a very horrible blasphemy, for this would only make Him a Saviour in part (Matt 1:21). There remains therefore the other part: in having Jesus Christ, by faith, we have in Him all that is required for our salvation (Rom 5:1).

This is what the Apostle says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ." (Rom 8:1).
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Thomas Boston, The Beauties of Boston: The Nature of that Faith and Obedience which the Holy Scriptures Teach:

Divine faith is a believing of what God has revealed, because God has said it, or revealed it. People may believe scripture truths, but not with a divine faith, unless they believe it on that very ground, the authority of God speaking in his word. And this divine faith is the product of the Spirit of God in the heart of a sinner, implanting the habit or principle of faith there, and exciting it to a hearty reception and firm belief of whatever God reveals in his word. And the faith which the scripture teaches is what a man is to believe concerning God. This may be reduced to four heads: What God is; the persons in the Godhead; the decrees of God relating to every thing that comes to pass; and the execution of them in his works of creation and providence. Now, though the works of creation and providence show that there is a God, yet that fundamental truth, that God is, and the doctrines relating to the Trinity of Persons in the Unity of the Divine Essence, God's acts and purposes, the creation of all things, the state of man at his creation, his fall, and his recovery by the mediation and satisfaction of Christ, are only to be learned from the holy scriptures.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
John Owen - Justification by Faith "“ p. 294, SGP

All that I would infer from these things is, that the faith whereby we believe unto the justification of life, or which is required of us in a way of duty that we may be justified, is such an act of the whole soul whereby convinced sinners do wholly go out of themselves to rest upon God in Christ for mercy, pardon, life, righteousness, and salvation, with an acquiescence of heart therein; which is the whole of the truth pleaded for.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top