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    Christian Theology - Thread: What is FAITH?

    1. #1
      atpollard is offline Veteran Member
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      What is FAITH?

      There are lots of scriptures ABOUT Faith, and people like to argue about where Faith comes from, but WHAT IS Faith?
      Is faith the same as belief, or is it something more?

    2. #2
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Quickly (I should provide Scriptures but this is quick)....


      FAITH is used in Scripture (and theology) in two different ways:


      Truth. It can mean the corpus of Truth (or at least what Christians hold as Truth). It's an affirmation of a body of teachings.


      Trust. It can mean our spiritual trust and active reliance. This is especially the meaning in the context of Justification, the meaning in Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - SOLA FIDE. This is not a function of the brain, nor is it an affirmation of doctrines but rather trusting. When you apply the brakes of your car, you have active reliance on them. This faith is "the free gift of God." This kind of faith is not possible for unregenerate folks to create or choose.





      I wrote this at another website 10 years ago....


      Faith can be a noun (in which case it applies to the subject of our faith) or as a verb (in which case it applies to the trust/reliance in that subject).


      I'll address it from the standpoint of the verb since that's the use we commonly use.


      "Faith" = to trust, to rely. Especially trust and reliance in something that cannot be empiracally proven. Theologically, to trust and rely on God.


      When I was a kid, I had surgery (long story, doesn't matter). Anyway, I was just old enough to know I could die - and what that meant. I actually was okay with that. It had very little to do with heaven (a concept not yet in my heart or head) but with 1 John 4:8, "We rely on the love of God, because God is love."

      I remember meeting the surgeon in the hospital - and that he kept calling me by the wrong name (Joseph, I think). I realized, he doesn't know me (not even my name!) - much less love me or even care about me. That was powerful. And yet, Mom and Dad told me he was a good doctor and God could use him. I was okay with that... I remember being moved onto the cold, hard table with the huge light above me - although by this time I was already very sleepy - fighting that as best I could.

      I didn't know anything about the surgery, I didn't know anything about this surgeon, and clearly he knew nothing about me (not even my name) - or any of the rest of the staff involved in all this. And yet, I entrusted my life. Willingly. And I so remember being okay wih that. I so remember thinking: no matter what, it's okay, God loves me, and all that I love.

      While my reliance was active on my part (I placed my life in their hands), there were no "works" on my part involved. There was no "obedience" other than I laid limp and allowed to happen whatever happened.


      I know how planes fly; I understand the principles involved. Still, whenever I board one of those HUGE planes, I am amazed. They are so big and heavy! And inside, they are STUFFED with overweight Americans (probably more so than the engineers planned for), and under them, all their luggage - too much. It's always the same. I look at those wings and that curvature and think, "no way!" And, of course, I don't know the pilot and he doesn't know me (or care). I don't know the flight plan or the weather report. I don't know the mechanics or their reports or when this plane was last overhauled. In fact, I know NOTHING about this particular plan or crew or flight. And I realize that when a plane stops working at 40K feet, well, it means we'll all be meeting Jesus. While the ODDS of that are very small, that means little for this particular flight - this could be that 1% (or whatever). It bothers me not. I board the plane. And as it takes off, as it's going down the runway, I hope to be able to see the wings and sit (passively!) in awe of it all, and then, surprisingly soon, the wheels chirp, and the plane rises - gloriously, and Hawaii is just 5 hours away.



      Faith and Knowledge certainly have a relationship, but it's not a causitive or mechanical one, but rather a relational one. See my two illustrations above.

      To insist that faith is the RESULT of knowledge is to deny that those below a certain IQ or age are capable of faith and therefore of salvation. And, IMO, undermines the very nature of faith which is to rest, rely, trust.

      I am well aware that I can't "prove" much of anything in my heart. Actually, I "understand" probably LESS today than I did 3 or 4 years ago, more aware of the questions than the answers I have, more aware of mystery. It hasn't impacted my faith at all (if anything, it's increased it).



      .


      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 06-22-2019 at 09:36 AM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    3. #3
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11: 1 and Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).

      I like how Martin Luther defined it: "Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace."
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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    5. #4
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    6. #5
      JRT is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      I like how Martin Luther defined it: "Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace."
      I like that definition as well. I also noted that he stayed away from defining faith as belief.

    7. #6
      Pedrito's Avatar
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      ================================================== ============================================

      Post #3 (Lämmchen):
      "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11: 1 and Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).
      However, other verses in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere, indicate that Faith is generated from within a person, and that a person who does internally generate such faith, is praiseworthy in God’s eyes. For instance, look at Hebrews 11:2; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:5; Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 11:7,8,9,10,11.

