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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Faith

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Hebrews 11:1, "the substance of things hoped for (i.e., it substantiates God's promises, the fulfillment of which we hope, it makes them present realities), the evidence (elengchos , the 'convincing proof' or 'demonstration') of things not seen." Faith accepts the truths revealed on the testimony of God (not merely on their intrinsic reasonableness), that testimony being to us given in Holy Scripture. Where sight is, there faith ceases (John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:8). We are justified (i.e. counted just before God) judicially by God (Romans 8:33), meritoriously by Christ (Isaiah 53:11; Romans 5:19), mediately or instrumentally by faith (Romans 5:1), evidentially by works. Loving trust. James 2:14-26, "though a man say he hath faith, and have not works, can (such a) faith save him?" the emphasis is on "say," it will be a mere saying, and can no more save the soul than saying to a "naked and destitute brother, be warmed and filled" would warm and fill him.

"Yea, a man (holding right views) may say, Thou hast faith and I have works, show (exhibit to) me (if thou canst, but it is impossible) thy (alleged) faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." Abraham believed, and was justified before God on the ground of believing (Genesis 15:6). Forty years afterward, when God did" tempt," i.e. put him to the test, his justification was demonstrated before the world by his offering Isaac (Genesis 22). "As the body apart from (chooris ) the spirit is dead, so faith without the works (which ought to evidence it) is dead also." We might have expected faith to answer to the spirit, works to the body. As James reverses this, he must mean by "faith" here the FORM of faith, by "works" the working reality. Living faith does not derive its life from works, as the body does from its animating spirit.

But faith, apart from the spirit of faith, which is LOVE (whose evidence is works), is dead, as the body is dead without the spirit; thus James exactly agrees with Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:2, "though I have all faith ... and have not charity (love), I am nothing." In its barest primary form, faith is simply crediting or accepting God's testimony (1 John 5:9-13). Not to credit it is to make God a "liar"! a consequence which unbelievers may well start back from. The necessary consequence of crediting God's testimony (pisteuoo Τheoo ) is believing in (pisteuoo eis ton huion , i.e. "trusting in") the Son of God; for He, and salvation in Him alone, form the grand subject of God's testimony. The Holy Spirit alone enables any man to accept God's testimony and accept Jesus Christ, as his divine Savior, and so to "have the witness in himself" (1 Corinthians 12:3). Faith is receptive of God's gratuitous gift of eternal life in Christ.

Faith is also an obedience to God's command to believe (1 John 3:23); from whence it is called the "obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; Acts 6:7), the highest obedience, without which works seemingly good are disobediences to God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith justifies not by its own merit, but by the merit of Him in whom we believe (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). Faith makes the interchange, whereby our sin is imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30). "Such are we in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God Himself" (Hooker) (2 Peter 1:1; Romans 3:22; Romans 4:6; Romans 10:4; Isaiah 42:21; Isaiah 45:21-24; Isaiah 45:25).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Faith'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/f/faith.html. 1949.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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