Exploring the essence of faith reveals a complex interplay of knowledge, conviction, and consent. It’s not merely an abstract feeling but a structured process that engages the intellect, the emotions, and the will. This exploration aims to dissect the components that constitute faith, using the analogy of trusting a chair to support one’s weight, and extending this understanding to the faith in Christ. By examining these elements, we gain insight into the nature of belief and the personal commitment it entails.
The Elements of Faith
1. Content (notitia or knowledge): There is no such thing as contentless faith. We have to have a defined object to trust. (“Claim” could work as well).
In the illustration: “A chair is some solid structure that can hold an individual while sitting, and I believe this is a chair.”
2. Conviction (assensus or assent): Faith requires a degree of being persuaded that something or someone is and can do or has done what is claimed in the content.In the illustration: “I have investigated this chair and have become convinced enough that it can hold me.”
3. Consent (fiducial or trust): Consent here is to yield to the claims by virtue of action.
In the illustration: “I am now resting the weight of my body on this chair, thereby evidencing my belief that this is a chair.”
What this Looks Like with Christ
Content: “I have the knowledge of the claim that Christ loves me and 2000 years ago, He became man so as to die for me on a cross to suffer my penalty for sin, and His desire is for me to believe this and so have eternal life with Him.”
Conviction: “I actually believe this claim about Christ is true. The more I research, the more I find that Christ did everything for me required and that He calls me to repent right now.”
Consent: “Though my knowledge is not perfect, nor is my conviction as certain as it could be, I have decided to rest the full weight of my life and future on Christ.”
Faith, as dissected through the metaphor of sitting in a chair and the profound belief in Christ’s sacrifice, transcends mere acknowledgment. It demands an active engagement with the claims presented, a degree of conviction of their truth, and a consent that manifests in a degree of personal commitment and action. This exploration not only clarifies the anatomy of faith but also emphasizes its depth, challenging us to consider the basis of our beliefs and the extent of our trust. It also should bring to our lives a desire to grow in all three areas.
In understanding these components, we find that faith is not a passive state but a dynamic and deliberate move toward knowledge, conviction, and trust.