What is saving faith?
The Bible teaches that God saves sinners through faith. (Eph 2:8-9)
Since this is true, it is important to understand what faith is. Biblical faith consist of three elements:
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.”
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. 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 Thess 2:13)
As Calvin says, “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.”
TRUST and COMMITMENT
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 when we cross the line and become followers of Christ.