Faith (Gr. πίστις, Lat. fides, Jiducia) is essentially trust. The various uses of the word (both objective and subjective) may be summed up as follows:
1. An objective body of truth: "the faith;" designated by the schoolmen as fides quae creditur, the faith which is believed. So the Augsburg Confession speaks of "our holy faith and Christiasn religion." (This sense does not occur in N.T.)
2. A rule of thought, the fides penes quam creditur: so the Romanm Catholics say such a thing is "of faith" (not found in N.T.).
3. A personal quality, act, or habit of the individual man; the fides qua creditur; the faith by which we believe. This latter is either (I) the exercise of our natural gifts (natural faith), or (II) the exercise of natural gifts under the influence of the divine Spirit with regard to divine things, and especially with regard to the person and work of Christ (the gift of God). This latter is Christian faith, and it includes two elements: (1) the spiritual apprehension of the invisible and eternal (Heb 11:1), and, specifically, (2) trust in Christ as a personal Savior; and, as such, in the Christian system, it is the necessary condition of salvation. It is the instrument or means by which the redemption of Christ is appropriated, and, so far as it is man's act, it is the act of the whole man, mind, affections, and will. It is "a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is freely offered to us in the Gospel."
I. Natural Faith. — All our knowledge presupposes faith. Insthis view Goethe said that he was a "believer in the five senses;" and Fichte, that "man apprehends all reality external to himself through faith alone, a faith that is born with him." In the article BELIEF SEE BELIEF (q.v.) it was shown that there is a foundation laid for the exercise of this principle in the primary laws of thought or self-consciousness in the reason, not of the individual man, but of humanity. Psychologically, "faith is the faculty of grasping evidence, with a propensity to admit it when duly presented to the mind. Just as by sensation and perception we discern certain objects through the medium of the senses, and as by reason we discover some truths, or discern them upon their simple presentation (Chalmers, Institutes of Theology, book 3, chapter 6), without any other warranty than the voice within, so also by faith we discern other truths through the means of testimony or by the voice of authority. Attempts to analyze this quality of the human mind have been often made and as often failed. But still the fact remains that, according to the original, constitution of our nature, we are able and disposed to yield to evidence in proportion to its nature and its strength (Hooker, Ecclesiastes Pol. book 2, chapter 7, § 5); to assent to testimony concerning facts not preasent and manifest; and to submit to authority in the announcement or proposition of truths independently of any internal and direct perception of them by ourselves (Van Mildert, Boyle Lect. serm. 16). In matters of common life, from childhood to old age, we continually act, and are compelled to act, upon this principle (Barrow, On the Creed, seim. in; Hare, Victory of Faith, serm. 4). The child believes its parent or its nurse, and reposes in this belief; and under certain conditions, the man believes the records of past history, the testimony of eye-witnesses, and the affirmations of trustworthy persons capable of understanding that which they affirm. And it is not too much to say that, apart from this principle and practice of belief, man, even in the full exercise of all his other intellectual powers, would be enveloped in such a cloud of ignorance on even the most ordinary subjects, that an arrest would be laid upon all the affairs of civilized life, and there must be an end of all social harmony and order. It is by this'means that we obtain a certainty, not of sight, not of demonstration, not of direct and immediate intuition, but yet a real and efficient certainty in many matters of high practical importance concerning which we must otherwise be hopelessly ignorant and in the dark. This principle lies at the foundation of human affections and family ties, of agricultural and commercial activity, and of a large portion of our most valuable knowledge in science, and our highest attainments in art. Above all, it is thus that we obtain our knowledge of many things divine, and especially of relations subsisting between God and ourselves; an acquaintance with which, as we shall hereafter see, is of the utmost importance to us, while yet, independently of the exercise of faith, it is utterly beyond the reach of every man living" (Rogers, Reason and Faith; Riddle, Bampton Lectures, 1852, lect. 1). Faith "is that operation of the soul in which we are convinced of the existence of what is not before us, of what is not under sense or any other directly cognitive power. It is certainly a native energy of the mind, quite as much as knowledge is, or conception is, or imagination is, or feeling is. Every human being entertains, and must entertain, faith of some kind. He who would insist on always having immediate knowledge must needs go out of the world, for he is unfit for this world, and yet he believes in no other. It is in consequence of possessing the general capacity that man is enabled to entertain specific forms of faith. By a native principle he is led to believe in that of which he can have no adequate conception in the infinity of space and time, and, on evidence of his existence being presented, in the infinity of God. This enables him to rise to a faith in all those great religious verities which God has been pleased to reveal" (McCosh, Intuitions of the Mind, part 3, book 2, chapter 5; see also part 2, book 2, chapter 4).
Guizot, Med. et Etudes Morales (transl. in Journal of Sacred Literature, 12:430 sq.), has a thoughtful essay in which he distinguishes natural beliefs from faith as follows: "No one can doubt that the word faith has an especial meaning, which is not properly represented by belief, conviction, or certitude. Custom and universal opinion confirm this view. There are many simple and customary phrases in which the word faith could not be replaced by any other. Almost all languages have a specially appropriated word to express that which in English is expressed by faith, and which is essentially different from all analogous words. This word, then, corresponds to a state of the human soul; it expresses a moral fact which has rendered such a word necessary. We commonly understand by faith a certain belief of facts and dogmas — religious facts and dogmas. In fact, the word has no other sense when employing it absolutely and by itself — we speak of the faith. That is not, however, its unique, nor even its fundamental sense; it has one more extensive, and from which the religious sense is derived. We say, I have full faith in your words; this man has faith in himself, in his power, etc. This employment of the word in civil matters, so to speak, has become more frequent in our days; it is not, however, of modern invention; nor have religious ideas ever been an exclusive sphere, out of which the notions and the word faith were without application. It is, then, proved by the testimony of language and common opinion, First, that the word faith designates a certain interior state of him who believes, and not merely a certain kind of belief. Secondly, that it is, however, to a certain species of belief — religious belief — that it has been at first and most generally applied. Now our natural beliefs germinate in the mind of man without the co-operation of his reflection and his will. Our scientific beliefs, on the other hand, are the fruit of voluntary study. But faith partakes of, and at the same time differs from, natural and scientific beliefs. It is, like the latter, individual and particular; like the former, it is firm, complete, active, and sovereign. Considered in itself, and independent of all comparison with this or that analogous condition, faith is the full security of the man in the possession of his belief: a possession freed as much from labor as from doubt; in the midst of which every thought of the path by which it has been reached disappears, and leaves no other sentiment but that of the natural and pre-established harmony between the human mind and truth."
II. Christian Faith. — So far as faith is a voluntary act, quality, or habit of man, it is psychologically the same in the theological sense as in common life; the difference lies in the objects of the faith. In order to venerate or love a fellow-man, we must believe in his worthiness; so, for the fear and love of God, which are fundamental elements of the Christian life, faith must pre-exist. But this direction of the soul towards God does not spring from the natural working of the human mind; it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8), and is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit through the word of the Gospel and the free grace of Christ (Ro 10:17; 1Co 1:21). Fides donum dei est, per quod Christum redemptorem nostrum in verbo Evangelii recte agnoscimus (Form. Concord. 3:11). Not that the Holy Spirit endues the soul with any new faculty for the single purpose of receiving Gospel truth; but it quickens and directs an existing faculty, at the same time presenting to it an appropriate object. The true faith. thus excited, is an operation at once of the intellect, the heart, and the will. As said above, this faith, so far as it saves man in Christendom, is specifically trust in Christ as a personal Savior. In further treating it, we give,
(I.) The uses of the words πίστις, faith, and πιστεύω, I believe, in the Scriptures (condensed from Cremer, Worterbuch d. N. Test. Gracitat, Gotha, 1866, 8vo).
(II.) A history of the idea of faith in Christian theology up to the Reformation.
(III.) The Protestant and Romanist doctrines of faith in contrast and comparison with each other.
(IV.) Later Protestant statements of the doctrine.
(I.) Use of the words Faith and believe in Scripture.— Πίστις.
1. In profane Greek, πίστις means primarily trust or confidence, such as one man can have in another; more seldom fidelity or faithfulness which one pledges or keeps; and also the pledge of fidelity, e.g. Sophocles, O.C. 1632; δός μου χερὸς σῆς πίστιν Examples of the primary meaning (trust or confidence) are: Herodotus, 3:24; Sophocles, O. Colossians 950; Xen. Hier. 4:1. In the passive tense (credit) it is found e.g. Aristotle, Eth. 10:8. Parallel with the primary meaning (trust or confidence) stands that of conviction, e.g. πίστιν ἔχειν τινὸς (to have faith in a thing); but this conviction is based upon trust, and not upon knowledge: so that in this sense ὁ πιστεύων stands opposite to εἰδώς, and πίστις to ἐτιστήμη (comp. Plat. Repub. 10:601). In this sense πίστις is used (in the sphere of religion) of belief in the gods, and of acknowledgment of them, not based upon knowledge (comp. Plutarch, Mor. 756, B; Plato, Legg. 976, C, D; Eurip. Med. 413, 414). Rather characteristic is the fact that this faith is not designated as in the N.T. by the verb πιστεύειν, but by νομίζειν (Xen. Mem. I, 1:1).
