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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXXVI. Ques. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Ans.
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 1. How is faith a saving grace?
A. Faith is a saving grace, not by the act of believing, as ah act, for then it would save as a work— whereas we are saved by faith in opposition to all works; but faith is a saving grace, as an instrument apprehending and applying Jesus Christ and his perfect righteousness, whereby alone we are saved. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."— John 3:16. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,"— Acts 16:31. "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Christ unto all and upon all them that believe."— Rom. 3:22.

Q. 2. Who is the author of faith in Jesus Christ?
A. The author of faith in Jesus Christ is God, whose gift it is, and who works this grace of faith in the soul by his Spirit. "Ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."— Eph. 2:8. "Ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God." — Col. 2:12.

Q. 3. How doth God work this grace of faith in the souls of men?
A. God doth work this grace of faith in the souls of men ordinarily by hearing of the word preached. "So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God "— Rom. 10:17. "So we preach, and so ye believed."— 1 Cor. 15:11.

Q. 4. What is the object of this grace of faith?
A. The object of this grace of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ, and his righteousness, and the promises which are made through him in the covenant of grace. "He that believeth on him is not condemned."— John 3:18. "For therein is the righteousness ot God revealed from faith to faith : as it is written, The just shall live by faith "— Rom. 1:17. "The Scripture hath concluded ail under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."— Gal. 3:22.

Q. 5. What is the subject of faith in Jesus Christ?
A. 1. The subject of denomination, or the persons in whom alone this grace of faith is to be found, are the elect ouly. "According to the faith of God's elect."— Titus1:1. "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."— Acts 13:48. 2. The subject of inhesion, or the parts of the soul in which faith is placed and doth inhere, is not only the mind and understanding, but also the will and heart. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them."— Heb. 11:13. The persuasion of the truth of the promises is the act of the understanding; the embracement of the things promised is the act of the will. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness."— Rom. 10:10.

Q. 6. What are the acts of faith in Jesus Christ?
A. The acts of faith in Jesus Christ are— 1. A receiving of Jesus Christ. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."— John 1:12. 2. A resting upon Christ alone for salvation. This is implied in all those Scuptures which speak of believing in Christ, and believing on his name.

Q. 7. How is Jesus Christ to be received by faith?
A. Jesus Christ is to be received by faith as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 8. How is Jesus Christ offered to us in the gospel?
A. Jesus Christ is offered to us in the gospel, as priest, prophet, and king; and so we must receive him, if we would be saved by him.

Q. 9. When doth the soul rest upon him for salvation?
A. The soul doth rest upon Christ for salvation when, being convinced of its lost condition by reason of sin, and its own inability, together with all creatures' insufficiency, to recover it out of this estate, and having a discovery and persuasion of Christ's ability' and willingness to save, it doth let go all hold on the creatures, and renounce its own righteousness, and so lay hold on Christ, rely upon him, and put confidence in him, and in him alone, for salvation.

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