Why is Faith in Jesus Christ Different?
What makes faith in Jesus Christ different from faith in anyone/anything else is that faith in Jesus Christ is saving faith… it has eternal life inseparably connected with it.
The Assembly Shorter Catechism’s definition of saving faith is this: “Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, and he is offered to us in the gospel.”
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God. However, the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the specific act of faith by which a sinner is justified before God. In this act of faith, the believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in all His offices.
How do we recognize this?
Scripture References and Discussion…
Belief in the truth received upon divine testimony always has the following associated with it:
-a deep sense of sin.
-a distinct view of Christ.
-a consenting will.
-a loving heart.
-a reliance on, a trusting in, a resting in… Christ.
It is a state of mind wherein the sinner is aware of his sin and the fact that he is under God’s penalty for that sin, and flees to Christ, turning over the entire burden of his sin onto Him. It is not only assenting to the testimony of God in His Word, but embracing with true and complete reliance and trust the one and only Savior that God has revealed. It is by faith that a believer directly and immediately makes Christ his/her own. Faith that saves – faith in Christ – is not a work of humanity that is offered to God: it is the divine grace of God providing the hand by which the believer takes hold of the person and work of Jesus Christ as the only ground of his/her salvation.
Saving faith is a moral act, because it proceeds from a renewed will… which is an absolute prerequisite to believing the truth that God has revealed:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Therefore, it becomes clear to us that faith has its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the intellectual. Before the mind can discern the things of the Spirit, it must first be enlightened by divine teaching:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were approved for eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17-18)
Faith is necessary for our salvation-
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
There isn’t any merit that can be ascribed to us in our declaration of faith: it is simply that we as sinners willingly take the place assigned us by God, and “fall in” with what God is doing.
The “ground zero” of faith is the divine testimony, and it is not the rationality/reasonableness of what He says – it is the simple fact that He says it. The veracity, sincerity, truth and eternal unchanging nature of God must be owned and appreciated by the believer, and this is accomplished with the Word of God – this encourages and emboldens sinners to personally know Christ as God’s gift; the sinner can embrace Christ, give himself/herself and his/her life to Christ, and in turn take Christ as his/hers. The Word of God comes with power, because it reveals God in His works, the mightiest of which is the cross. God is to be believed for His Word’s sake, and for His Name’s sake.
Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from condemnation:
-justification before God.
-participation in the life that is in Christ.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:19)
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. (Romans 6:4-10)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
-peace with God.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:18)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)
He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. (Acts 15:19)