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what faith is, what faith does

"Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness..."  (Romans 4:4-5 ESV)

"We must always distinguish what faith is from what faith does.  Faith does many things; it is always active, bearing fruit.  However, in the act of justification, faith only receives, embraces, and clings to Christ; it does not do anything but receives everything.  Faith is not a probable opinion or conjecture, nor mere assent to an external authority -- even the Bible or the church.  Nor is faith an immediate certainty, like the knowledge of logical, geometrical, or mathematical axioms.  Nor is it merely something we infer from sense experience.  It is not a general attitude, characteristic, or virtue -- such as an optimistic outlook or positive thinking.  Faith is not a genus of which faith in Christ is a species, as is often assumed especially in our day when we speak of various religions as 'faith communities' or the importance of 'faith'.  Faith is not even a general trust in God and his promises.  Evangelical faith-- that is, faith as defined by the gospel -- is the specific conviction of the heart, mind and will that God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ on the basis of God's Word.  Faith is clinging to Christ."  

~ Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples (Zondervan, 2012), pp 268-69.




Credits: at top, photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash. Above, photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash. 

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