This element of "acknowledgment," as distinct from knowing (εἰδέναι), is found also in the N.T. significations of the word as used by Paul and others; e.g. 2Co 5:7, "For we walk by faith (πίστεως), not by sight;" Heb 11:27, "By faith (πίστει) he forsook Egypt;" Heb 11:1, "Now faith (πίστις) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ;" Ro 4:18, "Who against hope believed (ἑπίστευσεν) in hope;" Joh 20:29, "Blessed (are) they that have not seen and (yet) have believed" (πιστεύσαντες). But this opposition to "knowledge" or " sight" is not essential to the idea of faith, as is seen from Joh 4:42; Joh 11:45; 1Ti 4:3; Phm 1:6, et al. In fact, the N.T. faith differs from the profane πίστις generally in that it is not a conviction held without reference to any ground or authority (compare 1Pe 3:15; 1Pe 1:21).
In the O.T. the word "faith" is comparatively seldom used; the relation of mian to God and to his revelation is generally designated bysome other term befitting the economy of the law, e.g. "doing God's will," "keeping the commandments," "remembering the Lord" (Ex 3:15), et al. Nevertheless, we do find (as one species of phrases among many to express this relation) terms denoting "trusting," "hoping," "waiting on the Lord" בטח, חסה, קַוָּה, ἐλπίζειν, πεποιθέναι, υπομένειν etc.). But in some of the most important passages of the Old Test. history the word "faith" occurs; e.g. with regard to Abraham (Ge 15:6), "he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness;" of the people of Israel (Ex 4:31; compare 1, 5, 8; 14:31); with regard to the possession of Canaan (De 9:23; comp. 1:32; Ps 78:22,32; Ps 106:24); with regard to the covenant of the law (Ex 19:9). In view of these pregnant passages, we may say that the foundation laid for the N.T. in the Old is laid in "faith" (comp. 2Ch 20:20; Isa 53:1; Isa 7:9; Isa 28:16; Jon 3:5). But unbelief is far oftener spoken of in the O.T. than faith (comp. Ps 27:13; 2Ki 17:14; Ps 78:22,32; Ps 106:24; Nu 20:12; De 9:23; Isa 7:9; Isa 53:1; Nu 14:11; Ps 106:12; Ps 119:66). The verb used in all these passages הֶאֵַמין Hiph. of אמן, to fasten, build to make firm. From the last of these significations follows that of to support, to rely upon, to trust (Job 39:11-12; Job 4:18; Job 15:15); holding a thing for certain and reliable (1Ki 10:7; 2Ch 9:6; La 4:12; Jer 40:14; De 28:66; Job 24:22). Used with relation to God, it denotes a cleaving to him, resting upon his strength, sure confidence in God, which gives fixedness and stability (2Ch 20:20; Isa 7:9).
But there is apparently no corresponding noun to the verb האמין. For אמֵוּנָה corresponds to the partic. in Kal and Niphal, נֶאֶמָן אָמוּן and denotes steadfastness, stability (as an objective quality; e.g. Isa 33:6). In other passages it denotes the personal quality of fidelity, faithfulness (but not of holding fast by faith), e.g. 1Ch 2:22; 2Ch 31:18 (sense wrong in English version); 2Ki 22:7; Jer 7:28. In these passages, where the word refers to man, the Sept. translates it πίστις; but where it refers to God it makes it ἀλήθεια, e.g. Ps 33:4. Here it may be remarked that the reference to this אמונה (faithfulness of God) eby Paul (Ro 3:2 sq.) helps us to fix his idea of faith as definitively trust. As a designation of the religious relation of man to God, אמונה, πίστις is only seldom used in the O.T. (see 1Sa 26:23; Jer 5:3). In these passages it denotes not simply candor, honesty, but rather faithfulness, i.e., faithfulness to the covenant (comp. Jer 5:3 with 1:5, and Mt 23:23). But, after all, we have not yet found our idea of faith. But Hab 2:4 affords a passage in which is decidedly to be found the Pauline idea: ועִרּיק בֶּאמֵוּנָתוֹ יַחיֶה (Sept. ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως μου ζήσεται Apparently this passage was not understood by the Sept., which changed the suffix, of the third person to that of the first, and referred it to the faithfulness and the reliability of God. But אמוּנה stands here with regard to the relation in which the just man, compared with the haughty Chaldsean; holds himself to the divine promises; and it refers, therefore, not tio the relation itself, but to the quality of the relation, as the Talmudic הֵימָנוּתָא הֵימָנוּ denotes the confiding faith (compare Levy Chald. Wdrterbuch). Paul, in citing Hab 2:4, changes the order of the words from that in the Sept. to ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται (Ro 1:17; comp. Delitzsch, Habakkuk pages 50-53 Keil, Kleine Proph. in loc.). So, then, we find laid in the O.T. the ground for the N.T. doctrine of faith as complete confidence, trust; and this, too, combined with a conviction amounting to a recognition of the invisible (comparHebrews 11:1).
Conviction combined with trust, as opposed to doubt, so far as the intellect is concerned, and as opposed to fear, so far as the heart is concerned — these appear, so far, to be the essential elements of faith (comp. Mt 21:21; Jas 1:6; Heb 10:39; Mr 4:40; Heb 6:12; Re 13:10).
2. We find πίστις seemingly used, especially in the Synoptical Gospels, with regard to the relation of individuals to the Lord, to designate special
acts of confidence (Mt 8:10; Mt 9:2,22; Luke, 7:9, 50; 8:48; 17:19, 18:42; Mr 5:34; Mr 10:52; comp. Mt 15:28). But the Synoptists also use the word to denote (not simply special and single exertions of belief, but also) full trust in Christ, and in the divine revels tion in him (Lu 18:8; comp. Mt 8:10; Lu 8:25; Mr 4:40; Lu 22:32; Lu 17:5; Mt 17:20; Mt 21:21). Compared with this (and Paul points out the contrast emphatically), the O.T. revelation was an education for faith (Ga 3:23-26: "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" comp. Ro 11:32; Ac 17:31). But it is to be fully understood also that the epistle to the Hebrews makes faith the means of holding to the God of revelation, in the sphere of the entire econesay of redemption in the O.T. as well as the N.T. (Hebrews 11). In the Acts faith seems to be used as more particularly characteristic of the sphere of the N.T. revelation (Ac 6:7; compare Ro 1:5; Ro 16:26; Ac 13:8; Ac 17:31; Ga 1:23). In Paul's epistles, while the O.T. faith is clearly recognized (e.g. with reference to Abraham, and the citation of Hab 2:4), nevertheless the prevailing O.T. unbelief is especially emphasized (e.g. Ro 11:32); and the contrast between law and gospel (Ga 3:12 sq.) brings out clearly the chief element of N.T. faith as unconditional trust.
The promise, as the correlate of the Gospel, is the N.T. element of the O.T. economy, and demands faith (Ga 3:22; compare 4:21 sq.), but the absence of a σπέρμα ω῏/ ἐπήγγελται (seed to whom the promise was made, Ga 3:19) made necessary the interposition of the law; not a νόμος πίστιως (law of faith), but ἔργων (of works), which, by manifesting sin, was an educator into faith (Ro 3:19; Ga 3:22-23). This throws light upon the contrast of πίστις and ἔργα-χάρις and ὀφείλημα-or πίστις and νόμος (Ga 3:23; also Ro 3:27-28; comp. 4:2, 5; 9:32; Ga 2:16; Ga 3:2,5; comp. 3:12; Eph 2:8; and in contrast to νόμος, Ro 4:13-14,16; Ro 9:30; Ga 3:11-12,23-25). This contrast, it will be observed, is only introduced by Paul in passages in which he is expressly pointing out the difference between the O.T. economy of salvation and that of the N.T.
3. The following classification of the passages in which the waord πίστις occurs will be found useful:
(1.) It is used with reference to an object, Heb 6:1; 1Th 1:8; Mr 11:22; 2Th 2:13; Col 2:12; Php 1:27; Ac 24:24; Ac 26:18; Col 2:5; Ac 20:21; comp. Phm 1:5; 2Ti 3:13; Ga 3:26; Eph 1:15; 2Ti 3:15; Ro 3:25; with the obj.- genit., Ro 3:22; Ga 2:16; Ga 3:22; Eph 3:12; Php 3:9; Ga 2:20; Ac 3:16; Jas 2:1; Re 2:13; Re 14:12; with Tit 1:1, compare Re 17:14.
