Faith for the Christian always starts with what is known as ‘saving grace’. The response to God’s calling in which salvation occurs is faith. Wayne Grudem states “the turning from sin is called repentance; the turning to God is called Faith”
Yesterday we seen that Credulity must not be confused with faith, and consequently, faith of any kind including saving faith must start with intellectual acceptance.
Faith is always based on fact, or what is deemed to be fact, whether in the natural world or in the spiritual world. For example, we consider it a fact that a man named Christopher Columbus was commissioned by the Spanish royalty to cross the Atlantic and seek fame and fortune for his home land. We have never met Him or anyone else who might have known him, but we accept the testimony of history about him.
In the Bible there are also certain events revealed which faith accepts as factual. Some of these facts deal with natural historical events, such as the truth that Cain killed his brother Abel (Gen 4). Others relate to the gospel and deal with things that are not normal in the natural order. Faith accepts the testimony of God that such supernatural events as creation and the miracles of Jesus actually occurred. We were not there when God created the world any more than we were there when Columbus landed on the coast of San Salvador, but we believe in these facts.
Faith especially believes what the Bible says about the person and works of Jesus Christ. It accepts the fact He was both God and man, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died for sinners and rose again from the dead, that He existed eternally with the Father before coming to earth. When a person believe this with their whole heart (Acts 8:37; 16:30-31) they become a Christian.
Christian faith cares about the evidence. For the biblical Christian, the facts matter. You can’t have assurance for something you don’t know you’re going to get. You can only hope for it. This is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important. It gives assurance to the hope. Because of this Paul is able to say in 1 Corinthians 15 that when it comes to the resurrection, if we have only hope, but no assurance–if Jesus didn’t indeed rise from the dead then we are of most men to be pitied. This confidence Paul is talking about is not a confidence in a mere “hope” of a resurrection, a mythical resurrection, a story-telling resurrection. Instead, it’s a belief in a real resurrection. The Bible knows nothing of a bold leap-in-the-dark faith, a hope-against-hope faith, a faith with no evidence. Rather, if the evidence doesn’t correspond to the hope, then the faith is in vain.
There are many parts of the Bible that the believer does not fully understand. There are also truths of scripture that quite simply overwhelm us with their weight and glory. But even when human reason cannot plumb the depths of the truth of God, faith says ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief’ (Mark 9:24).
So, faith is knowing, and that knowledge is based on evidence leading to confidence or conviction. But biblical faith is more than that. There’s another element. Faith is not just knowing, and that we will consider tomorrow.