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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

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Faith, Article of
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Is that assent which we give to a proposition advanced by another, the truth of which we do not immediately perceive from our own reason and experience; or it is a judgment or assent of the mind, the motive whereof is not any intrinsic evidence, but the authority or testimony of some other who reveals or relates it. The Greek word, translated faith, comes from the verb, to persuade; the nature of faith being a persuasion and assent of the mind, arising from testimony or evidence.

1. Divine faith, is that founded on the authority of God, or it is that assent which we give to what is revealed by God. The objects of this, therefore, are matters of revelation. 1 John 5:9 .

2. Human faith, is that whereby we believe what is told us by men. The objects hereof are matters of human testimony or evidence.

3. Historical faith, is that whereby we assent to the truths of revelation as a kind of certain and infallible record, James 2:17 , or to any fact recorded in history.

4. The faith of miracles, is the persuasion a person has of his being able, by the divine power, to effect a miracle on another, Matthew 17:20 . 1 Corinthians 13:2 . or another on himself, Acts 14:9 . This obtained chiefly in the time of Christ and his apostles.

5. A temporary faith, is an assent to evangelical truths, as both interesting and desirable, but not farther than they are accompanied with temporal advantages; and which is lost when such advantages diminish or are removed, Matthew 11:24 . Luke 8:13 .

6. Faith in respect to futurity, is a moral principle, implying such a conviction of the reality and importance of a future state, as is sufficient to regulate the temper and conduct.

7. Faith in Christ, or saving faith is that principle wrought in the heart by the Divine Spirit, whereby we are persuaded that Christ is the Messiah; and possess such a desire and expectation of the blessings he has promised in his Gospel, as engages the mind to fix its dependence on him, and subject itself to him in all the ways of holy obedience, and relying solely on his grace for everlasting life.

These are the ideas which are generally annexed to the definition of saving faith; but, accurately speaking, faith is an act of the understanding, giving credit to the testimony of the Gospel; and desire, expectation, confidence, &c. are rather the effects of it, than faith itself, though inseparably connected with it. Much has been said as to the order or place in which faith stands in the Christian system, some placing it before, others after repentance. Perhaps the following remarks on the subject may be considered as consistent with truth and Scripture:

1. Regeneration is the work of God enlightening the mind, and changing the heart, and in order of time precedes faith.—

2. Faith is the consequence of regeneration, and implies the perception of an object. It discerns the evil of sin, the holiness of God, gives credence to the testimony of God in his word, and seems to precede repentance, since we cannot repent of that of which we have no clear perception, or no concern about.—

3. Repentance is an after-thought, or sorrowing for sin, the evil nature of which faith perceives, and which immediately follows faith.—

4. Conversion is a turning from sin, which faith sees, and repentance sorrows for, and seems to follow, and to be the end of all the rest.

As to the properties or adjuncts of faith, we may observe,

1. That it is the first and principal grace: it stands first in order, and takes the precedence of other graces, Mark 16:16 . Hebrews 11:6 .—

2. It is every way precious and valuable, 1 Peter 2:1 .—

3. It is called in Scripture, one faith; for though there are several sorts of faith, there is but one special or saving faith, Ephesians 4:5

4. It is also denominated common faith; common to all the regenerate, Titus 1:4 .—

5. It is true, real, and unfeigned, Acts 8:37 . Romans 10:10 .—

6. It cannot be finally lost as to the grace of it, Philippians 1:6 . Luke 22:32 .—

7. It is progressive, Luke 17:5 . 2 Thessalonians 1:3 .—

8. It appropriates and realizes, or, as the apostle says, is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1 .

The evidence or effects of faith, are,

1. Love to Christ, 1 Peter 1:8 . Galatians 5:6 .—

2. Confidence, Ephesians 3:1-21

3. Joy, Romans 5:11 . Philippians 1:25 .—

4. Prayer, Hebrews 4:16 .—

5. Attention to his ordinances, and profit by them, Hebrews 4:2 .—

6. Zeal in the promotion of his glory, 1 Corinthians 15:58 . Galatians 6:9 .—

7. Holiness of heart and life, Matthew 7:20 . 1 John 2:3 . Acts 15:9 . James 2:18; James 2:20; James 2:22 .

See articles ASSURANCE and JUSTIFICATION, IN THIS WORK; and Polhill on Precious Faith; Lambert's Sermons, ser. 13. 14, &c.; Scott's Nature and Warrant of Faith; Romaine's Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith; Rotherham's Ess. on Faith; Dove's Letters on Faith; A. Hall. on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel; Goodwin's Works, vol. 4:

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Faith'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​cbd/​f/faith.html. 1802.
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