Many evangelical Christians tend to think they disagree with each other only on what they consider minor issues such as whether to baptize infants and whether the gift of tongues is for today, but that they agree on how the forgiveness of sins is received: by grace, through faith alone. This illusion is dispelled upon the realization that different evangelical churches mean very different things by the word faith. Here are some of the most common examples:
- Faith really means deciding to accept Jesus as Savior by sincerely saying a sinner’s prayer.
- Faith really means making the decision to accept Jesus not only as Savior, but also as Lord.
- Faith really is not just belief in God’s promise that his Son died for our sins and rose from the dead, but includes a benevolent love for God, a pious hatred of sin, covenant faithfulness, an obedient heart, or some other commendable quality.
With all the differences of opinion, can anyone know with certainty what faith means? Does it matter?