An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 135 of 270
(Isa. 22:23,25); confirm or establish as a kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16), or a house
(1 Sam. 2:35).  This element of stability is so incipient in the word, that
it could be made the subject of a word play in Isaiah 7:9, 'If ye believe not
(have not firm confidence) ye will not be confirmed'.  From this comes the
conception of faithfulness (Deut. 7:9; Jer. 42:5).  So at last we come to the
form of the word which implies belief as a trust (Isa. 28:16; Gen. 15:6; Hab.
It will be perceived that a Hebrew could not use this word and say,
'While I believe it is so, I cannot be sure, I cannot say I actually know'.
Such looseness of meaning belongs to the later days of degeneracy in
language.  Today, when some people say, 'I hope so', one is fairly certain
that they have no real ground for their hope.  To believe a statement to be
true, especially if that statement concerns a person and not a thing, leads,
according to the Hebrew conception, to trust.  While the New Testament
develops the capacity of faith, it never loses sight of this intimate
relationship, sure, true, trustworthy.
So it is that the English word 'trust' translates both the Greek words
peitho (Matt. 27:43) and elpizo (Matt. 12:21) which really mean 'faith' and
'hope' respectively, but which nevertheless are so linked together that it
can be written, 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for'.  'Faith' in the
New Testament represents the Greek word pistis (Rom. 5:1); and 'faithful' by
the word pistos (Eph. 1:1).  'Believe' is the rendering of the verb pisteuo
(John 3:36 first occurrence) and negatively apeitho (John 3:36 second
occurrence).  Peitho is translated 'assure', 'be confident', 'trust and
persuade'.  To 'believe' the Son, therefore, according to John 3:36 is to be
'persuaded' concerning His Person and Work.  While we believe the Gospel, the
Word spoken or written, the preaching of the apostles, this message
(euaggelion, 'gospel', 'glad tidings') ever points to the Saviour Himself, in
His life, death, resurrection, ascension and present session at the right
hand of God.  Faith becomes trust in a personal Saviour.
We are 'saved by faith' as a drowning man may be saved by a 'rope', but
he would be foolish to thank the rope, or to attribute to the 'rope' any
other quality than a means.  Behind that rope would have been the hands of
the rescuer, without which the rope would have been more of a hindrance than
a help.  We must beware of using 'faith' as though it were a talisman or a
charm.  We cannot simply 'have faith', we must 'have faith In or On' God, His
Son, His Word or His Truth.  Faith receives salvation as a gift.  While we
read of 'the obedience of faith' (Rom. 1:5), faith itself is not obedience,
the obedience of faith is the consequences of believing, not believing
Something of the character of faith can be seen in the way in which the
apostle Paul uses it,
'To show that everything is repudiated but faith alone, the apostle
makes use of various forms of exclusion, such as "freely" (Rom. 3:24);
"without works" (Rom. 4:6); "without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28);
"by His grace" (Rom. 3:24); "by grace through faith"' (Eph. 2:8).
'Grace being represented as the exclusive source of justification, and
the death of Christ as its material cause, faith is in this matter
merely instrumental and receptive of the righteousness of God (Rom.
3:24).  Nor has faith any other value beyond that of uniting us to its