Faith – From the Bible Cyclopedia A.R Fausset 1911

Faith. Heb. xi. 1, ” the substance of
things hoped for (i.e., it substantiates
God’s promises, the fulfilment of
which we hope, it makes them present
realities), the evidence (elenchos, 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 xx. 29, 1 Pet. i. 8). We
are justified (i.e. counted just before
God) judicially by God (Rom. viii.
33), meritoriously by Christ (Isa. liii.
11, Rom. v. 19), mediately orinstrumentally
by faith (v. 1), evidentially
by works. Loving trust. Jas.ii. 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 (Gen. xv. 6).
Forty years afterwards, when God
did “tempt,” i.e. put him to the test,
his justification was demonstrated
before tbe world by bis offering Isaac
(xxii.). ” As tbe body apart from
(choris) 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
faitb 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 withmt the
spirit ; thus St. James exactly agrees
with St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 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 v. 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
(pisteuo Theo) is believing in
(pisteuo eis ton hvAon, 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 Saviour,
and so to ” have the witness in himself
” (1 Cor. xii. 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 hi. 23) ; whence it is called
the ” obedience of faith ” (Rom. i. 5,
xvi. 26; Acts vi. 7), the highest
obedience, without which works seemingly
good are disobediences to God
(Heb. xi. 6). Faith justifies not by
its own merit, but by tbe merit of
Him in whom we believe (Rom. iv.
3, Gal. iii. 6). Faith makes the interchange,
whereby our sin is imputed
to Him and His righteousness is imputed
to us (2 Cor. v. 19, 21 ; Jer.
xxiii. 6 ; 1 Cor. i. 30). ” Such are we
in the sight of God the Father, as is
the very Son of God Himself”
(Hooker) (2 Pet. i. 1; Rom. iii. 22,
iv.6, x. 4; Isa. xlii. 21, xiv. 21, 24,
25).

evl

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