What is faith?

Evangelical Christianity views biblical faith (i.e. to take as true, or to believe as true) as having three primary or essential elements. Bible scholars sometimes give these elements Latin names called the Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia.

In summary:

a) Notitia has to do with knowledge or content.
b) Assensus has to do with believing the information given as factual.
c) Fiducia has to do with trust or reliance.

Here it is relatively easy to understand how these 3 basic elements of faith are interrelated to one another.

For example, it is impossible for someone to have faith in a person like the President of the United States if that person does not know or have the information of who the President of the United States is -i.e. the Notitia.
 
Second, it is impossible for someone to force or will themselves to have faith in the President of the United States if they refuse to believe the information that the individual is the President of the United States -i.e. the Assensus.
 
And finally, even if someone has the information that an individual is the President and believes that someone is the President, because of their personal or political views, they still may not have faith in that person as President -i.e. the Fiducia.
 
Authentic faith or turst requires all three elements of Notitia, Assensus and Fiducia.
 
So all we need is a little faith?
 
Telling someone to “Just have faith” is of little value to anyone.
 
What? 'Have faith in faith'?
 
It’s not 'faith in faith' that brings justification to the believer, but rather it is the object of our faith that brings justification- Jesus Christ
 
Everyone exercises faith to some extent every day.

However the difference between the believer and the non-believer is not the fact of faith, but rather the object of their faith.
 
The unsaved person may trust or rely in themselves, or in their own moral and religious abilities and conduct.

But the Christian puts their faith, trust, and reliance in the person of Jesus Christ.
 
A biblical example might be when someone came from the household of Jairus, the synagogue ruler, to tell him that his daughter had just died.
 
The Bible tells us that when Jesus heard this He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid -just believe.”

Believe?!!
 
Believe what?!!

No Jairus. Not believe "what".

Believe in "Who".

Believe in Jesus.
 
Again, faith always has an object.
 
The object of the believer's faith is the Savior.

Isn't placing faith in Christ a "work" that we do?
 
Edited from the ministry of GotQuestions.org
 
Used by permission

Our salvation depends solely upon Jesus Christ.
 
He is our substitute who took sin's penalty (2 Corinthians 5:21), He is our Savior from sin (John 1:29), He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
 
The work necessary to provide salvation was fully accomplished by Jesus Christ Himself. He lived a perfect life, took God's punishment for sin that we deserved, and rose again from the dead (Hebrews 10:12).
 
The Bible is quite clear that our own works do not help merit salvation. We are saved "not because of righteous things we had done" (Titus 3:5), "Not by works" (Ephesians 2:9), "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).
 
This means that offering sacrifices, keeping the commandments, going to church, being (water) baptized, or any other good deeds are incapable of saving anyone.
 
No matter how "good" we are, we can never measure up to God's standard of holiness. Our our righteous acts are filthy rages to God (Romans 3:23; Matthew 19:17; Isaiah 64:6).
 
The Bible is just as clear that salvation is conditional; God does not save everyone.
 
The one condition for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. Nearly 200 times in the New Testament, faith (belief or trust) is declared to be the sole condition for salvation (John 1:12; Acts 16:31).
 
One day, some people asked Jesus what they could do to please God: "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus immediately points them to faith: "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6:28-29).
 
So, the question was about God's requirements (plural), and Jesus' answer (singular) is that God's requirement is that you believe in Him.
 
Grace is God giving us something we cannot earn or deserve. According to Romans 11:6, "works" of any kind destroys grace because the idea is that a worker earns payment, while the recipient of grace simply receives the item as a gift, unearned.
 
Since salvation is all of grace, it cannot be earned. Faith in Jesus Christ therefore is a non-work. Faith cannot truly be considered a "work," or else it would destroy grace. (See also Romans 4; Abraham's salvation was dependent on faith in God, as opposed to any work he performed.)

Suppose someone anonymously sent me a check for $1,000,000. The money is mine if I want it, but I still must endorse the check. In no way can signing my name be considered earning the million dollars. Thus, the endorsement is a non-work. I can never boast about becoming a millionaire through sheer effort or my own business savvy.
 
No, the million dollars was simply a gift, and signing my name was the way to receive it.
 
Similarly, placing faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to receive God's generous gift of eternal life, and placing faith in the only One who can save cannot be considered a work worthy of the gift.
 
True faith also cannot be considered a work because true faith involves a cessation or rejection of our own works to order to trust in Christ. True faith has as its object Jesus Christ Himself and in what He did and accomplished on our behalf. Matthew 11:28-29; Hebrews 4:10
 
To take this a step further, true faith cannot be considered a work because even faith is a gift from God, not something we produce on our own.
 
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
 
Praise the Lord for His power to save and for His grace that makes salvation a reality
 
Recommended Resource: Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by R.C. Sproul.