Faith/Trust and All that Jazz
I think that some around here have subtly defined "faith" by what response and/or emotion that they deem must ensue.
That would be defining faith in light of its supposed fruit rather than by its constituency.
Now if faith is assurance/certainty, the passive "act" in response to being convinced/persuaded, then one can know if they have faith if they are certain (having been convinced) that a proposition it true.
I love what Gordon Clark says:
"To be sure, some beliefs stir the emotions, but the very sober belief that a man has five fingers on each hand is as much a belief as [being convinced of] some shattering news"
It is not helpful to define faith by its alleged fruits. This tends to obfuscate rather than to clarify.
I was talking to a woman whose 22 year old daughter had a baby with a man 12 years her senior. He turned out to be a real crazy person, and it is alleged that he has sexually absued the baby. If the news came out that this man died, or fell off the face of the earth, the mom of the daughter would experience an emotional reaction upon believing that news quite different than the mother of the father of the child.
Personality is widely subjective, and often our emotions and actions spring from it; have it as their foundation. When foreign elements to belief are imported into its conception, a subjectivity is introduced into it which can rob one of the certainty that is faith!
The only test to whether or not one believes something is if he is certain, having been convinced/persuaded as to the proposition. This is objective and will net results that are the same.
Are we going to say that a woman who is certain that mail will indeed come to her house the next day, yet troubled by it for she deems that most of it will be bills, nevertheless does not believe the proposition that mail will indeed be delivered to her house tomorrow?
I think that one of the reasons we have gone on this roundabout is a confusion between faith and trust.
For some reason the word "trust" is more preferable to some over the word "belief". It is interesting that John the Evangelist in his gospel uses the Greek words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) 99 times in his gospel written so that man may have eternal life, and uses the term "trust" only once, and not even in a soteriological aspect.
He did not consider the term "trust" be be superior to "belief".
Trust is specific belief into one or more propositions.
"I trust the airline pilot"
Can be broken up in this way:
I believe that the airline pilot is a professional, highly trained plane operator, skilled in flying, troubleshooting, emergency issues, flight safety, etc. I believe that he is able to conduct affairs sufficiently so that I will reach my destination.
"Trust" in the mind of many here has an added element to "faith" that makes it superior to bare "faith". This element is either an "emotion", a "volition", or a "commitment". Emotion, volition, and commitment may very well follow trust. But at the very moment you define trust by its alleged and supposed fruits, you have added those consequent fruits as a condition for 'faith' being genuine faith, and have destroyed the certainty that faith inherently consists of.
"Trust" is not a superior word to "faith," "belief," or "believe". Trust is a synonym to faith! Often times "trust" denotes faith in the reliability of an object, but it is nothing more!
The words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) are the operative words in salvific contexts. Why are we so ambivalent to use them? People know what it means to believe something, they know whether or not they are convinced as to something or not!
Further, I find that much confusion has ensued because of an ambiguity in the exact gospel proposition(s).
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Jesus asks Martha if she believes these propositions Jesus has stated concerning Himself. Her response to this is:
27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God..."
Her answer directly parallels the thematic statement of the whole epistle:
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 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 believe those propositions is to believe that Jesus is the Christ! If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, (in the sense as it has just been defined by John in his evangelistic treatise: that He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him) you have 'exercised' saving faith!
I frankly am baffled as to why some additional "personal" element is needed. The one who believes, IOW, the one who is certain of Christ's promise is believing Jesus Christ's saving gospel! The only personal element needed is inherent in the promise: "He who believes in Me (IOW what I am saying!)", "whoever... believes in Me". At the moment one believes Christ's promise, His propositions concerning Himself, IOW, is CERTAIN that what He is saying is absolutely true, it is sufficiently personalized, for the believer is included within the sphere of "he who" and "whoever".
Of course it is not wrong nor misleading to ask one who claims that they are certain of Christ's guarantee what they now have. If they do not respond with "eternal life" then it is certain that they do not believe Christ.
Nor is it wrong to "personalize" the message: "Do you believe Christ's promise that guarantees for you eternal life?" But it is not necessary.
The one who believes Christ's promise is certain that Christ guarantees "he who" and "whoever" eternal life, which obviously includes them, for they are believing Christ.
I cannot conceieve of someone saying "I believe Christ's promise, but I don't personally receive Christ's promise." They obviously do not understand the promise then and therefore cannot be believing Christ!
The offer is "believe and YOU HAVE". If you believe then you at that moment HAVE. It is not qualified by any other component; not commitment, not volition, not emotion.
So there are two problems: 1)the word "trust" is given preference over "believe" and 2) there is ambiguity over the proposition, due to inaccurate and misleading analogies.