Paul’s Use of the Word “Faith” Part 1 -- By: Martin O. Massinger

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:426 (Apr 1950)
Article: Paul’s Use of the Word “Faith” Part 1
Author: Martin O. Massinger

Paul’s Use of the Word “Faith”
Part 1

Martin O. Massinger

It would be difficult indeed to find a subject of greater practical importance than faith. A moment’s reflection will satisfy the thoughtful reader of the truthfulness of this statement. A subject is of practical importance if a proper understanding of it results in good and if ignorance of it results in evil. Faith is involved in the most profound problems of relationship between God and man. God created man for His glory. Man in his lost estate may demonstrate the wrath of God, but only if redeemed can show forth the glories of the grace of God. Since redemption is mediated to man through the channel of faith, an understanding and exercise of faith result in manifestation of the glory of divine grace, while an ignorance of faith must result in manifestation of the wrath of God. Moreover, going beyond this soteriological consideration, we understand that in every relationship between the redeemed and God “without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him” (Heb 11:6).

Turning now to view the matter from man’s standpoint we find it easily demonstrable that faith is of the greatest practical value. Nothing can approach in significance the question of one’s favor or disfavor in the sight of God and the question of man’s condition in the eternal state. Concerning the first of these two problems we read that “man is justified by faith” (Rom 3:26). Concerning the second we find: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). Hence the proper exercise of faith results in unmeasured blessing to man, whereas omission of faith results in eternal death and destruction under the divine wrath.

Viewing faith as a part of man’s natural equipment because a creature, we perceive that it is one of his most important functions. This fact is not generally recognized, to be sure, for the reason that the human being as usually studied and analyzed by worldly philosophers is not normal

man—one in possession of all his faculties, but fallen man or one completely paralyzed in his spirit. The true anthropologist, if he would study a normal specimen of the genus homo and not something defective, must study a saved individual. And even then he will discover the devastating effects of sin, inasmuch as the process of restoration to perfect soundness will not be completed until at the Rapture the new, glorified body is received. Looking at a saved man even in his presen...

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