(2.) Without nearer definition, simply as faith, which adheres with full, conviction and confidence to the N.T. revelation of salvation, and makes this its foundation (support). Here is especially of importance the expression (Ac 3:16), the faith which is by him, an expression which is used to point out the salvation arising from the mediation of Christ, through the looking unto Jesus, the author of faith (Heb 12:2). Under this class, besides the passages of the Synoptical Gospels already referred to, we mention Ac 14:22; Ac 16:5; Col 1:23; 1Pe 5:9; Ro 14:1; Ro 4:19-20; 1Co 16:13; Ro 11:20; 2Co 1:24; 2Co 13:5; 1Ti 2:15; 2Ti 4:7; 2Co 8:7; 2Co 10:15; 2Th 1:3; Col 2:7; 1Ti 1:19; Jas 2:1,14,18; Tit 1:13; Tit 2:2; 2Co 5:7; Ro 1:17; Ga 3:11; Heb 10:38 (comp. Ga 2:20); Ac 13:8; 2Ti 2:18; 1Ti 1:19; 1Ti 4:1; 1Ti 5:8,12; 1Ti 6:10,21; 2Ti 3:8. Then the Pauline expressions ἐκ πίστεως εῖναι, οἱ ἐκ π (they which are of faith; Ga 3:7,9,12,22; Ro 4:16; Ro 3:26; comp. Heb 10:39), ἐσμἐν πίστεως (we are of them that believe), are used of faith proper (compare Ro 14:22-23). The phrases ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῦν, δικαιοῦσθαι, make faith the necessary condition of justification (Ro 3:30; comp. Ga 3:14; Ro 5:1; Ga 2:16; Ga 3:8; Ro 4:13; ἐκ πίοτεως, 9:30; 10:6; Php 3:9; comp. Ro 1:17; Ro 4:5,9). The word πιστις is found joined to ἀγάπη, Eph 6:23; 1Th 3:6; 1Th 5:8; 1Ti 1:14; 1Ti 4:12; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 1:5,13; 2Ti 2:22; Ga 5:6; 1Co 13:13; Re 2:19; with ἐλπίς, ὑπομονή, 1Co 13:13; 2Th 1:4; Re 13:10. The word is also found Ac 6:5,8; Ac 11:24; Ac 14:27; Ac 15:9; Ro 1:8,12; Ro 3:31; Ro 4:12; Ro 5:2; Ro 10:8,17; Ro 12:6; 1Co 2:5; 1Co 15:14,17; 2Co 1:24; 2Co 4:13; Ga 5:5,22 , 6:10; Eph 3:17; Eph 5:5,13; Eph 6:16; Philippians 1:25, 7:7; Col 1:4; 1Th 1:3; 1Th 3:2,5,7,10; 2Th 2:2; 1Ti 1:2,4; 1Ti 2:7; 1Ti 3:9; 1Ti 4:6; 1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 1:5; 2Ti 3:10; Tit 1:1,4; Tit 3:15. Phm 1:6; Heb 10:22; Heb 13:7; Jas 1:3,6; Jas 2:5,14,17-18,20,22,24,26; Jas 5:15; 1Pe 1:5,7,9,21; 2Pe 1:1,5; Jude 1:3,20.
That even in James, confidence, trust (and not mere recognition), is the essential element of faith, is manifest from the passage (Jas 5:15), ἡ εὀχὴ τῆς πίστεως σώσει τὸν κάμνοντα (the prayer of faith shall save the sick). The works of faith are, according to James, such as show forth faith, and without which faith sinks into a mere recognition (Jas 2:19), as dead faith (νεκρά).
It must be noted that the word πίστις occurs in John's epistles only in one place, 1Jo 5:4, and in his Apocalypse in four places (Re 2:13,19; Re 13:10; Re 14:12).
There remain a few passages in which πίστις apparently does not denote "trust" in salvation by Christ, as Ro 12:3 (comp. Alford, in loc., and also Ac 17:31). 1Co 13:2 is easily explained by comparison with Mt 21:21; Lu 17:5-6, and here will be best joined 1Co 12:9. In the signification faithfulness, πίστις, like the O.T. אמֵוּנָה, is spoken of God, Ro 3:3; of men, Mt 23:23; Tit 2:10. With the former passage compare Isa 5:1 sq.
Πιστεύω General meaning: a. to trust, to depend upon, τινὶ e.g. ταῖς σπονδαῖς θεῶν θεσφάτοις, Polyb. 5:62, 6; Sophocl. Philoct. 1360; Demosth. Philippians 2:67, 9. With the dative of the person and the acc. of the thing, π. τινί τι = to intrust (confide) something to a person, Lu 16:11; Joh 2:24; in the passive, πιστεύομαί τι, I am trusted with a thing; without obj.: I am trusted, Ro 3:2; 1Co 9:17; Ga 2:7; 1Th 2:4; 2Th 1:10; 1Ti 1:11; Tit 1:3. b. Very frequently πιστεύειν τινὶ denotes to trust a person, to give credence to, to accept statements (to be convinced of their truth); Soph. El. 886, τῷ λόγῳ. In a broader sense, πιστεύειν τινί τι, to believe a person; e.g. Eur. Hec. 710, λόγοις ἐμοῖσι πίστευσον τάδε ; Xen. Apol. 15. Then πιστεύειν τι, to believe
a thing, to rec. ognise it (as true); e.g. Plat. Gorg. 524, A, ἄ ἐγὼ ἀκηκοὼς πιστεύω ἀληθῆ εϊvναι; Aristot. Analyt. Pr 2; Pr 23; also πιστεύειν περὶ, ὐπέρ τινος , Plut. Lye. 19, where πιστεύειν stands alone, to be inclined to believe, recognize a thing; while e.g. in Joh 9:18, the specific aim is added: "But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind, and received his sight." In the N.T. (in which πιστεύειν has regard to our conduct towards God and his revelation) all these constructions are found, as well as the combinations (unusual in the profane Greek) of πεἰς, ἐπί τινα, ἐπὶ τινι and also πιστεύειν standing alone. The question is whether the original signification is confidence, or accepting as true.
(1.) We find πιστεύειν in the signification to believe, to takefor true, and hence to be convinced, to recognize (accept);
(a) with the acc. following, Joh 11:26, πιστεύεις τοῦτο; comp. 25, 26; 1Jo 4:16; Ac 13:41; 1Co 11:18; 1Ti 3:16 (comp. Mt 24:23,26; Lu 22:67); Joh 10:25;
(b) with the infinitive after it, Ac 15:11 (πιστεύομεν σωθῆναι);
(c) with or after it, Mt 9:28; Mr 11:23-24; Ac 9:26; Jas 2:19, σὺ πιστεύεις ὅτι εϊvς ὁ θεός ἐστιν; compare Ac 27:25; Joh 4:21, πίστευέ μοι, ὅτι ἔρχεταιώρα This construction of πιστεύειν ὄτι is especially frequent in the writings of John, in St. Paul's meaning of it. It. is also used by Paul in Ro 6:8; 1Th 4:14; but in Ro 10:9, ἐὰν πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾷ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήση, the sense of trust predominates over that of takingfor true. Compare also Heb 11:6, with 11:1; 4:3.
In John this construction with ὄτι is found in chapters Joh 4:21; Joh 8:24; Joh 10:38; Joh 11:27 (compare Joh 6:69); Joh 11:42 (compare Joh 17:3); Joh 13:19; Joh 14:10-11; Joh 16:27; (and have believed that I came out from God), Joh 16:30; Joh 17:8,21; Joh 20:31; 1Jo 5:1,5 (comp. with 5:10). In these passages the sense of πιστεύω is that of assent, belief, recognition, conviction of truth. This meaning is also predominant in the following passage: Joh 3:12 (If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things) (comp.
3:11). Note also the connection with γινώσκειν (to know), 6:69; 10:37, 38; 17:8; and note also the relation of Christ's works and of sight to faith, Joh 4:48 (Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe); Joh 10:37-38; Joh 14:11; Joh 6:36; Joh 20:8,29 (compare 20:25); Joh 1:51; Joh 4:39-42.
Let us look now at the constructions πιστεύειν τινί εἴς τινα. It is clear that πιστεύειν τινὶ of itself cannot signify to accept a person; but only to believe what he says, to trust his word; e.g. Joh 2:22 (they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said); Joh 5:47; Joh 12:38 (comp. Lu 1:20; Ac 24:14; Ac 26:27; 1Jo 4:1). In this sense also we understand Joh 5:46 (for had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me); 8:31, 45, 46; 10:37 (comp. with 10:36); 14:11. Nevertheless, as it is the witness of Jesus himself that is in question, the acceptance of his words implies the acceptance of his person (Joh 5:46; comp. with 5:37-39). Connect with these the unique passage 1Jo 3:23 αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἐντολὴ αὐτ ἵναπιστεύσωμεν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ υἱοῦ αύτοῦ this is the commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ" (elsewhere εἰς τὸ ὄν, Joh 1:12; Joh 2:23; Joh 3:18; 1Jo 5:13); comp. also Joh 6:29; Joh 16:9; 1Jo 5:10 (He that believeth on [εἰς] the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God [τῷ Θεῷ] hath made him a liar, because he believeth not εἰς] the record that God gave of his Son). Here πιστεύειν τῷ θεῷ, to believe God, is to receive his testimony, π. εἰς την μαρτυρίαν, and consequently to receive Him for whom the testimony is borne. Farther comp. Joh 5:38 with 37, 24, 47, and 44. These passages show that John's idea of faith includes
(1) accepting the testimony of God, (2) accepting the testimony of Christ concerning himself, and therefore (3) accepting Christ himself.
