Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:2

Without faith we cannot please God. Heb 11:6

".....allegiance to duty or a person: LOYALTY.....belief and trust in and loyalty to God.....belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.....something that is believed esp. with strong conviction; esp.: a system of religious beliefs....." (By permission. From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)

Cambron mentions that there are three parts to faith. Knowledge, belief, and trust. Knowledge: Rom. 10:17 "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" 2. Belief: "The second element of faith is belief. Everyone knows what belief means, that is, to accept something as the truth. People can know that there is a Savior by the name of Jesus, and believe that He can save. Yet, this is not saving faith." 3. Trust: Trust is essential to faith in anything. It is most essential in saving faith. It is one thing to know that Christ died, and believe it; It is quite another thing to trust Him, the dying and resurrected Savior, for salvation.

He likens it to a chair. You must KNOW of it's existence before you can BELIEVE that there is such a thing. You cannot TRUST the chair until you have tested it by sitting in it. You must have faith in your judgment and quick reaction, to test it.

A look at Romans 10:14,15 would back up the idea of a process involved in these items. "How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

Do you agree with his analysis that faith is made up of these things? They may lead to faith, or help faith to grow, but they are not faith by themselves, nor combined.

So, what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1 we see what faith is. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Verse three is an illustration of this thought. We by faith can accept that God created the heavens and the earth. That is a vivid example of faith. (This would indicate that the unsaved can have a certain amount of faith. I believed in the creation by God long before I was confronted with the Gospel.)

Eph. 2:8,9 mentions, "For by grace are ye saved through faith;" We cannot be saved without faith. Faith is of utmost importance, so we must understand what it is.

Pardington defines faith thusly: "Faith may be defined as that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner whereby he turns to God. Like repentance, it involves a change of view, a change of feelings, and a change of purpose." (Pardington, Rev. George P. Ph.D.; "OUTLINE STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE"; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 316)

Pardington breaks faith into three parts as does Cambron. I will list these for your study. "Intellectual. This is belief in the existence of god and in the teaching of the Scriptures: John 1.22,23; James 2.19." "Emotional. This is personal faith that Christ is the only Saviour from sin: Matt. 13.21; John 5.35; 8.30,31." "Volitional (will). This is the actual surrender to Christ and present trust in Him as Saviour and Lord: Acts 16.31; Rev. 3.20."

How can we define this term? Might we suggest that it is the mental process by which we accept as true, something that cannot be proven true?

Faith is the Greek term "pistis." Faithful is the term "pistos." "pistis" is the noun, "pistos" is the adjective. It is of interest that a term that is closely related is "pisteuo." "Pisteuo" is translated "believe" in the New Testament.

Let's illustrate the difference between these terms with the word process. There is a process (noun) for developing film. To develop the film you would have to process (verb) the film. Is there a difference between the two? Yes, there is a difference. The noun "process" is dormant, dead, unproductive and worthless, while "process" the verb is working, active, productive and worth while.

It would seem that we can apply the similar reasoning to "faith" and "believe". Believe is the verb form and is active, while faith is the noun and is inactive. Belief is the action part of faith. When we mentally give assent to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and trust in that assent, we have saving faith.

Let us consider faith.

Faith has degrees: Acts 6:5,8; 11:24; Rom. 12:3; 14:1 The degrees of faith can be seen in the lives of believers. Some believers have great faith in their prayer life, while others don't have faith enough to ask for even the smallest request.

Most have heard of the great faith of Hudson Taylor. He trusted God for the support of many missionaries in his mission. He trusted that God would bring in the funds needed. God honored that faith by providing the funds needed.

Faith purifies the heart: Acts 15:9 speaks of the salvation of people. "purifying their hearts by faith." This passage links faith directly to that wonderful transition between being lost and being saved.

Faith brings justification: Rom. 3:28,30 We have already seen that justification is an integrated part of salvation. There can be no justification, except by faith, since there can be no salvation without faith. (28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.")

Faith brings righteousness: Rom. 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." It seems that this verse may well illustrate the noun verb relationship that we were speaking of earlier. By the act of believing the person is justified. His faith being inactive can do nothing yet it was counted as righteousness.

Heb. 11:6 is a verse that shows the same contrast between the two terms. "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to god must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Faith brings propitiation: Rom. 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" Clearly, faith precedes propitiation as well as remission of sins. Faith in Christ's sacrifice brings about that shift of relationship that allows salvation to be possible.

