1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Some Biblical references to faith in the New Testament.
A. Greek word pisteuo, which
means "to believe"
- "whoever believes in Him should not perish"
- "everyone who believes in Me shall never die"
- "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved"
- "power of God for salvation to every one who believes"
- "having believed you were sealed with Holy Spirit"
- "the demons believe and shudder"
5:1 - "whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born
B. Greek word pistis, which is
translated "belief" and "faith"
- "the obedience of faith"
- "having been justified by faith"
15:14 - "if Christ not raised, your faith is in vain"
5:7 - "we walk by faith, not by sight"
- "I live by faith in the Son of God"
- "For by grace you have been saved through faith"
- "righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith"
- "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction
of things not seen"
- "faith without works is dead"
1:5 - "protected by the power of God through faith"
II. Understanding the meaning of the Biblical words for
A. Old Testament background.
language did not have a word corresponding to New Testament concept
in old covenant was "prospective trust" in what God
was going to do.
Testament personages had "faith" - Rom. 4:9,12,16;
Gal. 3:7,9.11; Heb. 11
B. New Testament concept of "faith"
Greek words referred to "trust" and "obedience"
toward men or gods.
New Testament and Christian usage of Greek words
Man's receptivity of God's activity.
John 1:12; Gal. 3:2; I Cor. 4:7
C. English language hindered by having
no verb form for "faith"
III. The responsibility for faith.
A. God's responsibility? God's gift?
God grant to man the capability to exercise faith?
2:20; Eph. 2:8,9
B. Man's responsibility?
1. Is faith
based on man's God-given ability to choose?
IV. Faith and reason.
A. Are faith and reason antithetical?
B. Reasoned faith is precondition to
genuine Christian faith.
V. Faith and belief.
A. Failure to differentiate has caused
B. Reformers differentiated
- credence, belief
- trust, reliance
C. Belief - mental assent and cognitive
acceptance of information, truth- propositions concerning
and theological formulation.
D. Faith - receptivity of the life of
VI. Faith and works.
A. Does faith "do" anything?
a meritorious "work" - Eph. 2:8,9
2. Is God's
salvation conditioned or contingent upon our faith?
faith move mountains? Matt. 17:20; 21:21; I Cor. 13:2
we refer to the "power of faith" or the "law of
B. The outworking of faith.
of partitioned faith
Receive Jesus as Savior and not as Lord
Redemption, justification, conversion apart from sanctification
without works is dead - James 2:19,26
VII. The object of our faith.
A. Not faith in procedure, promise,
power, product, but in Person of Jesus.
B. Not receptivity of ideology, theology,
methodology, but of Jesus and His activity.
C. Believe "into" Jesus. pistis
VIII. When is faith exercised?
called "saving faith" or "regenerative faith"
2:8,9; Gal. 3:26; John 1:12
called "Christian faith," "sanctifying faith,"
or "living faith."
26:18; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 2:6,7
IX. Faith is dynamic rather than static.
A. Static - assent to a belief-system.
B. Dynamic - receptivity of the living
activity of God in Christ.