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Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 elements of true Christian faith

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Three components of true Christian faith
In today's blog we want to begin exploring what constitutes true Christian faith.  In the history of the church theologians have identified three essential elements involved in one's conversion:

1. Notitia (No-tisha) When you have written a "note" to a friend, you had certain words and ideas that you wanted to express.  This Latin terms describes the actual contents or core doctrines of the Christian faith.  We could say that this is the captial "F" Faith, the objective Faith that Jude speaks about.  Truths such as the Trinity, the Deity and Humanity of Christ, The Bible as God's Word, Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone and Christ's literal bodily return constitute this first element.

2. Ascensus (As-sins-us) When we "mentally ascend" to something, we are mentally agreeing with a statement.  Thus in this second part, the person is in the realm of their mind mentally agreeing the contents, "notitia" of the Christian faith.  Mental agreement is vital, since the mind is included in the event of saving faith.  However mental agreement by itself does not mean someone has converted to Christ.  James 2:19 is quick to remind us: "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." 

3Fiducia  (Fi-doo-kia) This term is the actual "faith" given as a gift by the Holy Spirit whereby the sinner can respond in trust to the Good news of Jesus Christ. (John 1:12-13)Ephesians 2:8-9)  Now it must be understood that true saving faith is a Divinely given gift from whence flows a delightful response of trust in Jesus Christ.  True faith is never done apart from both notita and ascensus. However those first two elements by themselves need the convincing work of the Spirit in fiducia to lead the person from being a mere "professor" of Christ to being a "possessor of Christ".

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