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Theology 101 (Lesson 17)
What is faith?
“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.”
Faith is the act of trusting the living God, even though we cannot see him.
In the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11, faith is defined as "the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen."
Biblical, saving faith is not merely an intellectual belief in God but a complete trust and reliance on him. True faith involves the heart, mind, and soul, and it has a transforming effect on a person's life. It is not a passive acceptance of facts but an active response to God's invitation to trust those facts apply to the person expressing faith.
Saving faith involves the recognition of our need for a savior and the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is that savior.
This kind of faith is not based on human effort or merit but is a gift from God.
As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (NIV)
The Bible teaches that faith is the means for receiving the gift of salvation in Christ.
For example, in John 3:16, we read, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
The book of James provides additional insight into the nature of saving faith.
James 2:14-26 teaches that faith without works is dead.
In other words, genuine faith will produce good fruit as evidence of its reality.
Faith and works are not two separate things but are interconnected—like the root of a tree is the source of the tree's fruit.
Works are the external manifestation of an internal, living faith. In other words, saving faith will lead to a changed life.
As we abide in Jesus as our sin-bearer and righteousness provider, the Holy Spirit works in us to produce his fruit through us.
What is saving faith and how does it differ from mere intellectual belief?
Why is saving faith a gift from God and not based on human merit or effort? In what does saving faith trust?
Describe the relationship between the root of faith and the fruit of faith.
What role does the Holy Spirit play in producing spiritual fruit in a person's life?
Dear Father in heaven,
We confess that our faith is a gift of your grace, and thank you for enabling us to see our need for a Savior in Jesus.
As we abide in Jesus, allow your Holy Spirit to work in us to produce fruit that brings glory to Your name.
For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.