Four kinds of faith

The first standard sermon of John Wesley, “Salvation by Faith,” discusses several kinds of faith. I wonder where we would would fall on this list.

Faith of a Heathen – Belief that God exists, that God rewards and punishes, and that God requires of us moral virtue, justice, mercy, and truth.

Faith of a Devil – Belief, in addition to the above, that God was made manifest in the flesh, that Jesus Christ will destroy all enemies of God, and that Scripture is given to us by the inspiration of God.

Faith of an Apostle (while Christ still lived among them) – Belief that led them to leave all and follow Jesus Christ, that he did work healings and miracles, and that they were given power to cast out demons and preach the kingdom of God.

Faith that Saves – Faith in God through Christ, faith that stirs the heart and not only the head, and faith that by his death and resurrection our sins are blotted out and death has lost its power over us. In Wesley’s words, it is “a full reliance on the blood of Christ” for our life. It is faith in Christ as given for us and living in us.

[Note of clarification after a comment: For Wesley, this was a building thing. The faith at each point includes and adds to what came before. So, the Faith of a Devil assumes and includes the Faith of a Heathen.]

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7 thoughts on “Four kinds of faith

  1. “Faith of the Heathen”
    Now that is as interesting statement following your recite of Luke 14:26.

    Would you say the “subject to” statements of Christ irrelevant?
    Subject to:
    Doing the will of the Father?
    Loving Christ above all ?
    Etc?

    • I am not following your questions clearly. The four types of faith as Wesley describes them include the earlier types. So, for instance, a saving faith includes within it the heathen, devil, and apostle, but requires the added saving faith to be … well … saving.

      • Wesley:
        And from the faith of a devil it is fully distinguished by this: it is not barely a speculative, rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, a train of ideas in the head; but also a disposition of the heart. For thus saith the Scripture, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;” and, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

        ‘Faith of the Devil” is a little awkward, don’t you think?

        • I suppose, but the notion is quite persuasive to me. Even the devils believe that Jesus is Christ and Scripture is inspired, but they are devils still.

        • But that is not based on Faith, Is it?
          That would be based on knowing.
          Faith is based on the unseen.

          “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
          Mark1 Luke 4

        • One other question- comment and I will leave you be.
          Do you think the devil believes in the bodily resurrection of Christ? Did he see?
          Would that make the devil saved… or is there more required?

  2. Wesley viewed this as steps on a ladder, if I understand him aright, whereas I see it as a sliding scale for many people. Some days I’m fortunate to have the “faith of a heathen” and on other days I’ve found myself walking in the “faith of heaven” or that burning faith which leads to salvation.

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