“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1 ASV). Faith is belief, confidence, or trust in some person, fact, or thing. Jesus used the words faith and belief interchangeably—“Be ye not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). All faith is based upon testimony of evidence—no evidence, no faith.
Because of His great love wherewith He loved us, God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that “whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus Himself emphatically says, “Except ye believe that I am he (the Christ, OH) ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). But God has not required that men believe that Jesus is the Christ without ample evidence to convince them. John says the things recorded in the gospel “are written that ye might believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye might have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
Today, faith in Christ comes by the evidence recorded in the New Testament—“So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17.) Since God has provided ample evidence to produce faith, men are required to believe that Jesus is the Christ and submit to His will, and will be condemned if they do not. “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). For this reason, the gospel is to be “made known in every nation for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25-26). Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).
Not only is faith dependent upon evidence for its existence, but also for its essence, character, and content. Faith is conditioned by its evidence and partakes of the essence of that testimony. If the evidence is fantastic, grotesque, or false, so will be the faith it produces. If the evidence is true, so will be the faith it produces. Untrue testimony= baseless faith; human testimony=human faith; divine testimony=divine faith. Like evidence, like faith.
Men speak of kinds of faith, but such a distinction is not found in the Bible, and science knows of no separate and distinct kinds of faith. The Bible speaks of degrees of faith—“great faith,” “weak faith,” “dead faith,” etc., but not kinds of faith like “historic faith,” “saving faith,” etc.
It is the thing believed that determines whether we shall be saved. Faith in a lie will not save a man. Faith in some man-made doctrine will not save, though that faith may be as firm as any man’s belief in the truth. “If Christ be not raised, then your faith is vain,” (1 Cor. 15:17) Paul says. Hence it is essential that the truth be preached. For this cause, Paul warns against false teachers, pronouncing a curse upon anyone, man or angel, who preaches “any gospel other than that which we (Apostles, OH) preached” (Gal. 1:8-9). It is not faith in just any sort of gospel that will save, but faith in the true and unadulterated Gospel of Christ. It makes all the difference in the world what men believe.
Salvation is not dependent upon a faith, but upon the faith. For that reason, Jude exhorts Christians to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).