Faith allows us to stand in His grace: Rom. 5:2, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Our spiritual standing in God's family was accomplished by faith. We stand a picture of the Grace of God because of faith in His Son.

Faith comes from the Word: Rom. 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." This is not only a statement of Scripture, but is of logical necessity. Without the message from God, it would be impossible for man to know what was desired of him by the Creator.

As the lost mind is confronted by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit moves in the life to draw them unto God. We hear or read the Word and then our being must react to that information.

Faith allows us to stand: Rom. 11:20, Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:" This passage with its context pictures the believer as a branch that was grafted into the vine after the Jewish branch had been removed. We stand in salvation through faith. This speaks of our position before God. By faith, we came to Him for salvation.

Faith can be a gift: I Cor. 12:9, To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" In the New Testament church there were spiritual gifts that were active to give sign of the Messiah that had come. One of these gifts was that of faith. The person with this gift had great faith in prayer. I suspect that this is what James speaks of when he talks about the prayer of faith.

Whether this gift is active today is not clear. The sign gifts were of a very special type. The results were special. For example the healing that Paul did. The cured bodies were special examples of the power of God. The gift of faith most likely was also special in result.

I personally do not believe that this gift is active today, however I do wonder if God does not give some saints a special capacity to have faith. When circumstances are bad, I have observed that most believers have a real faith, yet when they are in better circumstances their faith tends to falter a little. This may relate to the next point. Are we trusting in our God or ourselves.

Faith has an object: Christ is the object of our faith (Col. 1:4; 2:5). Any other object will fail us. When we sought salvation, Christ was the only answer, and thus the only object in which we could place our faith.

FAITH BRINGS SALVATION: II Tim. 3:15, "...the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in christ Jesus."

Faith must be mixed with the Gospel for salvation: Heb. 4:2, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." This relates to the fact that faith cometh by hearing. If we hear the Gospel, but do not place our trust in it, it can do no good. Mix in faith, and you have all that is necessary for the salvation of that being.

Faith without works is dead: James 2:17, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Even though I had faith in the creation of God before I was saved my faith was dead for it produced nothing. This verse in itself proves also that the lost can have faith.

Can we say concerning faith then, that it is that which allows our mind to make that step of action called belief? That mental ability that allows us to take our faith one step further.

Might we also say that faith is the intellect reacting, and that belief is the will reacting? By belief I mean a belief that has repentance built in.

Faith then can be possessed by the lost and not be leading them toward salvation. (As in the case of Heb 11:1-3)

Faith is the - shall we say - precursor to belief/repentance. Belief is the step of action which moves the lost person into the family of God.

Can we say then the Word Working in the intellect, causes the intellect to have faith? Can we further say that the faith of the intellect moves the will to act, or believe, causing salvations plan to become active? I think so.

W       F       C       B
O       A       O       E
R ----- I ----- N ----- L ----- SALVATION
D       T       V       I
        H       I       E
                C       F

How does, and where does trust come into the picture?  Trust must be the ingredient which causes faith to bear fruit in belief.  I had faith and trust in the Word, in creation, in God, but didn't know the Gospel.

I heard the Gospel and faith moved me immediately to belief in the Gospel and my new salvation.

Belief can be active in the lost; belief in creation, in God, in Christ, in the resurrection, or in many things.  What moves that person to belief with repentance?  Faith and trust?  Faith?  Trust?  How about the Holy Spirit?

Can the lost have faith and trust in creation?  Yes.

Can the lost have faith and trust in the resurrection?  Yes.

Can the lost have faith and trust in the Word?  Yes.

Can they still be lost?  Yes.

If belief is active - as above, then belief activated by faith in relation to Christ's work is what saves.


Faith - trust  - repentance - belief can be present in the lost persons life without salvation.  It is when these are centered on Christ that salvation can occur.

The further we study, the more it seems that man is very close to the same place that the angels were.  At a point in eternity past they accepted, or rebelled.  We also come to a point where we accept, or reject.

Can you have belief without faith?  Yes, the devil's believe.  It seems that belief in facts is simple belief, yet belief of facts and trusting in those facts is complex belief which leads to salvation.

Faith, belief, and repentance are almost instantaneous, however there seems to be a sequence of events.  Faith the inactive takes action in belief.  Faith may be present before salvation.  Belief may be present before salvation.  However, the faith that trusts God's Gospel causes the active.


Faith - where lostness turns to blessedness, where sinfulness turns to holiness, where rebelliousness turns to submission, where separation turns to family ties - the only place to be!