The construction πιστεύειν εἰς is found in Joh 2:11; Joh 3:16,18,36; Joh 4:39; Joh 6:29,40 (47); 7:5, 31, 38, 39, 48; 8:30; 9:35, 36; 10:42; Joh 11:25-26,45,48; Joh 12:11,37,42,44,46; Joh 14:1,12; Joh 16:9; Joh 17:20; 1Jo 5:13. The only passage in the writings of John in which another preposition occurs is Joh 3:15, where Lachmann reads ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν, Tischendorf ἐν αὐτῷ, instead of εἰς αὐτόν.
(2.) But the sense of admitting, accepting as true, thus far developed, is by no means the whole of John's idea of faith in Christ. It includes not only this, but also adherence to Christ; cleaving to hium. See, for instance, the whole passage, Joh 9:35-38, and comp. 11:48; 10:26, 27; 6:69; 1:12. Both these are evidently contained also in the πιστεύειν τινὶ, Joh 6:30; comp. with 6:29: τί οῦν ποιεῖς σὺ σῃμεῖον, ἴνα ἴδωμεν καὶ πιστεύσωμέν σοι (What sign showest thou, that we may see and believe in thee?); 29: ἵνα πιστεύσητε εἰς ὃν ἀπέστειλεν ὁ θεός (that ye believe on him''whom He hath sent). Compare especially also Mt 27:42; Mr 15:32.
It is plain, now, that John's idea of faith includes the element of cleaving to Christ as well as of accepting him; and this cleaving to him includes the idea of full trust in Christ as Savior, as illustrated in the important passage, Joh 3:15: ἴνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εν αὐτῷ (that whosoever believeth in him, not εἰς αὐτον). Tischendorf ἐν, Lachmsann ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν). "Here is involved the anguish, in the believer, of the bite of the fiery serpent, and the earnest looking on him in whom sin is crucified with the inner eye of faith" (Alford, in loc.). In this full sense of the word John uses πιστεύω by itself (to believe) in Joh 1:7,51; Joh 4:41-42,48, .h3; 6:36, 64; 9:38; 10:25, 26; 11:15, 40; 12:39, 47; Joh 14:29; Joh 16:31; Joh 19:35; Joh 20:31 (comp. 3:12; 6:69; 20:8, 25, 29). And this faith is the condition "ofthe gifts of life,light, and salvation; Joh 10:26-27; Joh 3:12,16,18,36; Joh 6:35,40,47; Joh 7:38; Joh 11:25-26; Joh 20:31 (comp. Joh 5:38); 8:24; 1:12; 12:36, 46 (comp. Joh 8:12 and Joh 11:40).
(3.) Paul's use of πιστεύειν also includes the idea of intellectual conviction, recognition; see the passages above cited under πίστις, and comp. also Ro 4:20 (strong in faith); 1:5; 16:26, and the relation of πιστεύειν to κηρύσσειν (Ro 10:14,16; 1Co 15:2,11; Eph 1:13). But the sense of trust in Christ tas Savior is always predominant in Paul. The construction πιστεύειν τινι to trust, rely upon, is found 2Ti 1:12 (I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded); Tit 3:8; Ro 4:3; Ga 3:6; Ro 4:6; compare 4:18. Instead of the dative we find πιστεύειν ἐπί τινα, Ro 4:5: ἐπὶ τὸν δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἀσεβῆ (on him that justifieth the ungodly), 4:24. The πιστεύειν εἰς also denotes always faith in Christ — (Ro 10:14; Ga 2:16; Php 1:29); likewise ἐπὶ with the dative, 1Ti 1:16; Ro 9:33. And πιστεύειν is used standing alone to designate the fullest trust of faith, Ro 1:16; Ro 3:22; Ro 4:11,18; Ro 10:4,10; Ro 13:11; Ro 15:13; 1Co 1:21; 1Co 3:5; 1Co 14:22; 2Co 4:13; Ga 3:22; Eph 1:13,19; 1Th 1:7; 1Th 2:10,13; 2Th 1:10.
In Jas 2:19, to believe denotes intellectual assent, but in verse 23 it denotes trust (see under πίστις). In Peter the two elements of assent and trusts are conjoined (comp. 1Pe 1:8, with 1Pe 2:6-7; 1Pe 1:21).
In the Acts and Synoptical Gospels, the import of the word (whether assent or trust, or both conjoined) must be decided by the context.
The result of our examination is, that "faith" in the N.T. includes three elements, each and all necessary to the full meaning of the word, while one or another of them may hbecome prominent according to the connection, viz.
(1) full intellectual acceptance of the revelation of salvation,
(2) adherence to the truth and to the person of Christ thus accepted;
(3) absolute and exclusive trust in the redeeming work of Christ for salvation. In no one of the writers of the New Testament is any one of these three elements wanting.
(II.) Early History of the Doctrine of Faith. —
1. In the early Church, the Pauline doctrine of faith as a condition of justification was universally maintained. But the Eastern thinkers did not give much attention to faith in a doctrinal way, and its true meaning was not prominently developed, nor was the distinction between faith and works (as conditions) sharply drawn. During the Apologetic period (from A.D. 100 to A.D. 250), while attention was "principally directed to theoretical knowledge,faith was for the most part considered as historico- dogmatic faith in its relation to γνῶσις. This gave rise to the opinion that knowledge in divine things justifies, while ignorance condemns. Minucius Felix (t 208), 35: Imperitiet Dei sfficit ad panam, notitia prodest ad veniam. Theophilus of Antioch (t181) also knows of a fides historica alone, upon which he makes salvation to depend, 1:14: Α᾿πόδειξιν οῦν λαβὼν τῶν γινομένων καὶ προαναπεφωνημένων, οῦκ ἀπιστῶ, ἀλλἀ πιστεύω πειθαρχῶν θεῷ, ῷ εὐ βούλεὶ καὶ σὺ ὑποτάγηθι, πιστεύων αὐτῷ, μὴ νῦν άπισθήσας, πεισθῆς ἀνιώμενος τότε ἐν αἰωνίοις τιμωρίαις. But, though it was reserved for men of later times to investigate more profoundly the idea of justifying faith in the Pauline sense, yet correct views on this subject were not entirely wanting during this period." Clement of Rome (t 100) says in a Pauline spirit, "Called by the will of God in Christ, we can be justified, not by ourselves, not by our own wisdom and piety, but only by faith, by which God has justified all in all ages. But shall we, on this account cease from doing good, and give up charity? No, we shall labor with unwearied zeal as God, who has called us, always works, and rejoices in his works" (1 Ep. ad Cor. c. 32, 33). Ireanaus (t 202) contrasts the new joyful obedience which ensues on the forgiveness of sins with the legal standpoint. "The law which was given to bondmen formed men's souls by outward corporal work, for it coerced men by a curse to obey the commandments, in order that they might learn to obey God. But the Word, the Logos who frees the soul, and through it the body, teaches a voluntary surrender. Hence the fetters of thee law must be taken off, and man accustom himself to the free obedience of love. The obedience of freedom must be of a higher kind; we are not allowed to go back to our earlier standpoint; for he has not set us free in order that we may leave him; this no one can do who has sincerely confessed him. No one can obtain the blessings of salvation out of communion with the Lord; and the more we obtain from him, so much the more must we love him; and the more we love him, so much greater glory shall we receive from him" (Irenseus, Haer. Uk. 4, chap. 13:1, 23; Neander, History of Dogmas, Ryland, page 216). Tertullian (220) adv. Marc. 5:3: Exfidei hibertate justisficatur homo, non eax legis servitute, quiajustus ex fide vivit. According to Clement of Alexandria (+ 218), faith is not only the key to the knowledge of God (Coh. page 9), but by it we are also made the children of God (ib. page 23). Clement accurately distinguishes between theoretical and practical unbelief, and understands by the latter the want of susceptibility of divine impressions, a carnal mind which would have everything in a tangible shape (Strom. 2:4, page 436). Origen (A.D. 250) in Numbers Hom. 26 (Opp 3, page 369): Impossibile est salvari sines fide; Comm. in Ep. ad Rom. (Opp. 4, page 517): Etiamsi opera quis habeat ex lege, tames, quia non sunt cedificata supra fundamentum fidei, quamvis videantur esse bona, tames oparatanum suum justificare non possunt, quod eas deestfides, quae est signacurum eorum, qui justificantur a Deo (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, § 70; comp. also § 34). Apollinaris (t 885) on Joh 6:27, says: "The eternally enduring food, by which we are sealed by the Father and assimilated to Christ, is the faith which makes alive" and on verse 28, "Faith both justifies and sanctifies without human works, seeing that it contains within itself the noblest energy, and is not slothful or inactive" (Dorner, Person of Christ, Edinb. transl., div. 1, volume 2, page 389). Hilary (t 368): "By faith we become, not merely in a moral way, but essentially, one with Him" (ibid. page 418).
