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.
Saving faith consists of knowledge, assent, and trust. We must know the truth of the gospel and assent to its truth. But if we stop there, we have only gone as far as the demons have gone. Demons have no trouble assenting to correct theology (James 2:19). Where demons go wrong is that they do not trust the God whom they know to be God.
The same is true for us. We are not saved simply by believing that Jesus died and rose again. We must move beyond mere assent and entrust ourselves to the Jesus proclaimed to us, owning him as our only hope for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Saving faith requires, not just believing that, but also trusting in, so that we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Christ. This is why faith in Christ cannot be separated from complete submission to his lordship over us, which is why, ultimately we cannot separate faith in Christ from repentance from sin. Faith is not merely an act of the intellect. It includes the intellect, but it must also include the will, or else it is not saving faith. Consequently, true saving faith will always be revealed by the works we do, which reveal whether or not we really trust God’s promises.
Suggested passage for family or personal reading: James 2:14-26. What does this passage teach about the nature of saving faith? What is the proper relationship between faith and works? What does this mean for your life?