sundays at 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, & 4:30 PM

Doctrine of Salvation - Conversion & Faith

February 20, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Mark 4:1–20


Last week we discussed the doctrine of Conversion, looking at the two elements that comprise Conversion:

  • Repentance
  • Faith

We learned:

  • There is an Intellectual Element
  • There is an Emotional Element of repentance
  • There is a Volitional Element of repentance.

Conversion is a consciously aware act of man responding to the new life which has been wrought in him through the regenerating effect of the Spirit.

Repentance is a part of the Christian doctrine of salvation.

  • Men must repent.
  • Men must be converted.
  • Men must turn away from lawlessness
  • Men must turn to a covenant keeping relationship.
  • There is a new path
    • a new direction of life
    • a new purpose
  • They are to apply the principles
    • of repentance of turning away from the world
    • of turning into Christ
    • of bringing all things done throughout the world unto Christ
  • Before, their whole life was enmity with God.
  • Before, their whole life was one of being a covenant breaker.
  • There is a responsibility to turn and follow after righteousness.

The truly converted man will sense and know that His conversion is an act of God and consists more in an internal desire to obey all His commands rather than choosing which commands to obey and will not be satisfied with superficial moral improvement alone.

The Element of Faith in an Individual

The second part of conversion is faith.

The New Testament word for faith is soteriological in nature

  • The Greek word is pistes.
  • It denotes a general confidence in a person
  • It denotes the ready acceptance of his testimony It is the trust reposed on him for the future

The Christian faith is based upon the propositions of God's Scriptures.

  • The object of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The object of faith is a confidence that we can believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The Christian faith is a confidence or a trust
    • It is not a blind faith
    • It is not believing in the unknown
    • It is not to just believe that we believe.
    • It is believing the teaching of God's word.
  • It is believing what Christ came and prophesied of himself.
  • It is accepting the word of God through the regenerating work of the spirit
  • Putting confidence
    • in the fact that what God hath said about his mediator is true
    • it is life
    • is the light of men that leads to righteousness everlasting.


There is Historical Faith

  • It is those words of truth which have been held, taught, and accepted throughout history, the past
  • It is those set of doctrines, that system of historical faith, that have been adopted by of the church
  • This type of faith does not require any response or change morally or spiritually.
  • This type of faith is simply an intellectual assent or acceptance of the truths of Scripture
  • This type of faith might be the result of tradition or family teachings, education, public opinion, etc…
  • This type of faith might be the result of a study of Scripture and theology and can be accompanied with the general operations of the Spirit but it is a
    • Fides humana - a human faith that is akin to how one holds convictions
    • Not a fides divina - a faith implanted and gifted by the Spirit of God
  • Scriptural Examples
    • Acts 26:27,28
    • James 2:19

There is Temporal Faith

  • It is a kind of a natural type of faith
  • It is a prompting of the heart to true religion but not rooted in the heart of man.
  • The affections towards the things of God may be stirred and aroused
  • This type of faith may not be long lived or may last until the death of the one that has it
  • The one that has temporal faith may even truly believe the have a true, saving faith
  • It is distinguished from a historical faith because of the emotions that are attached to it
  • Therefore, it can be difficult to differentiate but one should examine his life to see if there is greater interest in holding to one’s convictions rather than the clear teach of Scripture
  • Does one prefer honoring himself before honoring God?

Matthew 13:20-21

  • It is a natural faith that also allows certain things
    • A person might sitting in a chair believing or having faith the chair would hold him up.
    • A person driving down the road believing the car coming at them will stay in their lane

There is Saving Faith

  • All men do not have this faith.
  • This type of faith is a fruit of the Spirit's quickening and regenerating work.
  • This seed of faith is implanted within man as part of regeneration and is exercised as part of conversion.
  • It is by which confidence is exercised in the promises of God concerning the promised Seed of Abraham.
  • This type of faith is often misunderstood
    • Often it is a type of existential thing, really a natural faith
    • It is common among men to trust in things
    • It is common to trust for no particular reason
    • It is common to trust for reasons that have generated in one's own mind.
    • It is common to not see or require a conviction in the heart of the believer
    • It is common to place importance upon just believing that you believe
      • Having faith in faith

James 2:19

  • This is what often passes for righteousness
  • Except the demons also believe and shudder
    • But they are not counted as righteous
    • But they are not converted saving faith

What is saving faith?