2. The Latins, more earnest on the practical than on the theoretical side, seem to have had deeper notions of faith (see Tertullian, cited above). But the minds of theologians were turned almost wholly to the doctrines of sin, grace, and free will (Pelagian controversy), and not to the appropriation of redemption by faith. The relations of faith to knowledge were set forth clearly and strongly, however, in the maxim Fides prcecedit intellectum, first announced by Origen, and adopted by Augustine (Epist. 120:3; ed. Migne, 2:453, cited by Shedd, History of Doctrines, 1:162). Compare also Augustine, De Utilitate Credendi, c. 23, where he shows the natural analogies for faith; e.g. that friendship among men, filial piety, etc., are grounded on faith. He makes a distinction between fides quae; and fides qua creditur (De Trin. 13:2); and uses the phrase fides Catholica in the objective sense, to denote the body of doctrine "necessary to a Christian" (De temp. serm. 53; and adv. Jud. c. 19). Augustine, says Melancthon, did not set forth fully Paul's doctrine, though he came nearer to it than the Scholastics (Letter to Brentius, opp. ed. Bretschneider, 2:502).
3. In the scholastic period the idea of the kingdom of God degenerated into that of an ecclesiastical theocracy, and the outward side of the religious life (penance and good works) was prominent. Nevertheless, the great doctrinal truths of Christianity were carefully studied, and the aim of the greatest thinkers (e.g. Anselm) was to show that faith can be verified to the intellect as truth, while, at the same time, it is the necessary condition of science, as well as of salvation. "First of all," he says, "faith must purify the heart: we must humble ourselves, and become as little children. He who believes not cannot experience; he who has not experienced cannot understand. Nothing can be done till the soul rises on the wings of faith to God" (De Fide Trinitat. c. 2). The great Greek theologian, John of Damascus (8th century), who may be considered as beginning the period of scholastic theology, defined faith as consisting of two things:
1. belief in the truth of revealed doctrines, the πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς (the faith which cometh by hearing, Ro 10:17);
2. firm confidence in the promises of God, the faith which is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb 11:1).
The first of these, he says, is the work of our own minds; the second is the gift of the Spirit (De Fide Orthod. 4:10). "Anselm comprises the whole doctrine of faith and morals in the question, how man appropriates redemption to himself. He says, 'The mere idea does not make faith, although this cannot exist without an object; in order to true faith the right tendency of the will must be added, which grace imparts' (De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, c. 6). He distinguishes (Monologium, page 72; compare page 75) between credere Deum, Christum, and credere IN Deum, IN Christum; the former denotes a mere outward faith which only retains the form; the latter denotes the true, living faith, which lays hold of communion with God (credendo tendere in divinam essentiam): the former is valueless and dead; the latter contains the power of love, and testifies its power and its life by love. The faith which is connected with love cannot be inoperative; it proves its vitality, by so operating. Hugo of St. Victor develops the general idea of faith in connection with the religious nature of man. Faith marks the manner in which invisible blessings dwell within our souls (quodam modo in nobis subsistunt), the real vital communion with God, his true existence in the human soul. For divine things cannot be apprehended by us through the senses, the understanding, or the imagination, since they have nothing analogous to all these, but are exalted above all images. The only vehicle of their appropriation is faith. Two elements meet in it the tendency of the disposition, and the matter of cognition. This latter is the object of faith, but its essence consists in the tendency of the disposition; and although this is never altogether without the former, yet it constitutes the value of faith. Bernard agrees with Hugo in his view of the nature of faith: 'even now,' he says, 'many who believe with confidence have only scanty knowledge; thus many in the O.T. retained firm faith in God, and received salvation by this faith, although they knew not when and how salvation would come to them.' Abelard's expressions are also important (Sentent. c. 4). 'Faith,' he says, 'always refers to the invisible, never to thevisible. But how is this? when Christ said to Thomas, "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed." What Thomas saw before him was one thing, what he believed was another. He confessed the man whom he saw to be the Lord, in whom he believed. He saw the flesh, but he believed in the God veiled in the flesh'" (Neander, Church
History, Torrey, 4:375). Not merely Abelard, but also most of the other schoolmen, understood by Justificatio per fidem not objective justification, but a subjective character of the disposition, which proceeds from faith, the true inward sanctification in love which arises out of faith. Bernard, on the other hand, was led by his experience to a more objective view: 'No one is without sin (Sermo on Solomon's Song, 23, § 15); for all righteousness it is enough for me that he is gracious to me who has redeemed me. Christ is not merely righteous (Ib. 22, § 8), but righteousness itself.' The scholastic doctrine on this point received a fixed form through Peter Lombard (Sentent. in, dist. 28). He makes a threefold distinction in faith: Deum credere, Deo credere, and in Deum or Christum credere. The two first amount merely to holding a thing to be true, but the last is the faith by which we enter into communion with God. With such a faith love is necessarily connected, and this faith alone is justifying. Love is the effect of this. faith, and the ground of the whole Christian life. Applying to faith the Aristotelian distinction between theform as the formative principle (εῖδος, forma), and the inorganic material determined by it (ὕλη, materies), Peter distinguishes faith as the qualitas mrentis informnis, the mere material of faith, and the fidesformata, when the vivifying power of love is added to it, which forms and determines it. The fides formata is a true virtue and this faith, working by love, alone justifies" (Ne ander, History of Dogmas; Ryland, page 522 sq.).
The Scholastics generally recognised the distinction (hinted by Augustine) between objective and subjec tive faith (fides qua creditur and fides quae creditur) and also distinguished between developed (explicita) and undeveloped (implicita) faith (Aquinas, Sumnma, 2, qu. 1, art. 7). But in all the scholastic period, the prevalence of the sacerdotal theory of religion hindered, if it did not absolutely prevent, a just apprehension of the nature of faith, and naturally developed the theory of the merit of good works. Peter Lombard, indeed, says that good works are those only that spring from the love of God, which love itself is the fruit of faith (opus fidei; Sentent. lib. in, dist. 23, D); but the "views of Thomas Aquinas were not quite so scriptural; thus (Surmm. part. 2:2, qu. 4, art. 7) he speaks of faith itself as a virtue, though he assigns to it the first and highest place among all virtues." He defines faith to be "an act of the intellect assenting to divine truth in virtue of the operation of the Spirit of God upon the will" (Summa, 2:2, 1, 4), and reckons faith among the theological virtues, which he distinguishes from the ethical (Neander, Wiss. Abhandlung. ed. Jacobi.
1851, page 42) "Such notions, however, led more and more to the revival of Pelagianism, till the forerunners of the Reformation returned to the simpler truths of the Gospel" (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, § 186). According to Aquinas, the faith by which we are cleared from sin is not the fides informis, which can coexist with sin; but is the fides formata per charitatem (faith informed by love). In justification there is a motes charitatis as well as a motuss fidei (Summa, part 3, qu. 44, art. 1). This statement contains the germ of the later Roman Catholic doctrine (see other passages in Moheler, Symbolism, N.Y. 1844, page 205; comp. Beck, Dogsaengeschichte, 1864, page 365). Its doctrine (as that of the period generally) is that justification is "not an objective act, but something subjective, making man internally righteous by the communication of the divine life in fellowship with Christ. For the attainment of justificatio, moreover, faith can only be the first step; it was not sufficient for jusfification, but love must be added; the gratia justificans was first given in the fides formata, making mman internally righteous. Since this external idea of faith required that for effecting justification something must be added from without, the additional aid of the Church here was demanded" (Neander, Dogmas, page 661). SEE JUSTIFICATION.
4. John Wessel (t 1489) was a precursor of the Reformation in his views on faith, as well as on many other points. None of the theologians of the Scholastic age expressed the principle of faith so fully in the Pauline spirit as Wessel. He considers it "not a mere taking for granted of historical facts, but the devotion of the whole mind to fellowship with God through Christ; it is the basis of the whole higher life; not merely in the relations of man to man, but also in the relations of man to God" (Ullmann, Reformers before the Reformation, Edinb. 1855, 2:468).
Practically, at the dawn of the Reformation (and for ages before), Christian people were taught by their pastors that the pardon of sin was to be secured, not bh faith in the merits of Christ, but by penitential observancms and good works, followed by priestly absolution; andfaith itself was generally held to be simply the reception of the teaching of the Church. In practice, faith was transformed into credulity.
(III.) The Protestant and Roman Catholic Doctrines of Faith compared. — The ProtestantDoctrine. — The central point of the Reformation, in a doctrinal point of view, was justification by faith. Its development will be treated in our article SEE JUSTIFICATION; we can here only briefly give the distinction between the Protestant and Roman Catholic doctrines of faith: 1. that of the Reformers; 2. that of the Roman Catholic Church.
