FAITH (taibj, (Gr. rto-rts, pisVis), belief, trust— especially in a higher power.
(1) General. Faith in every language, spoken by Christian, Jew, or Mohammedan, seems every where to convey the fundamental ideas of 'fixed ness, stability, steadfastness, reliability.' What the ultimate conception is which underlies these ideas remains somewhat doubtful, but it would appear to be rather that of 'holding' than that of 'supporting' (although this last is the sense adopted in Oxf. Hcb. Lcx.).
(2) Old Testament. The extreme rarity of the noun 'faith' in the Old Testament may prepare us to note that even the verb 'to believe' is far from common in it. In a religious application it occurs in only some thirteen Old Testament books, and less than a score and a half times. But the prin was a religion of faith in a far more specific sense than this, and that not merely because faith was more consciously its foundation, but because its very essence consisted in faith, and this faith was the same radical self-commitment to God, not merely as the highest good of the holy soul, but as the gracious Savior of the sinner, which meets us as the characteristic feature of the re ligion of the New Testament. Between the faith of the two Testaments there exists, indeed, no fur ther difference than that which the progress of the historical working out of redemption brought with it.
(3) New Testament. The word in the New Testament denotes: (t) The truth of the gospel of Christ and the kingdom of God (Acts vi:7; xxiv:24; Rom. i:5; Gal. i Phil. i:27; Tim. iii:9; Jude, ver. 3), "the faith which was once de livered to the saints," for the truth and faithful ness of God (Rom. iii :3), and for the persuasion ciple is there designated by other terms, such as to "look" to God (Is. xlv :22), to "wait on" him (Ps. xxvii:14), and to "trust" in him (Nah. i :7).
Abraham is "the father of the faithful," because unbounded trust in God was the very essence of his piety. (Comp. Rom. iv :1). Paul derives
the theme of his Epistle to the Romans from the passage of Habakkuk: "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. i:17; comp. Hab. ii:4). The Epistle to the Hebrews gives a bright catalogue of the heroes of faith under the old dispensation (xi : ff).
To believe in God, in the Old Testament sense, is thus not merely to assent to his word, but with firm and unwavering confidence to rest in security and trustfulness upon him.
Despite the infrequency of the occurrence on its pages of the terms 'faith,"to believe,' the religion of the Old Testament is thus obviously as funda mentally a religion of faith as is that of the New Testament. There is a sense, to be sure. in which all religion presupposes faith (Heb. xi:6), and in this broad sense the religion of Israel, too, neces sarily rested on faith. But the religion of Israel of the mind as to the lawfulness of things in different (Rom. xiv :22, 23).
(2) The act by which we lay hold of and ap propriate the truths of the gospel and Jesus Christ, and rely for salvation upon the work done by him in our stead. This is the prevailing sense of the word (Matt. viii:fo; John iii:16; Rom. i:16, etc.; and all through John and the Pauline Epistles).
(4) Saving Faith. (i) In the breadth of its idea, faith is thus the going- out of the heart from itself and its resting on God in confident trust for all good. But the scriptural revelation has to do with, and is directed to the needs of, not man in the abstract, but sinful man; and for sin ful man this hearty reliance on God necessarily becomes humble trust in him for the fundamental need of the sinner—forgiveness of sins and re ception into favor. In response to the revelations of his grace and the provisions of his mercy it commits itself without reserve and with ab negation of all self-dependence to him as its sole and sufficient Savior, and thus, in one act, empties itself of all claim on God and casts it self upon his grace alone for salvation.