What is the Difference between Faith and Belief?
What does Works have to do with Faith?
In fact, faith is belief. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language gives twelve possible definitions of the word faith. The very first is this:
“1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity [habitual verification of truth], without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth.”
Webster’s second, third and fourth definition points for the word faith:
“2. The assent [concurrence or agreement] of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, on probable evidence of any kind.”
“3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and the existence, character and doctrines of Christ…a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievement of Alexander or of Cesar.”
“4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God’s testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ …and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.”
Noah Webster, with the definition of faith, references and spells out the following verses:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now faith is the substance [realization] of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness…
Faith has to do with trust, loyalty, and integrity. When a person feels trusted, he is much more likely to be loyal to any person whom he knows also trusts him and is faithful to him. A supervisor trusts the employee who has integrity. The worker who has integrity will do a good job even when the boss is away.
5Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
God’s Word on faith goes beyond Webster’s definitions—beyond temporary to eternal:
2 Corinthians 4:18b
For the things seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Again, looking to Noah Webster’s definition—this time, for the word belief:
“1. A persuasion of the truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alledged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge; as the belief of the gospel; belief of a witness…”
“2. In theology, faith, or a firm persuasion of the truth of religion.
“3. Religion; the body of tenets [doctrines, creeds or beliefs] held by the professors of faith.
To believe is to sincerely have a humble reliance on Jesus Christ for our salvation—being saved from the second death and being saved for eternal life in heaven.
“whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Upon confessing our sins to God, asking forgiveness and believing that Jesus is God the Savior, our Father God no longer views us as past sinners; rather He sees us as being as righteous and pure as His Son and redeems us back to Himself:
20bfor by the law [the Ten Commandments] is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law [only by faith and belief] is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and Prophets [God’s plan was foretold by the shedding of blood to receive forgiveness.], 22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The Father sacrificed His only begotten Son to shed His blood on the cross to forgive us:
8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath [God’s furious wrath during the seven-year Tribulation on earth (following the Rapture of the Church to heaven)] through Him [by the work of Christ on the cross].
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides in him.”
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
1 John 2:23
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:1, 14a
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … 14aAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…
What does Works have to do with Faith?
A true believer validates his belief by what he does.
(May We See Christ? A New Testament Journey by Warren Henderson 2020)
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 5:18
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament. And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.