1. The Reformers. — The Reformers, in opposition to the Scholastic doctrine of justification as a subjective work (the making just), brought out prominently the Objective idea of justification (as a work donefor us by Christ). "On the other side, correspondingly, they regarded faith as subjective, and as the principle of the transformation of the whole inner life" (Neander, Dogmas, 2:662). The prominent position of faith in the theology of the Reformers was a fundasmental part of the change that was taking place, at the time, in the general religious views of Christendom. " The mind was not satisfied with an objective and outward salvation, however valid and reliable it might be. It desired a consciousness of being saved; it craved an experience of salvation. The Protestant mind could not rest in the Church, neither could it pretend to rest in an atonement that was unappropriated. The objective work of Christ on Calvary must become the subjective experience and rejoicing of the soul itself. While, however, the principle and act of faith occupies such a prominent place in the soteriology of the Reformation, we should not fail to notice that it is never represented as a procuring cause of justification; it is only the instrumental cause. Protestantism was exceedingly careful to distinguish justification from legal righteousness on the one hand, and from sanctification by grace on the other. It could not, consequently, concede to anv species of human agency, however excellent, a pecular and atoning efficacy. Hence we find none of that supplementary or perfecting of the work of Christ by the work of the creature which is found in the papalu sotetiology. And this applies to the highest of acts, the act of faith itself. Faith itself, though the gift and the work of God, does not justify, speaking accurately, but merely accepts that which does justify" (Shedd, History of Doctrines, 2:337-8). Luther was led to the true Pauline doctrine of faith by his profound conviction of the desperate condition of humanity, not simply from its sense of finiteness (which could only have led him to faith as a realization of the invisible and eternal), but also and chiefly from the crushing sense of personal guilt on account of sin. He regards faith not merely as a mere attribute, but, "so to speak, as a substantial and divine thing, so far as it cleaves to God, and God is in it. Faith is in the state of the unio mystica, union with God; and yet it is, at the same time, man's true existence." It is no mere intellectual act, but a giving up of the whole man to trust in Christ; and conversely, a penetration of the whole man by the life of Christ. "Faith makes new creatures of us. MY holiness and righteousness do not spring from myself; theys arise alone out of Christ, in whom I am rooted by faith" (Dorner, Person of Christ, 2:58, 64). In the Preface to the Epistle to the Romans Luther says: "Faith alone justifies, and it alone fulfils the law; for faith, through the merits of Christ, obtains the Holy Spirit. And then, at length, from the faith thus efficaciously working and living in the heart, freely (fluunt) proceed those works which are truly good... . But faith is an energy in the heart; at once so efficacious, lively, breathing, and powerful as to be incapable of remaining inactive, but bursts forth into operation. Neither does he who has faith (moratur) demur about the question whether good works have been commanded or not; but even though there were no law, feeling the motions of this living impulse putting forth and exerting itself in his heart, he is spontaneously borne onward to work, and at no time does he cease to perform such actions as are truly pious and Christian. Faith, then, is a constant fiducia, a trust in the mercy of God toward us; a trust living and efficaciously working in the heart, by which we cast ourselves entirely on God, and commit ourselves to him; by which, cer to fraeti, having an assured reliance, we feel no hesitation about enduring death a thousand times." "Luther laid the greatest stress at all times on the assurance of salvation, and of the divine truth of Christianity. The ground certainty, on which all other certainty depends, is with him the justification of the sinner for Christ's sake apprehended by faith; of which it is only the objective statement to say that to him the fundamental certainty is Christ as the Redeemer, through surrender to whom faith has full satisfaction, and knows that it stands in the truth" (Dorner, Geschichte d. Prot. Theol., Miunchen, 1867, page 224). — "To believe those things to be true which are preached of Christ is not sufficient to constitute thee a Christian; but thou must not doubt that thou art of the number of them unto whom all the benefits of Christ are given and exhibited, which he that believes must plainly confess, that he is holy, godly, righteous, the Son of God, and certain of salvation, and that by no merit of his own, but by the mere mercy of God poured forth upon him for Christ's sake" (Luther, Serm. on Galatians 1:4, in Fish, Masterpieces of Pulpit Eloquence, 1:462). Zwingle held that faith, in the sense of the appropriation by man, through grace, of the redemptive work of Christ, is the only means or instrument of salvation. It was one of his grounds of objection to the Roman and Lutheran doctrines of the Eucharist that these doctrines detract from the glory of faith by representing it as insufficient for salvation (Dorner, Person of Christ, div. 2, volume 2, page 116). Melancthen, in a letter to Brentius, May, 1531, says: "Faith alone (sola) justifies, not because it is the root (radix), as you write, but because it lays hold of Christ, on whose account we are accepted. It is not love, the fulfilling of the law, which justifies, but faith alone, not because it is a perfection in us, but only because it lays hold on Christ" (edit. Bretschneider, Hal. Sax. 1835, 2:501). Calvin (Institutes, book 3, chapter 11) treats of faith at large, and distinguishes it from "a common assent to the evangelical history," and refutes the nugatory distinction made by the schools between fides forsata and fides informis. "The disputes of the schools concerning faith, by simply styling God the object of it, rather mislead miserable souls by a vain speculation than direct them to the proper mark. For, since God, 'dwelleth in the light which, no man can approach unto,' there is a necessity for the interposition of Christ as the medium of access to him." "This evil, then, as well as innumerable others, must be imputed to the schoolmen, who have, as it were, concealed Christ by drawing a veil over him; whereas, unless our views be immediately and steadily directed to him, we shall always be wandering through labyrinths without end. They not only, by their obscure definitions, diminish, and almost annihilate, all the importance of faith, but have fabricated thee notion of implicit faith, a term with which they have honored the grossest ignorance, and most perniciously deluded the miserable multitude." "Is this faith to understand nothing, but obediently to submit our understanding to the Church? Faith consists not in ignorance, but in knowledge; and that not only of God, but also of the divine will... . For faith consists of a knowledge of God and of Christ, not in reverence to the Church.
In short, no man is truly a believer unless he be firmly persuaded that God is a propitious and benevolent Father to him, and promise himself everything from his goodness; unless. he depend out the promises of divine benevolence to him, and feels an undoubted expectation of salvation. He is no believer, I say, who does not rely on the security of his salvation, and confidently triumph over the devil and death" (Calvin, Institutes, book 3, chapter 2).
The passages from the several Confessions will be given more fully in the art. SEE JUSTIFICATION; we cite here a few. Augsburg Cosfession. — "Men are justified freely for Christ's sake through faith when they believe that they are received into favor, and their sins are remitted for Christ's sake; this faith doth God impute for righteousness upon him" (Art. 4). The nature of saving faith is set forth in Art. 20: "It is to be observed here that a mere historical belief; such as wicked men and devils have, is not here meant, who also believe is the history of the sufferings of Christ, and in his resurrection from the dead; but that genuine faith is here meant which causeth us to believe that we can obtain grace and forgiveness of sins through Christ, and which giveth us the confidence that through Christ we have a merciful God, which also gives us the assurance to know God to call upon him, and to have him always in remembrance, so that the believer is not without God, as are the Gentiles" (compare the Apology for the Confession, art. 2, 3). Heidelberg Catechism. — Qu. 21. "What is true faith? Ans. It is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Ghost works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merit." Remonstrants' Confession' (11:1). — "Faith in Christ is a firm assent (assensus) of the mind to the word of God, joined with true trust (fiduci) in Christ, so that we not only faithfully receive Christ's doctrine as true and divine, but rest wholly on Christ himself for salvation." Westminster Confession (10, 14)."Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justifications; yet it ... is no dead faith, but worketh by love. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the word ... but the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed and weakened, but gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a fell assurance through Christ." In all the Confessions, both Lutheran and Reformed, faith is held to be a laying hold on Christ, by whom we are saved (and not by our own works, or by any work of sanctitication done in us).
2. Roman Catholic Doctrine. — The Augsburg Confession (Art. 20) speaks of the long desuetude of the doctrine of faith in the Church, and the substitutiopof childish and needless works (fasts, pilgrimages, etc.), of the great cause of its corruption, and furnishing the chief occasion for the reformation of doctrine. "Our adversaries now," they say (A.D. 1530), "do not preach concerning these unprofitable works as they were wont: moreover, they have now learned to make mention of faith, about whichm, in former times, entire silence was observed. Theys now teach that we are not justified before God by works alone, but join faith in Christ thereto, and say faith and works justify is before God; which doctrine imparts more consolation than mere confidence in good works." This was the chief theological dispute of the Reformation, and was also the main topic of theological discussion at the Council of Trent (1545-63). A few of the divines there (the archbishop of Sienna, the bishop of Cava, and others) held that faith alone justifies; but this ancient doctrine was too inconsistent with the sacerdotal system to find favor with the majority. "Great pains were taken to discuss thoroughly the assertion that 'man is justified by faith,' and to affix some determinate meaning to that expression; but the task was not easy. Some busied themselves in searching for the different seamses in which the word 'faith' is used in Scripture, which they made to amount to fifteen, but knew not in which it is employed when applied to justification. At length, after much disputing, it was agreed that faith is the belief of all things which God has revealed, or the Church has commanded to be believed. It was distinguished into two sorts: the one said to exist even in sinners, and which was termed unformed, barren, and dead; the other peculiar to the just, and working by charity, and thence called formed, efficacious, and living faith. Still, as father Paul observes, 'they touched not the principal point of the difficulty, which was to ascertain whether a man is justified before he works righteousness, or whether he is justified by his works of righteousness" (Cramp, Text-book of Popery, chapter 7).
