1. The nature of faith
Faith is our personal response to the grace of God It is a trusting acceptance of the good news of the gospel, that God accepts us because of Jesus Christ. It involves commitment to him, an obedient response to his goodness and a desire to follow him in the way of discipleship (Romans 5:1-2).
Therefore, faith is more than intellectual belief. Though faith in Christ requires the use of our minds, it is possible to assent to a creed without trusting the Savior. Justifying faith involves heart, mind and will, and is made possible by God himself who bestows faith on those who desire it.
2. Faith and works
Faith is not a human achievement that wins or earns reward. It is the God-given channel through which which grace flows. It is an attitude rather than an action.
Those who attempt to win acceptance with God by their own performance are doomed to continual frustration and unease because the greatest human effort can never fulfill all the requirements of true righteousness. Even if our outward lives appear to be flawless in conduct, we know that our thoughts and motives fall short of pleasing God. Greater striving may make us more self-centered and less God-directed, more judgmental and self-absorbed. A host of good works cannot build up a credit balance in Gods accounting nor outweigh our sin (John 6:28-29). Nevertheless, the outcome of genuine Christian faith will be good works as the believer lives obediently and faithfully (James 2:14-26).
When we abandon human efforts and cast ourselves in repentance on the merciful grace of God, his grace is freely given (Psalm 37:3-6). We are freed from guilt and accepted as righteous in and through Jesus Christ. Then, confidently resting on God's mercy, we discover a new way of righteousness, based not on human striving but on the life-giving grace of God (Romans 3:21-26).