The purpose of this article is to get to the heart of what kind of faith the Christian has. It is not the writers intent to dissect all the Christian doctrines of salvation (ie. Regeneration, justification, sanctification, etc.). Is saving faith understanding a couple of facts or is it a hard following after Jesus Christ? Does saving faith divorce itself from commitment? Hopefully by the grace of God we can understand this vital issue. 
It is

“…through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved” (Acts 15:11) My salvation depends completely upon the very Creator becoming a man, living a sinless life, dying in the place of the sinner and raising again for his justification. It is He who sits at God’s right hand interceding for me that accomplishes my salvation. Everything that happens in my life whether it be faith, repentance, spiritual understanding & wisdom, growth, etc. flows from the cross (1 Cor 1:30). The sinner is saved by what He did “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God”

(Eph 2:8). Faith is the means or channel in which we receive the gift of salvation. It is Christ that saves through the channel of faith. It is the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, who saves. The reformers said we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone on the Word alone and glory be to God alone.


Many evangelical teachers throughout history have taught that faith has basically three elements:



Trust & Commitment


Before someone can become a Christian, he must first know what a Christian is. He must have knowledge of such things as sin, the holiness of God, judgment, Jesus Christ, etc… Before someone can have understanding they must be taught the truth. Many people today say they have “faith in God” but after further probing it is often discovered that their faith has no content. True faith must have content. Jesus said,
“…true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth…” (Jn 4:23). “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Pet 1:2). The Holy Spirit in 1 Timothy 2:4 says God wants us to “…come to the knowledge of the truth.”   R.C. Sproul wisely says, “I cannot have God in my heart if He is not in my head. Before I believe in, I must believe that.”[1]


There are all kinds of people who have knowledge of what a Christian is but do not believe the gospel. They know Jesus said He is the only way, but they do not agree. Most people are aware that the Bible says that God is going to send people to hell, but they really don’t believe that. Belief that the gospel is true is also necessary for saving faith. 
“…From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth” (2 Thes 2:13). “It now remains to pour into the heart itself what the mind has absorbed. For the Word of God is not received by faith if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart that it may be an invincible defense to withstand and drive off all the stratagems of temptation.”[2]


A personal trust in Christ as one’s Savior from sin is the heart of true faith. We must rely on Him and what He has done for our salvation. 

“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom 4:5). It is looking to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ with my sin being put on him on the cross as my only hope for pardon. And “commitment is the point at which we pass over the line from belonging (as we think) to ourselves and become the Lord’s true disciples.”[3]

faith. A biblical word that refers both to intellectual belief and to relational trust or commitment. The biblical authors generally do not make a distinction between faith as belief and faith as trust, but tend to see true faith as consisting of both what is believed (e.g., that God exists, that Jesus is Lord) and the personal commitment to a person who is trustworthy, reliable and able to save (that is, trust in the person of Christ as the way to *salvation).”[4]
[1] R.C. Sproul.  Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker, 1995), 77.
[2] John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion.  Ed. John T. McNeill, trans.  Ford Lewis Battles.  (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960). 583.
[3] James Montgomery Boice. Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?: Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook the World.  (Wheaton, Ill:  Crossway Books 2001). 140.
[4] Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms.