The second Lesson titled "The Nature of Saving Faith"
Presentation file can be downloaded here.
1.We saw last week how no aspect of our salvation is left unaffected by the Lordship controversy. We also talked about how on either side of the debate are two opposing views of theology, Lordship salvation which runs in the stream of Reformed theology vs. No-Lordship theology which runs in the stream of Arminian theology. Between these two views there is a disagreement as to the origin of Saving Faith, Reformed theology says that faith of a divine origin and Arminianism saying that faith originates in man. No-Lordship theology deviates further in their definition of faith from the Arminian foundation as we will see in this lesson.
2.Today we will cover the definition, attributes and evidence of Saving Faith according to scripture and Reformed theology. Then we will look at the No-Lordship position in light of scripture and compare with the definition of faith in Lordship Theology.
3.What is Faith? What is its definition? Can someone give me their definition? Quote from the Bible or scholar if you want.
4.Here's what Louis Berkhoff says in his Systematic Theology “Christian faith in the most comprehensive sense is man’s persuasion of the truth of Scripture on the basis of the authority of God”
5.Now take what Louis says here and compare it with what the scriptures say. Let's look at Luke 7:1-10. Why did Jesus say that the centurion's faith was greater than anyone's in all of Israel? Because he believed in the authority of Jesus. So we too believe what is said in the Bible of Jesus and His work of redemption not because of the authority of the apostles or orthodoxy but because of the authority of God the Father.
6.In theology Saving Faith is defined as having three elements. The first element called by it's Latin name “Notitia” meaning “knowledge or information” means to have a positive recognition of the truth or an intellectual recognition of the truth or notion. In other words your mind recognizes the truth of the Gospel as far as the historical facts presented in the Bible.
7.The second element “Assensus” meaning “approval” means that you have a deep conviction and affirmation of the truth; this is the emotional element of your faith. It is expressed in the joy felt when you learn the truth of your salvation.
8.The third and last element called “Fiducia” meaning “confidence or trust” means that you have a personal trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, including a surrender to Christ. This is the volitional element or act, where the outworking or evidence of faith is seen in an act.
1.Let's look at Hebrews 11:1-3. In this text we can see all three elements of faith referred to.
2.In verse 3, we can see the Notional element “by faith we understand”
3.verse 1, being sure and convinced, represents the emotional or assensus element of our faith.
4.Finally in verse 2, the men of old gained approval, the volitional element of faith. If we continue on Paul shows us example of what the men of old did in acting upon their faith. Verse 7 by faith Noah constructed an ark, verse 8 by faith Abraham obeyed. And so on.
1.Ok we've defined what faith is but where does saving faith come from? What does the Bible say and how does theology describe its origin?
2.Drawing again from Louis Berkhoff he describes faith's origin like this, “Faith, is not, strictly speaking, to be understood as a spiritual activity of man, by which he accepts the divine revelation, for this would make man subject and put him in possession of the revelation. It is rather the negation of man as subject. It is the creative work of God, and particularly of the Holy Spirit, by which, and by which alone, the revelation finally becomes an accomplished fact. Faith is a miracle, the deed and gift of God
3.Here Louis makes a vital point that lies in the middle of the dichotomy created by the lordship controversy. If the origin of faith is in the full possession of man then that would make man sovereign over the revelation of Christ's redemptive work on the cross.
4.Rather, as our key verses say, faith is the creative work of God. In Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” we learn that we are saved through faith that is not from ourselves but rather it is a gift of God. In the two sides of the lordship controversy there is a great amount of debate concerning this verse.
5.The no-lordship scholars would say the gift is salvation or grace, but not faith. I would agree that the gift includes salvation, but it must also include faith. We know this because of texts like Acts 13:48, “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” and Phil 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”
6.Now we must also understand that we as believers are in possession of saving faith, it was a gift of God but we posses it, we have faith and we are responsible for it. There is an interaction between divine revelation and human responsibility and Charles Spurgeon covered this in his sermon titled “the Father’s will.
7.Spurgeon based his sermon on this passage John 6:39-40, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” explaining that these two phrases set forth the divine side of salvation and the human side.
1.We’ve covered the definition and origin of saving faith; now let’s look at its attributes.
2.Faith endures in the believers life until the end, as we can see in Rom 1:16 and 17, “…..” and Phil 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
3.The faith God gives us produces the will and ability to obey God’s will, Phil 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”
4.Saving Faith must have an object-God, in the words of theologian JP Boyce, “One object of faith is God the Father, not considered alone as the Father, but both as Father, and as representing the Godhead.” (JP Boyce Abstract Theology) Also in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the divinity of Christ as the Lord of Glory. And the Holy Spirit, essentially the Godhead as a whole.
5.In our proof text John 3:14-15, comes during our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus is a prediction of the work of redemption that he would perform on the cross and refers back to Numbers chapter 21.
6.Let's also look at Galatians 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” the phrase faith in Jesus Christ, and some translations may have faith of Jesus Christ, appears as an objective genetive. The Greek words pistis cristou ihsou appear together in the objective relationship. So the object of faith is Jesus Christ, this case appears again in Rom 3:21-23.
7. Lastly the evidence of saving faith can be seen in the obedient life of the believer. There are several proof texts not the least of which is Acts 6:7, in one of Luke's summary statements on the growth of the church. “the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
8.Let's look at Mat 7:21-23, this stands as a warning to all of us that just saying the right words does not equate to saving faith, Jesus goes on to say that those who are obedient of the Father's will are truly saved. This verse stands out directly against no-lordship teaching and the carnal Christian doctrine.
9.Other supportive texts, Luke 6:46, John 14:21, Rom 16:26, 6:16
1.The word faith appears in the Koine Greek as the words Pistis and Pisteuo. The two are used interchangeably in scripture.
2.Pistis is a noun and means a moral conviction, assurance, fidelity. Pisteuo the verb form of the same word means to have faith in, to believe, to trust. It is the action part of faith.
3.Rom 4:5 gives us a good example of both forms of the word being used.
1.When talking about evangelical faith there is more than one type. Or in other words we can make a distinction between Faith that saves and other types of faith that do not save.
2.One type of faith is known as Historical Faith, as defined by JP Boyce in his Abstract of Systematic Theology, “This is mere intellectual belief of the truths taught in the Scriptures as historical facts. There was such a person as Jesus, who being the Son of God, wrought out salvation and has now commanded all men to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Such was the faith of Simon Magus” or Simon the magician.
3.The story of Simon the Magician appears in Acts 8 verses 13 thru 24, Simon a famous magician in Samaria made a confession of faith and was baptized under Philip's ministry there. There is quite a lot of debate as to the validity of Simon's confession within the Lordship controversy and certainly outside the controversy as well.
4.Our source gives Simon as an example of Historical faith and well he might be, the operative text would be verse 21, “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God” What decides that matter for the reader is how you understand verse 24 as true repentance on Simon's part or no.
5.A better example of Historical Faith is Judas Iscariot, one example on which there is no debate. There are many verses that describe Judas but John 6:64 does a good job for our example. Here we understand that even though Judas knew who Jesus was and had walked with him as one of his disciples, he was not a true disciple and his faith can be described as merely historical or simple mental ascent.
1.A second type of faith is described as Temporary or Spurious Faith and is seen to have many marks of true Saving Faith. It has both an intellectual element and an emotional element but lacks the volitional element of Saving Faith.
2.This type of faith is described within the parable of the sower in Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away”
3.Here in Luke and also in Hebrew 6:5, to “fall away” means that the faith expressed was merely spurious and not a saving faith.
1.To summarize Saving Faith will manifest itself with these characteristics in the life of the believer....,
2.If you pay close attention you might notice that the first 5 items are characteristics of a disciple, and the last two characteristics of Sanctification.
1.Now that we’ve defined Saving faith and are familiar with its attributes and evidence we can take a look at the No-Lordship definition of Faith
2.Here’s is a synopsis from an article on faith from Bob Wilkin, a contemporary advocate of No-Lordship theology.
