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Faith, Justifying

(fides justificans; fides salvifica). The act by which one enters into that right relation to God which the all-atoning work of Christ has est. for the whole world.

Man needs new life through faith because of sin, which separates from God (Is 59:2). The remedy for sin comes entirely from God (Eph 2:5, 8). His gracious plan of salvation is revealed in Scripture and is received by faith (Ro 4:13, 16).

The Bible uses many images to portray faith (e.g., coming to Christ, Mt 11:28; seeing Christ, Jn 14:9; obedient hearing of Christ, Jn 10:27; keeping Christ's Word, Jn 8:51; laying hold on eternal life, 1 Ti 6:12).

Faith as a soteriological factor (fides salvifica) may be defined or described as consisting of knowledge, assent, and confidence. Each of these concepts is a definition of faith if it is understood to imply also the other two.

Faith as knowledge is the grasp with the mind, or the mental possession of that which is communicated (Lk 1:77; Jn 14:7; 17:3; Ro 10:14, 17; 1 Ti 2:4; 2 Ptr 1:3). This salutary knowledge is not mere intellectual acquaintance (Ja 2:19) or technical knowledge (1 Co 2:14), but a product of divine grace which permeates the whole heart (1 Co 2:12; 2 Co 4:6; 2 Ti 1:12).

Faith as assent is an act of the will which accepts the exalted phenomena presented to the mind. Hence, the preaching of faith is hortatory, pleading, persuasive in its message (Acts 26:28; 28:23). Since man is by nature dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1; Cl 2:13), his coming to spiritual life is the work of God (Jn 6:29; Eph 2:1–10).

Faith as confidence means that faith is that certainty, that assurance, which is as great and as firm as though we actually had the promised things in our possession, as though we could see, feel, and handle them, as though we had not only the prospect but the substance of these things (Jn 17:8; Ro 4:18–21; 8:24; 2 Ti 1:12; Tts 3:7; Heb 11:1; 1 Ptr 1:3, 13; Ap IV, 48, 50).

Faith is also thought of as a state. In this respect faith is viewed as the continued possession of the gifts and blessings of God, in and through Christ, through an enduring, abiding confidence in His complete and all-sufficient redemption (Lk 22:32; 2 Co 13:5; Gl 2:20; Cl 2:7; 1 Ti 4:7; 2 Ti 4:7). Christian faith can increase in intensity (2 Co 10:15) and extension (1 Co 1:5).

Justification by grace through faith est. a new relationship bet. God and man and produces new attitudes, desires, objectives, and ideals (Gl 2:20; Ph 4:8; Tts 2:12–13). True faith is a living, energizing, motivating power that propels and urges to action (Mt 17:20; 1 Jn 5:4–5). ELW

See also Ethics; Faith; Good Works; Grace, Means of; Material Principle; Opus operatum; Sola fide.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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