Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1969


J. D. Floyd

In the word of reconciliation committed to the apostles it has been found that there were faith, repentance, and baptism, and also that in the eight cases of conversion given most in detail the same were found either expressly mentioned or necessarily inferred. As these have been found to be universal elements of conversion, it perhaps will be helpful to the learner to take a fuller view of them. This I shall now do, devoting one article to each.

"Faith" is eminently a New Testament word, it occurring but twice in the Old Testament, and over two hundred times in the New Testament. That which in the New Testament is called "faith", in the Old Testament is generally called "belief" or "believing." In many places in the New Testament these two words are used interchangeably. "Believe" is a verb expressing an action of the mind; "faith" is a noun giving a name to that action. To go further than this in making distinctions is to "darken counsel by a multitude of words." To have faith in Jesus Christ is to believe all that is revealed of him and trust him for all he has promised.

How does faith come? A few quotations from the Scriptures will fully answer this question. Paul gives his conclusion of an argument on the subject in these words: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17) This conclusion is fully verified in the various cases on record where persons have been made believers. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached, the people heard, were pierced to the heart, and cried to know what to do. At Solomon's porch (Acts 3), Peter again preached, with the result that "many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand." (Acts 4:4) At Samaria, Philip preached Christ unto them: "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." (Acts 8:12) Peter went to Cornelius, the Gentile, to tell him words whereby he and his house should be saved. Of the result Peter says: "Ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe." (Acts 15:7) at Iconium, Paul and Barnabas "so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed." (Acts 14:1) Paul went to Corinth, where he abode a Year and six months. While there he "preached the gospel," "testified that Jesus was Christ," and "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." As a result, "many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." (Acts 18:9)

That the word of God read, as well as heard orally, will produce faith is shown by the following passages: "For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke 1:1-4); "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these 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." (John 20: 30-31 )

I was once in the company of Dr. Wardner, an eminent Seventh-Day Baptist preacher, who had spent fourteen years of his life as a missionary to China. He and those with him were the first to carry the Bible to the city where they labored. In the course of conversation, I asked him this question: "Did you find any person there who had any conception of the mission of Christ or salvation through him who had not got the idea either from the Bible you carried there or directly or indirectly from your missionaries?" In reply, the Doctor said: "I never saw a person who had the remotest conception of these things." No other answer was possible. The word of God is the seed; and it would be as reasonable to look for a crop of wheat where seed had never been sown as to look for faith where the Word of God had not gone.

One more question and this article will close: Will faith alone save? Yes and no. Yes, if reference is had to a perfected faith, a faith perfected by the works God has commanded as expression of faith; no, if reference is had to faith in its inception, before it has been made perfect by works. James (2:24) settles this question: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."

— Gospel Advocate, 5/12/1898