Faith in Christianity centers on faith in the Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) '... the gospel I preached to you... Otherwise, you have believed in vain...'. The same book says, in 15:14: "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (see also Acts 2:32; Philippians 3:10; John 11:25). That he was raised from the death for God the Father. Most Christians believe that God is one eternal being who exists as three distinct, eternal, and indivisible persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ the eternal Word), and the Holy Spirit.
The precise meaning of Faith in Christianity differs in the various Christian belief systems.
The word "faith", translated from the Greek πιστις (pi'stis), was primarily used in the New Testament with the Greek perfect tense and translates as a noun-verb hybrid; which is not adequately conveyed by the English noun. Pi'stis in the New Testament context is a physical action, based upon a mental belief and sustained with confidence. Belief, in this context is non-synonymous with faith because, belief primarily conveys the mental action, thought of confidence, trust, and/or firm persuasion, not the physical act. Depending on the context, the Greek word may also be understood to mean "faithfulness" or "fidelity" (cf. 1 Thess 3:7; Titus 2:10).
Commenting on the function of faith in relation to the covenant of God, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1 ESV). Υποστασις (hy-po'sta-sis), translated "assurance" here, commonly appears in ancient papyrus business documents, conveying the idea that a covenant is an exchange of assurances which guarantees the future transfer of possessions described in the contract. In view of this, Moulton and Milligan suggest the rendering: "Faith is the title deed of things hoped for" (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, 1963, p. 660). The Greek word e´leg-khos, rendered "conviction" at Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has only appeared to be the case. This evidence for conviction is so positive or powerful that faith is said to be it. Christian faith, described in these terms, is not synonymous with credulity.
Hebrews 11:6 describes the meaning and the practical role of faith: "Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Summarizing the New Testament concept of faith, it is reliance upon God's self-revelation, especially in the sense of confidence in the promises and fear of the threats that are written in Scripture. The writers evidently suppose that their concept of faith is rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures.
In addition, the New Testament writers conflate or equate faith in God with belief in Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John is particularly emphatic on this point, where Jesus is quoted, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him" (John 5:22–23). When asked "What must we do to do the works God requires?" the writer has Jesus answering, "The work of God is this: to believe (pi'stis) in the one he has sent" (John 6:28–29).
John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Implying the word believing in this sense means being saved is based on belief or faith, rather than based on human works, as stated in the wikipedia link that I took form "John 3:16 link" to this "faith link". The Following needs to be added to both these links...
In Matthew 19:16-30 a man comes to Jesus and asks him "what good thing must I do to get eternal life" and Jesus says anyone who follows me will receive eternal life. Meaning someone who truly believes will follow Jesus and live there lives as Jesus did. These are the people who are real Christians, not fake Christians. These are the people who are born-again as the rests of John 3 talks about. These are the people who receive eternal life through believing and therefore following Christ. Note verse 27 peter says "we have left everything to follow you" and Jesus tells him in verse 28 "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[f] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Showing us that believing in christ, following him and receiving eternal life will come at great personal cost (will come at great personal cost, as following Jesus means a person will chose to make changes in there life inorder to live there life in the way he lived his), to follow Jesus means to follow Jesus example of how we are to live our lifes more and more like his.
A person must be born-again as John 3 says, this is a spiritual birth where we receive the holy spirit who becomes their guide and enables them to live a holy life a Jesus did. Holy and therefore not following their sinfull nature, but following the nature of God the, of Jesus, of the Holy spirit, the three parts of God that make him a whole being. Similar to human beings who have their brains, their bodies, and their spirits we could consider God the father as the brain part, Jesus as God in a body, and the holy spirit as the spiritual part of God the he left with each Christian, and is still the spiritual part of God, and the spiritual part of Jesus who is and always was one with god in the kingdom of heaven outside of our understand of time because God is greater than time, he is "the beginning and the end" as the Bible says, and he created time.
Matthew 19:16-30 New International Version "16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. <p> Jesus replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, <p> 19 honor your father and mother,'[d] and 'love your neighbour as yourself.'[e]" <p> 20 "All these I have kept", the young man said. "What do I still lack?" <p> 21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." <p> 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. <p> 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. <p> 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." <p> 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" <p> 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." <p> 27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" <p> 28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. <p> 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. <p> 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. </blockquote>
According to Roman Catholic theology, in an objective sense faith is the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church presents to us in a brief form in its creeds. Subjectively, faith stands for the habit or virtue by which these truths are assented to.
Faith is a supernatural act
Faith is claimed to be a supernatural act performed by Divine grace. It is "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God" (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2). And just as the light of faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study, neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but "Ask and ye shall receive."
Because the virtue is "infused" and not reachable by human efforts, it is therefore one of the theological virtues.
Faith is not blind
"We believe", says the Vatican Council (III, iii), "that revelation is true, not indeed because the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is clearly seen by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Who reveals them, for He can neither deceive nor be deceived." Thus, with regard to the act of faith which the Christian makes in the Holy Trinity, faith can be described in a syllogistic fashion, thus:
- Whatever God reveals is true
Roman Catholics accept the major premise as being beyond doubt, a presupposition upon which reason is based and thus intrinsically evident to reason; the minor premise is also true because it is declared by the Church, which is held to be infallible in its declarations, and also because, as the Vatican Council says, "in addition to the internal assistance of His Holy Spirit, it has pleased God to give us certain external proofs of His revelation, viz. certain Divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, for since these latter clearly manifest God's omnipotence and infinite knowledge, they afford most certain proofs of His revelation and are suited to the capacity of all." Hence Thomas Aquinas writes: "A man would not believe unless he saw the things he had to believe, either by the evidence of miracles or of something similar" (II-II:1:4, ad 1). Thomas is here speaking of the motives of credibility, the causes which give rise to belief.
Text adapted from The Catholic Encyclopedia article "Faith".
Faith as steadfastness in reasoned belief
Protestant Christian C.S. Lewis described his experience of faith in his book Mere Christianity as follows:
- "Faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels ... In the first sense it means simply Belief.
Faith involving knowledge
Protestants differ on the exact relationship between faith and knowledge, although all agree that knowledge is normally involved. Roughly, the split is between paedobaptists and baptists, with paedobaptists asserting that faith means placing one's trust in Jesus Christ according to the measure of understanding granted, and baptists asserting faith means placing one's trust in Jesus Christ with a certain minimal core of understanding being necessary.
Faith is an operation of the Spirit of God
Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God. Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain statements which are regarded as mere facts of history. Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men (e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled the common operation of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it, and is a special operation of the Holy Spirit.
Faith as a gift of God
Paul writes in Ephesians 2 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast." From this, some Protestants believe that faith itself is given as a gift of God (e.g. ), although this interpretation is disputed by others (e.g. ).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
The warrant of faith is the truthfulness of God
The basis for faith is divine testimony, not the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he says it. Faith rests immediately on "Thus saith the Lord". But in order to understand this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God must be owned and appreciated, together with his unchangeableness.
What is faith? It is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1); that is, it is the assurance we have, of the existence, of unseen things. Joseph Smith Jr. (Lectures on Faith)
Alma 32:21 in the Book of Mormon says: 'And now as I said concerning faith— faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.'
- Save the World Online Church"
- Summa Theologica "Second Part of the Second Part" See Questions 1-16
- Catholic Encyclopedia "Faith"