  • It is a certain conviction wrought in the heart or mind in the man
  • It is in the way and exercising of the will by the Holy Spirit as to the truth of the Gospel
  • It is a hearty reliance on the promises of God
  • It is something that has been wrought by the Spirit of God in the heart of the believer.
    • Wherein God has confirmed the truth to him the work of the Spirit
  • It is important to believe God's word about Christ
    • He is the object of God's teaching
    • He is the object of faith based upon the revelation of God.
  • Scripture teaches that faith is to be put into the object of Christ
  • Scripture teaches that faith is not subjective
    • Christians believe in God's Word and the revelation from God about Jesus Christ.
    • This is a faith based upon Biblical revelation
  • This is not based in some idea of faith
  • This is not based upon man's conception of what he thinks about Christ
  • This is based on the revelation of God's own word.
  • This can be seen in the elements of Faith.


Faith is an assent to the truth.

  • But in that assent, there are three things that the confession speaks of concerning faith.
  • It is important to keep in mind that faith is an activity which involves the entirety of man.

There is an Intellectual Element

  • It is a positive understanding and assent of truth
    • Knowledge precedes this faith.
  • It is our mind renewed and regenerated by the Spirit of God
  • It is such that while we may not fully and comprehensively understand everything there is in the Scripture, it is a sufficient and certain understanding of the fundamental truths of the gospel.
    • The depravity of man
    • The need of a savior
    • The redemption available only in Christ
  • We must also be careful not to think that a mere intellectual understanding is sufficient for saving faith
    • It must be followed with a certainty that what God has said is true - just as sure and certain that we might hold to any other truth in our life (nay, even more so as it is the very word of God)

There is an Emotional Element

  • It is an emotional assent to the knowledge of the truth such that he is no longer intellectually disinterested or detached but rather possesses a lively interest in it.
  • It is an acknowledgment of dependency.
    • This involves cognition
    • This involves an embracing of the truth
      • Objectively
      • Consciously
    • It results in a change in life as the truth is embraced
      • In practice
      • In an outward expression of faith.
    • But it is not works that are saving.
      • Only in showing that one understands
      • Only in that the teaching of Scripture has been embraced
      • Only that Christ is to be the Lord and Savior

There is a Volitional Element

  • It is not only an intellectual assent
  • It is not only an emotional response
  • It is also a matter of the will
    • That man exercises what he has assented
    • That man exercises what he has embraced
    • That man sets forth and adopts a new set of goals and objectives in his life as a Christian.
  • It is matter of choosing to pursue the things wherewith he has been called in our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • It is a surrender of the soul to Christ
    • It is a reception of Christ as the source of life
    • It is a full trust in Christ as Savior and Lord

Faith is an assent to the truth of God

  • It embraces an understanding of the truth
  • It embraces an acceptance of the truth
  • It is an intellectual, emotional, and volitional element - combined
  • In which man now because of his faith and trust in God pursues a new set of goals.

Man walks by faith.

  • Faith does not mean walking in blindness
  • Faith means walking in the light of the word
  • Faith means walking in and according to God's revelation

This must be distinguished in today's church

  • It does not mean
    • that I'm going to do something, and I don't know why I'm going to do it or I don't know how to do it.
    • that because I'm going to do something, it's an act of faith
      • truth is most of the times it's an act of foolishness.
    • It does mean
      • Faith is the basis of what God has revealed in the scripture
      • Faith is where God has revealed that we should walk in the newness of life
      • Faith is where the teachings and practices that God has been given are adopted
      • Faith is bound to the revelation of God.
      • Faith can only be done in the light of God's Holy Word.


Conversion is an act of God

  • by which He converts and changes the life of man
  • by which the quickening and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit becomes conscious immediately in man’s life.

That something has changed.

  • That there has been a renewing and opening of the eyes of the sinner
  • That the sinner no longer can walk in darkness.
  • That the sinner turns and repents from the way of the world
  • That the sinner turns to a life in Jesus Christ.
    • by which man sees that the hope of life is based on the object of revelation from the Spirit of God
    • from which he is given faith
    • from which he is given confidence from which he is able to believe what God has said about his mediator

It involves regeneration and faith

  • it requires a definite act of man that is enabled by the grace of God

The ultimate ground of faith rests in the veracity and faithfulness of God.

  • It rests in the promises of the gospel

There is no knowledge of these promises or the veracity and faithfulness of God without His written revelation

  • Therefore, we must continue to read and study the Word of God
  • Therefore, we must continue to bring our lives in conformance with the Word of God
  • Therefore, we must be sure to have the very best translation of the Word of God possible at our disposals

The means by which we recognize the Scripture to be the Word of God:

  • 1 John 5:7,8 - the testimony of the Holy Spirit
  • Romans 8:16 - the spirit beareth witness

The reasons for Christ as the only object of our faith:

  • John 3:15,16
  • John 6:39,40

More in Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

September 17, 2023

Doctrine of the Last Judgment - The Finality of Judgment

September 10, 2023

Doctrine of the Last Judgement - The Great White Throne

September 3, 2023

Doctrine of the Last Judgment