John 20:29 and the Passive Nature of Saving Faith
Many Evangelicals have a tendency to complicate saving faith. They frequently assert that saving faith is more than simple 'intellectual assent'.
An important text on the subject of saving faith is John 20:29
'Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.'
In this verse we have the belief of Thomas who saw with his senses and this is equated with that of all believers.
Thomas' belief was simply a passive recognition of what his eyes told him, and what his hands would have told him if he touched Jesus. Was this a cold intellectual faith? Of course not, because that distinction is irrelevant here. Thomas' belief was simply the passive apprehension of truth.
What is truth except a fact, a proposition? Truth is not a theory, it is not an ideal, it is not a whim, a wish or a hope.
The passage goes on to say:
'But these things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.'
If I read this and believe that it (that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God) is the truth, that this is a fact, then I shall be saved.
Does the passage explain how to believe it? No. Believing is as simple as my looking out the window and seeing that I am still in Worcester. I see with my eyes and believe this to be the truth, just as Thomas looked at His Lord and saw that He had risen.
Does it require me to search my consciousness to find out whether I am believing it in my soul or my emotions or only in my mind? No. I simply believe that this is the truth. If I believe, then I will be indwellt with the Holy Spirit who will deal with my emotions, provided I surrender them to the Lord. My salvation is in believing.
Thomas looked with His eyes and saw His risen Lord. I look with my eyes at the pages of God's Word and see that my Lord is risen, and thus I can know that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, the one who has granted me eternal life.