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Faith Defined: Knowledge, Belief and Trust


“By grace you are saved, through faith” in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

The grace of God is the open fountain that saves the sinner. “By grace you are saved.”

The grace of God is an infinite attribute of God. The first and last moving cause of our salvation is God’s grace. “No man comes to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him,” said Jesus. The effectual call of God is of grace. Even our faith is the result of a divine operation. Our salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

“In due time, Christ died for the ungodly.” God in His marvelous grace provided that sacrifice which covers all our sins.

Why is faith so important? Faith is the channel or conduit through which we receive God’s free gift of salvation.

Let us make it very clear that you faith does not save you. We are saved by the grace of God. Faith is not an independent source of salvation. It is not how much faith we have as if we are to psych ourselves up to a certain level of faith. Salvation is received by “looking unto Jesus,” not by looking at our faith. Faith is not the power that saves. God saves us by His grace. The saving power of God is found in His grace, and not in our faith. Faith focuses our eyes upon Jesus Christ alone who died for our sins.

“By grace are you saved, through faith.” You would think that you could not get much clearer than that. C. H. Spurgeon said faith is made up of three things—“knowledge, belief, and trust.”

We must have knowledge of certain facts in order to be saved. What is the good news of Jesus Christ? How do you receive God’s free gift of salvation? We must know certain facts about sin, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. Without this knowledge we cannot be saved.

“For while we were still helpless [sinners] at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8). That is essential knowledge we need in order to be saved. Without knowing that we are sinners, and that Jesus died for our sins, we cannot be saved. You cannot be saved without knowing the fact that Jesus died for you, in your place, on the cross.

“He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We receive “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (3:22-25).

God displayed “His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v. 26). “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (v. 28). “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (4:3). “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (v. 5).

Faith begins with knowledge of certain facts, and moves on to believe that these things are true.

I believe the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me of all my sins, and that His sacrifice is completely and fully acceptable to God on my behalf. Since I have believed on Jesus Christ as my Savior I will never be condemned. “Believe these truths as you believe any other statements; for the difference between common faith and saving faith lies mainly in the subjects upon which it is exercised. Believe the witness of God just as you believe the testimony of your own father or friend. ‘If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater’” (Spurgeon).

Faith believes that Jesus Christ will do what He has promised to do. Therefore, we can trust Him.

True faith believes certain things. It rests upon this sure knowledge. When we trust in Jesus we are making a commitment that His sacrifice on the cross is complete and fully acceptable by God on sinful man’s behalf. The object of our faith is Jesus Christ.

When we trust in a chair or hammock to hold us we make a commitment by placing all our weight upon it. It is a leaning upon a thing. When we have faith in Christ we are leaning with all our weight upon Him. We “fall at full length, and we lie on the Rock of Ages. Cast yourself upon Jesus; rest in Him, commit yourself to Him.” When you do that, you have exercised saving faith. Faith is not a blind thing, because faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. We must each one trust in Christ. “He that believes on Him has everlasting life.” We trust Jesus to save us.



Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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