3.“The nature of saving faith is believing simple facts, Jesus is the Son of God who sacrificed himself to atone for our sins. Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” John 6:47 “"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” It does not say “he who repents, believes and submits, shall be saved.”
4.Here we see again the assertion that faith is simple and uncomplicated. Here also Bob offers proof texts that seem to support his position initially but they do not support his last assertion when viewed in light of other scripture.
5.His second point “We are justified by faith alone, there is no call for commitment or submission of one’s life” is partly based on one of the foundational doctrines of the Reformation, but he is working a wrong definition of faith. It is correct to say that we are justified by Faith alone; the problem with their statement is that Justification is only one aspect of our salvation, and justification cannot be separated from repentance or any other aspect. It is their dispensational foundation that allows No-Lordship advocates to make separations in our salvation
6. To support this viewpoint no-Lordship advocates use the fact that the word repent or repentance does not appear anywhere in the Gospel according to John. Now we know that John was written with a singular purpose in mind, John 20:31, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” To defend this idea No Lordship would say that since John is evangelistic in nature then surely John would have included teaching on repentance had it been important or necessary for salvation.
7.By this same logic you could say that grace has no part in our salvation as well, because the word Grace does not appear in the Gospel according to john either.
8.The third point stresses the no lordship view that there is only one type of faith, there is no such thing as spurious or historical faith. If you have faith, any kind at all it is a saving faith.
1.In no Lordship salvation as in Arminianism the origin of faith is seen as resting in the hands of man. For proof texts Rom 4:3-5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” Abraham here is justified by his faith, in James 2:21 the works that Abraham did only justified himself before men –Zane Hodges
2.There is no intimation that this faith is anything other than his own personal faith.
3.If faith is purely in the hands of man then how is that we come to believe? In no lordship salvation it is the presentation of the gospel that causes us to believe, in other words it is a response to the Gospel.
4.for example in John 11:26-27, (this is Jesus and Martha speaking just before Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead) “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe(pisteuo) this?" She *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
5.In this example Martha gives her response to Jesus’ question. Dr Ray Stanford gives this explanation, “Faith is not a divine gift from God. Faith is a personal conviction which a person exercises when he or she encounters Jesus the Christ. The clear exhortation from Paul and the other NT writers is for people to believe. There is no biblical data to warrant the belief that faith itself is given by God.”
6.Lewis Sperry Chafer backs up this idea with this statement, “The fact that God convicts people of their need of a Savior and reveals to them the truth concerning Christ is not the same thing as saying that He gives them their faith”
1.We’ve already seen that scripture overwhelmingly supports that faith is a divine gift. We used Eph 2:8 as one of our proof texts, as you can imagine the No-Lordship advocates have a different explanation this passage.
2.Chafer explains Eph 2:8 this way in his Systematic Theology, “The point in this verse is that salvation is by grace in its totality…Though it is true that faith on the part of an unsaved person would be impossible apart from divine help, it is nevertheless is a human decision, however difficult it may be to separate the human work from the divine work. The problem with making faith a particular gift from God is that it removes from man any responsibility to believe and leaves it entirely in the hands of God. If this were true it would be useless to exhort men to believe inasmuch as they could not do so.
1.I’ve mentioned several time how theology flows much like a stream and how you can look to its headwaters to determine what path it will take. If we look upstream from No-Lordship theology we would Arminianism as its source, if we look downstream we would see an old error called Sandemanianism.
2.Named after its founder and primary advocate Robert Sandeman, a Scottish preacher from the late 1700’s, it said that Saving faith is a simple mental ascent to the truths of the Bible and facts about Jesus, it also stressed Reason above faith.
3.This teaching was refuted by Andrew Fuller in 1810 (in connection with the Baptist Missionary Society and William Carey) Fuller argued that saving faith involves more than the mere assent of the mind to the facts of the gospel. Since faith is a duty, it must necessarily involve the will. Since it is a grace (imparted by the Holy Spirit), it cannot be restricted to the intellect. It must be the result of the Spirit's operation in the heart. It must involve the whole man or it is not saving faith.
4.Sandemanianism then is no different than the "devils' faith." John 2:19
5.No-Lordship Salvation has not been unaffected by this natural progression of its theology.