The decision of the Council is as follows (sess. 6; c. 8): "When the apostle says that man is justified 'by faith,' and 'freely,' these words are to be understood in that sense in which the Catholic Church hath always held and explained them, nanmely, that we are said to be justified 'by faith' because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God, and come into the fellowship of his children; and that we are said to be justified 'freely,' because nothing which precedes justification, whether faith or works, can deserve the grace thereof." Here, two things are to be noted:
(1) That the Roman idea of faith in general is that of the acceptance of the body of doctrine taught be the Church: "'La foi necesssaire pour la justification est la foi Cathohique d'apres laquelle nous croyons ce que Dieu a revels a son eglise" (Drioux, note to his edit. of Aquinas's Summa, 6:600); thus substantially making the intellect alone the seat of faith, as Bellarmine expressly puts it in his contrast between the Protestant and the Roman ideas of faith: "haeretici fidem fiduciam esse definiunt; Catholici fidem in intellectu sedem habere volunt" (De Justif. 1:4). How thoroughly external a thing this faith may become in practice is evinced by the fact that the recitation of a creed, in Romanist language, is called an "act of faith" (Bergier, Dict. de Theologie, 3:54).
(2.) That, accordingly, the Council of Trent makes faith only the "beginning of human salvation" (salutis humanae initium), and "the root of all justification" (radix omnis justificationis). If faith is simply an intellectual act, it is fitly described as only the "beginning" of justification, and not its instrument. So Mohler, in commenting on this passage, expressly says that "Roman Catholics consider faith as the reunion with God in Christ especially by means of the faculty of knowledge, illuminated and strengthened by grace" (Symbolism, N.Y. 1844, page 204). In the same vein is the definition given by the Catechism of Trent, viz. that the "faith necessary to salvation is that faith by which we yield our entire assent to whatever has been revealed by almighty God" (Baltimore edit. page 19). It is plain that the notion of faith, as Protestants hold it, and as they believe that Paul held it, is totally wanting in the Roman doctrine. Naturally, too, with this conception of faith, the Romanists deny that faith alone justifies, affirming, in the way of the Scholastics (see above), that faith must be informed by charity, as the germ of new obedience, a gift bestowed first in baptism, and renewed by confession and absolution. So J.H. Newman (Difficulties of Anglicanism, cited by Hare, Contest with Rome, page 113) declares that Roman "Catholics hold that faith and love, faith and obedience, faith and works, are simply separable, and ordinarily separated in fact; that faith does not imply love, obedience, or works; that the firmest faith, so as to move mountains, may exist without love that is, true faith, as truly faith in the strict sense of the word as the faith of a martyr or a doctor." On this Hare remarks: "This belief is not faith. To many persons, indeed, it may appear that this is little more than a dispute about words; that we use the word faith in one sense, and the Romanist in another, and that it is not worth while to argue about the matter. But when we call to mind how great are the power and the blessings promised to faith by the Gospel, it surely is a question of the highest moment whether that power and those blessings belong to a lifeless, inert, inanimate notion, or to a living, energetic principle. This is the great controversy between Romanism and Protestantism. Their stay is the opus operatumn, ours Jides operans — faith, the gift of God, apprehending him through Christ, renewing the whole man, and becoming the living spring of his feelings, and thoughts, and actions" (Contest with Rome, note 1). A letter of Bunsen's in 1840 illustrates the Roman idea of faith, as it had taken root in the mind of J.H. Newman before he went over to Rome. A pastor in Antwerp (named Sporlein) was troubled about episcopal ordination, and came to England for light. He was invited to breakfast at Newman's, and found him and a number of his friends ready to hear him. "He unburdened his heart to them, and they gave their decision — the verdict of a Newmanic jury on a case of conscience, viz. that 'Pastor Sporleln, as a Continental Christian, was subject to the authority of the bishop of Antwerp.' He objected that by that bishop he would be excommunicated as a heretic. ' Of course; but you will conform to his decision.' 'How can I do that,' exclaimed Sporlein, 'without abjuring my faith?' 'But your faith is heresy.' 'How? Do you mean that I am to embrace the errors of Rome, and to abjure the faith of the Gospel?' 'There is no faith but that of the Church.' 'But my faith is in Christ crucified.' 'You are mistaken; you are not saved by Christ, but by the Church' " (Memoir of Bunsen, by his Widow, London, 1868, 1:614).
(IV.) Later Protestantism. —
1. Whatever minor differences may have arisen in Protestant theology as to faith, all evangelical theologians agree in the following points:
1. That saving faith not only recognises the supernatural, but also accepts and trusts absolutely on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Savior;
2. that this saving power is the gift of God;
3. that it invariably brings forth good works;
4. that the faith which appropriates the merits of Christ must be a living faith;
5. that it is not the faith, nor the vitality of the faith, which justifies and saves man, but it is the object of the faith, i.e., the merits of Christ the Redeemer, and therefore that it is an error to attach a saving quality to any merely subjective faith. The earlier Reformers and Confessions made assurance an essential part of saving faith, but this doctrine was not long held. SEE ASSURANCE; SEE JUSTIFICATION.
2. Divisions of Faith — Faith is divided by the theologians into fides historica and fides salvifica (historical faith and saving faith). The former is intellectual knowledge and belief of the Christian doctrine; the latter a genuine appropriation of the merits of Christ unto salvation. True faith embraces both. The parts of faith, in theological language, are three:
a. Notitia (act of the intellect), knowledge, instruction in the facts and doctrines of Christianity (Ro 10:14).
b. Assensus (act of the will), assent to the doctrine, or reception of it as true and credible.
c. Fiducia (act of the heart), trust or confidence in the divine word. "True and saving faith in Christ consists both of assent and trust; but this is not a blind and superstitious trust in the sacrifice of Christ, like that of the heathens in their sacri'fices, nor the presumptuous trust of wicked and impenitent men, who depend on Christ to save them in their sins, but such a trust as is exercised according to the authority and direction of the word of God; so that to know the Gospel in its leading principles, and to have a cordial of belief in it, is necessary to that more specific act of faith which is called reliance, or, in systematic language, fiducial assent" (Watson, Institutes, 2:243).
3. Faith in Christ; justifying Faith as Condition of Salvation. —
(a.) Though the entire revelation of God is set forth, in one sense; as the object of faith (Lu 24:25-26; Heb 11), yet Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the dying and risen Redeemer, is κατ᾿ ἐξοχνὴν, the object of faith (Ga 2:16; Joh 17:21). In the evangelical churches, justifying faith is understood to be exercised specifically in Christ, as by his death making expiation and satisfaction for the sinner's guilt, or (to put the same idea in another light) in God's covenant with mankind in Christ, as offering them pardon for the sake of Christ's death; and this faith is yet viewed merely as a condition of justification.
(b.) "What faith is it, then, the ough which we are saved? It may be answered, first, in general, it is a faith in Christ; Christ, and God through Christ, are the proper objects of it. Herein, therefore, it is sufficiently, absolutely distinguished from the faith either of ancient or imodern heathens. And from the faith of a devil it is fully distinguished by this it is not barely a speculative, rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, a train of ideas in the head, but also a disposition oftthe heart. For thus saith the Scripture, 'With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.' And, 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' It acknowledges his death as the only sufficient means of redeeming man from death eternal, and his resurrection as the restoration of us all to life and immortality; inasmuch as he 'was delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' Christian faith is, then not only an assent to the whole Gospel of Christ, out also a full reliance on the blood of Christ; a trust in the merits of his life, death, and resurrection; a recumbency upon him as our atonement and our life, as given for us, and living in us. It is a sure confidence which a man hath in God that through the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favor of God; and in consequence thereof, a closing with him, and cleaving to him, as our 'wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,' or, in one word, our salvation" (Wesley, Serm. on Justification).
