Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

  1. The grace of faith, by which the elect are enabled to believe so that their souls are saved, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts.1 This faith is ordinarily brought into being by the ministry of the Word.2 By this same ministry, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, by prayer, and by other means appointed of God, this faith is increased and strengthened.3

1 2Cor 4.13; Eph 2.8 2 Rom 10.14, 17 3 Lk 17.5; 1Pt 2.2; Acts 20.32

  1. By this faith a Christian believes to be true whatever is revealed in the Word, recognizing it as the authority of God himself.4 This faith also apprehends [discerns] an excellence in the Word that is above all other writings and everything else in the world,5 because it displays and declares the glory of God in his attributes, the excellence of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his works and operations. In this way a Christian is enabled to cast his soul [rely entirely] upon the truth he has believed.6 A Christian also makes an appropriately different response to what is contained in any particular passage of the Word: offering obedience to the commands,7 trembling at the threatenings,8 and embracing the promises of God9 for this life and the life to come. However, the principal [first and greatest] acts of saving faith directly concern Christ, accepting, receiving and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.10

4 Acts 24.14 5 Ps 19.7-10; Ps 119.72 6 2Tim 1.12 7 Jn 15.14 8 Is 66.2 9 Heb 11.13 10 Jn 1.12; Acts 16.31; Gal 2.20; Acts 15.11

  1. This faith may exist in different degrees, and may be weak or strong.11 Nevertheless, the least degree [weakest expression] of such faith is (like all other saving grace) of a different kind or nature from the faith and common grace of temporary believers.12 Therefore, though it may be often attacked and weakened, this faith gains the victory,13 maturing in many until they attain a full assurance through Christ,14 who is both the author and finisher of our faith.15

11 Heb 5.13-14; Mt 6.30; Rom 4.19-20 12 2Pt 1.1 13 Eph 6.16; 1Jn 5.4-5 14 Heb 6.11-12; Col 2.2 15 Heb 12.2