By Faith

What is faith? Seems like a very basic answer should ensue because I am a seminary student after all. But trying to define what faith is isn’t all that easy. Of course, we could quote Hebrews 11:1 and just be done with the discussion (“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”). This definition is strangely lacking anything distinctively Christian. I guess my question should be, What is Christian faith? If we continue in the Hebrews passage, the great encomium of faith, we notice that all the examples are Old Testament examples (even the persecuted ones in vv. 36-38 could easily refer to OT examples). These are great examples of Jewish faith and yet, the author of Hebrews chooses these examples to encourage the Christian congregation he is writing to in order to encourage them to persevere in their faith. The supremacy of Jesus is highlighted throughout this book. When it comes to defining faith however, Christ is strangely missing from the discussion. Must faith include an affirmation of the work of Christ on the cross? Or is faith simply trust in God, the work of Christ only allowing this trust to occur?

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