What Is Faith? (And What It’s Not): Faith Is Trust

Genuine faith involves trust. Knowledge and assent alone do not make genuine faith. James 2:19 says that “even the demons believe.” Demons are not atheists. They even have an orthodox view of God. If faith, then, is simply about understanding God correctly, we must logically conclude that the demons have saving faith. Yet we know that this isn’t the case.

A simple awareness of facts is not faith. There must be a movement from knowledge to assent that then culminates in trust.

A summons to trust in Christ—actively, not passively—is included in all of His invitations. In Matthew 11, for example, He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (vv. 28–29). Notice the verbs: “come,” “take,” “learn,” “find rest.” These are all action words. They involve doing. You see, faith is not passive resignation. New Testament faith begins in knowledge, leads to assent, and ends in trust on the basis of the knowledge to which we have assented.

Adapted from the sermon “What Is Faith?” by Alistair Begg