6.In 2002 the Grace Evangelical Society split and the Free Grace Alliance was formed by Dr. Charlie Bing and Dr Earl Radmacher. The split formed over Wilkins and Hodges extreme view on faith, essentially they had reduced faith or saving faith to just believing certain facts about Jesus. This view resembled Sandemanianism and has been called the “crossless” gospel.
1.The Lordship view of saving faith is largely the same as the Biblical view that we went over in the beginning of the lesson
2.This view differs sharply with the Free Grace view in the following points
3.go over points on slide.
4.Clearly the evidence of true saving faith can be seen in the obedience to our Lord’s commands in the life of the believer; the evidence of faith can also be seen in what the believer does, and how he acts. Merely knowing and affirming certain facts apart from obedience is not faith in the biblical sense. The test of true faith is this, does it produce obedience? If it doesn’t it is a false faith (Macarthur)
1.What I would like to do is go through James 2:14-19 with you. First we will explain the passages from the Lordship view then we will compare with what the No-Lordship view would say. This will give us an opportunity to do a side by side comparison.
2.Let’s begin with James 2:14, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?”. “That faith”, refers to the kind of faith just described: faith without works. The article “that faith” here is anaphoric (The use of a linguistic unit, such as a pronoun, to refer back to another unit, as the use of her to refer to Anne in the sentence Anne asked Edward to pass her the salt.), referring to the previous mention of the noun πίστις (pisti") in the verse
3.We also understand that the phrase “Can that faith save him?” is rhetorical in nature and expects a negative answer. In other words “Can that faith save him?” the answer would be Of course not! What is being said here is that simple mental assent or notitia, it is not saving faith.
4.This verse from the No-Lordship view would be understood quite differently and I’ve pulled from 3 different sources and I’ll try to explain what they are saying…
5.First Dr ray Stanford had this to say, ““He is saved but an unfruitful Christian, but in keeping with John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away…” God removes the Christian who is a stumbling block to others.
6.The next question in James 2:14 is “Can faith save him?” Romans 4:5 answers this clearly: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” Yes, faith can save him. In fact, nothing else could. When a person tries to be saved by faith and works, he cannot be saved (Romans 11:6; Gal. 5:2; Gal. 5:4).
7.There are a couple of problems with this statement, first Dr Ray is working from the KJV which mistranslates the phrase “Can that faith save him” the KJV translators failed to include the definite article that appears before pistis in the Greek text. He also takes the phrase out of context and simply asks “Can Faith save” and gives the simplest answer “yes” without asking what kind of faith? Of course in no lordship salvation there is only one kind of faith. For a proof text he uses Romans 4:5 (as ALL no lordship advocates do) which is a good example of bad exegesis! Paul is referring to justification by works under the law, James is referring to works as evidence of Saving Faith!
8.Bob Wilkin, says that the question here to answer is what are we being saved from? According to him we are being saved from a sinful life, this verse is not necessarily talking about eternal salvation. Zane Hodges echoes Wilkins exposition here in saying that James is not talking about salvation from hell, but salvation from a sinful and unproductive life as a Christian. They offer no proof of their exposition.
1.James 2:15-16 “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
2.Spurious faith is pure hypocrisy
3.the No lordship view, since all faith is saving faith, this saved person is being a useless Christian.
4.James 2:17, “even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
5.The Lordship view says that faith with out verifying works is not Saving Faith but mere mental ascent and not a saving faith.
6.No Lordship needs to maintain that all faith is a saving faith interpret this to mean that the Greek word “Nekros” used here really means useless, Dr Ray gives a lexicon reference Arndt-Gingrich.
7.But the word Nekros definition given in other lexicons always means a corpse or dead.
1.James 18-19 “ 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. 2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear
2.lordship explanation, there is more to saving faith than merely conceding a set of facts
3.Free Grace position on commitment of life Faith is merely a response to a divine initiative, it is the means by which the gift of life is received (Zane Hodges) Zane Hodges “If faith was dead it must have been once alive
1.Go over summary.