(c.) Faith is not meritoriously, but instrumentally, the condition of our pardon. "If Christ had not merited, God had not promised; if God had not promised, justification had never followed on this faith: so that the indissoluble connection of faith and justification is from God's institution, whereby he hath bound himself to give the benefit upon performance of the condition. Yet there is an aptitude in faith to be made a condition; for no other act can receive Christ as a priest propitiating and pleading the propitiation, and the promise of God for his sake to give the benefit. As receiving Christ and his gracious promise in this manner, it acknowledgeth man's guilt, and so man renounceth all righteousness in himself; and honoreth God the Father, and, Christ the, Son as the only Redeemer. It glorifies God's mercy and free grace in the highest degree. It acknowledgeth on earth, as it will be perpetually acknowledged in heaven, that the whole salvation of sinful man, from the beginning to the last degree thereof, whereof there shall be no end, is from God's freest love, Christ's merit and intercession, his own gracious promise, and the power of his own Holy Spirit" (Lawson). Wesley, speaking of faith as the condition of our justification, says, "We mean this mnuch, that it is the only thing without which no one is justified; the only thing that is immediately indispensably, absolutely requisite in order to pardon. As, on the one hand, thouh a man should have everything else, without faith, yet he cannot be justified; so, on the other, though he be supposed to want everything else, yet if he hath faith he cannot but be justified. For suppose a sinner of any kind or degree, in a full sense of his total ungodliness, of his total inability to think, speak, or do good — suppose, I say, this sinner, helpless and hopeless, casts himself wholly on the mercy of God in Christ (which, indeed, he cannot do but by the grace of God), who will affirm that any more is required before that sinner can be justified?" (Wesley Sermon on Justification; Neander, Planting and Training, 2:128 sq.). "Faith, as it is mere belief, may be produced by rational evidence. But when that is attained,.the work of grace in the heart is nowhere said in Scripture to be carried on by the natural operation of these credited truths. The contrary fact, that men often credit them and remain uninfluenced by them, is obvious. When a different state of mind ensues, it is ascribed to the quickening influence of the Spirit, an influence which may be ordinarily resisted. By that influence men are 'pricked in their heart;' and the heart is prepared to feel the dread impression which is conveyed by the manifestation of man's perishing state, not merely in the doctrine of the word, but as it stands in the Spirit's application to the heart and conscience. But, though this was previously credited, and is still credited; and though its import and meaning are now more fully perceived as the perishing condition of the awakened man is more clearly discovered, the faith of affiance does not therefore follow. 'A person in these circumstances is not to be likened to a man drowning, who will instinctively seize the rope as soon as it is thrown out to him. There is a perverse disposition in man to seek salvation in his own way, and to stand on terms with his Savior. There is a reluctance to trust wholly in his atonement, and to be saved by grace. There is a sin of unbelief; an evil heart of unbelief; a repugnance to the committal of the soul to Christ, which the influence of grace, not merely knowledge of the opposite truth and duty, must conquer. Even when this is subdued, and man is made willing to be saved in the appointed way, a want of power is felt, not to credit the truth of the sacrifice of Christ, or its merits, or its sufficiency, but a want of power to trust wholly, and with confidence, in it, as to the issue It is then that, like the disciples, and all good men in all ages, every man in these circumstances prays for faith; for this power to trust personally, and far himself, in the atonement made for his sins. Thus he recognizes Christ as 'the Author and Finisher of faith,' and faith as the gift of God, though his own duty: then there is in the mind an entire renunciation of self on the one hand, and a seeking of all from Christ on the other, which cannot but be followed by the gift of faith, and by the joy which springs, not from mere sentiment, but from the attestation of the Spirit to our acceptance with God. 'Then the Holy Spirit is given, not only as the Comforter, but as the Sanctifier.' It is in this way, too, that faith saves us to the end, by connecting us with the exerted influence and power of God, through Christ. 'The life that I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' These are views which will, it is true, be a stumbling-stone and a rock of offense to the philosophers of this world. But there is no remedy in concession. Still this will stand, ''Whosoever receiveth not the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein'" (Watson, Works, London, 1835, 7:224).
Pye Smith (First Lines of Christian Theology, book 5, chapter 5, § 3) defines the specific act of saving faith to be that act of the mind which directly and necessarily arises from the principle of faith, which is the proper and characteristic exertion of that principle, and in which the real nature, design, and tendency of genuine faith is made apparent. This act or exercise is expressed in Scripture by the terms "coming to Christ — looking to him — receiving him — eating the flesh of the Son of Man, and drinking his blood — trusting in him, and being fully persuaded of his truth and faithfulness." It is that which our old and excellent divines usually denoted by the phrase (perhaps too familiar, but very expressive and easily understood) closing with Christ. President Edwards expresses it thus: "The whole act of acceptance, or closing of the soul or heart with Christ" (Works, 8:546). "Faith is an assured resting of the soul upon God's promises of mercy in Jesus Christ for pardon of sins here and glory hereafter" (Dr. Owen's Catechism).
4. It has been said (above) that Protestant theologians are substantially agreed as to the nature of saving faith. But there is a class of divines in the Church of England (the so-called sacramental or Romanizing party) who seem to have gone back wholly to the scholastic doctrine of faith, if not, indeed, to that of Rome. One of the best writers of this school is bishop Forbes, of Brechin, who, in treating on Art. 11 of the Church of England, asserts that the faith by which we are justified is not the fiducia of Luther, but is "that beginning and root of the Christian life whereby we willingly believe, etc.," thus adopting the very phraseology of Trent in framing his definition of faith. So, also, he adopts Bellarmine's statement that "love is the vivifying principle of the faith which impetrates justification." While he admits that the fathers often affirm that we are justified by faith alone, he adds that "they never intended, by the word alone, to exclude all works of faith and grace from the causes of justification and eternal salvations"
(Explanation of the 39 Articles, London, 1867, 1:177 sq.). These views are sot Protestant; yet bishop Forbes, and the set of theologians who agree with him in going back to Romish doctrine, still belong to a Church which calls itself Protestant, in happy contrast, we cite another divine of the same Church, Dr. O'Brien, who, in his excellent treatise on Justification by Faith (Lond. 2d ed. 1863), after a clear statement of the nature of Christian faith as "trust in Christ; an entire and unreserved confidence in the efficacy of what Christ has done and suffered for us, a full reliance upon him and his work," protests against the error that, "in justification, faith is accounted to us for righteousness because it is in itself a right principle, and one which naturally tends to produce obedience to divine precepts;" and he shows that, " while it is the fit instrument of our justification, and the seminal principle of holy obedience, it is, notwithstanding, the instrument of our justification, essentially and properly, because it unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we have an interest in all that he has done and suffered. God having, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, appointed that we should be pardoned and accepted for the sufferings and for the merits of another, seems most fitly to have appointed, too, that our voluntary acceptance of this his mode of freely forgiving and receiving us, by putting our trust in him through whom these blessings are to be bestowed upon us, should necessarily precede our full participation of all the benefits of this gracious scheme, and that nothing else should... . If for our justification it be essential, and sufficient, that we be united to Christ — one with Christ — found in Christ — does not the act whereby we take him for our defense against that wrath which we feel that we have earned — whereby, abjuring all self-dependence, we cast ourselves upon God's free mercies in the Redeemer, with a full sense of our guilt and our danger, but in a full reliance upon the efficacy of all that he has wrought and endured; does not this act, whereby we cleave to him, and, as far as in us lies, become one with him, seem the fit act whereunto to annex the full enjoyment of all those inestimable benefits which, however dearly purchased they were by him who bought them, were designed to be, with respect to us upon whom they are bestowed, emphatically free? With less than this, our part in the procedure would not have been, what it was manifestly designed to be, intelligent and voluntary; with more, it might seem to be meritorious. Whereas faith unites all the advantages that we ought to look for in the instrument whereby we were to lay hold on the blessings thus freely offered to us: it makes us voluntary recipients of them, and yet does not seem to leave, even to the deceitfulness of our own deceitful hearts, the power of ascribing to ourselves any meritorious share in procuring them" (page 119- 121).
The relation of faith to works, and the question of the apparent difference between the doctrine of Paul and that of James on this point, will be treated in our article SEE WORKS. We only remark here that the Protestant theology (as has been abundantly shown in the extracts already given) holds that true faith always manifests itself by love and good works (see Augsburg Confession, Apology, c. 3); any other faith is mere belief, or what St. James calls "dead faith." The minor differences among Protestants as to the nature of faith depend chiefly upon differences as to the nature of justification. SEE JUSTIFICATION.
See, besides the works already cited, Edwards, Works (N.Y. edit., 4 volumes, 8vo), 1:110; 2:601 sq.; 4:64 sq.; Waterland, Works (Oxf. 1843), 6:23-29; Pearson, On the Creed, art. 1; Wardlaw, Systematic Theology (Edinb. 1857, 3 volumes, 8vo), 2:728 sq.; Martensen, Christian Dogmatics (Edinb. 1866, 8to), pages 37, 38 sq.; Knapp, Christian Theology, § 121 sq.; Browne, On 39 Articles (N.Y. 1865), page 308 sq.; Burnet, On 39 Articles, art. 11; Nitzsch, Christliche Lehre, § 143; Monsell, Religion of Redemption (Lond. 1867, 8vo), page 219 sq.; Bohmer, Christl. Dogmatik (Breslau, 1840), 1:4; 2:259 sq.; Perrone (Romans C.), Prcelectiones Theologicce (ed. Miane, 2 volumes), 2:1414 sq.; Mohler (R.C.), Symbolism (N.Y. 1844), book 1, chapter 3, § 15, 16; Buchanan, On Justification (Edinb. 1867, 8vo), page 364 sq.; Hare, Victory of Faith (reviewed in Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1860, art. 2); Lepsius, Paulin. Rechtfertigungslehre (Leips. 1853, 8vo), page 94 sq.; Usteri, Paulin. Lehrbegriff (Zr. 1824, 8vo); Ritschl, Altkathol. Kirche (Leips. 1857, 8vo), page 82 sq.; Schulz, Die Christliche Lehre v. Glauben (Leips. 1834, 8vo); Cobb, Philosophy of Faith (Nashville); Neander, Katholicismus u. Protestantismus (Berlin, 1863, 8vo), pages 131-146; Hase, Protestant. Polemik (Leips. 1865, 8vo), page 242 sq.; Baur, Katholicismus und Protestantismus (Tiibingen, 1836, 8vo), pages 259-264; Elliott, Delineation of Romanism, book 1, chapter 2; Baur, Dogmengeschichte (Leips. 1867, 3 volumes, 8vo), 3:200 sq.; Cunningham, Historical Theology, chapter 21; Beck, Dogmengeschichte (Tiibingen, 1864, 8vo), page 364-369. SEE JUSTIFICATION; SEE SANCTIFICATION.