This week we begin with Question 30 of the New City Catechism, found in found in Part 2 (questions 21-35), which focuses on Christ, redemption, and grace.
Question 30: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Answer: Faith in Jesus Christ is acknowledging the truth of everything that God has revealed in his Word, trusting in him, and also receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.
Historically, theologians have argued that saving faith involves three components: knowledge, assent, and trust. Our goal for this week will be to look at each one of these components in turn.
Saving faith is more than knowledge, but certainly not less. It begins with knowing the story of the gospel, of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection for our salvation. If we do not hear the news of that story, we have no hope of coming to saving faith. This is because saving faith requires specific content to believe (namely, God’s promises held out to us in Christ). Faith cannot arise in response to what God has revealed in nature, because while nature testifies clearly of God’s eternal power and divinity (Rom. 1:20), it does not give us any promises to believe. God’s revelation in nature is sufficient to show us something of who God is and what he expects of us, but it is powerless to show us the saving truth needed to bring us the forgiveness of our sins. Without the preaching of the gospel, there can be no saving faith. And thus our mission is to take the gospel to all places where it has never been heard.
Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Romans 10. How do verses 14-17 of this chapter specifically make the argument that the gospel must be heard for anyone to be saved? What is the first part of saving faith?