For Protestants: What does “faith” mean?


I often hear Protestants proclaiming that “we need only faith”, but I’ve never heard a good explanation of what constitutes faith in Christ.




A bit more of an explanation would be much appreciated


Romans 005:001 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
005:002 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
005:003 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
005:004 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
005:005 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
005:006 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
005:007 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
005:008 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
005:009 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
005:010 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
005:011 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.


Hope and Love; is this how you’d justify faith?

Having “faith” does not involve any kind of doctrinal belief? Jehovah’s Witnesses both love Christ, and hope for their salvation. Does this mean that they possess true faith in Christ?


Having Faith in Christ means that I put everything I have in Christ and leave no part of my life ‘hidden’ from Him. Whether it is romance, financial, physical, health, family, friends… well, you get the point. My Faith entails that I have no part of me that doesn’t have Christ as the Captain. My Faith also means that I believe in what He told us and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide me as long as I remain open to it.

My Faith is my life. Without it I would have no reason to breathe. :slight_smile:


Hi Singinbeauty, thanks for your response.


Hi Singinbeauty, thanks for your response.

So in other words you allow Christ to dictate your actions, and behave in a way that is in accordance with Christ’s will. Pardon me, but isn’t this a description of works rather than faith?


Faith alone doesn’t say works should not be done, it says that Faith is required for salvation and works for sanctification.


Nope, works would mean that it is I that is responsible for my behavior and Faith. This is not the case. It takes FAITH to know that if you give Christ the helm you will see a dramatic change in your life.

A TRUE Faith will give good fruit (works).


I can appreciate that. I just don’t see how “faith” (or its constituents) does not represent a “work”. Trust, love and hope are all actions, and therefore, are works. How can a mental work such as belief merit ones salvation, while physical works do not merit salvation?


Your statement causes a serious difficulty for salvation by faith alone. I will show you what I mean by way of scripture.

Heb 13:12
Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood.

Acts 20:32
And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.

Acts 26:18
to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

1Cor 1:2
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Rom 6:22
But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.

Heb 2:11
For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,

HEB 10:9
And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

1Peter 1:2
who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:

2 Thess 2:13
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first **fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit **and through belief in the truth.

The above quoted scriptures make it clear that we are not saved by faith alone. We are washed, we are sanctifed, and we are justified for salvation[1 Cor 6:11]. Sanctification is required for salvation just as faith and works are part of salvation. All of these are by way of God’s grace and the merits of Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection.

Scripture makes it clear that there is no clear dividing line between justification and sanctification. Most people make the mistake of thinking that Romans 6:7 refers to sanctification only because of the context. The verse says, “For whoever has died is freed from sin.” This obviously refers to holiness and living a life in Christ free from sin. The word “freed” in the verse is actually the word “justified” in the Greek. Justification and sanctification are a continuum and both are necessary for salvation.

I hope this helps.


I assume you would mean “living faith” and not “dead faith”.

In which case what “Singing Beauty” said works for me.

Living faith begins with a simple belief in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins.

But (unless you go to be with the Lord on day 1 like the thief on the cross) it does not end there.

So in other words you allow Christ to dictate your actions, and behave in a way that is in accordance with Christ’s will. Pardon me, but isn’t this a description of works rather than faith?

Actually works and faith are not opposite unless you are dealing with day 1. Living faith is not initiated by works. However living faith produces works.

Unfortunately many folks do not have faith in Christ at all at all and have a vain hope that they might gain eternal life on the basis of being “good people” or even “religious people”. I am afraid these folks might have an unpleasant surprise awaiting them.
Hope that helps.


Well our faith will be tested again and again as we continue our journey with God. For example if you really wanted to know how much faith or shall i say trust you have for God, let say God give you a revelation to give up anything you have to become a full time missionary, would you do that? I’m sure to say there are many of us will consider and consider, think and think again, shall i go or shall i not go…blar…blar…Trusting God is with no doubt, just do no need to think and think, check and check!!! Ask pple around for opinion , is that really God’s revelation, becoz i’m afraid that might not be God’s revelation…blar…blar…
If we are lead by the Spirit we don’t even need to think twice and gets confirmation from others…there are those who even asked, how you know that is from God…For those who ask such question are those who are in a stage of doubting God’s ability and did not exercise their faith they proclaim they have.


While they are ‘separated’ into parts for understanding the whole is still required. No one is sanctified if they are not first justified. I should also point out I don’t believe Protestants and Catholics agree on the definition of the two words so trying to make the Catholic definition fit with a Protestant statement using the word[s] wouldn’t quite work.


I think this is a very important question, because I, too, have observed that, in general, Catholics & Protestants use this word differently…
I think that Catholics tend to separate out the virtues of faith, hope, & charity as different entities.
Most Protestants seem to conflate them all into something called “faith”. (Which, when defined, means faith, hope, charity, and a liberal dose of what Catholics call “works”, but Protestants call a “response to faith”, or the like).
I believe that proper communication is a big problem for all of us who are Christian, precisely because we tend to use the same word to mean different things, and different words to mean the same thing.
Nowhere is this more apparent, than in regard to the subject at hand…

OK,:wink: carry on, all…


There is head knowledge, I believe such and such is true. And there is heart knowledge, I live what I believe to be true. We read faith to me active faith, that is walking in the power of the Lord, making Christ our Lord, Savior and Master which entails obedence.


Well…to me, to have faith is to trully believe, but you also must BE faithful. That’s to say you must fully depend on God for all things, in every aspect of your life, and follow his commands. Faith AND works of faith, to me the two are a package deal, neither will work properly without the other.


Faith in him is to believe in him. Anyone who believes in him has eternal life. Believing in him is trusting in him, not merely believing that he exists.

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