      These all speak of an internally generated, praiseworthy faith. Otherwise, they are being accounted worthy by God, based on a faith that has nothing to do with them, but was injected into them by that same God. (It would seem that there’s some kind of circular reasoning in there somewhere.)

      ================================================== ============================================

      It has been pointed out somewhere and sometime before, that a false teaching (but an emotionally important one), has been based on an inadequate translation of Ephesians 2:8.

      In many languages around the world (but not English) nouns and their associated adjectives, etc. have gender, which must agree. Spanish, French, Italian, German, for instance. Greek also.

      In the light of that, Ephesians 2:8 actually means: “For by grace [feminine] are ye saved through faith [feminine]; and that [neuter – referring in this instance to the act of being saved, not to the grace nor to the faith] not of yourselves: it [neuter – referring in this instance to the act of being saved, not to the grace nor to the faith] is the gift of God:

      So it cannot be honestly said, based on this verse, that “Faith is a gift from God”.


      But I doubt that many people will be willing to recant that emotionally important belief, simply because the claimed, firm, Scriptural foundation for it appears to be more like quicksand.


      ================================================== ============================================
      Seeking to understand with precision, God's holy and coherent revelation to us.

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    9. #7
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pedrito View Post
      ================================================== ============================================

      Post #3 (Lämmchen):


      However, other verses in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere, indicate that Faith is generated from within a person, and that a person who does internally generate such faith, is praiseworthy in God’s eyes. For instance, look at Hebrews 11:2; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:5; Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 11:7,8,9,10,11.

      These all speak of an internally generated, praiseworthy faith. Otherwise, they are being accounted worthy by God, based on a faith that has nothing to do with them, but was injected into them by that same God. (It would seem that there’s some kind of circular reasoning in there somewhere.)

      ================================================== ============================================

      It has been pointed out somewhere and sometime before, that a false teaching (but an emotionally important one), has been based on an inadequate translation of Ephesians 2:8.

      In many languages around the world (but not English) nouns and their associated adjectives, etc. have gender, which must agree. Spanish, French, Italian, German, for instance. Greek also.

      In the light of that, Ephesians 2:8 actually means: “For by grace [feminine] are ye saved through faith [feminine]; and that [neuter – referring in this instance to the act of being saved, not to the grace nor to the faith] not of yourselves: it [neuter – referring in this instance to the act of being saved, not to the grace nor to the faith] is the gift of God:

      So it cannot be honestly said, based on this verse, that “Faith is a gift from God”.


      But I doubt that many people will be willing to recant that emotionally important belief, simply because the claimed, firm, Scriptural foundation for it appears to be more like quicksand.


      ================================================== ============================================

      You posted verses claiming that faith comes from something that man creates within him. But those verses do not say that at all. Is Jesus not the author and perfecter of your faith? It's the Holy Spirit that gives man faith. It's the Holy Spirit that increases faith in man. That is not something man can do from within himself. Jesus even said that unless one is born again (a more accurate translation is born from above) one cannot see the kingdom of God. All our blessings including faith come from God...not from man.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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    11. #8
      atpollard is offline Veteran Member
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      Ephesians 2:8
      “For by grace [feminine] are ye saved [masculine] through faith [feminine]; and that [neuter] not of yourselves: it [neuter] is the gift of God:”


      “That” and “it”, being [neuter] cannot refer to either the [feminine] “grace” or the [feminine] “faith” or the [masculine] “saved” alone. The only meaning that makes sense from Greek grammar is for the [neuter] pronouns to refer to both the [feminine] and [masculine] nouns collectively.

      So “that” and “it” both refer to “saved by grace through faith” (the whole thing).

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    13. #9
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11: 1 and Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).

      I like how Martin Luther defined it: "Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace."
      I believe these verses you mentioned covers it pretty well.
      It isn't an easy intellectual belief that God calls us to. It is a belief to the point where we are willing to die to self, take up our cross and follow him. We are literally "all in".

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    15. #10
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
      Ephesians 2:8
      “For by grace [feminine] are ye saved [masculine] through faith [feminine]; and that [neuter] not of yourselves: it [neuter] is the gift of God:”


      “That” and “it”, being [neuter] cannot refer to either the [feminine] “grace” or the [feminine] “faith” or the [masculine] “saved” alone. The only meaning that makes sense from Greek grammar is for the [neuter] pronouns to refer to both the [feminine] and [masculine] nouns collectively.

      So “that” and “it” both refer to “saved by grace through faith” (the whole thing).

      Yup. Faith (in the sense of reliance in justification) is a free gift of God. This "fits" with a number of other passages, such as "It is not possible for anyone to even say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" etc.

      Soli Deo Gloria
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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