6 Comments

  1. Randy Jung on November 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I really like this. I don’t know how Greek classifies the word… a noun, verb or something else. But translated to english you have both. That being said when used as “Believe” it is a verb. You have to put it into action. When used as “faith” it is a noun, or something you posess. However, when used as “trust” it is both a noun and a verb. Therefore you own it AND you put it into action. I think that is how we should view our relationship with Jesus. It is something we “have” (noun) and it is something we are constantly “acting on, (verb).

    • Maury on November 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      This is WONDERFUL, Randy! You’re exactly right. I like “trust” because it captures both. As you put it, “it is something we “have” (noun) and it is something we are constantly “acting on, (verb).” That is a marvelously succinct summary.

  2. Harry Hahne on November 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Maury,
    You are right that trust is a major part of the biblical idea of faith. This is an important corrective to the common concept of faith as simply believing certain propositions.
    But trust is worthless or dangerous if the person you have faith in is not trustworthy. That is why parents rightly teach their children not to simply trust anyone who offers them candy — it matters that the nice man who is offering them candy is someone that they know to be trustworthy.
    The Greek words for “faith” (πιστις) and “believe” (πιστευω) include all three dimensions that you mention: faith (expectation that Jesus is capable of something), belief (acceptance of Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God and Savior), and trust (reliance upon him for salvation or to answer prayer). All three must be combined in the type of faith that saves or receives answers to prayer.
    If a person has a great deal of faith that Jesus is his savior, but Jesus is not actually who he claimed to be, then no amount of trust or faith will save him. As the Apostle Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
    This is why Paul said a few verses before this “I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15:1–2). You have to accept the message as true (“received”) and continue to trust (“hold fast”). In the following verses Paul then lays out the content of the Gospel message you must accept as true: Jesus died for our sins in fulfillment of biblical promises and then he rose from the dead, which was confirmed by many eyewitnesses.
    So it matters that you believe truth, but you cannot stop with an intellectual acceptance of ideas. You also have to place your trust in Jesus, who has proven himself the trustworthy Savior and Son of God through his resurrection from the dead.

    • Maury on November 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Harry! How nice to hear from you. This is a marvelous clarification and helpful counterbalance. I really appreciate it. I guess that for me, I have been so focused on “believing the right stuff” and “screwing up enough faith” that I forgot that in the end, I will never believe ALL the right stuff or be able to screw up enough faith. Trust speaks to me because it takes the focus off of me and my intellect (“belief”) and emotions (“faith”) and puts it on the Faithful One. “The faithfulness of Christ” is the key rather than my “faith in Christ.” (subjective genitive—sorry to go all NT Wright on you. :-))But in the end you’re right. Knowing who Christ is and exercising faith DO matter.

  3. Bob Howe on November 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Greetings Maury,
    I appreciate your clarity regarding translation/interpretation of pistos. Like you, I have also struggled with “belief” as some sort of initiation requirement such as believing in Santa Claus. How far did that get you? And, how did you feel when you discovered you had been deceived? My daughter’s response was “Does that mean Jesus isn’t real, too?”

    Linking “trust” with “trustworthy” makes a lot of sense to me, because God cared enough to provide solid evidence (Jesus, scripture, miracles, witness of other believers, etc.) that he is real and that through Jesus and the Indwelt Spirit, he will guide us down the path that he knows will provide us with the rich relationship with Him that we were designed for. As I experience proof that what Jesus said and did is true, I “trust” him more and that leads me to then have “faith” he will guide me through the things that I don’t understand.

    This is the same as with our relationships with other people. Those who have demonstrated their trustworthiness lead us to have faith that they will continue to operate the same way. Not so with a stranger.

    Recently I have felt God expanding my vision of his provisions. As revealed in scripture, He repeatedly goes the extra mile. I feel like He desperately wants us to be with Him, over and over again. Also, I feel that He reaches out to us where we are and supplies what each one of us, individually, needs to bring us to Him.

    In contrast to this, what so often I hear from the pulpit, as well as the most vocal believers, is a message of doctrines/dogmas: Here is the checkoff list, sign at the bottom and we will issue you your fire insurance policy.

    How often I have heard someone give their testimony as something like “I was shown the truth (a few verses or doctrines are quoted), I believe, and now I am saved.” If it is that simple, why isn’t everyone a Christian? Really! For myself, at least, things were a lot messier.

    Thanks for listening, and again I thank you for this well reasoned and helpful discourse.
    Bob

    • Maury on November 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      This is beautifully said, Bob. Sounds like we’re discovering some of the same things lately. Thanks so much for adding it to the discussion!

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